TODAYS IS OUR THIRD BIRTHDAY
From W.U Hstry want to say a very special Thank You! To all of our fans, followers on Twitter and Facebook, and blogger friends that support us and make this worth while!
Also we wanted to thank some of the people who kindly have done some updates for us, such as Kevin Lewis, Stephen Etheridge or Gordon McKelvie. In addition we thank, all of the people who have agreed to have an interview or a quick chat with us so far: Bex Lewis, Ryan Lavelle, David Rymill, Barbara Yorke, Alf Ragnar Nielssen, Siân Hewlett, Eric Lacey, Tom Olding, Julian Humphrys, Peter Konieczny and Sandra Alvarez, Chris Aldous, Elena Woodacre, Emiliano Perra, Mark allen, Michael Hicks, and Simon Sandall.
And finally, I would like to say thanks to Karl, Scott, Alex, Ali, Sam, Tom, Katy, Jess, Matt, Ellie and James for being an excellent team keeping this thing running! (And to those who used to be part of us, thanks for getting us started!).
So, in general, a big, huge and honest THANK YOU!
I believe one of the very first updates of this year was about the Mayans, that wonderful civilization that according to the popular culture paranoia predicted the end of the world in 2012. However, if you are reading this is only because those believes were wrong. So, it makes one wonder, what has been the deal with 2012? Was it all about that prediction? Did people only focus on that? Well, let’s take a look.
Thanks to the Google device known as Zeitgeist, we can tell you the world top search trends related with events that happened this year. I think the words on their own summarise quire well what has been going on, and what has captured the attention of many citizens: the death of Whitney Houston, Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha, Ipad 3, Diablo 3 (which was a total disappointment for most of the geek-gaming culture…just saying…), Kate Middleton, the Presidential debate and US elections, the phenomenon of Gangnam Style (yes, another example of globalisation, Korean music rocking the European and American market, isn’t that exciting?), and finally the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. Some other issues have been making a big impression on a global or more national level. I do not think anyone has forgotten yet about George Osborne taxation of pasties (…there goes student budget…Again!!…), or the debate around the EU wining the Peace Nobel Prize.
Bad news travel fast, and so we have heard all about the Greek crisis, and the ongoing problems between Israel and Palestine, the several coup d’etat (Mali, Bissau…), the India Blockouts, etc. Nonetheless, as many of you might now already, here in W.U Hstry we do not like to keep in mind those bitter ends. As historians we appreciate the gravity of such matters, but it would not be fair to only think about the “Bad Stuff”. Thankfully, the human race is still capable of doing good things, that most time we forget. Let me give you an example. Have you heard about the wonderful scientific advances we had this year? We have discovered a world with four suns, performed further investigations into DNA studies, and successfully done a twenty-four electrode bionic eye implantation! It is true that some other sad news have shacken the world of science this year. Unfortunately, the last specimen of the Pinta Island Tortoise, known as Lonesome George died, and with him his whole subrace. Bur perhaps knowing these issues are making us more natural-environmental conscious. This whole Cataclysm theory about the end of the world should not pass without reminding us that maybe our fears had a logical basis. For this reason, I wish that the extension to complete the Kyoto Protocol (2020) will work this time.
U.K: the Nation that Rocked 2012
In case you haven’t noticed the U.K has been a cause for news several times this year. Just for that reason, I am going to dedicate the following lines to remark important events in British History (for good or bad). I know we do mention a fair bit of British/English history in here, but that is because there is SO MUCH HISTORY in the U.K. And sometimes, in eras of uncertainty, it is nice to remember those moments. It is not about nationalism, do not mistake my words, rather it is about the collective memory, why these things are important? Why do we remember them? Well, because they had an impact that shaped the British society of the time, and perhaps has a repercussion in current times. So here it is:
-10 years ago the charity Cancer Research UK was founded. On top of that, the Mary Rose was rescued from the sea 30 years ago. Also, it is the 70th anniversary of the premiere of Cassablanca, and curiously enough, the 75th of The Hobbit’s publication! (Tolkien fans, 2012 IS a Great Year!). Finally, it is interesting to know that 80 years ago the BBC Empire Service started broadcasting, and that 2012 is the 90th anniversary of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
-Moving into the hundreds anniversaries, a variety of important historical events took place in this time frame. It has been a 100 years since the introduction of U.K miners minimum wage, but about the same time period since the sinking of the Titanic and the tragic outcome of Robert Falcon Scott and his team at the South Pole. But on a lighter note, it was 150 years ago when both the U.K and the U.S agreed to suppress slave trade. Also, it was 200 year ago when the Luddites attacked a wool production factory in Yorkshire. Finally, 2012 would have been the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens.
What Does the Rest of the World Have to Commemorate?
…Probably too many things to be listed in here. However, here is a selection of those facts that have caught my attention.
-It has been 200 years since the Peace of Bucharest, that ended the conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. 1812 was also a very important year for the Spanish as they produced their new constitution (since then symbol of freedom and liberalism) in Cadiz, during the French occupation.
-500 year ago Martin Luther became doctor in theology and joined the theological faculty of Wittemberg. (What came after that you all know). It was as well the first time the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was opened to the public, and the year in which Amerigo Vespucci died.
-It is the 1000th anniversary of Mael Morda rebellion against Brian Boru, and the birth of the Tibetan translator of holy scriptures, Marpa Lotsawa.
-In the year 12 A.D Augustus ordered the invasion of the germanic lands trespassing the Rhine, and a very peculiar figure was born: Caligula. On a final note, I thought it was interesting, considering this whole Mayan prophecy, that in 12 B.C the comet Halley made an appearance…
These are some facts about 2012. For sure there are many more. We hope you will keep in mind the good ones tonight around 23:59 pm and enter the New Year with a smile on you face. We certainly will do. 2012 has been a very interesting year for us (Second birthday and all!), we can only hope you had as much fun as we did, and much more for 2013!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE
Some websites you might find interesting:
‘Technology review of the year 2012′, The Telegraph
’2012 in review: an interactive guide to the year that was’, The Guardian
‘Entertainment review of the year: 2012′, BBC News
‘Point of View: Why 2012 is a year to remember’, BBC News
Today, we have a special guest post for you written by Kevin Lewis!!!! The post you will be able to find it right below this announcement. As in previous occasions, we are only transmitting Kevin’s work to you, we have not altered his work, or anything. This is his own paper and contribution, all the merit and grace of this update is owed to him. So if you love it, CONGRATULATE HIM FOR SUCH A BRILLIANT TEXT! (I personally found it very interesting!)***************************************************************************************************************
In the famous Hereford Mappa Mundi, the Tower of Babel of Genesis stands not far from Jerusalem, the very centre of the world. Contemplating this beautiful work, one observes that the Tower is still standing, still stretching upwards for an invasion of Heaven that never came, for God has yet to cast it down in anger, to shatter it and the one language of humankind forever into so many tiny shards. This story of the confusion of tongues has particular relevance for the study of History, especially of the Middle Ages.
Contemporaries were very much aware of the sheer multiplicity of languages in use at the time. The number of divergent languages in Europe came as a particular surprise to Rashid al-Din, writing in Persia in the fourteenth century. Certainly, many more people would have been multilingual than they are today, at least in the Anglophone world. A reasonably educated English priest in 1100 would have known the English of the Anglo-Saxons, the French of the recent conquerors, and the Latin of the Church. Even a peasant is likely to have known a few regional dialects of English – picked up in an age long before such powerful influences as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson inadvertently united and standardised the language – as well as a smattering of French and very likely the Latin Pater Noster, if nothing else of prayer and liturgy. As for highly cosmopolitan regions such as Byzantine Constantinople, Fatimid Alexandria or Crusader Acre, where the merchants of the known world congregated, still more languages were in play.
David Morgan’s standard work, The Mongols (1986), includes a lengthy discussion of the uniquely acute linguistic difficulties encountered when attempting to study the Mongol Empire as a whole: a vast domain stretching from Korea to Poland, recorded primarily in the multiple languages of the conquered peoples of Eurasia, rather than in the language of the conquerors themselves. Not even the most gifted of polyglots can be expected to master Chinese, Arabic, Latin and all the languages in between. This forces any historian seeking to view the Empire as a totality to rely to a great extent upon translations and the secondary literature of others. The key problem is that such modern intermediaries essentially represent yet another degree of separation between the historian and the people and events he or she is striving to understand.
One does not need to study the Mongols to recognise that the study of even the smallest, most geographically specific corner of the Medieval World is dependent upon the acquisition of specialist linguistic skills. Research into early Islamic Egypt is likely to require Coptic, Arabic and Greek. A study of thirteenth century Yorkshire necessitates Latin and Norman French. And of course this is not to mention the various languages required for the ever expanding body of secondary literature. English, French and German are usually indispensable, with others dependent upon the research area itself, be it Italian for Norman Sicily or Spanish for the Reconquista. Unfortunately, linguistic training has never figured anywhere near as prominently in the teaching of Medieval History as in related disciplines such as Classics or Oriental Studies.
As researchers, there is little we can do but to gather as many bricks of Babel as possible in our constant striving for understanding of the texts upon which we base our work. Even then, much research will still be found wanting, lacking the depth of engagement with each and every relevant language: the ability not only to recognise the subjunctive and the ablative absolute when we encounter them in the wild, but also to appreciate more fully the subtleties of each and every language in their diverse ironies, idioms and obscurely humorous turns of phrase.
One practical route worth exploring may be the greater encouragement of collaborative work. In the natural sciences, it is very common for doctoral students to work towards their degrees as part of larger teams working on joint projects, often alongside more senior researchers. This is not entirely alien to Medieval History and the Humanities generally, but it is comparatively rarer. I personally know only one fellow doctoral student engaged in such a project. Certainly, such group work would not be relevant or useful for every researcher or topic, and there is always the risk that the encouragement of such collaborations could discourage individuals from the crucial task of studying languages for themselves, but I cannot help but feel that an increased level of institutional support for such projects could do much to alleviate the curse of Babel.
Hertford College, University of Oxford
12/12/2012, what a wonderful day to celebrate!
Today in W.U Hstry we are all very excited! The reason behind it is that two years ago, a group of enthusiasts, history students from the University of Winchester decided to start this blog you are reading right now as an extra curricular activity. History for the sake of history. History because we love it. History “because it’s there” as George Mallory said about climbing up mount Everest.
So from here, we all wish to THANK YOU! THANK YOU W.U HSTRY FANS! Thank you wonderful people that have seen us grow, that have read our posts, that have commented and share experiences.
Thanks to all the people that have helped us through and give us their support: teachers, fellow historians, members of the public, friends and families. This wouldn’t have been worth it, if it wasn’t because of you!
We hope you have enjoyed our blog so far and that you will carry on following our updates, which will be many more to come!
Kind Regards from everyone!
Ok everyone; it is time to know the answers for our Olympics, Sports & History Quiz!! Also, we will announce who is the winner so this person can actually dare us to write about a certain topic, whatever they choose!
- The First Ancient Olympic Games did take place in Olympia, 776 BC.
- The First Female Athlete to become and Olympic Champion was Cynisca of Sparta, who was a princess to said Greek city-state, and she obtained a bronze statue in the chariot race competition.
- The Founder of the International Olympic Committee was the Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
- In the 20th century there have been 3 Olympic Games cancelled due to bellicose conflicts: in 1916, 1940 and 1944, (the impact of WW1 and WW2).
- The First Proper Olympic Games that took place in Modern Times were those of 1896, in Athens and were known by the name of the Games of the I Olympiad.
- And for those who did not know, London has been an Olympic city 2 more times: in 1908 and in 1948 (should have been before that but those were one of the games cancelled during WW2).
- Apart from the French, it was the Inuits from Greenland the ones who started the handball mania!
- It was Diego de Valera, a Spanish writer and historian from the 15th Century the one that wrote down the rules for modern fencing.
- For this question, you should blame King Edward III for banning hockey. And just as a curiosity it does seem that James II of Scotland did try and ban hockey too, but English monarch was already a pioneer in such modality.
- The three cultures that were dexterous in pole vaulting were (Surprise, surprise): The Greeks, the Cretans and the Celts!
- That beautiful sport that is Synchro Swimming had its first recorded competition at Berlin in 1891.
- I know all those 3 names sounded really daffy in a way or another, but believe it or not, the original name of Volleyball was Mintonette indeed!
- The tough exercise that the Norwegian soldiers had to fulfil as an alternative to their military training was Biathlon. It appears that, in fact, one of the first ski clubs to be created in Norway around 1860 was the Trysil Rifle and Ski Club, which tried to promote the defense of the country at a local level.
- For those who did not know, the national sport of Korea by excellence is Taekondo, not Judo or Aikido. It is their specialty, their number 1 sport.
- Now, I am quite fond of Rhythmic Gymnastics as I practiced it for a long time, and it is a competition a never miss. Though, I have to admit that perhaps the question was a bit cheeky, but just so you know the first gymnast to win the gold in an Olympic Game was a Chinese-Canadian woman called Lori Fung. She obtained her medal in the games of L.A, 1984. Since then, it seems that the eastern European countries have the monopoly of this sport.
- And finally, the revival of Archery as a practice and sport took place in the 18th Century.
These are the answers to our questions. I hope you found it entertaining as well as informative.
And, before you leave, it is time to announce the winner. I said the Quiz Champion would be whoever had the highest number of right answers. Well, this is the ranking:
-Contestant alias “Carlos”-11
-Contestant alias “Martin”-6
-Contestant alias “Paula.Ct”-4
-Contestant alias “Eyre”-3
-Contestant alias “Chuspi”-2
WELL OUR TEST HAS BEEN PROVED TO BE HARD! I’m glad partially. Anyways, thanks to everyone who took the test, well done, and congratulations “Carlos”, you are up for the challenge!
OK, here I come with the second batch of questions. Are you ready? I have decided to make this more exciting. If any of you gets a very high score, of having ALL of the answer right (without cheating) OR MOST of the answers right (1-7 errors) WE WILL dedicate personally a post to this person. Topic to be chosen by the fortunate follower of W.U Hstry to be a master mind in this field! What do you say? A challenge for you, a challenge for us!
Well, as I promised, here it comes:
This is the full list. As I said above, give it a go, leave a comment with your answers and I’ll keep you posted to know th results!!
Well, I was thinking about what to write for this week. I had many ideas, but none of them seemed really attractive. So I had this random idea, and I thought “what if I do a quiz about the olympics and its sports?”. And that is what I am going to do. I am going to post the different questions with their possible answers in here and then in a week or so, I will post the right answers and other comments I might have to say about this.
It is an experiment, I hope it goes well and you find in interesting and challenging.
We will start with the “easy” ones first and then a bit of everything. Let’s see how it goes! Good luck and do not cheat, it will lose its charm if you do so!