Every evening since 1959, the armed forces of Pakistan and India have performed a joint military ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border. There are is a highly-choreographed set of moves, including high leg raises, kicksteps, and a handshake, before the gates are opened. The flags are folded, two soldiers shake hands, and the gates close again. The event is attended by crowds and occasional celebrity guests. The ceremony is known as “Beating Retreat.” It symbolizes the cooperation and the competition between Pakistan and India.
The Successful Daylighting Of A Once-Covered Stream
The photograph shows Seoul's CheongGyeCheon stream in 1904. There were attempts to cover up the stream during the Japanese occupation of Korea but financial difficulties stopped the plans. After Seoul's rapid post-war growth the little stream was finally covered with concrete over 20 years starting in 1958. It disappeared under an elevated highway. Then in 2003, Seoul's mayor initiated a removal of the highway and a restoration of the stream. The development of Seoul and the neglect of CheongGyeCheon meant it was nearly dry and water had to be pumped in. In addition, two historic bridges were restored, and walkways were built along both sides of the stream. When it opened in 2005, CheonGyeCheon was an instant success with the public -- and developers. Land near the stream is now some of the most expensive in Seoul.
Cyrus the Great, the founder of the first Persian Empire, conquered the millennia-old city of Babylon on October 12th, 539 BCE. Local inscriptions tell us it was without a fight, or even a siege. This was probably because local rulers recognized all was lost and decided to give in and hope for a good settlement.
But Greek historian Herodotus tells a more exciting version. According to him, the city’s walls crossed the river Euphrates. Unable to get past the walls, Cyrus had sappers drain the river upstream into a nearby lake, until the river’s level fell “about to the middle of a man’s thigh.” As the Babylonians celebrated a religious festival the Persians simply walked -- dripping -- into a dancing city.
Whether it was surrendered or it was captured, Babylon would belong to the Persian Empire and Cyrus’ descendants for the next 200 years.
The Russian Civil War was an ideological conflict between competing groups in Russia from 1918 to 1921. It is most famously a conflict between the “Whites” and the “Reds.” The Reds were Bolshevik Communists, and the Whites were those who opposed them. With over 825,000 combat fatalities and 2 million more war-related casualties, the Russian Civil War is considered the most costly civil war in modern times.
Archaeologists worked with primatologists to re-examine wall-paintings of monkeys in a Minoan building buried in volcanic ash around 1600 BCE. at the site of Akrotiri, which is located on the Greek island of Thera in the Aegean Sea. No monkeys are known to have lived in Greece at the time. Most of the monkeys in the painting have been identified as olive baboons, which are native to Egypt, but one monkey, with distinctive fur and an S-shaped tail, was identified as a grey langur, a species that lives in Nepal, Bhutan, and the Indus Valley of India. It was already known that the Minoans had contact with Egypt. And this wall mosaic hints at contacts with the Indus River Valley civilization, as well. Or perhaps it demonstrates the far-reaching and interconnected nature of the trade networks even in the Bronze Age.
Bust of the Roman Empress Tranquillina (reigned 241 - 244 CE). She was wife of Emperor Gordian III thanks to her father, the prefect of the Praetorian Guards, who were the emperor's personal bodyguards and by this point controlled who ran the empire. Empress Tranquillina reigned with her husband for just three years before her father died and the emperor lost power -- and his life.
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By Lillian Audette
This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!