Friday, November 16, 2007

Alexander the Great's relationship with alcohol

I read today an interesting article titled Alexander the Great's relationship with alcohol which is from the Addiction, 2003 May;98(5):561-7. It was written by J. A. Liappas, J. Lascaratos, S. Fafouti & G. N. Christodoulou. I could find no online version of this article but an abstract can be found at PubMed.

The article aimed to clarify:

• Whether Alexander indulged pathologically in alcohol.

• If, on the basis of the existing historical evidence, the diagnosis of alcohol abuse, consumption causing harm to health with resulting dependency, or pathological intoxication, as defined by the diagnostic criteria DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association 1992) and ICD-10 (World Health Organization 1992), can be established.

• The social and political context of alcohol use in Alexander’s time and during his military campaigns.

• The probable accuracy of the attribution of alcohol as Alexander’s cause of death.

Was Alexander the Great an alcoholic? The study did not reach a conclusion. It noted, "In conclusion, it appears that Alexander was indeed involved with alcohol. However, bearing in mind the existing historical evidence, the national, social and cultural conditions of the historical period during which Alexander lived, it appears likely that Alexander periodically consumed large amounts of alcohol which resulted in instances of alcoholic or pathological intoxication. The diagnostic criteria of ICD-10 and DCM-IV seem to prove useful in our endeavour to evaluate the involvement of Alexander the Great in the use of alcohol. On the basis of the currently existing phychiatric classification systems, the existing evidence does not support convincingly the idea that Alexander would be ‘diagnosed’ a posteriori as suffering from either dependence on or abuse of alcohol" (p. 567).

The article has lots of medical jargon but it is understandable. If you are interested in ancient history, this article is worth hunting down in paper.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vietnam Veterans Memorial National Memorial

National Park Service: Vietnam Veterans Memorial National Memorial. This is the official site for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial National Memorial in the Mall in Washington DC. It includes directions and information about operating hours and fees.

I found the site design and content disappointing. It may be the National Park Service template that the site is required to use. However, there doesn't seem to be as much depth or information about the Vietnam War. Even the link to a "current in depth" page is full of links to 404 pages!

From the site:

Deliberately setting aside the controversies of the war, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the men and women who served when their Nation called upon them. The designer, Maya Lin, felt that “the politics had eclipsed the veterans, their service and their lives.” She kept the design elegantly simple to “allow everyone to respond and remember.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blog Labels

Sorry for yet another blog policy/maintenance post. I will be be back to regular programming soon...

However, it has become apparent to me that having the post labels on the template of this blog needlessly clutters the blog and are rarely used by visitors. I think there is value in them. However, I will remove them from the blog template. Instead, I will link to this post from the template. Those who are interested can peruse them easily if they wish. It will still offer an alternate navigation system for this blog.

Here are the labels as of November 13, 2007. I will periodically update them if I add more:

Afghanistan
Africa
Alaska
Alcohol
American Civil War
American History
American Presidents
American Separatists
Ancient History
Argentina
Armenia
Asia
Astronomy
Australia
Aztecs
Belgium
Bolivia
British History
Business History
California
Canada
capital punishment
Caribbean
Central America
Charles Darwin
Chile
China
Cliopatria Awards
Cocos Islands
Coins
Cold War
Communism
Cook Islands
Crime
Cuba
Democracy
Dinosaurs
Earthquakes
East Timor
Easter Island
Egypt
Encyclopedia Britannica
Ethiopia
Europe
Falkland Islands
Finland
Florida
France
Galapagos
Germany
Global Warming
Greece
Grenada
Guam
Haiti
Hawaii
Hawaiian Revolution
HBO Rome
Historical Revisionists
History Carnivals
Holidays
Holocaust
Honduras
Hungary
Immigration
Incan
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Islam
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Julius Caesar
Korea
Kosovo
Kuwait
Labor History
Latvia
Louisiana
Macedonia
Machiavelli
Malaysia
Mali
Malta
Maps
Maritime History
Martinique
Maryland
Medieval History
Mexican War
Mexico
Michigan
Middle East
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Mongols
Montenegro
Montserrat
Namibia
Neanderthals
Nepal
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
North America
North Dakota
Norway
Oceania
Ohio
Oman
Oral History
Pakistan
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Pirates
Poland
Polar Regions
Politics
Portugal
Pre-History
Primary Sources
Puerto Rico
Pyramids
Qatar
Quebec
Religion
Reunion
Roman History
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Helena
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Scotland
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slavery
Somalia
South Africa
South America
Soviet Union
Space Exploration
Spain
Sports
Sweden
Taxes
Teaching History
Technology
Terrorism
Texas
Tokelau
Tonga
Turkey
Uganda
Utah
Vandals
Vatican
Vietnam
Vikings
Virginia
Wikipedia
Witches
Women's History
World War One
World War Two
Yugoslavia
Zimbabwe

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Grand History of the Realms

The Forgotten Realms is a fictional campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons game. It was invented in the 70s by librarian Ed Greenwood and has hundreds of books devoted to it. It may well be the best developed fantasy world in existence. Middle Earth is not nearly as well documented as the Forgotten Realms.

Not surprisingly, this world has an extensive recorded history. Wizards of the Coast has published a new book devoted to the timeline of the Forgotten Realms. It is The Grand History of the Realms by Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood.

A publisher description of the book reads, "The Grand History of the Realms chronicles the rich history of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, presenting a detailed timeline accompanied by essays from Elminster of Shadowdale and other Realmslore experts. Although not a game supplement, it serves as a handy reference guide for players and Dungeon Masters seeking information on specific historical events. In addition, the book features an exclusive Forgotten Realms short story by best-selling author R.A. Salvatore and new revelations for Realmslore aficionados."

Despite the description, I could not find the promised Salvatore short story. However, the book delivers by providing a detailed history of the Forgotten Realms. If you do not like history or fantasy worlds, stay away from this book. I think one will have to appreciate both to fully get wrapped into the fake history of this fake world.

The history of the Forgotten Realms often echoes the history of the real world. The Last Stand of Humaithira as detailed on page 34 is clearly an homage to Spartan King Leonidas and the Greeks from the Battle of Thermopylae. Of course, in the Realms, the Persians are giants!

This book is a hard read. The dates and side stories offer great detail but are not a flowing narrative. If you are unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms, this book may be unreadable. However, the many historians out there with fantasy gaming backgrounds (tons I think!) may appreciate this book more than active gamers do.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Comments Policy

I have decided to be less restrictive on the comment policy on this blog. I will now allow anonymous comments.

Here are some rules that govern their approval:

1. Comments with links to other sites will be assumed to be spam and deleted. If you feel you must link to another url, do so and I will look at it. However, unless the link is helpful and not a disguised SEO (search engine optimization) trick attempting to get free Google PR juice, it will be deleted and never published.

2. Comments must be related to the post. If you are attempting to contact Miland Brown, post a comment on the contact page. I will respond if I am interested.

3. Comments must be respectful. You are welcome to disagree with me and I will approve your post. If your comment is hostile and disrespectful, I will delete it. I am very tolerant and will be forgiving. However...

4. Comments should not be posted just to refer to a book. Even if you do not link to the publisher's url, I will not approve comments which appear to just be hyping a book.

This post will be linked to from the main page of the World History Blog and be considered a core policy.

Thank you.