Category Archives: History in Culture

The Parable of Galileo

I have become a bit embarrassed by the amount of interest my post about the trial of Galileo has generated.  It was a very quick and not particularly thought out piece that I just knocked out in half an hour or so in response to a Pious Fabrication’s video.   But it has been the most read post on my blog all week.  Comments made on it were rather better written and much more informed than my actual post.  That was humbling. But it has got me thinking about why the story of Galileo continues to resonate, especially given that the event itself was a bit confused to say the least.   I think it’s because it has gone beyond an historical event and has turned into a parable. Continue reading

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The Trial of Galileo – My Response to Pious Fabrications

I always enjoy the stuff Dave Withun puts up on his blog Pious Fabrications and particularly the almost daily videos he puts on Youtube. They are well put together and thought provoking, and it’s good to hear a point of view a long way from my own. I’m generally happy just to read or listen and sometimes make the odd comment, but I really can’t let his video on the Trial of Galileo past without question. Continue reading

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Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland’s Glory by Lisa Jardine

 

The events of 1688 have been remembered in British history as the Glorious Revolution. A tyrannical Catholic king was out of control and was destroying the country’s constitution, its liberties and its religion. In desperation William the Third was invited across to rescue the British and replace the unacceptable James the Second. William of Orange landed unopposed. He drew support to himself from the disaffected subjects of James and advanced slowly on London, carefully giving the British plenty of time to come round to his side and so to avoid any bloodshed. Continue reading

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Britain’s Six Greatest Enemies

Six of biggest threats to Britain over the years

Britain has had many enemies over the years, here are a few of the ones that posed the biggest threat to the British way of life.  Here are half a dozen of my favourites. Continue reading

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Black Swan by Nassim Taleb

It is a good sign when a book doesn’t fit into an obvious category.  It is probably a nightmare for a librarian or a bookseller, but it is good news for the reader.  There is less risk that you are going to read the same old stuff you have read before – we all enjoy the unexpected.  Black Swan is one of those books defies classification.  Is it philosophy, business, mathematics or history? What it is about unexpected events which unsettle prior conceptions.  So that is promising, an unpredictable book that deals with the unexpected.  Lets read on. Continue reading

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Red Nails, an early Conan story by Robert.E.Howard

Conan the Barbarian (Thanks to Wikipedia)

With the financial crisis back on the agenda I decided I had better get planning for a worldwide economic meltdown.  There won’t be much call for development chemists in any financial armageddon so I’ll be needing an alternative career path.  I have decided to become a barbarian.  Steel is the currency of the warrior, and even Goldman Sachs can’t do anything to get a rake off from that so it seems like a good choice. Continue reading

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Table Talk by William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt – Self Portrait (Thanks to Wikipedia)

Thanks to Jane Austen, and even more to all the television and film adaptations, we tend to think of Victorian and pre-Victorian Britain as a bit of a stuffy class based society where everyone knew their place.  And so no doubt it was. Continue reading

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What did Hypatia really know? The Science of Agora

With almost no cinema distribution and with the sales of the DVD virtually non-existent, Agora will probably vanish almost without a trace, not unlike its main character. The life of an historical figure few have heard of seems not to be a commercial proposition even when it gets generally good reviews on film buff blogs.  But there have been some heated debates online. Although any film where religion is a key part of the plot could upset someone somewhere, most of the discussion I have seen has been about how accurate a portrayal it was.  The historical background is one thing, but the question I find most interesting is what Hypatia actually did or didn’t do.  Where does Hypatia fit in the history of science? Continue reading

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Byzantine Fashion – Byzantine Influence continues to be felt on… fashion. (Yes. Fashion.)

Byzantine fashion is a coming trend…..

The fashion world has latched onto the sumptious and sensuous world of Byzantine dress and art. Continue reading

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V for Vendetta

I got in some beers and a pizza last Saturday night and stayed in to watch a DVD with my son – V for Vendetta. This was released in 2005, directed by James McTeigue and starring Hugo Weaving (masked throughout), Natalie Portman, John Hurt and Stephen Fry.

It is a good film, keeping you interested throughout and with good special effects and some very good actors performing very well. Although it is a cult film it has a very Hollywood feel to it with lots of action, a bit of love interest and building up to a satisfying ending with good basically triumphing over evil. Continue reading

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