Searching for: "Colin Fluxman"

  • Charles River Editors

    Africa may have given rise to the first human beings, 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.  Although the Egyptians may not have passed...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party took absolute control of Germany, and his new regime was known as the Third Reich (Third Empire). The first Germanic empire had been the Holy Roman Empire (800-1806), and the second was the German Empire (1871-1918). Hitler was determined the new Reich be more impressive and longer-lasting than any that had gone before, and the Nazis soon began referring to the Tausendjähriges Reich (“Thousand-Year Reich”). Naturally, the party’s leaders believed the new empire would require a suitably impressive new capital. Hitler dreamed of building Welthauptstadt Germania (“World Capital Germania”), a super-sized city that would dwarf everything...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    “What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!” - William Shakespeare. Hamlet Any work about the mercurial Aleister Crowley is better off being labeled a “story” than a “biography” thanks to the impossibility of being sure that anything one reads about him is true. The basic recorded facts, including birth date, educational records, and published works, are reliable indicators that can be likened to stars guiding a lost desert traveler if the sky is clear. For the rest,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The creative impetus of organized society in the Fertile Crescent initially came from southern Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians introduced writing and other hallmarks of civilization to the region just before 3000 BCE, but in less than 1,000 years, things changed dramatically. Mesopotamia experienced the rise and fall of the Sumerian based dynasty in Uruk in the early 3rd millennium BCE, followed by the Akkadian Dynasty in the mid-3rd millennium, and the Third Dynasty of Ur in the late 3rd millennium. Each of these dynasties claimed hegemony over large parts of Mesopotamia during the apogees of their power, with the Ur III Dynasty even expanding its influence (but not control) into Syria...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Today, “The Anarchy” is used to describe the period in English history from the death of Henry I in 1135 to the Treaty of Winchester signed by King Stephen and his successor Henry II in 1153. Despite the name, it was an episode of civil war rather than of lawlessness and is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it was the first time in English history that a woman claimed the throne of England in her own right. It occurred after the death of the last Norman king of England and laid the grounds for a distinctively English monarchy as opposed to a Norman colony. This bloody era provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives, characters, and power...read more

  • 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...read more

  • 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. In just a few lines of his renowned Iliad, Homer...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Perhaps not surprisingly given how advanced they were in comparison to contemporaries, the Egyptians invented one of the first writing systems ever, and for centuries, people thought these ancient texts held some sort of secret, be it aliens, advanced technology lost to the world, or mystical cures for all of the world’s ills. Even the ancient Egyptians saw their writing systems as full of mystery and hidden knowledge - according to Egyptian mythology, writing was invented by the ibis-headed god Thoth, the most intellectual of the gods. He was a scribe, also associated with mathematics, medicine, and astronomy, and could appear as either an ibis or a baboon. Thoth was originally a lunar...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Africa may have given rise to the first human beings, 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.  Although the Egyptians may not have passed...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Gaza Strip is one of the most controversial hotbeds of conflict in the 21st century, but wars are nothing new to this area of the world. Like other places across the Middle East, it has exchanged hands for three millennia and seen empires rise and fall. In the same vein, the current borders of the area known as Gaza have ebbed and flowed, to the extent that the Gaza Strip didn't have its present borders until the 20th century. Before then, Gaza City and the land around it were linked strongly to the rest of Canaan, the Sinai Peninsula, and Egypt. Although borders changed, there has historically been a significant difference between the Mediterranean coast of Canaan and its hilly...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Modern perceptions of ancient Greece are almost always based on Athens and Sparta, which is why other city-states and other military units besides the hoplites have been overlooked for thousands of years. For this reason, Greek cavalry forces, including their composition, purpose, techniques, equipment, and developments, are still not very well understood when compared with their naval or infantry counterparts. In fact, one of the most important epochs in the history of Greek warfare was the transition from the use of chariot warfare to mounted fighting and infantry-based action. The heroes of Homer’s epics, the Iliad and Odyssey, used chariots both on and off the battlefield as a...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The need to eat and drink is a biological necessity for everyone, but along with that, food and drink are often at the very center of social life. This was no different in ancient Greece, but, if anything, the social importance placed on food and wine in the Greek world was even more pronounced and had profound consequences for the rest of the world. As one modern historian aptly put it, “How classical Athens was fed is not a matter of marginal importance. Nothing less than the material base of a brilliant civilization is at issue.” Indeed, it was through the ability to create a food surplus that the ancient Greeks were able to establish their poleis and, from these, go on to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    People associate the story of ancient Jericho with walls, and for those who are Biblically inclined, they think of the walls that God brought tumbling down to the sound of trumpets. For historians who are more archaeologically oriented, it may suggest the prehistoric walls uncovered by Ernst Sellin and Carl Watzinger between 1907 and 1911. To modern societies, walls suggest the division between people and defenses erected out of hatred and mistrust. However, while the story of Jericho does indeed involve walls, they represented something far different than that. More than anything else, ancient Jericho was a point of convergence between cultures, kingdoms, religions, and societies....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...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Smyrna was one of the various cities that enjoyed brief yet important periods of influence in which they spawned important dynasties, were the scenes of history-changing battles, and were the sites of great advances in philosophy, science, and economics. However, despite the fact it endured in influence for more than 2,000 years, Smyrna never truly gained the reputation of better-known locales in the ancient world. Located on the west coast of what is today the nation-state of Turkey, at its height, Smyrna was a relatively stable and influential Greek city that embraced cultural influences from its Anatolian neighbors. Today, ancient Smyrna is known for being the location of one of the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early 2nd century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne – where Newcastle stands today – 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall still impresses people today, but as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century, Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and Roman control of the area broke down. Little is known of this period of British history, but soon the Anglo-Saxons – who had been harassing the Saxon Shore as...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early 2nd century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne – where Newcastle stands today – 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall still impresses people today, but as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century, Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and Roman control of the area broke down. Little is known of this period of British history, but soon the Anglo-Saxons – who had been harassing the Saxon Shore as...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together, to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event—known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885—galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. There were some exceptions to this,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    To many in the ancient world, their gods and goddesses were all around them and could be seen daily in nature, which meant that nearly every kind of animal, both domestic and wild, was associated with a god or goddess. In places like Egypt and Greece, deities and other mythological characters were often depicted with human bodies and animal heads, and various Greek religious rituals relied on sacrificing animals. There were approximately 1,500 Greek city-states (poleis) in the Classical era, and sacrifices featured in every one of them. As such, animals were constantly involved in the core elements of Greek society and cults, and this centrality could be found in the numerous depictions of...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    With the exception of Napoleon Bonaparte, few men were more influential on the military tactics and strategy of 19th century warfare than Antoine-Henri Jomini, and yet the introduction for a 1947 English translation of Jomini’s Art of War noted, “The military world that today burns gun-powder at the altar of Clausewitzian doctrine has all but forgotten Antoine-Henri Jomini.” The author of that introduction, Lt. Col. J.D. Little of the US Marine Corps, was right then, and he remains correct today. While Carl von Clausewitz’s aphorisms are still used to support everything from military action to business management, the work of his contemporary writer Jomini has been all but...read more