Searching for: "Colin Fluxman"

  • Charles River Editors

    Africa may have given rise to the first humans, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world's first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it's no wonder that today's world has so many Egyptologists. The 5th century BCE Greek historian Herodotus wrote that...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The ancient world often evokes wonder, respect and even confusion, and few places accomplish any of that more than the incredible ruined stone temple of Puma Punku. Part of the larger ruined city of Tiwanaku in the altiplano plains of modern Bolivia, Puma Punku is a marvel of engineering, stonemasonry and design. These facts are obvious to even the lay observer, as Puma Punku's stonework is remarkable even for the Andes where visitors have long wondered at ancient stone joints where even a knife bade could not fit between the stones. This level of craftsmanship has caused some, mostly those who have never been to the Andes, to speculate of a fanciful origin for the site, maintaining that...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In the wake of World War II, the European continent was devastated, and the conflict left the Soviet Union and the United States as uncontested superpowers. This ushered in over 45 years of the Cold War, and a political alignment of Western democracies against the Communist Soviet bloc that produced conflicts pitting allies on each sides fighting, even as the American and Soviet militaries never engaged each other. Though it never got "hot" between the two superpowers, the Cold War was a tense era until the dissolution of the USSR, and nothing symbolized the split more than the division of Berlin. Berlin had been a flashpoint even before World War II ended, and the city was occupied by the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Civil War is best remembered for the big battles and the legendary generals who fought on both sides, like Robert E. Lee facing off against Ulysses S. Grant in 1864. In kind, the Eastern theater has always drawn more interest and attention than the West. However, while massive armies marched around the country fighting each other, there were other small guerrilla groups that engaged in irregular warfare on the margins. Among these partisan bushwhackers, none are as infamous as William Quantrill and Quantrill's Raiders. Quantrill's Raiders operated along the border between Missouri and Kansas, which had been the scene of partisan fighting over a decade earlier during the debate over...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    When American archaeologists discovered a collection of cuneiform tablets in Iraq in the late 19th century, they were confronted with a language and a people who were at the time only scarcely known to even the most knowledgeable scholars of ancient Mesopotamia: the Sumerians. The exploits and achievements of other Mesopotamian peoples, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians, were already known to a large segment of the population through the Old Testament and the nascent field of Near Eastern studies had unraveled the enigma of the Akkadian language that was widely used throughout the region in ancient times, but the discovery of the Sumerian tablets brought to light the existence of the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The waters of the Pacific Ocean - stretching deep blue under the tropical sun, or scourged by typhoons - provided World War II's most far-flung battlefield. Two of the world's premier mid 20th century maritime powers, the United States of American and the Empire of Japan, grappled for supremacy across that pelagic expanse. In the process, they forcefully sounded the knell of battleships and naval gunnery, ushering in the era of the aircraft carrier and the submarine. As 1944 passed, the U.S. Navy (USN) steadily drove the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) westward, closer to the Japanese home islands and defeat. Nevertheless, the IJN remained aggressive, hoping to launch a devastating attack...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    From the "Trail of Tears" to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans that lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture. In Charles River Editors' Native American Tribes series, readers can get caught up to speed on the history and culture of North America's most famous native tribes in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE is arguably the most important event in Jewish history. First, it was the central battle in the First Jewish-Roman war. Second, the failure of the siege on the Jewish side resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, a disaster that would eventually prove both permanent and catastrophic, since it was never rebuilt. Third, it permanently altered the diaspora of Judaism in the Ancient World. Fourth, because it was indecisive in breaking the power of the Jewish revolt permanently, it was also inconclusive and led to further, inevitable revolts that broke Judean identity completely. The siege of Jerusalem was a classic case of two opposing...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Today, most people are familiar with the term "vandalism", but are ignorant as to the word's etymology. Yes, vandalism refers to the wanton destruction of property in the modern world, but the word's origin is much more complex, as it was originally the name of an important Germanic tribe that flourished in Europe and North Africa in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. As the Vandals rampaged throughout Western Europe and later into North Africa, they left a swath of destruction in their wake, which is how the term 'vandalism' became associated with destruction.. The Vandals were a truly ferocious band of people who used the art of war to achieve its goals in ways that seem cruel and barbaric...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Parthian people created an empire that lasted almost 500 years, from the mid-3rd century BCE until 224 CE, and it stretched from the Euphrates River in the west to Central Asia and the borders of Bactria in the east (Brosius 2010, 83). In fact, the expansive empire challenged the Romans on numerous occasions for supremacy in the Near East, created the first sustainable link between the peoples of Europe and East Asia, and followed a religion that many consider to be the oldest form of monotheism in the world; but despite these accomplishments the Parthians are often overlooked in favor of the Achaemenid and Sassanid Persians who came before and after them respectively, not to mention...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Cloak and dagger espionage, assassination, dangerous adventure, and strange deceptions such as the Operation Mincemeat plan wherein the corpse of a Welsh pauper fitted with a uniform and false papers deceived the Nazi hierarchy about the location of the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Although it is no longer quite as well remembered as it was thousands of years ago, one of the most important cities in the ancient world was Ephesus, a city that dates back nearly 3,000 years and can lay claim to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Moreover, while Sparta and Athens were often the centers of power in ancient Greece, Ephesus, located in present-day Turkey on the coast of Ionia, was an instrumental part of the Ionian League, which wielded power for a substantial period of time before the Classical Era. Thanks to its strategic location, Ephesus was an important city no matter who was in control of the region. In fact, while many of its most...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    When the European armies of the Third Crusade were defeated at the Battle of Hattin in 1187 CE, the region of what is today southern Jordan was overrun by Saladin's armies, and over the following five centuries knowledge of Petra's existence was lost to the people of Europe. The ancient city and center of civilization hidden in the desert became a myth, drawn largely upon Biblical accounts of the people and places in the Holy Land. However, during the Enlightenment of the early 18th century, interesting new theories emerged, and there grew a desire to rediscover the rose-red city. It was within this context that the Swiss-born explorer and orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt became the...read more

  • Various

    The Wild West has made legends out of many men, and some of them, like Wild Bill Hickok and Jesse James, were celebrities during their lives. Indeed, the history of the West is often taught as though it was a history of larger-than-life figures like Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and several other men and women, some good, some bad, and many in between. Their actions have helped forge America's common heritage. While these figures are still popular today, they didn't live, fight, and die in isolation; they all had networks of friends and part-time associates, people who helped them escape from jail or capture wanted felons. Of course, these people...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    There are few cases in American history as well known as Sacco and Vanzetti, and perhaps none of them were as controversial or socially charged as the trials against the two Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. The two avowed anarchists were ultimately tried and executed for murder and armed robbery, but the case said as much about the society trying them as it did about their guilt or innocence. Nearly 90 years later, there is still a heated debate over whether the two men, who arduously asserted their innocence, were actually guilty, but what is clear is that many Americans at the time believed they were being unjustly accused based on anti-Italian prejudice and disdain for...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    After the last shots of World War II were fired and the process of rebuilding Germany and Europe began, the Western Allies and the Soviet Union each tried to obtain the services of the Third Reich's leading scientists, especially those involved in rocketry, missile technology, and aerospace research. Naturally, this was a delicate affair due to the fact many of the German scientists were not only active Nazis but had helped the Nazi war machine terrorize the world. At the same time, by the late war period, the Anglo-American Allies formed a clear picture of the Soviet state. Though forced to ally with the USSR's dictator, Josef Stalin, the West came to understand Communist Russia...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    After the siege of Boston forced the British to evacuate that city in March 1776, Continental Army commander George Washington suspected that the British would move by sea to New York City, the next logical target in an attempt to end a colonial insurrection. He thus rushed his army south to defend the city. Washington guessed correctly, but it would be to no avail. Unlike Boston, New York City's terrain featured few defensible positions. The city lacked a high point from which to launch a siege, as the peninsula of Boston was fortunate to have. Moreover, Washington wasn't sure defending the city was necessary, hoping that an expedition launched toward Quebec like the one Benedict...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    During the several centuries that ancient Egypt stood as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, civilizations of the ancient world, conflicts with its neighbors often played a central role in hieroglyphic texts and art from temples and tombs. The three primary enemies of the Egyptians were the Libyans who occupied the Western Desert and its oases, the so-called Asiatics who lived in the Levant, and finally the Nubians to Egypt's south. Among the three peoples, the Nubians were the most "Egyptianized" and at times were integral to the development of Egyptian history. Truly, the Nubians were the greatest of all sub-Saharan peoples in pre-modern times and deserve to be studied in their own...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    There are not many corners in the world that have seen as many people, civilizations, and armies as Tel Megiddo. Located in the western Jezreel Valley, it once laid upon the Via Maris, an ancient international trade route that connected ancient Egypt to the kingdoms and empires of Palestine, Syria, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. It is because of this road that Megiddo saw so much carnage and bloodshed throughout its history. Many groups have coveted Tel Megiddo because of its strategic location guarding the entrance/exit of the Aruna Pass, now known as the Musmus Pass. Such groups ranged from the Canaanites, Egyptian, Israelites, Philistines and many others; including more recent states and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    When scholars study the history of the ancient Near East, several wars that had extremely brutal consequences (at least by modern standards) often stand out. Forced removal of entire populations, sieges that decimated entire cities, and wanton destruction of property were all tactics used by the various peoples of the ancient Near East against each other, but the Assyrians were the first people to make war a science. When the Assyrians are mentioned, images of war and brutality are among the first that come to mind, despite the fact that their culture prospered for nearly 2,000 years. Like a number of ancient individuals and empires in that region, the negative perception of ancient...read more