Saturday, December 10, 2005

State Historical Society of North Dakota

State Historical Society of North Dakota Home Page - Preserves and presents history through museums, historic sites, archives library, historic register, publications and programs.

The American state of North Dakota has a rich history. The site includes an index to the periodical North Dakota History, information on museums it operates, and virtual exhibits.

From the site:

The State Historical Society of North Dakota is governed by the State Historical Board and is organized into four divisions. All divisions are headquartered at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck.

Friday, December 09, 2005

History of Romania

History of Romania. This is a short history of the European nation of Romania. The emphasis is on 20th Century political history.

Wikipedia notes, "Romania (formerly also spelled Rumania or Roumania; Romanian: România /ro.mɨ'ni.a/) is a country in Europe. It is bordered by Ukraine and Moldova in the northeast; Hungary in the west; Serbia and Bulgaria to the south along the Danube River. Romania has a stretch of sea coast on the Black Sea and the eastern and southern Carpathian mountains run through its centre. Romania has been a member of NATO since 2004, and is also an acceding country to the European Union. The EU Accession Treaty was signed in early 2005, and Romania is due to join the Union on January 1, 2007."

From the site:

From about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania's pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The quasi-mystical fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Revisionist History as Told by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Revisionist History as Told by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. From the CNN article, "Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred."

And with this statement, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joins the ranks of other historical revisionists who claim that:

- The Holocaust never happened (see above).

- That the Apollo Moon landings were faked (see

- That Texas ( Hawaii (, and Alaska ( are "illegally occupied" by the Unitd States.

- That the Piltdown Man was real! (See

- That the Cardiff Giant ( is real proof for "giants walking the earth" and that evidence to the contrary means that the arguer must be biased against Christians.

And etc...

Persia is one of the oldest nations of the world with a rich cultural history. It is unfortunate that the current Iranian leader is historically challenged. The people of Iran deserve better educated leaders. But the religious powers that be in Iran refuse to let those folk run in the first place.

The Holocaust happened and denials to the contrary do not change this fact. The evidence for it is overwhelming.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also stated that, "If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."

What an excellent idea! And perhaps maybe Iran should move to Antartica or Mars? There is lots of open space out there! Fair is fair.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Illuminated Middle Ages

The Illuminated Middle Ages - A collection of illuminated miniatures reproduced from medieval manuscripts housed in French municipal libraries. Grouped according to ten themes, the images are accompanied by commentary from ten of today's preeminent medieval scholars.

Thie site is available in French, English, and German with French being the default.

From the site:

The Illuminated Middle Ages database presents several hundred recently digitized illuminated texts from French national library collections. While the full collection, in even higher resolution, is available for purchase on DVD-ROM, this web site gives access to the entire database. Only a portion of the full collection has been translated into English for the web site, but visitors may also view the French-language galleries in the site, where a dozen texts from each of the ten themes are presented daily. To see every text in high resolution, you will have have to either visit the site daily or order the DVD. In the meantime, the search interface allows you to perform full-text searches across the complete database. You are sure to enjoy this collection of breathtaking texts dating from the year 500 through the 1400s.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Judaic Messianism

Judaic Messianism - Resources from a university course on the subject includes information on failed messiahs, the messianic idea, what the Jewish concept of a messiah is and why the site author believes that Jesus does not fulfill Judaism's criteria for messianism.

Most of the sections are short but they do offer some good content on the concept of the Jewish messiah and failed messiahs (although Christians may get annoyed by the constant references to Jesus as a failure.)

The site was created in support of a Religious Studies course at Connecticut College.

From the site:

Although not drastically, the conception of the Messiah has changed throughout history. It finds its roots in its original meaning of "anointed one." At first, it was used to mean anyone who was anointed with oil. The term came to its present use as it was used for people of importance meaning chosen. King David himself was "chosen" and anointed with oil as is shown above in a wall painting from the ancient Jewish community at Dura-Europos. Because of the associations with David and the chosen descendant of him at the end of time, the term achieved its present meaning as the savior or redeemer.

During the period of the Second Temple, there came to be more messianic figures. For example, Zechariah makes mention of a high priest and a messianic king and the Dead Sea Scrolls add a third figure-a prophet of the Last Days. This prophet is presumably Elijah, who announces the coming of the Messiah by blowing his shofar, or ram's horn from the top of Mount Carmel. These three figures, the king, priest and prophet go along with the anticipated characteristics of the kingdom to come at the end of days-kingdom, priesthood and prophecy. Elijah, who is sometimes also referred to a high priest, is an important figure in regard to the Messiah because of his duties before the actual coming. It is his job to end all the disputes of mankind and bring closure to all of the questions and religious doubts that exist. Perhaps his most important job, though, is to restore three things to Israel: a flask of manna, which will provide the food for Israel, a flask of water for purification, and a flask of oil, which with Elijah will anoint the Messiah when he comes.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome - A collection of photographs of the city of Rome which includes most major monuments, and a virtual tour of the Roman Forum by Sion McElveen.

Nothing too exiciting here but this site is worth a visit. Many of the pictures have some text to introduce them. For example, the Arch of Actium page has this note, "Augustus built a triumphal arch to celebrate his victory over Sextus Pompeius in 36BC. In 29 BC he replaced it with the Arch of Actium. The reason for this was political. After the death of Caesar in 44BC his heir Octavian (later to be renamed Augustus) had sided with Mark Anthony in the civil war against the republicans Brutus and Cassius. Following their victory Octavian, Mark Anthony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus used the opportunity to create the second triumverate and consolidated their power by ridding themselves of their enemies. Lepidus' political and military power base was weak and the alliance between Mark Anthony and Octavian collapsed when Anthony sided with Cleopatra and discarded his wife Octavia (Octavian's sister) to set up his own eastern empire. Octavian finally defeated Anthony at the battle of Actium in 31BC. Thanks to Cleopatra's involvement he was able to portray this batlle as a victory over a foreign power, rather than being the last act in a series of civil wars. It was to this end that he built the Arch of Actium. The interior of the arch contained the consular and triumphal lists known as the fasti which are now on display in the Palazzo Dei Conservatori in the Capitoline museums."

Sunday, December 04, 2005

History of Singapore

History of Singapore. This is a brief history of the Asian nation of Singapore. Whatever you do, don't chew gum in public here! They will take you out and flog you.

Wikpedia notes, "The Republic of Singapore (Simplified Chinese: 新加坡共和国; Pinyin: Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó, Malay: Republik Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு), is an island city-state in Southeast Asia, situated on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of the Indonesian Riau Islands. Its coordinates are 1°17.583′N 103°51.333′E, just 137 km north of the Equator."

Other good sites on this topic:

1942: Battlefield Singapore - Virtual interactive site that recreates events during the Japanese Occupation.

The creation of Singapore - Single page essay on the history leading up to the creation of independent Singapore.

Singapore Flag - History behind the Singapore Flag and its symbols.

Syonan-To: From Children's Eyes - Accounts of experience of children during the World War II Japanese rule in Singapore.

From the site:

Although Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's Malacca and Penang combined. In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry's demand for rubber from Southeast Asia and the packaging industry's need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world's major ports.