A Student of History

June 30, 2007

Hail to the Chief

Filed under: Ireland,The world today — John Maass @ 10:59 pm

BBC report:

A Nigerian man who arrived in Ireland as an asylum seeker seven years ago has become the country’s first black mayor. Rotimi Adebari has been elected as first citizen of Portlaoise in County Laois.

The 43-year-old fled from Nigeria in 2000 because of religious persecution. After a few weeks, he and his family settled in the County Laois town.

Rotimi Adebari

Fix your…bayonets!

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 7:49 pm

Here is a story of the first bayonet charge of British soldiers since the Falklands War of 1982.  The men were members of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

An excerpt:

The men came to the rescue of ambushed comrades — saving their lives with the Army’s first bayonet charge since the Falklands War 22 years ago.

After a bloody battle which raged for four hours at least 28 of the enemy lay dead. Fleeing cohorts are thought to have dragged away at least the same number of bodies.

It was led by Sgt Major Dave Falconer, 36. He said of his men: “I am very proud of them.”

Witch to be pardoned

Filed under: The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 7:40 pm

225 years after the fact, a group of local and federal MPs has prepared a parliamentary motion demanding the full rehabilitation of a suspected witch, who was tortured into confessing to being a witch and was subsequently beheaded. Campaigners claim she was the victim of a conspiracy between the eastern town’s juridical and Protestant church authorities.

More here.

June 28, 2007

Our First Revolution

Filed under: Early America,New books — John Maass @ 6:27 pm

In the Washington Post‘s book section of June 24th, biographer H. W. Brands reviews Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America’s Founding Fathers, a book by Michael Barone about England’s Glorious Revolution of the 1680s.

Publisher’s Weekly states: “The author describes the origins of the revolution, a mostly bloodless change of government, as a mixture of religious, political and diplomatic factors. King James II’s Roman Catholicism, hostility to Parliament, and French sympathies alienated an increasing number of his powerful subjects including John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough, who invited Dutch Stadtholder William of Orange and his wife, Mary, James’s sister, to intervene. Among the revolution’s consequences was a Bill of Rights that limited the monarch’s powers and strengthened representative government.”

The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers

Is “300” a homoerotic film?

Filed under: What is History? — John Maass @ 5:59 pm

Interesting Slate piece on masculinity and films.


Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 3:40 pm

Over the next several weeks I will be packing up and moving (to Alexandria, Va.) and then starting my new job by 8/6.  As a result, posts will be fewer and farther between, and I may just post links to interesting news items or commentaries I locate on the web, without much comment.

June 24, 2007

Stout news

Filed under: Ireland — John Maass @ 10:18 pm


 For two and half centuries it has been one of the most famous features of the Irish capital. But now, the Dublin headquarters and spiritual home of Guinness, one of the world’s best-known brands, may be sold to property developers.

For 250 years the site, at St James’s Gate on the quays of the river Liffey has been a hugely important part of Dublin life, producing millions of pints of what is known as the “black stuff”.

Arthur Guinness.JPG

More here.

June 23, 2007

Prostitute may have led to Hitler’s Holocaust

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 5:39 pm


An article in the Daily Mail say sthat a brief encounter with a Jewish prostitute may have led to Hitler’s genocidal Holocaust, claim psychiatrists. They believe he may have caught the sexually transmitted disease syphilis which, if untreated, can eventually cause madness.

According to a report, mental and behavioural disturbances triggered by the advanced stages of the disease could have resulted in Hitler targeting Jews and the mentally retarded.

There is “ample circumstantial evidence” for the theory, according to a team headed by psychiatrist Dr Bassem Habeeb.

The rest is here

Spirit of Freedom Exhibit

Filed under: The strange place called the South — John Maass @ 5:26 pm


The sculpture,

The planned United States National Slavery Museum in Federericksburg, Va., yesterday opened its new Spirit of Freedom Exhibit Garden, which features a “Hallelujah” sculpture and is designed to let visitors experience the quest for freedom through a slave’s eyes.

Read more here….

Hill of Tara Update

Filed under: Historic Preservation,Ireland — John Maass @ 2:40 pm

As I noted recently, there’s still a fight going on over the major roadworks near the Hill of Tara in Ireland between preservationists and those who want a bigger and “better” road in that section of the country in order to ease traffic problems.

In a very brief update, it appears that the NRA (National Roads Admin.) disputes the fact that anything new has been found at the site, which accordingly has held up construction.  They also have a statement from May posted here, which disputes the archaeology work done near the site.

More to life than making money

Filed under: Simple Living,The world today — John Maass @ 1:39 pm

Back in May, I posted on the Pope’s trip to Brazil, and his strong words on communism and capitalism today.

At HNN, Thomas Reeves has a column worth reading on the same subject.

He concludes this way:

In short, the Church does not officially endorse any specific nation or economic system. It acknowledges the benefits of capitalism but it knows that wealth and even freedom can be destructive if they lead to secularism, immorality, and the loss of souls. There is more to life, the Church declares, than making and spending cash and acquiring power and prestige. A lot more.

June 22, 2007

Latin is still dead

Filed under: The Academy,The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 3:58 pm

The University of Ottawa had ended a tradition of allowing students to request that their diplomas be in Latin (over the more popular options of English or French), The Ottawa Citizen reported. Relatively few students would picking Latin and the university was having difficulty coming up with Latin equivalents for some words, such as “software” and “genomics.”

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