Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ayutthaya Kingdom of Thailand

Fig.1: Stuff like this was a prime target for those Europeans and their label makers.
Typically if you received a visit by the Europeans in the early modern period, soon you would face the unhappy prospect of watching them move in, snag all your resources, diminish your population to a subservient status, and take full control of the TV remote. One of the few places that escaped this fate was the country of Thailand in Southeast Asia (also known as Siam in the European practice of renaming nations whatever the heck they wanted). This was due in part to the actions and policies of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which ruled the region from the 1350s until 1767. The kingdom was centered on the city of Ayutthaya (fig.1), considered in 1700 to be one of the most populated locales in the world, and unquestionably had the worst rickshaw traffic known to man. When those rascally Europeans came floatin' about, the Ayutthayan government successfully played the different embassies off each other, and even earned the respect and full friendship of Louis XIV of France, the most powerful and fluffy-haired king in the world! Let's find out more about these Thai fighters, and see how they avoided domination from any empires.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Battle of Zama (video)

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 Polo



Fig.1: "Okay, fine: POLO! What do you 
want from me?"
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.