Saturday, December 17, 2005

Missing HBO Rome?

Missing HBO Rome? So am I. I can not wait until the next season comes out. I also hope the first season is released on DVD soon.

Want to read about Roman history while we wait? Here are some suggestions:

Roman History - This is a category at the Open Directory Project with 459 sites listed. You can lose one or more days reading here...

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - A hypertext indexed version of Edward Gibbons' classic text covering a broad history of the later Roman Empire.

Who was who in Roman Times - Index to persons, events, peoples and other subjects in Roman times largely based on sources from that time, and links to images.

De Imperatoribus Romanis (DIR) - Online encyclopedia covering the rulers of the Roman Empire from Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) to Constantine XI Palaeologus (1449-1453).

Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic - Gives a brief history of the Roman Republic with an emphasis on how Julius Caesar brought about the transition to the Roman Empire.

Friday, December 16, 2005

History of Nicaragua

History of Nicaragua. This is an essay which deals with the history of the Central American nation of Nicaragua.

Wikipedia notes that, "Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. However, although it is indeed the largest Central American nation, it is also the least densely populated one. It is bordered on the north by Honduras and on south by Costa Rica. Its western coastline is on the Pacific Ocean, while the east side of the country is on the Caribbean Sea. The country's name is a portmanteau of Nicarao, employed by the Spanish colonialists for the Nahuatl-speaking indigenous tribe, and the Spanish word Agua, meaning water, named after one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world Lago Nicaragua and the indigenous leader Nicarao."

From the site:

Nicaragua takes its name from Nicarao, chief of the indigenous tribe then living around present-day Lake Nicaragua. In 1524, Hernandez de Cordoba founded the first Spanish permanent settlements in the region, including two of Nicaragua's two principal towns: Granada on Lake Nicaragua and Leon east of Lake Managua. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821, briefly becoming a part of the Mexican Empire and then a member of a federation of independent Central American provinces. In 1838, Nicaragua became an independent republic.

Much of Nicaragua's politics since independence has been characterized by the rivalry between the Liberal elite of Leon and the Conservative elite of Granada, which often spilled into civil war. Initially invited by the Liberals in 1855 to join their struggle against the Conservatives, an American named William Walker and his "filibusters" seized the presidency in 1856. The Liberals and Conservatives united to drive him out of office in 1857, after which a period of three decades of Conservative rule ensued. Taking advantage of divisions within the Conservative ranks, Jose Santos Zelaya led a Liberal revolt that brought him to power in 1893. Zelaya ended the longstanding dispute with Britain over the Atlantic Coast in 1894, and reincorporated that region into Nicaragua. However, due to differences over an isthmian canal and concessions to Americans in Nicaragua as well as a concern for what was perceived as Nicaragua's destabilizing influence in the region, in 1909 the United States provided political support to Conservative-led forces rebelling against President Zelaya and intervened militarily to protect American lives and property. Zelaya resigned later that year. With the exception of a 9-month period in 1925-26, the United States maintained troops in Nicaragua from 1912 until 1933. From 1927 until 1933, U.S. Marines stationed in Nicaragua engaged in a running battle with rebel forces led by renegade Liberal Gen. Augusto Sandino, who rejected a 1927 negotiated agreement brokered by the United States to end the latest round of fighting between Liberals and Conservatives.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ancient World Battles

Ancient World Battles - This site has short accounts of ancient Greek and Roman battles, starting with Marathon in 490BC.

This site has not been updated in some time (since 2001) and it is biased towards Greek and Roman battles, but it is still a nice easy read with good summary overviews for some ancient battles.

From the site:

I'm building this site to further knowledge of battles (and events around them) of the ancient western world before 650 AD. Specifically, they are Greek and Roman battles. I have seperate sections for the Greek civilization and for the Roman Empire. The Grecian section starts with the battle of Marathon, fought on September 10, 490 BC. The Roman section starts with the battle of the Allia River, fought on July 18, 386 BC. So far I have 30 major battles listed. The first 5 Greek battles are completed with extensive background info. The Roman section I have just started but I'll list the battles. I'd like a place that explains the battles of antiquity in better detail. Since I could not find one when I needed it, I promised to make it myself one day. That day has now come!

So far I'm developing the lists of battles, the biography of Gaius Julius Caesar is now complete. The Greek battles are into the Peloponnesian War.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Historical and Holocaust Revisionist

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Historical and Holocaust Revisionist. I hate to repeat the same topic in one week but...

President Ahamdinejad of Iran is still at it. He continues to deny reality and claim all the evidence about the Holocaust which historians have solidely proven as fact are in reality myth.

"The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets," he said.

As Islam is freely practiced in Israel by Muslims (including many members of the Israeli Parliment), I have to assume that the Iranian President is incorrect in his claims of Islamicphobia. (In contrast, how many Islamic countries are free and open to the Jews?)

If you wish to visit Holocaust denier sites, see the Open Directory Project category at

Historically accurate rebuttals can be found at

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

High-tech search spots time capsule

High-tech search spots time capsule. This is from The Honolulu Advertiser. King Kamehameha V of Hawaii buried this time capsule in 1872.

I hope the finders of the time capsule unveil the contents soon. At the present, resistance is in play...

So let's open it, right?

Not so fast...

The site says, "But Conyers and Connell had a hunch the cornerstone in question would be in a northeast, or mauka/diamondhead portion of the structure — which is where they concentrated their search.Sure enough, after an appropriate amount of equipment tweaking, the radar screen blipped up an electronic version of a hollowed-out stone with the appropriate items inside. Mattice said the stone won't be opened, since they know what's in it."

They claim:

"We know the contents," said Matt Mattice, executive director of the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, which is in the building. "We have a list of everything. We've just never known where it was located."

Mattice said the contents seem to stress the fact that pre-American Hawai'i had become a modern nation — that it had a free press, a constitution and numerous societies.

And is this really relevant to the discussion at hand? His assumptions do not change the right of the public to open the capsule.

Open the capsule! What is inside? A court order should open this up. Time capsules are meant to be opened in the future. As such, we in the modern world have a right to view this capsule.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Minutemen of the Third Reich: History of the Nazi Werewolf Guerrilla Movement

Minutemen of the Third Reich: History of the Nazi Werewolf Guerrilla Movement. The fighting in Germany did not end when World War Two was finished. Nazi partisans, known as Werewolves, continued to harass and kill Allied soldiers for years to come. This article by Perry Biddiscombe from a 2000 issue of the New Republic gives details.

In addition to killing soldiers, the Werewolves also damaged the infrastructure and killed civilians. The article noted, "Although the Werewolves originally limited themselves to guerrilla warfare with the invading armies, they soon began to undertake scorched-earth measures and vigilante actions against German `collaborators' or `defeatists'. They damaged Germany's economic infrastructure, already battered by Allied bombing and ground fighting, and tried to prevent anything of value from falling into enemy hands. Attempts to blow up factories, power plants or waterworks occasionally provoked melees between Werewolves and desperate German workers trying to save the physical basis of their employment, particularly in the Ruhr and Upper Silesia. "

Although the guerilla movement got started during the war, it continued for years afterwards. It helped delay the first democratic election under occupation for four years. World War Two is seen as a successful war that was worth fighting. Even a successful war like this resulted in a guerilla movement, allied deaths, and years of political instability.

The current situation in Iraq has a lot in common with the historical period in Germany after World War Two. Islamic terrorists and local insurgents are acting like the German Werewolves. Is the difference in public perception now and sixty years ago the current media coverage? Would 24 hour news television, skeptical commentators, and constant surveying have undermined the will of the allies to successfully reconstruct Germany and led to a revisionist view that World War Two was an Allied failure? There also was not a huge anti-war movement prior to World War Two in the Allied nations either. That may also be a significant difference between 1946 and 2005.

From the site:

AS WORRIES INCREASE about neo-Nazi and skinhead violence in Germany, it is worth remembering that this type of terrorism is a nasty constant in the history of the German radical-right. A case in point is the Nazi Werewolf guerrilla movement founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1944, which fought the occupying forces of Britain, America and Russia until at least 1947.

The Werewolves were originally organised by the SS and the Hitler Youth as a diversionary operation on the fringes of the Third Reich, which were occupied by the Western Allies and the Soviets in the autumn of 1944. Some 5,000 -- 6,000 recruits were raised by the winter of 1944-45, but numbers rose considerably in the following spring when the Nazi Party and the Propaganda Ministry launched a popular call to arms, beseeching everybody in the occupied areas -- even women and children -- to launch themselves upon the enemy. In typical Nazi fashion, this expansion was not co-ordinated by the relevant bodies, which were instead involved in a bureaucratic war among themselves over control of the project. The result was that the movement functioned on two largely unrelated levels: the first as a real force of specially trained SS, Hitler Youth and Nazi Party guerrillas; the second as an outlet for casual violence by fanatics.

The Werewolves specialised in ambushes and sniping, and took the lives of many Allied and Soviet soldiers and officers -- perhaps even that of the first Soviet commandant of Berlin, General N.E. Berzarin, who was rumoured to have been waylaid in Charlottenburg during an incident in June 1945. Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying powers.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Civilization IV

Civilization IV. OK, I'll publicly confess it. I am a Civilization addict. I have been playing the game for over a decade now through many incarnations. And with the release of version 4, I just lost another weekend...

If you are unfamiliar with the game, it is a bit hard to explain how complicated it is. In essence, you build a civilization from 4000 BC until the present. In that time, you try to beat other civilizations (and barbarians) by expanding your territory, waging war, entering into trade alliances, discovering new technologies, colonizing another world, etc. There are lots of ways to win or lose. I usually play the Romans but I have enjoyed good games as the Egyptians, Chinese, and Americans.

The official description of the game reads, "Civilization IV is recognized as one of the greatest PC game franchises of all-time. Now the fun and incredibly addictive strategy game reaches new heights by adding new ways to play and win, new tools to manage and expand your civilization. Civilization comes to life like never before in a beautifully detailed, living 3D world -- with all-new easy to use mod capabilities and intense multiplayer modes and options. It's a must-have for gamers around the world! Flexible Tech Tree allows players more strategic choices for developing their civilizations Team play offers a new way of setting locked alliances that result in shared wonder effects, visibility, unit trading and shared territory. Over 70 in-game movies and animated sequences advance the story."

One neat twist of the new version is control over religions. You can be the founding civilization of one of six great religions. You can also send out missionaries and build religion specific wonders. This is how in my first game in I played the Aztecs and had them as a Hindu nation. Not historically accurate but fun anyway...Particularly when Islamic Germany declared a war against me forcing me learn the new battle rules quickly!

If you like history and like PC gaming, give this game a look. Be prepared to say good bye to you family and friends for awhile. It also might be wise to go on vacation for a week or two...