Monday, March 31, 2014

Pirate Fact Seventeen

Ching Shih was a Cantonese prostitute who was captured by pirates and in 1801 married Zheng Yi who was one of the most powerful pirate leaders. She became immersed in the pirate life and learned the military tactics and techniques that Zheng Li used. Zheng Li died in November 1807 and Ching Shih took over the leadership position. At her peak she commanded over 300 ships and as many as 40,000 pirates that controlled the coast of South China as the Red Flag Fleet. She decided to retire from piracy in 1810 when the Chinese government offered her amnesty.

Pirate page

Sunday, March 30, 2014

St Sixtus I Seventh Pope

St Sixtus I was the seventh Pope from 115 to 125. His name has also been documented as Xystus. He was born in Rome in 42 AD. Pope Sixtus I is credited with passing three ordinances: 1) that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels which includes the chalice, paten and ciborium, 2) that bishops who have been summoned to the Holy See shall upon their return not be received by their diocese except upon presenting Apostolic letters, 3) that after the Preface of the Mass the priest shall recite the Sanctus with the people. The Holy See refers to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome and currently is Vatican City.The Sanctus is a hymn that is sung or spoken as the final words of the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine. He is listed as a martyr but how he died is not known. His Feast day is April 6th. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ancient Seven Wonders of the World Fact Sixteen

The distance between the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Colossus of Rhodes was about 69.9 miles or 112.55 km.

Ancient Seven Wonders page

Friday, March 28, 2014

Knights Templar Fact Sixteen

The Knights Templar followed the Rule of St Benedict when they established the order. It had 73 chapters set forth by St Benedict around 530 AD for his monks to follow. 

Knights Templar page

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Viking Fact Sixteen

Danish Vikings launched a siege on Paris starting in November 885 that lasted 11 months. They used 700 ships and 40,000 men in the assault.

Viking page

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

American Civil War Fact Sixteen

Among the differences between the North and South were their life styles. The North was an urban society and the jobs were in the city. The South was mostly agricultural where people lived on farms or plantations or in small towns.

American Civil War page

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ancient Egypt Fact Sixteen

Legendary King Menes founded the city of Ineb-Hedj around 3100 BC which became the capital. Ineb-Hedj translated as "The White Walls". It later changed to Memphis which is a Greek translation for "the good place". The location was 12 miles or 20 km south of the current capital Cairo. 

Ancient Egypt page

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pirate Fact Sixteen

John King was one of the youngest known pirates when he joined the crew of the Whydah on November 9, 1716 at about nine years old. He died less than six months later when the ship sank in a storm on April 26, 1717 off the coast of Cape Cod.

Pirate page

Sunday, March 23, 2014

St Alexander I Sixth Pope

St Alexander I was the sixth Pope serving from 105 to 115. He was born in Rome although his date of birth is unknown. Alexander is credited with inserting the canon of the Qui Pridie which are the words of the institution for the Eucharist. He is also attributed with introducing the use of blessed water mixed with salt to purify Christian homes and ward off evil. There are some indications he was a martyr as he may have been executed by beheading. That would have made him possibly the third Pope to be executed under the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan. His Feast day is May 3rd.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ancient Seven Wonders of the World Fact Fifteen

Philo of Byzantium was a paradoxographer in the fourth to fifth centuries credited with work on the ancient seven wonders of the world. Paradoxography was a popular type of literature in ancient times devoted to descriptions of marvelous or miraculous objects in addition to abnormal and inexplicable phenomena. 

Ancient Seven Wonders page

Friday, March 21, 2014

Knights Templar Fact Fifteen

Knights Templar numbers grew in England and when the Grand Master was not present the Prior of the temple was next in the chain of command. He position was also called the vice-regent of the master. When the numbers swelled sub-priors were appointed and the vice regent became the Grand Prior and later the Master of the Temple.

Knights Templar page

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Viking Fact Fifteen

Vikings ate two meals a day. Day meal was in the morning after they had put in two hours of work. Night meal was after the day's labor had been completed.

Viking page

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

American Civil War Fact Fifteen

Alexander Hamilton Stephens was the Vice President of the Confederate States of America. He was a U.S. Representative from Georgia. First he was elected to the Confederate Congress and they chose him to be Vice-President of the provisional government. He was then the running mate of Jefferson Davis as they ran unopposed in the Confederate States presidential election in November 1861.

American Civil War page

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ancient Egypt Fact Fifteen

The Ancient Egyptians had the view that Egypt was divided into two types of land. Black land was the area with the black, fertile soil along the Nile River. Red land refers to the vast deserts which acted as a buffer between neighboring countries on both sides.

Ancient Egypt page

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pirate Fact Fifteen

Music was important on ships as a form of entertainment and nearly every ship had its own band. The musicians were very popular with the crew. At a bare minimum they had a drummer, fiddler and someone playing the flute. Bagpipes, oboes and trumpets were among the other instruments sometimes used aboard the ships. 

Pirate page

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St Evaristus Fifth Pope

St Evaristus was the fifth Pope from 97 to 105. He was originally from a Jewish family from Jerusalem although he was born while they were living in Greece. Evaristus converted to Christian and later decided to become a priest. When chosen he didn't think he was worthy of being Pope but accepted the challenge. He was noted for appointing seven deacons to Rome. Pope Evaristus is also credited with dividing Rome into parishes and appointing priests to over see them just as Pope Anacletus had done. This may have been necessary due to the constant persecution the Christians were under and organization was undone when Roman Emperor Trajan exiled Pope Clement I. Pope Evaristus was arrested an imprisoned. Whether he just died in prison or was executed is unconfirmed. His Feast day is celebrated on October 26.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ancient Seven Wonders of the World Fact Fourteen

Contrary to popular belief the Pyramids at Giza were not built by slaves but by farmers. There were numerous farmers available and willing to work when the Nile River flooded their fields in late summer and early autumn each year. They were paid with food and clothing and given a place to live during the flooding.

Ancient Seven Wonders page

Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes was a bronze statue on the Greek island of Rhodes and was one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The statue was commissioned to commemorate a decisive victory on the island. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC three of his generals divided the empire into three regions and Rhodes was within the region controlled by General Ptolemy. General Antigonus was one of the other generals and he ordered his son Demetrius to invade Rhodes in 305 BC. Demetrius commanded 40,000 troops and 200 warships but could not break through the defenses of Rhodes.

The people of Rhodes determined the victory should be remembered by a statue dedicated in honor of Helios, the patron god of Rhodes. Greek sculptor Chares of Lindos started in 294 BC to cast the giant bronze monument and it took Chares and his laborers 12 years to complete the task. The project was financed by the sale of equipment left behind by the army of Demetrius. The statue was completed in 280 BC.

The most popular theory is that the statue was forged around towers of stone blocks. The bronze sculpture was 110 feet or 30 meters tall and stood on a marble base that was 50 feet or 15 meters tall. It stood at the entrance of the harbor which was at the intersection of the sea-trade routes to Asia Minor and Egypt. Some historians thought the statue of Helios may have been nude while others believed the figure was semi-nude holding a cloak. There were also differing theories whether the statue had the feet together or standing apart.

The statue was severely damaged by an earthquake in 226 BC which broke it off at the knees. Egyptian King Ptolemy III offered to rebuild the statue commemorating his grandfather's victory but an oracle advised against it. The ruins of the Colossus of Rhodes remained on the ground for 900 years to be seen by visitors from around the world. Then in 654 AD Arab Muslims conquered Rhodes and dismantled the remains of the statue and transported the pieces to Syria so they could sell the metal.

Ancient Seven Wonders page

Friday, March 14, 2014

Knights Templar Fact Fourteen

The Knights Templar had an initiation ritual which drew on their Christian roots by having the initiate act out a symbolic death and resurrection. A skull and two crossed thigh bones were used in the ritual and they became an important symbol for the Templars. The symbol could be found on the tombstones of Templars and on their flag.

Knights Templar page

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Viking Fact Fourteen

Vikings were very clean and well groomed. They had many bath houses, used wash basins and those that settled in Iceland often took advantage of the natural hot springs. Fine tooth combs were used made of either bones, antlers or walrus ivory. 

Viking page

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

American Civil War Fact Fourteen

United States Senator John J Crittenden of Kentucky had two sons that served in the Civil War but on opposite sides. His eldest George Crittenden started the war as a colonel in the Confederate Army and had been promoted to brigadier general and major general. Yet he was later demoted back to colonel after charges of drunkenness. Thomas Crittenden started the war as a brigadier general in the Union army and was later promoted to major general.

American Civil War page

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ancient Egypt Fact Fourteen

There were several gems mined and traded in Ancient Egypt. They included:

  • Agate
  • Amazonite
  • Amethyst
  • Carnelian
  • Emerald
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Malachite
  • Peridot
  • Serpentine
  • Turquoise

Ancient Egypt page

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pirate Fact Fourteen

Pirate treasure sometimes included precious metals such as gold and silver, rare gems like diamonds, rubies and emeralds or jewelry or artifacts made with combinations of these. Coins were also very welcome because they were easy to share among the crew. Silver coins were more common because far more silver was mined in America than gold. 

Pirate page

Sunday, March 9, 2014

St Clement I Fourth Pope

Saint Clement I was the fourth Pope from 88 to 97. He had converted Sisinnius and over 400 persons of rank in Rome. In response the Roman Emperor Trajan banished Clement to the Crimea. There Clement converted thousands and had 75 churches built. Learning of this Trajan ordered him executed by having him thrown into the sea while tied to an iron anchor. After dying as a martyr in exhile his body was returned to Rome for burial. His Feast day is celebrated on November 23.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ancient Seven Wonders of the World Fact Thirteen

Herostratus was the arsonist who tried to gain fame when he set the Temple of Artemis ablaze. Yet the townspeople made great effort to foil that plan by passing a law which allowed anyone who said his name to be put to death. Yet his name was recorded by Greek historian Theopompus.

Ancient Seven Wonders page

Friday, March 7, 2014

Knights Templar Fact Thirteen

The Knights Templar fought in many battles defending the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem from 1145 with the Second Crusade through the fall of Acre in 1291. Over that span over 20,000 Templars died. One contributing factor to their high fatalities was their reputation of being the first into battle and the last to leave. 

Knights Templar page

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Viking Fact Thirteen

Erik the Red is credited with discovering and naming Greenland in 982 AD. Although it has a tundra climate he gave the misleading name to sell fellow Norsemen on settling there.

Viking page

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

American Civil War Fact Thirteen

The Union army had four different commanders during the war which was designated with the rank General-in-Chief. Winfield Scott was the General-in-Chief at the start of the war until he retired in October 1861. George B McClellan held the command from November 1861 until he was stripped of the title in March 1862. President Lincoln filled the role until Henry W Halleck was appointed General-in-Chief in July 1862. Hallack kept command until March 1864 when he was replaced by Ulysses Grant. Grant remained over the Union army until the end of the war.

American Civil War page

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ancient Egypt Fact Thirteen

Music was an important part of the Egyptian culture in both religious services and daily life. They could have had a mini orchestra with percussion, wind and string sections. The percussion included drums as well as bells, castanets, cymbals, tambourines and rattles. The sistrum was an important rattle used during religious gatherings. For wind they had an array of flutes plus oboes and trumpets. The most popular string instrument was the harp while they also had lutes and lyres.

Ancient Egypt page

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pirate Fact Thirteen

Corsairs were pirates that operated in the Mediterranean Sea mainly along the Barbary coast of north Africa in the 15th through the 18th centuries.The corsairs were unique because they had the backing of a larger organization or religious group. There were Muslim or Ottoman corsairs that had strongholds in Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis. The Knights of St John countered with a fleet of at least 45 ships based at the Island of Malta and they acted as Christian corsairs attacking Muslim ships and towns.

Pirate page

Sunday, March 2, 2014

St Anacletus Third Pope

St Anacletus was the third Bishop of Rome and thus the third Pope as he served from 76-88. He was born in Rome although his exact date of birth is unknown. Sometimes he was referred to as Cletus. He ordained 25 priests and divided Rome into 25 parishes. When he died he was buried next to Pope St Linus at St Peter's Basilica. The Feast of St Cletus is celebrated on April 26.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ancient Seven Wonders of the World Fact Twelve

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was reported by Roman writer Pliny the Elder to have cost 800 talents to build. One talent was equal to about 928 ounces or 26,308 grams of silver. The modern value would be over $14 million U.S.

Ancient Seven Wonders page