A Virtual Tour of China's Yungang Grottos


This UNESCO world heritage site is not one but a series of over fifty Buddhist temple! They were carved in the 400s and 500s CE, first under the Northern Wei dynasty's patronage which made a nearby city its capital, then under private patronage after the capital was moved away.

Because the Huns did not have a written language, there are many things unknown about the group that pushed out of the Eurasian Steppe in the 400s CE and functionally ended the Western Roman Empire.  What we know was written by outsiders about the Huns. And often the sources are decades or even centuries later.

A Bronze Age Metropolis

Two years of excavations of an early Bronze Age city uncovered in northern Israel have led to some interesting conclusions. En Esur, as it has been named, was a highly organized community. There were grain silos, burial caves, public buildings, and densely packed housing around a network of streets. Just to give an idea of how well-managed En Esur was: all the streets were maintained with a cover of plaster and stones, to help prevent flooding. In total, the city of En Esur covered about 160 acres. And it appears to have been home to about 6,000 people. While its population and size were comparable to other Levantine cities at the time, likely making it a regional power city, it was smaller than those in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

A Scary Fact

Humans have produced more plastic over the last decade (2010s) than was created in the entire 20th century.

In countries with presidents, about 94% of them have some mechanism for removing them from office. And while such mechanisms are set in motion often, they usually fail. Since 1990, at least 132 different heads of state have faced some 272 impeachment proposals in 63 countries. Almost all presidents remained in office, though.

Chinese Medicine Really Likes Licorice

Licorice root is first mentioned in Chinese medicine in Zhang Zhongjing's medicinal masterpiece "Treatise on Cold Pathogenic and Miscellaneous Diseases" around 190 CE. Although licorice was probably in usage as a medicine long before then. It decreases thirst and soothes the throat, and was used to "harmonize" other flavors in Chinese medicines. Thus licorice is found in an astonishing 5,000 Chinese herbal formulas today!

In Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate, only samurai were allowed to carry two swords. This became known as daisho, literally "big-little," since one sword was a short sword and the other a full-size long sword. If a man performed a noteworthy service, occasionally they were granted the right to wear the two swords though without the accompanying samurai status. This was described as being “granted the privilege of wearing” the daisho.

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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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