Tag Archives: History

Historical topics

Passau Veste Oberhaus

The 34 photos from this tour are divided into two galleries, the first on the very long ascent to the castle and the second on the castle itself. Most pictures were taken with a Sony Alpha 7R and SEL-2470Z lens, except for four iPhone 5s photos from on an earlier walk. Click on any picture […]

Tales from the Roman Republic

Rome’s messy transition from republic to principate has been well-documented by ancient authors and often revisited by modern ones. Since 1990 there has been a veritable explosion of historical fiction set in this era. I’ve devoured a good part of it, so here are some recommendations for your reading pleasure. The authors generally keep to […]

How Great Was Alexander?

Following his observations on Napoleon, sociologist Randall Collins has posted another insightful article on one of history’s greatest warlords: What Made Alexander Great? Once again, I recommend you take an hour or two to read the whole thing. Below follows a summary with noteworthy excerpts. Philip’s Groundwork Alexander’s father Philip laid the groundwork to his […]

Napoleon’s Unlikely Career

Sociologist Randall Collins has published another fascinating essay-length post, this time on the illustrious career of Napoleon Bonaparte and the old question of talent versus luck. The single worst thing about the article is the title, Napoleon as CEO: A Career of Emotional Energy, which sounds like something written by robots to fill the space […]

Stephansdom & Lightroom

After some experiments with raw digital images, I now decided to rectify the one notable omission in this summer’s Passau gallery. That’s the famous Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s cathedral. It had been undergoing renovation which is now finished. I also switched to Adobe Lightroom for post-processing, as described in the next section. Scroll down to […]

Luttwak’s Grand Strategy of Rome

Edward N. Luttwak’s The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (John Hopkins University Press 1976) is a compact (255 pages) and brilliant classic on military and diplomatic strategies from the principate to the tetrarchy. Recently Luttwak published his long-awaited companion piece, The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire (Harvard University Press 2009), much delayed and […]

Passau Pictures & Photoscape

Brace yourselves, it’s time to inflict my amateur photos on the Internet! At least there aren’t any cat pictures. A five-hour trek through Passau in Bavaria/Germany, at the conflux of Danube, Inn & Ilz, yielded about 160 exposures of which I kept eleven. Notably absent is St. Stephen’s cathedral which is currently being renovated, and […]

John Glassie on Athanasius Kircher

John Glassie’s A Man of Misconceptions (Riverhead Books 2012) is an immensely entertaining account of the life and times of Athanasius Kircher (1601/2–1680), a Jesuit scholar who escaped the Thirty Years War ravaging his native Germany to become famous throughout Europe for his prolific writing, museum of curiosities, and peculiar scientific theories. Kircher lived at […]

Sociological Eye on Revolutions

Successful revolutions provide the founding myths for the newly established order, and are accordingly glorified as the spontaneous uprising of the righteous and downtrodden against their oppressors and exploiters. Randall Collins, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, has turned his Sociological Eye on the realities behind the myths. The articles quoted below are […]