Amongst laymen, it is widely believed that Adam & Eve were monogamous? How did mankind arrive at this conclusion? Was it due to their religious upbringing or due to a general assumption that people in the “old days” were more moral or even prudish?
Let us explore the possibility.
Main picture: Adam & Eve in the quintessential fashion of the Stone Age Era or was this only one of the pieces that they displayed this day Continue reading
In South African history, the illiterate Maria Mouton has earned a unique notoriety by being the only white woman to be executed in the Cape Colony during the eighteenth century. Her primary offence was to conspire with one of her husband’s slaves to murder her husband, Frans Jooste. For that she deserved the ultimate sanction at the time, the death penalty. Be that as it may but what was deeply vexing for the unctuous court was that it considered Maria’s actions of willingly consorting with her co-accused, the dark-hued slave Titus of Bengal, beyond the bounds of propriety. For Cape Society, that act was truly beyond the pale.
For no other reason, this story makes for compelling reading. As Nigel Penn eloquently states, “Her lustful and murderous conduct, her intercourse with a dark-skinned bondsman, was betrayal of both her gender and her social group. Colonial society as a whole was threatened by her actions”.
Main picture: Slaves during this era were an integral part of society as is visible in this painting
What does one feel about one’s parent if one’s father is culpable of some heinous crime? Is it denial or loathing? It can never be both or even some adulterated commingled version. Whenever the latter occurs, ones protestations in support of one’s parent become self-serving, irrational and tenuous whilst never addressing the real issue at hand. Such is the case with Horst von Wächter, son of Baron Otto Gustav von Wächter, Governor of Galicia during WW2.
How does Horst today at 77 years of age, reconcile his vision of a loving father with that of a monster who was responsible for the deaths of at least 100,000 Jews?
This is the tale of convoluted denial against all the evidence to the contrary.
Main picture: Horst Von Wachter, Philippe Sands and Niklas Frank behind the scenes of My Nazi Legacy Continue reading
Of all the war planes of WW2, the HE-115, a twin-engine three-seater float plane, did not make a huge contribution. In total only 138 were ever built of which 6 were sold to the Norwegians before the Germans invaded them and twelve were sold to the Swedish. Nonetheless I am extremely critical of the decision that most surviving planes which were deemed obsolete, were merely sold as scrap rather than trying to preserve a large number of copies of them. Even the venerable Lancaster bomber suffered this ignominious fate resulting in there being only one copy still in flying condition today.
After finding another wrecked HE-115 in 2013, that makes a total of three available for restoration and perhaps flight? What is the prognosis of at least one HE-115 flying again?
Main picture: HE-115 recovered from Hafrsfjord in Norway on 12th June 2012
During those few days, the ultimate fate of England would be sealed. If the Armada of King Phillip II of Spain prevailed over the fleet of Queen Elizabeth I of England, then the future primacy of Spain as a world super power would be indisputable. Apart from Elizabeth’s head & England independence but also at stake was the future America as a Spanish colony as would South Africa.
Why were the British able to prevail against a superior force?
Main picture: An engraving of the route of the Armada
In many ways, the Demyansk Pocket [German: Festung Demjansk or Kessel von Demjansk] was the forerunner of what was to occur later in 1942 except that in the latter instance, the outcome was tragic. Hitler, the Commander of the German Wehrmacht, had drawn the wrong conclusions from this action. The consequences of Stalingrad were immense: the elimination of Germany’s strategic initiative in the war forever.
Main picture: Like Napoeon’s forces before them, the Germans during the winter of 1941/1942 literally freeze to death in inappropriate clothing.
Einstein has always fascinated the world for his intellectual genius but very little light has been cast on Einstein, the private man. The fact that he was married as a youngster to Mileva Maric, a Hungarian and supposed “intellectual equal”, is little known. However what was totally unknown, until 31 years after his death in 1955, was the existence of his daughter Lieserl whose whereabouts and life still largely remains a mystery.
It was that revelation that set me on the course to uncover the “real” Einstein – not the man synonymous with genius – but the Einstein as lover, father and husband; the private man.
In the annals of history Jesus is undoubtedly the most revered and well-known man. In spite of having four biographies written about him in the form of the first four Gospels of the New Testament, he remains an enigma. The cause of this consternation is that the four Gospels do not form a seamless whole. For the pious these inconsistencies must be overlooked but in this blog I will produce a reality check on the facts and list what could be myth. Were the Gospels in fact the gospel truth about the life and times of Jesus?
Main picture: The Dead Scrolls provided an evocative insight into one the sects contemporaneous with Jesus’ life. Whether as Barbara Thiering contends Jesus was an Essene is a moot point. Nevertheless these scrolls do throw a new light on the times when Jesus was alive.
Perhaps two concepts more than any other encapsulate this revolution – free sex and drugs use. Intriguingly why did a rabidly anti-establishment cultural revolution arise when America was flourishing? Foremost it was due to the fact that during the 1960s and 1970s there was deep-rooted social discontent amongst the youth of America. Perhaps there are four reasons germane to this discussion. Did the experiences of all hippies conform to the expectation that all hippie communes operated on the same modus vivendi or were their members’ experiences unique to each commune? What happened to the offspring of these commune members? Did the revolution have an impact on society in general or did it metastasize and influence it in a myriad of ways which now form part of the establishment’s soul.
Main picture: A vivid evocation of the quintessential hippie lifestyle
The blog “Rating the Generals of WW2” has certainly stirred a hornet’s nest. Firstly Luigi admonished me for neglecting General Slim of Burma. This unintended omission confirms that both the 14th Army and its Commanding Officer are now forgotten, true to their namesake, The Forgotten [14th] Army. In this case, a peremptory mea culpa and honour was satisfied. Not so in the case of Montgomery. After publishing Blaine’s rebuttal on my rating, I then used the right of reply to question the speed of Montgomery’s advance from El-Alamein after crushing the Axis Powers. Blaine has taken umbrage with my interpretation of Montgomery’s “ponderous” advance across Cyrenaica & Tripolitania in Libya. The essence of the dispute is whether Montgomery was rightly cautious and considered or whether he was ponderous and unimaginative. Whereas Blaine favours the former interpretation, I favour the latter.
Main picture: Montgomery and his adversary Erwin Rommel, both vainglorious and publicity seeking