Sunday, 30 October 2011

Julian the Apostate - Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 23 Part 1


Religion is often accused of causing most of the wars in history.  This is hardly fair.  People are quite capable of picking fights without any divine inspiration, even if religion is a handy justification to cover your true motives.  And religious leaders sometimes take a role in solving problems, which evens up the balance sheet a bit.  But the charge is not totally groundless. Religion itself can be the problem, and the religious trauma of the late Roman Empire is the textbook case.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Guest Post: Nick Shipley Explains www.explaininghistory.com (warning - UK Bias)

The brief for this post was 'write about five hundred words explaining what you're trying to do'. How could that be difficult I thought, my website is called www.explaininghistory.com surely the clue is in the title?
As with all such endeavours, it's far from simple however, if explaining history were a straight forward business, there would be one standard text and we'd all read it.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

History of Stoicism Youtube Documentary

I have just come across a great documentary on Youtube that explains stoicism clearly and succinctly.  There is a lot more that could be said on the subject, but this covers all the essentials in only seven minutes.  If you just want to know what stoicism is, you'll know when you have finished watching it.  If you want to know more, this would make a good starting point.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Julian the Reformer - Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 3

Unlike previous emperors, Julian did not spend much time in the Hippodrome

Julian managed to get a lot done in his short life.  It's a shame he didn't write a book on time management, I'd love to know how he was so productive, but he did write a lot.  Its a shame that more of his writings haven't survived.  They aren't as well written as the works of Caesar or Marcus Aurelius and his choice of subject matter isn't particularly compelling.  But nonetheless you can still pick up his intelligence and perceptiveness. I get the feeling that he would have been pretty successful at anything to which he turned his mind. Getting to be the emperor of Rome was a bit of a lottery, but it was the kind of level that Julian was quite capable of handling.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Julian the Emperor - Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 22 Part 2


In the late summer of 360 Julian marched across the Rhine near modern day Basel and out of the empire with a mere 3,000 hand picked volunteers.  He penetrated the Black Forest just north of the Alps.  Travelling light and crossing mountains and morasses by obscure and rarely used routes he was soon out of contact with the civilised world.