A Reconstruction of A Castle, As Castles Evolved

From the prehistoric Celtic enclosures, the the elaborate late-Medieval castles, what did they look like? What were their strengths, and their vulnerabilities?

Long Live The King

The second-longest reigning monarch in the world might possibly be King Taejo of Goguryo. He reigned from 53 CE to 146 CE -- that’s 93 years!

Unfortunately, the only sources are two Korean histories. They contradict a Chinese history which mentions King Taejo’s reign. Most historical sources will contradict each other, at some point. More importantly, the Korean histories also say King Taejo lived to be 118, which in the first century CE was realistically impossible! So maybe King Taejo was not the second-longest reigning monarch. If we follow the Chinese history, he reigned 68 years. Quite respectable, I think. And that would still put him in the top 30 longest-reining monarchs.

What Were The Ancient Japanese Eating?

Millet was replaced by rice as the main staple food from around 300 BCE. So there's the main source of carbohydrates. Seafood was preferred to meat, both for its abundance and because Buddhism, introduced in the 500s CE, largely prohibited the killing of animals and birds. So there's the main source of protein. Agriculture (nogaku) in ancient Japan, as it remains today, was largely focused on cereal and vegetable production, with meat only being produced in relatively limited quantities. Vegetables, seafood, and rice made up most of the ancient Japanese diet as they do today.

Who Counts As Family?

Under the traditional Irish laws, the Brehon Laws, there were three family groups. The largest unit was the iarfine, or ‘after-kin’, comprised of all descendants sharing a common great-great-grandfather. The next was the derbfine, or ‘true-kin’, which was considered to be the most important. These were all descendents sharing a common great-grandfather.

Under the Brehon Laws parties to legal proceedings were not treated as individuals but rather as members of their wider kin-group. For the purposes of law, therefore, the whole derbfine was treated as a single legal entity. All kinsmen of this group were duty bound to remedy all wrongdoings, whether committed by or against their members. Finally, the gelfine, or ‘bright-kin’, was the close family made up of all descendants sharing a common grandfather.

What Were The Senegambian Stone Circles?

Divided into four large sites across Senegal and Gambia, the Senegambian Stone Circles cover an area of approximately 18,500 square miles (30,000 square kilometers). Constructed somewhere between 300 B.C.E and 1,600 C.E., the circles consist of approximately 29,000 stones, 17,000 monuments and 2,000 individual sites. That's a lot! The stones are, on average, 6.5 feet tall (2 meters) and weight 7 tons. They were hewn out of a common rock, laterite, but would have required intricate knowledge of geology, especially since the stones weren’t carved in pieces but rather, like obelisks, hewn out of the rock in solid pieces and dragged to their final locations. That's damn impressive. Giant monoliths, carved out of single blocks of stone, dragged to a spot and arranged precisely in circles, all without breaking.     More is known about the stones than the people who built them. Since constructing the circles would have required organization, surplus food, and and construction know-how, it is believed the society which built the Senegambian Stone Circles was prosperous and organized. The site in Sine Ngayene is the largest of the four, and several iron smelting sites and quarries were discovered close by. Evidence of hundreds of homes was also found nearby, and layers of materials that indicate four nearly distinct cycles of use.

Newly Discovered Ancient Roman Writing Tablets Provide Snapshots of Roman-Era London

Recently discovered ancient British Roman texts on wax-covered wood tablets with legal, correspondence, note-taking and accounting documents have been translated.  Before this find of 405 wax tablets, only 19 decipherable Roman tablets were known in London. More than 80 of the new documents have been deciphered, “providing an incredibly rare and personal insight into the first decades of Roman rule in Britain,” as the researchers put it. Read more about it!

  Maya communities living in the interior of the Yucatán Peninsula were evidently aware of the great marine predators swimming at the outskirts of their jungle world. A new study has examined the strong influence sharks had on Maya art, iconography, and daily life. Shark teeth have been found at many inland Maya sites. Some were even fossilized teeth from extinct megalodons! The teeth, which the Maya obtained through trade, were used in ritual ceremonies, as votive offerings, or as personal adornments.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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