Richard...threw himself once more into the fray. By midday both he and one of the stallions were splattered in blood, and it appeared as though an entire quiver of arrows was lodged in his armor and shield. As the battle wore on, fewer and fewer of Saladin’s men dared challenge the seemingly invincible Melech Ric. For one emir, however, the prospect of felling the English king proved too tempting, and he spurred his battle horse forward. With one mighty swing of his sword Richard sliced the foolish man in two, taking off not only his head but also his right shoulder and arm. At this horrific sight Saladin’s troops began to retreat, even as Richard rode up and down their lines, goading any man to face him. When Saladin’s son motioned to answer the challenge, his father abruptly ordered him to stay put, clearly not wishing to add a dead heir to the day’s woes. When no one else stepped forward, some sources claim Richard called for food and, in full view of the enemy, sat down to eat. Seeing that his men would not budge, a despondent Saladin once again withdrew to Yazur.
Sun Hao ruled as emperor of Eastern Wu from 264-280 CE as “the number one tyrant of that era.” The last Eastern Wu emperor during the Three Kingdoms period, his reign ended the kingdom. Sun Hao was poor at administration, cruel, and generally unfit to rule a village. Among other vices he was often drunk and, like many heavy drinkers, liked others to get drunk with him too.
At one banquet, Sun Hao became angry because one of his counselors pretended to be drunker than he was. Sun Hao became so angry that had the poor man beheaded on the spot. Sun Hao then ordered his guards to toss the head from one man to the next, each taking a bite until the flesh was stripped down to the skull.
What are the “seven seas” that Medieval writers loved to mention?
The Soviet Tupolev Tu-4 was a strategic bomber used in the 1950s. But it was really a reverse-engineered copy of the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress. You see, Stalin wanted a strategic bomber, and it just so happened that three B-29s were forced to land in Soviet territory in 1944. Stalin jumped on the opportunity -- he ordered clones made, and 20 were ready by 1947. Impressive considering the B-29s were built by non-metric American specifications.
During a Moscow parade in 1947, Stalin revealed his new military machine to the world. When three aircraft flew overhead, Western analysts assumed they were the three captured B-29s. Then a fourth appeared.
Princess Pingyang is remembered in history not for being born a princess, but for helping herself become one. Pingyang was born in 600 CE. She was the third daughter of Li Yuan, Duke of Tang, a hereditary nobleman of under the Sui Dynasty. When her father rebelled against the Sui, Princess Yang fought fiercely to help him overthrow Emperor Yang. And I mean literally fought. She gained loyalty with gifts and equal treatment for peasants, and bribes for local leaders, slowly gathering support until she had assembled an army of 70,000 known as the “Army of the Lady.” Princess Pingyang’s husband Chai Shao was the leader of the Sui temple guard, but he joined forces with his wife to support the rebellion.
Her efforts were rewarded and her father founded the Tang Dynasty, renaming himself Emperor Gaozu. Unfortunately, soon after the victory, Princess Pingyang died at the age of just 23. Her father arranged a grand military funeral, fit for a general. Someone questioned the need for such a grand funeral. Her father famously replied: “She was no ordinary woman.”
An international team of archaeologists has excavated a tomb dating to the 100s CE in Jordan at the ancient site of Capitolias. The tomb has two rooms and a large basalt sarcophagus. It appears to have been robbed at some point before coming to the attention of archaeologists, unfortunately.
But the tomb is notable not for what they found inside it, but what they found on it: an amazing number and variety of murals. There is a large painting illustrating the construction of a rampart along with 60 inscriptions describing what the figures in the painting were doing. (Incidentally, this may be the earliest example of comics in Jordan.) The rest of the walls are decorated with more than 250 figures of humans, animals, and gods, in various mythological and everyday scenes. Taken all together, the artwork is thought to describe the founding of the city. Capitolias began in the late 1st century CE by the Roman Empire.
Quintilian (~35 - 100 CE). A rhetorician during the early Roman Empire, he was also, apparently, an armchair psychologist!
A vintage photograph, documenting the discovery of the “high priest” statuette and its protective vessel, during the 1929/30 excavation season in Uruk.
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