December 2011

Word With a Past: How Did Germany Become the Hun?

December 27, 2011

The original Huns were a tribe of nomadic horsemen from Central Asia who rode fast and fought hard.* When they reached Europe in the second half of the fourth century, the Huns triggered a mass migration of Germanic tribes that contributed to the fall of Rome in the fifth century.  Under the leadership of Attila, […]

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The Christmas Truce–1914

December 23, 2011

For most of us, the most vivid images of World War I are the trenches on the Western front.  Men dug into positions on either side of a no-man’s land of craters and burned out buildings.  Barbed wire and sandbags provided little protection from enemy shelling or snipers; they provided no protection from rats, lice, […]

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History on Display: Elizabeth Rex

December 20, 2011

If you’re in Chicago between now and January 22, or are close enough that you can get here with no difficulty, I strongly recommend you get tickets to Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Elizabeth Rex  by Canadian playwright Timothy Findley. * Findley builds his story on three historical facts: The Earl of Essex, a court […]

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The Fourth Crusade Takes a Detour

December 17, 2011

At first the Fourth Crusade looked like all the other Crusades. In 1198, Pope Innocent III called for Christian knights to sail to the Holy Lands and re-capture Jerusalem, which Saladin had taken back from crusaders in 1187. In response to his call, thousands signed up, eager to fight Muslims in the Holy Lands and […]

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