April 2013

Book-hoarding, 10th Century Style

April 25, 2013

Anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time with me in recent months, whether in real life or in some virtual space, has probably heard me bemoan the state of my office bookshelves.  As the photo above attests, they overflow. Loaded two deep and stacked rather than shelved, there is still not enough room. Worse, […]

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The Art of the Book

April 21, 2013

The Islamic world created illuminated manuscripts that rivaled anything that came out of a medieval monastery: Qu’rans, historical chronicles, stories of the prophets, the deeds of kings, lyric poetry, heroic epics, philosophy, scientific treatises, and romantic tales. Caliphs, courtiers, and wealthy merchants commissioned manuscripts from the ninth century until well into the seventeenth century, when […]

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Road Trip Through History: America’s First Interstate

April 11, 2013

George Washington was a road builder long before he was a nation-builder. As a young officer under the ill-fated General Braddock, he helped construct a military road from western Maryland to Pennsylvania.* As president of the new United States, he dreamed of a trans-Appalachian road that would unify the new nation and aid westward expansion. […]

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Learning to Read Egypt: Hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone

April 4, 2013

As I believe I mentioned recently, European scholars at the time of the Renaissance rediscovered ancient Egypt in the writings of classical Greece.* Like the ancient Greeks before them, they believed Egypt was the source of art, religion, and science: a land of mystery and arcane knowledge. The belief in Egypt as a land of […]

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Blood Sisters

April 2, 2013

With the discovery of Richard III’s bones under a Leister parking lot, the Wars of the Roses are in the news again. Historians and hobbyists alike are arguing the relative claims of Lancaster and York across the media. In Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses. Sarah Gristwood tells the familiar story […]

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