Russia Leads The World With Their National Parks

In the final months of Nicholas II's reign as czar, he created the country's first zapovednik, or "strict nature reserve," near Lake Baikal in Siberia. He never knew that the reserve succeeded in saving the Barguzin sable, a species long prized by the Russian imperial family for its fur, which was nicknamed "soft gold." The czars were overthrown but their approach to nature conservancy stayed. Throughout the 1900s, Russia's approach to protected lands was to keep humans out of them, not save them as pleasure parks. Nature reserve were intended to preserve primordial nature.     Today, Russia has 174 million acres of federally protected lands. Of those, 85 million are zapovedniks, where human visitors are extremely limited. No other country has as much highly protected land.

Napoleon the War Criminal

On March 10, 1799, the Ottoman city of Jaffa (in what is today Israel) fell to Napoleon and his French troops. The general ordered his men to slaughter several thousand men in the city’s garrison that had been taken prisoner, mainly Albanians. Napoleon viewed this as justice for the Ottomans killing French messengers sent to Jaffa. Today it would be a war crime.

Reconsidering Bacchus

The ancient Roman god, also known as Dionysus, does not have a good image today. His name is linked to drunkeness, excess, madness. But the ancients did not see him as one-sided. He was the god of losing one's inhibitions. But he was also the god of getting together. Ancient nicknames included Bacchus the Liberator, Bacchus the Saviour, and Bacchus the God Who Gives Men's Minds Wings. Those do not sound all bad, right?

Bacchic cults were banned in Roman times, because their members held allegiance to "a parallel state," but at the same time, Roman leaders have quotes on how fantastic it is that conquered populations enjoy Roman wine so much -- it makes them easier for Rome to control. To the ancients Bacchus was an ambiguous god, both beneficial and harmful.

How Much Is This Teapot Worth?

A cracked teapot missing its lid recently sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City for £460,000. It was bought recently at a British auction for just £15. What??? Turns out, this teapot was made in South Carolina in the late 1700s by John Bartlam, the first American porcelain manufacturer. This piece is only the seventh example of Bartlam porcelain to have been rediscovered. And it is the only known surviving Bartlam teapot. Making it worth a pretty penny!

Leonardo Da Vinci May Have Drawn The First Landscape In European Art

On August 5th, 1473, in his notebook with pen and ink, Leonardo da Vinci tried to depict a panorama of the rocky hills and lush, green valley surrounding the Arno River near Vinci. The aerial view was nothing he could have seen naturally. It was rather a fantasy of what birds might see, flying overhead -- but with some imaginative additions courtesy of Leonardo.     Other artists had drawn and painted landscapes as backdrops, but with the Arno River drawing, Leonardo was doing something different. He was drawing a landscape by itself, for its own beauty. This makes it a contender to be the first landscape in European art.

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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!

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