Sunday, January 25, 2015

Broadway, 1910

New York circa 1910: Broadway with the Flatiron Building in the background

Excerpt from a photo found on

next episode: Bologna

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Game of Mayan Thrones

The ancient Maya city of Naachtun was founded around 400 BC. At its peak between 500 and 800 AD the city had a population of 20,000 people, multiple pyramids, grand public buildings, more than 40 inscribed stele and a massive palace complex spread out over four hectares.

 Calakmul and Tikal (in the center of the map)

Naachtun was the capital of the Masuul kingdom. It was located about 27 miles south of Calakmul, and 40 miles north of Tikal; the two superpowers of the Maya world. Calakmul and Tikal were locked in a frequently vicious fight for supremacy, they hated each other's guts, fought wars, and captured each other's kings.

This location gave Naachtun great strategic importance. Whether they were fighting each other or trading with allied city-states, Calakmul and Tikal had to go through Masuul, and the city profited ably. Masuul changed sides repeatedly, its uniquely formidable defenses (walls 13 feet high made out of large limestone blocks) allowed Naachtun to prosper during centuries of war.

Recent deciphered steles at Masuul tell this story: At January 16th, 378 AD. Tikal was defeated by forces from Teotihuacan. Masuul was an ally of Teotihuacan during this battle for Tikal. 

Teotihuacan, modern-day Mexico City, is almost 800 miles northwest of Tikal, but that didn’t stop general Siyah K’ak’ (Fire Is Born) from killing Tikal’s king Chak Tok Ich’aak (Great Jaguar Paw), conquering the city and installing the six-year-old king Yax Nuun Ayin (First Crocodile), son of a figure known as Spearthrower Owl who was probably the ruler of Teotihuacan. First Crocodile married a daughter of the displaced Tikal ruling family and started a new dynasty.


next episode: Broadway

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mucha - La Dame aux Camélias

Mucha - La Dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias) (1896).

The Lady of the Camellias is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, first published in 1848, that was subsequently adapted for the stage. In the English-speaking world, The Lady of the Camellias became known as Camille, and 16 versions have been performed at Broadway theatres alone. Sarah Bernhardt starred in Paris, London, and several Broadway revivals. It has also been adapted for approximately twenty different motion pictures. An instant success, Giuseppe Verdi immediately set about to put the story to music. His work became the 1853 opera La Traviata.

next episode: Maya

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roman City Gate

 (photos by RfA, 2006)

Inside there is a small museum about The Roman Walls:

The Museum of the Walls (Museo Delle Mura)

next episode: La Dame

Friday, January 9, 2015

Major-General James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt

Major-General B.B. Estcourt (1802-1855), taken in the Crimea shortly before his death

Major-General James Bucknall Bucknall Estcourt was a chief staff officer during the Crimean War and died of cholera in the Crimea. He was a close friend of Lord Raglan, the commander of the British troops during the Crimean WarHe was one of the officers held by the public to be responsible for the sufferings of the British troops in the first winter in the Crimea but was strongly defended by Lord Raglan.

B.B. Estcourt

He saw action at the battles of Alma, Balaklava and Inkerman where he was severely wounded. When appointed to act as Major-General, Estcourt had been a surprise choice having seen no previous active service; indeed, he had expected to go with the Army as Judge-Advocate. Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Sterling doubted his suitability for the appointment: 'The Adjutant-General is a very amiable man, a perfect gentleman and a good Christian, but as innocent of the meaning of discipline as a sucking baby.'

B.B. Estcourt (Royal Collection Trust)

His death was universally regretted. 'He was a man of remarkably kind and courteous disposition', and 'a man greatly loved by Lord Raglan, by all his friends at headquarters, and indeed by all who knew him'. Lord Raglan was afraid to attend the funeral, for fear of showing his grief; but the last visit he paid before his own death, was to Estcourt's tomb. It was announced that Estcourt would have been made a K.C.B. if he had survived. His widow, who had courageously spent the winter in camp, and had been by her husband's deathbed, was raised to the rank of a K.C.B.'s widow by special patent in 1856 (source: Wikipedia).

(photos by Roger Fenton, Crimea, 1855)

next episode: Rome

Monday, January 5, 2015

Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines

Hendrik Voogd - Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines (1807, Rijksmuseum)

Hendrik Voogd (1768-1839) was known as the ‘Dutch Claude’, after the French painter Claude Lorrain, who was famous for his history landscapes bathed in golden light. Voogd painted the gardens of the Villa Borghese in Rome in the late afternoon. The sun casts long shadows, and the trees stand out sharply against the sky. Strolling figures are enjoying the magnificent sunset. In the foreground (in the shadow) an artist is seated against a tree and drawing (source: Rijksmuseum).

next episode: Bucknall Bucknall

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year !

A happy new 1925 2015 to all my readers!

next episode: ?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Main Street, Dayton, Ohio

Main Street, Dayton, Ohio, 1904 (Detroit Publishing Company)

Excerpt from a photo found on

next episode: new y...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry & Happy Christmas

Heiligenbergerbeek, Amersfoort (photo RfA)

Merry & Happy Christmas

next episode: Ohio

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Operation Reindeer (Unternehmen Rentier)

Operation Rentier (Reindeer) was a German operation during World War II intended to secure the nickel-mines around Petsamo, in Finland, against a Soviet attack in the event of a renewed war between Finland and the Soviet Union.

The planning for the operation started on 13 August 1940, after the German occupation of Norway was complete, and was finalized in October that year. The plan called for the two divisions of the Alpine Corps Norwegen to occupy Petsamo and prevent Soviet capture of strategically important mines.

Petsamo (Wikipedia)

The operation was eventually carried out as part of Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union. The operation commenced on 22 June 1941, and proceeded without any incidents. The German 2nd Mountain Division occupied the area around Liinakhamari and the German 3rd Mountain Division occupied Luostari.

The operation was followed up by Operation Platinum Fox, which was an attack by the two divisions against Murmansk as a part of the larger Operation Silver Fox.

next episode: xmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


French cantinière during the Crimean War, by Roger Fenton (1855).

A cantinière was a civilian woman attached to the French Army on an official basis, who sold food and liquor to the soldiers above and beyond what they received as rations. She had to be married to a soldier of the regiment, and received no pay, living off her earnings instead. This cantinière was attached to a zouave regiment (zouaves were originally Algerian troops), and therefore wears baggy trousers (source: The National Army Museum).

'Le Zouave blessé' by Roger Fenton (Crimea, February 29, 1855). A cantiniere on the Crimea War battlefield administering fluid to a wounded soldier.

As well as providing the troops with extra food and alcoholic drinks, the cantinière also played an important social role in the regiment, providing female companionship to the men away from home. For a fee she might also undertake cooking, laundry, or sewing. During a battle, she might distribute brandy and cartridges to the troops, and assist the wounded. Cantinières, usually from lower class backgrounds, lived and travelled with a regiment and shared the same hardships as the soldiers (source: The National Army Museum).

next episode: reindeer


Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog Real Time Web Analytics