Friday, April 10

The British and their pen

Some maps which show the very long term implications of the British and their blasted pens.


The Durand Line


The Sykes Picot Treaty line.


The McMahon Line in East India. There are debates about loads of little pockets between India and Bangladesh.

Thursday, April 9

Noodles were made in Italy first? :O

What a fascinating story. So the origin of noodles was always known to be in China and was thought to be brought to Europe by Marco Polo. But looks like noodles were made even before.



I quote

An unusual coin type recently sold at auction depicts an ancient industry, hitherto unrecorded on coinage or sculptural reliefs: the production of noodles. The coin, which fetched 30,000 GBP at the London-based Ceres Auction House, was minted at Ephesus in the reign of the Roman emperor Geta (209-212) and depicts two figures using an ancient form of noodle machine.

As clearly depicted on the coin, one figure feeds the device, which is shaped like a goddess, with dough while the other lays the finished product out to dry (although a recent theory put forth by Dr. Brett Teigleman of the University of Lower Minnesota has proposed the theory that the figure on the right is scraping spätzle from a board by hand, just as is done today in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria). We can see that the dough is forced out of the machine at high pressure in regularly shaped portions.
Although it is commonly held that noodles originated in China before being brought to Italy by Marco Polo, they were in fact widely enjoyed throughout the ancient world: the geographer Strabo and Pliny the Elder describe the production of alicia or chondroi from spelt in Campania (Natural History 18.8), although the earliest reference to chondroi occurs in an unfortunately largely unintelligible fragment of Aristophanes’ comedy Mageiroi, “The Cooks”, from 414 B.C. (Kock, Frag. 496b). This coin suggests that the production of spätzle was widespread in the grain-rich districts of Ionia, and epigraphic evidence also records the presence of guilds of ‘Hypochondroi’ or artisan noodle-makers there and their worship of Artemis Chondriates, to whom they offered sacred dough products (IG 2.II,40 (Ionia), 570-572b, ll. 2,8).

Life at the time of Ibn Batuta

Reading about the old man in this book by Ross Dunn, there’s a new theory which was mentioned, Marshall Hodgson and William McNeill developed this Ecumene model, the belt of agrarian land from the Med basin to China, where the major civilisations arose, most cities sprang up and most important cultural and technological innovations were made.

He would have travelled during the Abbasid Caliphate and here’s a map of the Caliphate when it was at the greatest around 850 AD


Before that was the Ummayad Caliphate and this is how it related to the rest of the world in 750AD


Fascinating the range of empires which was around when the Ummayad’s were pootling around..

Wednesday, April 8

Opening the coffin of King Charles I


Here's a bit of horrible histories for you. Remember we went to Windsor and saw these vaults? Imagine poking around there eh?


Reminds me of an old poem which was sung after Charles 1 was beheaded. Or was it when Marie Antoinette was guillotined.

My neck on the guillotine

And the blade comes down

My head goes this side

And my body that side

Which side am I on?

Did I tell you that I saw a beheading in Jeddah when I went to Saudi Arabia? Pretty gruesome I tell you



Opening the coffin of King Charles I - Untold lives blog
(via Instapaper)

King Charles I was beheaded on 30 January 1649 outside Banqueting House in Whitehall. His embalmed body was put into a coffin and taken to St James’s. Parliament then gave permission for the King to be buried in the Chapel of St George at Windsor. Mr Herbert who had been a groom of the royal bedchamber was entrusted with overseeing the interment.

Charles I execution

Lord Clarendon later stated that the King’s body could not be found at Windsor some years later. There was a suggestion that King Charles II had re-interred his father at Westminster Abbey.

How the Middle East gave religion to the world


this was a fascinating map, showing how the Middle East gave rise to religions which spread across the world. Curious. And note this is before Islam, so before you start whining about how Islam was spread by the sword, the previous religions weren't really all about flowers and singing kumbaya either.

Why isn't Pastafarianism being shown?