Advocate of Entropy

Nothing is Lost. If the TV's still on.

Category: History

Rare Views into 1840’s U.S.A.

In this nice video, you can look at photographs taken nearly 200 (!) years ago in the american west. It really rushes you into a simpler, wider but also more dangerous world. I personally like ships very much, and never get tired of looking at old stuff in general. Enjoy!

© Alfred A. Hart

© Alfred A. Hart

No, the picture above does not come up in the video, I just like it. It’s the 1865 C.P.R.R.’s locomotive “Gov. Stanford”; and trains are just cool, aren’t they?

Stay Alert and Go West !, yours Advocate of Entropy


Past and Future: Tian’anmen

25 years ago the world was seething from change and everywhere some new formation, organisation appeared: commemorating the near end of the cold war and trying to make the world a little better; piece by piece. In some regions of the world those movements didn’t have many friends, because they also protested against the old regimes and gridlocked politics.
Surprisingly in countries like Russia or regions like East Europe these “revolutions” and actions mostly took place in total calm and (nearly) without violence. But not in communist China. No no! Here, on the Tian’anmen (Place of Heavenly Peace) and the whole rest of Beijing, mostly students stood against everything, they thought was wrong. As it happened to be, they didn’t just occupy the place, like today’s “protesters” (cuz seriously: what do you think can be accomplished with sitting in a park for twenty weeks?), but they wanted that Michail Gorbatschow (russian president at that time) would see their mysery and help the thousands of brave studtens and workers who were trying to change something in their homeland, when he would visit Beijing. But China’s bigheads decided otherwise and quelled the “rebellion” with brutal force…
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Run for your Lives! The Snake is loose!

Daily Prompt: Living Art

my favourite art piece (painting, statue or wahtever) comes to life… what happens next? Read the rest of this entry »

The history behind Game of Thrones: Trial by Combat

In this featured article the historian Dr. Steven Isaac of the Longwood University gives a little insight into the medieval rites, which inspired G. R. R. Martin and looks behind the seemingly savage religious rituals of letting a fight decide if someone is guilty or innocent.

Of the actual duel between the Mountain and the Viper, judging its accuracy is no easy matter.  Certainly, there are famous fights like the 1386 combat most recently discussed in Eric Jager’s The Last Duel.  There, a husband defended his wife’s charge of rape by killing the man she had accused.  While contemporaries accepted the outcome as proof, the dead man’s guilt has attracted debate ever since.



The Druids


Druids have become, in the modern lexicon, a symbol of Celtic magic or mysticism. Part of that is the fault of the early Christians in Britain and Ireland; they portrayed druids as the keepers of the old religion who had to be outshone in order to usher in the new; Columba defeats a Druid several times in bringing Christianity to Brude, king of the Picts. No doubt stories abounded about Patrick accomplishing the same feats in Ireland.

Part of the problem also has to do with our perceptions of magic. Today we see the craft as the province of people who study for years, people who go by the names of witches and wizards. But that was not the case in the ancient and medieval worlds. As has been seen, bards were wordsmiths, and for that reason their creations had a supernatural quality. The king’s power over his people rested…

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víkingr – Northmen on the Raid

Randas bæron
sæwicingas ofer sealtne mersc,
manna menio; micel angetrum
eode unforht.

Seavikings, many men,
carried their shields over the salty seas,
a selected flock, that walked
withour fear.

Shady men with long, dreaded hair and beards, emerging from the morning fog over the river, wielding mighty axes and brazen swords, calling upon their wild, nordish gods, hiding their muscular, sea-torn bodies behind colourful, round shields and jumping over the planks of their dragon-headed ship. Soon everywhere is fire and blood, for nobody can escape their wrath; nobody can stop their force. And before any help can arrive, the savage northerners are gone with all the supplies and treasures; and all the healthy men and women they didn’t slaughter. They are the demons of the seas, the pest of the coasts – they are Vikings.
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Caesar and the Helvetii: Can Technology verify History?

An international team around Assistant Professor Tom Whitley from the University of Western Australia is using GIS (or Geographic Information Systems) to recreate the environment around Gaius Iulius Caesar’s De bello Gallico and check, if it really was lack of food, which drove the Helvetii (a celtic tribe that lived in middle-switzerland and south-west germany) out of their mountains, onto roman territory.
With radar, magnetometry and aerial photogrammetry they try to create a digital landscape of 60 B.C.’s switzerland and try various settings and influences (e.g. erosion, avalanches or manmade alterings, like dams and fields) to get as close as possible to the ancient conditions. What was going on with the Helvetii back then and where could Caesar have build the bridges, whose pure existance shocked the Helvetii into retreating? You just gotta love the efforts of some scientists!

Divico and Caesar (Andres Furger-Gunti)

Divico and Caesar (Andres Furger-Gunti)

Article: here

The Socio-Economic Importance of the Bard


As someone who has studied the “Arthurian period” at length I have noticed some things that irritate and frighten me. First Knight comes to mind, being wrong in its interpretation and understanding of the story, in error about the love triangle, the philosophies involved, and the armaments. But I have learned to live with it and media like it. After all if a person wants the romantic delusions of the Arthurian period they are either going to enjoy it blissfully or enjoy it despite me.

But for those who want to understand, the socio-economic situation was a fascinating one. Today I would like to start with the bard. Bards have been explained as the storytellers, the entertainers, the keepers of culture. And they were. There is no accurate source that tells us how long they studied their craft, or exactly what they had to learn before they were allowed to…

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Spanish Conquest messed around with Peru’s shoreline

So: human trash is altering the face of the earth since centuries? Seems familiar … but this study by Daniel F. Belknap and Daniel H. Sandweiss actually uncovered how the influence of onbrought sicknesses and relocation of whole populations, held the indegene back from covering the seashore ridges with mollusk shells and trash, and so the ocean began to tear down the century-old manmade shoreline.
It always amazes me, how the contact of two civilizations can impact the world around it in so many unforeseen ways.

Daniel Belknap/University of Maine, Orono

Daniel Belknap/University of Maine, Orono

(link to the original thesis: here)

Pharmacy from the Past

In this article Joshua J. Mark shows us the mystic and complex world of mesopotamian health care. Just remember: whenever you feel sick, YOU HAVE SINNED!!!

Have a nice day!

De Materia Medica by Dioscorides, 1st century CE / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

De Materia Medica by Dioscorides, 1st century CE / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York