UAE Falcons Get Their Own Passports

The sport of falconing is considered an important part of the UAE's Bedouin heritage. Saker and peregrine falcons remain highly prized there, and with value comes smuggling. The solution? Every UAE falcon traveling abroad gets its own passport, bearing its own identification number corresponding to the number inscribed on the falcon’s leg ring. Just like humans' passports, it must “be endorsed by the appropriate border control officer who should validate it with an ink stamp, signature and date to show the history of movement from State to State.”

What Does Calculus Mean?

In Latin it means "small pebble." It is a reference to the abacus, where mathematical calculations used to be done by moving back and forth small beads or pebbles. Over time, the Latin word had come to mean "reckoning, account," mathematicians borrowed it for the phrase "differential calculus" and the rest is history.


"It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time."

This quote is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but it is unclear if he ever said it.

The Importance of Nabopolassar, The Forgotten Founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire

Nebuchadrezzar is one of the few Babylonian kings who people remember today -- or can begin to attempt to say. He is famous as a conqueror, the restorer of Babylonia's glory. But he was actually the second re-founder of Babylonia. His father, Nabopolassar, founded the Chaldean Empire, also called the neo-Babylonian Empire.

Governor of the region of Chaldea, Nabopolassar seized the throne of Babylonia around 625 BCE. Until then it had been controlled by the waning Assyrian Empire. Nabopolassar forged a coalition with the Medes, to the east, and fought the Assyrians for the next decade to retain what he had seized. Finally, in 612 BCE, the Chaldeans and Medes sacked Assyria's capital at Nineveh. Babylonia had been in the shadow of the Assyrians for centuries. Now that was flipped, and Babylonia was on the rise.

Although the great Assyrian Empire was no effectively dead, Nabopolassar's new kingdom faced immediate threats from Assyrian remnants and especially from the Assyrian's former ally Egypt. In fact, Egypt took advantage of Assyria's decline to seize Judah in 609 BCE, a small kingdom that would immortalize Nebuchadrezzar's name. But that's a story for the future.

For the first years of Nabopolassar's reign, Egypt and Assyria harassed the new empire's borders. The crown prince rose through the military ranks as the fighting continued, and eventually led armies beside his father. In 605 BCE, Nebuchadrezzar was given solo command and defeated Egypt and the remnants of the Assyrians at Carchemish in Syria. He returned to Babylonia victorious, the future of the new empire secure, only to be informed that his father had died. The stage was set for him to become the emperor history would remember.

Source: National Geographic: History, "The Builder King: Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon" by Barbara Bock. Pgs 15 - 23.

This paperweight, made of haematite carved in the shape of a grasshopper, looks pretty modern. But it was hand-carved between 1800 and 1700 BCE, in ancient Babylonia.

Let's Talk About Creepy Medieval Babies!

Have you ever wondered why, until the Italian Renaissance, European painters liked to paint baby Jesus as a mini-adult? Complete with facial wrinkles and an angry squint. It turns out they were not just really, really bad at depicting babies; instead, this had a specific religious meaning. Most babies getting painted were baby Jesus. The Catholic Church and Medieval artists thought Jesus was a homunculus, which literally means "little man." In other words, they thought Jesus was born perfectly formed -- that Jesus' body was exactly the same since birth -- and as he grew up, all Jesus did was grow. Must have been nice to not go through puberty! Baby Jesus as a homunculus fell out of fashion when wealthy individuals, instead of the church, began commissioning paintings.

Twenty wooden sculptures, each standing about 27 inches tall, have been discovered in rectangular niches in an adobe wall at the site of Chan Chan, named after the Chan Chan culture which flourished there in northern Peru. Some of the human figures carry staffs and shields. And archaeologists estimate the figurines are about 800 years old. That date makes the figures older than the Chan Chan culture, whose site they were found at. Very interesting!

The Khanate of the Golden Horde

After Genghis Khan's death, his united Mongol Empire quickly fragmented. One of the four main successors to the united Mongol Empire was the Khanate of the Golden Horde to the northwest. Its land today covers much of central and eastern Russia, as well as the south to the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea.

Also known as the Kipchak Khanate, and the Ulus of Jochi, it was given to Jochi, the eldest son of Genghis Khan. Unfortunately Jochi died several months before his father. So Jochi's son, Batu Khan, got inherited the territory. Under the new khan, the Golden Horde khanate expanded into Europe, subjugating the Russian principalities as they swept eastwards.

The Golden Horde khanate flourished until the middle of the 1300s, after which it began to decline. And it really fell apart after the invasion by Timur in 1396. By 1400, the Golden Horde fragmented into a number of smaller khanates, three of the most important being the Khanates of Crimea, Astrakhan, and Kazan.

  • <
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • >
  • Leave us a message

    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!

    Website design and coding by the Amalgama

    About us X