Saturday, April 12, 2008


I found this record of a decree giving women to any men who desire them at NORTH RUSSIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 1918-1919. I can only hope it is bogus or mistranslated. What a horror the Russian Revolution must have been for some poor women if this is a real document and it is the actual text.

Here is the text:


A decree is proclaimed by the association of Anarchists of the town of Savator in compliance with decisions of the Soviet of Peasants Soldiers and Workers deputies of Kronstadt. The private possession of women is abolished and social inequalities and legitimate marriage having been an instrument in the hands of the Bourgeoisie thanks to which all the best species of beautiful women have been the property of the Bourgeoisie. The proper continuation of human race has been presented and such arguments have induced the organization to issue the present decree.

From March the 1st the right to possess women of the ages from 17 to 32 is abolished. The age of women shall be determined by birth certificates and passport. Failing to produce documents the age shall be determined by Committee which shall judge according to appearance.

Former husbands may retain the right of using their wives. In case of resistance of husband he shall forfeit his right under former paragraph. All women according to this decree are exempted from private ownership and are proclaimed to be the property of the whole nation. The distribution and management of appropriated women in compliance with the decision of aforesaid organization are transferred to the Savator Anarchists Club from the date of publication of this decree. All women given by it to the use of the whole nation are obliged to represent themselves to a given representative and to supply the required information. A Special Committee is formed for realisation of these decrees.

Any citizen noticing any women not submitting herself to the address under the decree must make the fact known to the Anarchist Club giving name of woman.

Men citizens have right to use one woman 3 times a week for 3 hours observing rules specified below.

Every man wishing to use a piece of public property should be bearer of certificate from Authoritative Committee of Workmen Soldiers and Peasants Council certifying it belongs to a working class family.

Every working member is obliged to discount 2% of his earnings to the funds of the Public General Action.

This Committee in charge will put these discount funds into state banks and other concerns handing down the funds to the population.

Women when they become pregnant are released for three months before and one month after child birth.

Children borne are given to a constitution for training after they are one month old, when they are to be trained and educated until they are 17 at the cost of the Public Funds.

In case of birth of twins a mother is to receive a prize of £20.

All citizens are obliged to watch theirselves carefully and those who are guilty of spreading venereal disease will be held responsible and severely punished.

Women having lost their health may apply to the Soviet for a pension.

The Chief of the Anarchists will be in charge of the temporary measure relating to the decree.

All refusing to recognise and support this decree will be proclaimed enemies of the people and country and will be held strictly responsible.

Signed Councillor City of Savator

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Civil War Animated

I spent a pleasant hour today at a website titled Civil War Animated. The site depicts key land battles of the American Civil War using animation. The animation was colorful, was annotated, and left me a good sense of the history of each battle I examined.

I will admit to some initial difficulty with the controls. It took me a few minutes to figure out the color coding and how to advance the battles. Once I figured it out though, it was easy. The site has a launched a companion site titled Pacific War Animated which deals with World War Two. I have not had a chance to check that one out but I am sure it is equally good.

From the site:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good animation is worth ten thousand. After reading book after book about the US Civil War and finding only complicated maps with dotted lines and dashed lines crisscrossing the pages, we decided to depict the key naval and land battles using animation technology.

While the animation helps readers view a broader picture of the battles showing the inter-relationships of the opponents in time and space more clearly, it is limited in the detail that can be shown. While accuracy has been attempted, at times the picture of the battles must be simplified to make the battle as clear as possible. We expect to continue developing new animations every few weeks until all of the key battles of the Civil War have been animated.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Einstein and Newton - Autistic?

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, I am posting about an article from the BBC titled Einstein and Newton 'had autism' from 2003. Autism like traits in individuals are not new to history. There are records of people exhibiting them for thousands of years. Some of these people have become famous and have contributed to history in positive ways.

Of course, diagnosing people after the fact is hard (or maybe inappropriately easy). Maybe they didn't have autism. But there is no harm in speculating particularly if it helps people understand that autism is not always a bad thing.

From the site:

Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton may have suffered from a type of autism, according to experts.

Researchers at Cambridge and Oxford universities believe both scientists displayed signs of Asperger's Syndrome.

Many people with Asperger's are often regarded as being eccentric. They sometimes lack social skills, are obsessed with complex topics and can have problems communicating.

This latest research suggests that Einstein, who is credited with developing the theory of relativity, and Newton, who discovered the laws of gravity, had these traits to varying degrees.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ancient tools unearthed in Australia

Humanity has been is Australia a long time. And a new find proves that humans were thriving there 35,000 years ago! Yahoo! has a story on it titled Ancient tools unearthed in Australia.

The article notes, "Tools dating back at least 35,000 years have been unearthed in a rock shelter in Australia's remote northwest, making it one of the oldest archaeological finds in that part of the country, archaeologists said Monday. The tools include a piece of flint the size of a small cell phone and hundreds of tiny sharp stones that were used as knives. One local Aboriginal elder saw it as vindication of what his people have said all along — that they have inhabited this land for tens of thousands of years."

It is hard to fathom how old this is. Ancient Rome ruled 2000 years ago. And that is ancient history. Now, go back another 33,000 years!

The article continues, "Australia's Aborigines have been called the world's oldest continuous culture; some archaeological sites elsewhere in Australia date Aboriginal presence to at least 40,000 years ago." I wonder how much older human artifacts are yet waiting to be found Down Under?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moses Dies

Charlton Heston, commonly remembered as Moses, has died at 84. Although he was not a historian, his work as an actor in The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur has been the face of ancient history to many in the world. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

Growing up, it was a tradition in my family house to watch The Ten Commandments every Easter. It was always broadcast on network TV. Later, we ditched the network broadcast which had commercials and watched the movie on video.

I can not think of Moses without picturing Charlton Heston. He is the face of ancient history to many people and to me. He gave Moses such a commanding screen presence that the Hollywood version of his life is the biography of Moses that most people remember.

Every year, my Dad would get up in front of the TV and echo Heston. He would say, "Let my people go." I used to laugh at my Dad and his message of liberation. But today, I make the same dramatic speech before my two sons when I play this film. This tradition will live on.

My childhood church had a band which went by the name of Elijah. Their rock songs often shocked many of the older church goers. I remember these words from a song they wrote and sang, "God said to Moses go and set my people free. I will be your guide just come and follow me. Moses led his people through the parted Red Sea. They danced and they sang and they had a jubilee."

Yes, there are historical inaccuracies in The Ten Commandments. Ramses in particular gets treated unfairly I think. You can read all about these errors if you spend a minute or so searching Google. I do not care. I have a vision of Moses and Charlton Heston will always be it.

I believe my love of history may have come from watching Charlton Heston as Moses. Without this movie, would I be writing online or teaching at a university? Maybe. However, I know this is where the spark began for me. Rest in Peace Mr. Heston.