Friday, March 02, 2007

Write a History Book, Get out of Jail

The BBC is reporting in Paedophile freed for Dracula book, that a historian is getting out two years early from a Romanian prison for writing a history book. American Kurt Treptow was serving a seven year sentence for having sex with underage girls. However, he was released two years early for writing about Dracula.

The article notes, "According to the law, Kurt Treptow was entitled to early release because his writing counted as work in prison. He published a book about Vlad III Dracul, the Romanian prince who inspired the Dracula legend."

So, does the act of writing a history book indicate that a rehabilitation for a sex offender has occurred? I am a bit skeptical. Of course, in the USA, it would be virtually impossible for a prisoner to write a history book due to restrictions on Web access and small prison libraries.

I wonder if the book is Vlad III Dracula: The Life and Times of the Historical Dracula? Treptow is the author but it was published in 2000 which would not seem to fit the chronology of this case. He must have written a sequel.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

History Carnival XLIX

History Carnival XLIX is up at History is Elementary. I would like to compliment Elementaryhistoryteacher on a well done carnival.

The next edition of the History Carnival will be posted March 15th. You can submit your best historical blog writing here for the 50th History Carnival.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Archaeologists, scholars dispute Jesus documentary

CNN has this report about a documentary by Academy Award winning director James Cameron. It reveals "two ancient stone boxes they said may have once contained the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene." It will air on the Discovery Channel on March 4th.

This is controversial of course. It is already being challenged for historical accuracy. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television. Kloner also said the filmmakers' assertions are false. "The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time," he said.

And of course, a tomb with the remains of Jesus contradicts the Bible which means the vast majority of Christians will dismiss the documentary out of hand. The angel in Matthew 28:6 said at Jesus's grave, "He is not here, for he has risen even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid." And later after the resurrection in Luke 24:51, "And it came to pass as he blessed them, that he parted from them and was carried into heaven."

Of course, quoting the Bible does not change anything relating to the historical evidence being investigated. The Bible may be wrong. However, it certainly does mean the documentary has a tough task and is going to be dismissed out of hand by many.

I will be watching this documentary. It will be interesting to see the evidence being presented. As Cameron knows how to make entertaining films, this may be worth watching even if the documentary is wrong in historical assertations being made.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The 300

I am very excited about a new film opening next week. It is 300 which is an account of the famous Greek last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. At that battle, a small handful of Greeks slowed the Persians down and inflicted anywhere from 20 thousand to 8o thousand causalities on them. Google has several video clips offering details on the making of the film and theatre trailers.

I do have a slight problem with the title. More than 300 Greeks fought at the battle. There were 300 Spartans but there were also at least 700 Thebians who also fought and died. I know the title is based on the Frank Miller comic book but the Spartans were not the only heroes at the battle. Also, I question the film description that the Spartans were "drawing a line in the sand for democracy." The Spartans fought for many reasons but I do not think democracy was one of them.

From the Google Description of the film:

Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy. The film brings Miller’s (Sin City) acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.