Monday, December 29, 2014
This is Canned History #5, where I add to my inventory of greatness with one of the most ancient greats out there: Ramesses the Great. As a pharaoh of the New Kingdom of Egypt, Ramesses did many great things like make war on his enemies, make structural works for the public to enjoy, and make dinner for his 200 wives every Thursday night. Plus, thanks to his greatness, there are statues of himself all over Egypt to remind us how great a guy who died over three thousand years ago could be. I think I like my chances!
Canned Histories: Ramesses the Great
Sunday, December 21, 2014
*Just in time for Christmas, here is Part 3 of my "Mongol Conquest of..." series, where the red and green of the holidays symbolize the countless blood and guts spilt by Genghis Khan and friends during their many invasions. Check out my previous chapters on China and Central Asia, just to get your blood flowing (hopefully while it's still inside your body).*
When it comes to the Mongols, they were usually able to show up, take what they want, and kill whomever gets in their way before you could say "Ulaanbaatar." A notable exception to this strategy were the lands to the east of the Indus River in present-day India and Pakistan. There, the Mongols took their sweet time making their presence felt, preferring to savor the spices instead of wolfing it all down at once. Part of this might have been because they had a difficult time getting their normally-overpowering army deep into enemy territory, something that even Alexander the Great struggled with in the same exact area about 1,500 years prior (but don't tell the Mongols that, or else they might get mad and shove a sword deep into your kidneys' territory). It took several generations, but the Mongols finally did take control of India, and actually ruled it the longest out of all of their other possessions. Sounds like someone just wanted to play hard-to-get!
|Fig.1: The Mongols thought this map needed just a little more tan in the south...|
Friday, December 12, 2014
|Fig.1: If only all civil wars were fought with such ecstasy!|
Thursday, December 4, 2014
|Fig.1: "Wait, so we're not trying to get to Fort Laramie?"|
On second thought, maybe Oregon Trail is a lot more fun...
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
This is entry #3 of the C.A.N. World Factbook, the only reliable source for international information that's also chocked full of terrible jokes. Today, we are looking at the most humble, unassuming country on Earth: Canada. So how about we knock them down a notch or two? From its rich history, to its wide landscape, to its funny pronunciation of words, I have a lot of material to work with. And I don't even mention Justin Bieber! You're welcome.
C.A.N. World Factbook: Canada
Sunday, November 16, 2014
The word of the day is defenestrate:
What does this have to do with history, you ask? Well, would you believe me if I told you that a major war actually started in Europe because some guys got defenestrated? It's true, I swear it! In 1618, the growing conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) actually led to a situation where local noblemen threw their king's representatives out of a third-story window (fig.1). This allowed the bubbling religious pot to boil over, and Europe would be at war for the next thirty years during the Thirty Years War. The Defenestration of Prague is great not only because it's an awesome historical event, but it gives us the opportunity to learn some vocabulary as well! Please don't throw me out of a window for that!
de·fen·es·trate (dē-ˌfe-nə-ˈstrāt), verb
definition: to throw a person or thing out of a window
Origin: de- + Latin fenestra (window)
Used in a sentence: I couldn't help but defenestrate my little sister after she put lipstick on my G.I. Joes!
|Fig.1: "This is the last time we book the conference |
room on the top floor!"
Saturday, November 8, 2014
|Fig.1: "Turn around, the revolt is|
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
|Fig.1: Stuff like this was a prime target for those Europeans and their label makers.|
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Here is my first MS Paint Reenactment, wherein I use the latest in technological advancements to dramatically portray the decisive battle of the Second Punic War. The tactical decisions made by the Carthaginian Hannibal and the Roman Scipio at the Battle of Zama remain a classic testament to the strategies of war, and their maneuvers are beautifully demonstrated here with jaw-dropping visuals and stunning clarity. The carnage of the fighting is portrayed with such realism that this video is not recommended for small children or pregnant women. Or small pregnant children women.
MS Paint Reenactments: Battle of Zama
Friday, October 10, 2014
MARCO?! Oh, there you are. Sometimes I have trouble finding my audience for this blog. Thank goodness someone like Marco Polo (fig.1) once lived so we can annoy the crap out of people by repeating his name! Of course, the man had other achievements outside his delightfully rhyming moniker. For 24 years, this Venetian merchant traveled across Asia with this father and uncle, mostly under the employ of the famous Mongol ruler, Kublai Khan. While he was hardly the first European man to visit China, he achieved fame by describing his journey in his book commonly known as The Travels of Marco Polo, which was essentially one long Christmas letter bragging about his family vacation (everyone has that friend, don't they?). Though his outrageous stories were disputed even back then, many found the tales of mystical lands beyond their reach to be extremely fascinating, and might just have helped kick of the Age of Exploration that Europeans so love (and everyone else rues) to this day.
|Fig.1: "Okay, fine: POLO! What do you |
want from me?"
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
|Fig.1: Still not nearly as bad as invading Russia.|
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Hey folks, I'm still on hiatus, and probably will be until the end of September. I know, I know, save your rotten tomatoes. But I thought I'd make it up to you by putting out another video! This is Canned History #4, which looks into the man who had six more wives than I'll probably ever have in my lifetime. The stories surrounding the marital history of King Henry VIII of England, and the women who were lucky and/or doomed enough to hold the position as his wife, have fascinated scholars and drama-obsessed weirdos for centuries. Join me as I explore each wife's rise and fall, from Catherine of Aragon to Catherine Parr, as well as the rise and not fall of Henry's waist size. It's good to be the king!
Canned Histories: The Wives of Henry VIII
Thursday, July 31, 2014
|Fig.1: Treebeard's not going to like this.|
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
|Fig.1: Connecting with Cyrus is a must for any young, aspiring career-seeker.|
Monday, July 14, 2014
|Fig.1: Makes me think of summer!|
Monday, July 7, 2014
Welcome to entry #2 of the C.A.N. World Factbook, where we samba our way into the South American giant of Brazil. With a culture as beautiful as its beaches, and a history as vast and deep as its rainforest (and just as deadly too), what's not to love about this luscious Lusophone land? Plus, with the World Cup going on, I might as well cash in on the nation's popularity before we promptly forget about there existing anything but a North America. Enjoy it while you can, guys!
C.A.N. World Factbook: Brazil
Sunday, June 29, 2014
|Fig.1: "Why did I come in here again?"|
Sunday, June 22, 2014
|Fig.1: Tripoli and Antioch didn't |
appreciate the Dominions of Saladin
being all up in their business.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
|Fig.1: The Crusader States of Edessa, |
Antioch, Tripoli, and Jerusalem might as
well have been renamed Grumpy, Dopey,
Bashful and Doc based on their actions
between the First and Second Crusades.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
It is written in the Holy Scrolls of Acre that June shall be Crusades month! Okay, maybe I jotted that down on a Wendy's napkin last week at lunch, but it is written nonetheless! All this month, I will be covering the first four Crusades, which were honestly the only really effective Crusades (the words "effective" and "Crusades" aren't used too often together, but we're grading on a curve here). So sit back on your horse, get your chain mail on, and let's get ready to add a little more bloodshed to the tumultuous history of the Holy Land (more like the Bloody Land, if you ask me).
Remember when you were six-years-old, and some bully kicked you out of your favorite sandbox at the playground? Well what if, twenty-some years later, your cousins went back to that sandbox and beat up the random kids playing in it, just for revenge? That's sort of like how the Crusades went. Orthodox Christians lost control of the Levant (the "Holy Land" region now chiefly shared by the uncomically grumpy roommates: Israel and Palestine) during the Islamic conquests of the Middle East in the 7th century. Over four hundred years later, Catholic Christians went on a temper tantrum about it and decided to "take back" the region, even though it hadn't been under Western control since Ancient Roman days. Of course the people ruling there were a different group of Muslims than the ones who took it over in the first place, but they were making castles in the wrong sandbox nonetheless. What resulted was the beginning of religious and political strife that covered the Levant in blood for the next two hundred years...and then all the hundreds of years after that (not to mention the hundreds of years before). But hey, at least Europeans learned some maths and acquired a taste for spices! That makes up for it, right?
|Fig.1: A sandbox next to the twirly |
slide is worth fighting for.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Here is Canned History video #3, detailing the life and adventures of one of the world's greatest explorers: Zheng He. Zheng doesn't get as much credit as his European counterparts, mostly because he didn't colonize the lands he visited, or exploit native peoples for their land and resources, or do the Spanish-patented "conquest dance" all over their gravesites and places of worship. Shouldn't he be more revered for not doing those things? I guess that's why kids these days enjoy the rap music more than good wholesome polka...
Canned Histories: The Voyages of Zheng He
Saturday, May 24, 2014
|Fig.1: What's this place again?|
Friday, May 16, 2014
|Fig.1: The Great Enclosure of the Great Zimbabwe is so |
great that is doesn't even violate the Double Great Rule
that states two greats make a not-so-great!
Friday, May 9, 2014
|Fig.1: You know he's heroically propping |
his left foot on a barrel just off-sketch.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Welcome to the C.A.N. World Facebook: a feature of my video presentations that cover the history, culture, notable features, and painfully obvious jokes regarding the nations of the world. Entry #1 is everyone's favorite country in the continent of Australia: Australia. From the fierce aboriginal society, the tenacious settlers descended from prisoners, its unique wildlife, to the obsession with the food paste known as Vegemite, there's a lot in Australia that can kill you. So come join me on a virtual trip to the land down under, where beer does flow and men chunder (whatever the heck that means).
C.A.N. World Factbook: Australia
Friday, April 25, 2014
|Fig.1: King Chandragupta I |
showing off the classic
"Quarter in the Ear" trick.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
|Fig.1: A quarterback's ideal offensive line.|
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Greetings, my few but loyal viewers. I have returned with another video history! This time I will be discussing the greatest moment involving property destruction and environmental pollution in American history: the Boston Tea Party. Arguably this event, as well as the British reaction to it, became the spark that ignited the North American colonies into a full-scale revolution, eventually ending with their independence as the United States. Plus, who doesn't love a party on a boat (especially one where you get to dump things overboard)? I hope they throw tea out of planes next!
Canned Histories: Boston Tea Party
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
|Fig.1: Leave me alone...or else!|
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
|Fig.1: Egyptians often show up just to laugh at |
the Aztec pyramids.
Monday, March 17, 2014
|Fig.1: Like most Irishmen, |
Saint Patrick never left the
house without a shamrock.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Here it is, folks! The first ever Canned History in direct-to-video format! Hooray for the interweb! I'm hoping to roll these out once a month, just to give your reading eyes a rest every now and then. You can watch it from here, or click the link below to check it out on YouTube. Also, feel free to give me some feedback so I can make future video histories even more awesome (as if that's even possible). Happy watching!
Canned Histories: Battle of Thermoplyae
Sunday, March 2, 2014
*Welcome to the second installment of my "Mongol Conquest of..." series, where I present in gruesome detail the many campaigns, subjugations, and atrocities committed by the Mongol peoples in the 13th and 14th centuries. Make sure to read up on my history of the conquest of China, just to whet your appetite for all the violence and bloodshed that the Mongols do so well.*
Before Genghis Khan and his crew got too involved with the Chinese, he looked at Central Asia as the ideal place to increase their wealth, expand their landmass, and get some good horse meat and pilaf. With part of the Silk Road already conquered after the fall of dumb stupid Xi Xia in 1209, the Mongols took a roadtrip west, slashing necks and taking scenic routes as they went along. The biggest obstacle in their way was the Khwarazmian dynasty, notable for their humble beginnings as Turkic slaves, and for being the only word in most encyclopedias' "Khw" section. The Khwarazmians were what smart people call a "Persianate" society, where they ruled over Persia (present-day Iran), displayed many characteristics of Persian culture and customs, emanated that typical Persian odor, but weren't actually Persian (although the Turkic smell isn't any less pungent). After throwing off the rule of the Seljuq Empire in 1194, Khwarazmian ruler Ala ad-Din Muhammad II used his magic genie and flying carpet to expand his territory from his capital of Urgench into most of Central Asia and Persia (fig.1 left), effectively becoming the next Persian shah (their fancy word for "king"). As to be expected, the Khwarazmid Empire got pretty full of themselves with this new-found power, and that's exactly the type of attitude the Mongols loved to exploit.
|Fig.1: Before and After pics of the Khwarazmid Empire in regards to their "Mongol diet."|
Sunday, February 23, 2014
|Fig.1: If the pyramids were built today, insurance companies would claim they need to be replaced in thirty years to account for "regular wear and tear" and "water damage."|
Sunday, February 16, 2014
It's Presidents' Day Weekend in the United States! So while you're out buying discounted mattresses and SUV's with 0% APR and $0 due at signing, let us remember the 44 leaders that have made the tough decisions so us commoners don't have to think about petty things like budgets and diplomacy and when they're re-invading Vietnam for the grudge match. I'll be going through all the presidents one by one at this time every year, which will take about 44 years (maybe I'll do Grover Cleveland twice). But we may have six to eleven more during that span, and then another one or two in the added time needed to cover them, so I'll probably be pushing up daisies before I'm done with this (especially if the Vietcong captures me in the counter-invasion).
The Commander-in-Chief. The Father of His Country. The American Cincinnatus. The Conflagration from the Plantation (used during his UFC days, fig 1). Whatever you like to call him, everyone knows all about George Washington. He led the Patriots to victory over the British in the American War for Independence, allowing for the establishment of a free United States that would kick butt in everything for the next 200+ years. He presided over the Constitutional Convention, creating a governmental framework without any possible pitfalls. He became the very first President, and set various precedents for the office from titles, term limits, neutrality, and the fact that the American executive doesn't need to put the seat down for anybody. He is arguably the greatest man in the history of history! Unfortunately, there are many people who are willing to be arguably about it. Recent scholarship has attempted to take Washington down a notch or two, and show that he exhibited many shortcomings during his lifetime. I'm here to combat these so-called historians ("communists" is probably the more appropriate term) and present Washington the way he needs to be to those impressionable school children: as a hero who could do no wrong. Only then can Americans feel better about themselves.
|Fig.1: Only an infallible man can sucker punch like that.|
Saturday, February 8, 2014
|Fig.1: Did you know that the Luba and Lunda Kingdoms would hold hands while sleeping so they wouldn't float away from each other?|
Friday, January 31, 2014
The nagging wife. The domineering mother. The aunt that forces you to commit suicide for dishonoring the family. These tried-and-true stereotypes have been around for ages, but the one who embodied it in force lived over 1300 years ago. Wu Zetian used these inherent talents to move up from being a concubine, to the wife of an Emperor, to becoming the only woman in Chinese history to take the title of Emperor herself! She successfully manipulated all of the men in her life, as well as scared the living daylights out of her subjects, just by giving that look (you know the one I'm talking about). Her ambition turned the powerful Tang Dynasty on its ear, and many consider her to be one of the most powerful rulers (regardless of sex) in all of history! You'd certainly make sure to "call when you get there" with this mother!
There were some initial signs that Wu Zhao (as she was known before she got all famous) would become pretty influential. First, a total solar eclipse occurred in 624, the same year of her birth, demonstrating her ability to manipulate celestial bodies even as a little baby! As she grew older, she reportedly shied away from her home and needlework duties, and appeared more interested in ghastly things like politics and reading! Wu grew up during an exciting time in Chinese history: Emperor Gaozu established the Tang Dynasty in 618, the first long-term dynasty to rule a unified China in four centuries! Wu wanted a piece of that action, and when an imperial recruiter came to her grade school for an assembly on all the perks of becoming the Emperor's concubine, she was first in line to sign up. At age 13, she entered the harem of Emperor Taizong, which is one of those accepted instances in history that, unless you're Jerry Lee Lewis, we can't help but get the heebee-jeebees about.
|Fig.1: Original concubine recruitment |
poster featuring Emperor Taizong,
circa AD 630.
Friday, January 24, 2014
|Fig.1: I wish I could take time out of my busy |
hunting-gathering lifestyle to make one of these.