The historian George Acropolites reports that the Tsar had Baldwin’s skull made into a drinking cup, just as had happened to Nicephorus I almost four hundred years before.
February 24th 1803: Marbury v. Madison
On this day in 1803 in the case Marbury v. Madison the US Supreme Court established the principle of judicial review. The case arose when Secretary of State James Madison failed to deliver documents to Justice of the Peace for DC William Marbury which officially granted his title. The Court decided that the section of the 1789 Judiciary Act allowing Marbury to bring his claim to the Court was itself unconstitutional. On February 24th the Court ruled unanimously to this effect. The decision gave the Supreme Court the power to interpret the constitution and strike down laws as ‘unconstitutional’. Since then, the Court have made many high-profile rulings branding things unconstitutional. For example: school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954); school prayer in Engel v. Vitale (1962); teaching creationism in science lessons in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) and the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor (2013).
In honor of everyone’s favorite History Channel show, here’s a list of facts about the pillaging, plundering Vikings:
- The word “Viking” was originally a verb, describing the action of seafaring
- The first humans to arrive on Iceland were Irish explorers, who arrived no later than the year 795. The colony that they established did not last; when the Vikings arrived eighty years later, only a few hermits remained.
- In the 800s, Vikings were raiding as far southeast as Constantinople
- Also in the 800s, they founded Dublin. In the year 1000, the world’s largest slave market was run by Vikings in their city of Dublin.
- Viking ships were steered by rudders on the right side, called styrbord, Old Norse for “steer side” from which the English word “starboard” derives.
- The Vikings had a god of snowshoes, named Ull.
- Only one Viking helmet has ever been found, in a Viking grave in south Norway. It did not have horns.
Genghis Khan understood the importance of horses and insisted that his troops be solicitous of their steeds. A cavalryman normally had three or four, so that each was, at one time or another, given a respite from bearing the weight of the rider during a lengthy journey. Before combat, leather coverings were placed on the head of each horse and its body was covered with armor. After combat, Mongol horses could traverse the most rugged terrain and survive on little fodder.
According to Marco Polo, the horse also provided sustenance to its rider on long trips during which all the food had been consumed. On such occasions, the rider would cut the horse’s veins and drink the blood that spurted forth. Marco Polo reported, perhaps with some exaggeration, that a horseman could, by nourishing himself on his horse’s blood, “ride quite ten days’ marches without eating any cooked food and without lighting a fire.” And because its milk offered additional sustenance during extended military campaigns, a cavalryman usually preferred a mare as a mount. The milk was often fermented to produce kumiss, or araq, a potent alcoholic drink liberally consumed by the Mongols.
In short, as one commander stated, “If the horse dies, I die; if it lives, I survive.”
Mobility and surprise characterized the military expeditions led by Genghis Khan and his commanders, and the horse was crucial for such tactics and strategy. Horses could, without exaggeration, be referred to as the intercontinental ballistic missiles of the thirteenth century.
The Lone Ranger wasn’t just a legend perpetuated by books, radio shows, television series and movies; he was a real man, a crimefighter who lived with Native Americans in what would become Oklahoma—and he was black.
“The real ‘Lone Ranger,’ it turns out, was an African American man named Bass Reeves, who the legend was based upon,” Political Blind Spot reported. “Perhaps not surprisingly, many aspects of his life were written out of the story, including his ethnicity. The basics remained the same: a lawman hunting bad guys, accompanied by a Native American, riding on a white horse, and with a silver trademark.” Born a slave, Bass Reeves escaped during the Civil War, fleeing to what was then Indian Territory to live “harmoniously” among the Seminole and Creek Indians. “After the Civil War finally concluded, he married and eventually fathered ten children, making his living as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Arkansas and the Indian Territory,” Political Blind Spot reported.
“If this surprises you, it should, as Reeves was the first African American to ever hold such a position.” Like the legendary Lone Ranger, Reeves handed out pieces of silver—coins, though, not bullets—that would become his trademark. He was a master of disguise, an expert marksman, and he even, for a time, rode a silver horse. “Like the famed Lone Ranger legend, Reeves had his own close friend like Tonto,” Political Blind Spot reported. “Reeves’ companion was a Native American posse man and tracker who he often rode with, when he was out capturing bad guys. In all, there were close to 3000 of such criminals they apprehended, making them a legendary duo in many regions.” More from the site: The final proof that this legend of Bass Reeves directly inspired into the story of the Lone Ranger can be found in the fact that a large number of those criminals were sent to federal prison in Detroit.
The Lone Ranger radio show originated and was broadcast to the public in 1933 on WXYZ in Detroit where the legend of Reeves was famous only two years earlier. A couple of books have been written about Reeves’ life: Vaunda Michaux Nelson won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for best author for her book, Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. Arthur Burton published Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves. This Land has covered Reeves, too, in an excerpt from Michael Wallis’ book Wild West 365.
Wallis wrote: Bass Reeves was born a slave and died a hero. … Reeves became fluent in Creek and several other Indian languages and was a master of disguise, a talent he often employed when pursuing criminals. He also was ambidextrous and could shoot a pistol with great accuracy using either hand. At a time when unconcealed racism was widespread, the physically imposing Reeves won the respect of his fellow deputies and even some of the outlaws he tracked down and brought to justice. -
See more at: http://thislandpress.com/roundups/bass-reeves-the-real-lone-ranger/#sthash.zmBikGYd.dpuf
The bold, black line is the Pre-1848 Mexico border. Also note the use of gringolandia in The Economist, wow!
From “Old Mexico Lives” On by The Economist,
On February 2nd 1848, following a short and one-sided war, Mexico agreed to cede more than half its territory to the United States. An area covering most of present-day Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, plus parts of several other states, was handed over to gringolandia. The rebellious state of Tejas, which had declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, was recognised as American soil too. But a century and a half later, communities have proved more durable than borders. The counties with the highest concentration of Mexicans (as defined by ethnicity, rather than citizenship) overlap closely with the area that belonged to Mexico before the great gringo land-grab of 1848. Some are recent arrivals; others trace their roots to long before the map was redrawn. They didn’t jump the border—it jumped them.
Sadly, ‘A Knight’s Tale’ is not a historically accurate film.
History, University of York
Masculinity and Power in the English Mêlée Tournament, 1100-1400
Sergeant Stubby, so named for his lack of a tail, was a stray pitbull found wandering Yale campus by some soldiers there during drill.
"He learned the bugle calls, the drills, and even a modified dog salute as he put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by his fellow soldiers."
He was smuggled into WW1 by a soldier, and allowed to stay when he saluted the man who would later become his commanding officer.
He was sent to the trenches where he was under constant enemy fire for over a month. He was wounded in the leg by a German hand grenade, sent to a hospital to convalesce, then returned to the front lines…
After being wounded in a gas attack, Stubby developed such a sensitivity that he would run and bark and alert the other soldiers of incoming gas attacks AND artillery attacks precious seconds before they occurred, saving countless lives. A canine early warming system.
He would go into no man’s land, find wounded men, shouting in English, And stay with them, barking, until medics arrived.
He once captured a German spy.
The spy, mapping out Allied trenches, tried to call to Stubby, but Stubby got aggressive and then chased down and attacked the spy when he attempted to flee, allowing Allied soldiers to capture him.
For this he was awarded the rank of Sergeant- the first dog to do so.
After helping the Allies retake Château-Thierry in France, Sergeant Stubby was sewn a uniform by the women of the town, on which to wear his many medals.
He went on to meet multiple Presidents, dignitaries and ambassadors and become the mascot of Georgetown University football.
There is nothing about this that is not magical.
And he was a pitbull. Good boy, Stubby, good boy.
In a literal sense, Barack Obama’s presidency was made possible by the tradition of black politics—he could not have won in 2008 without the proportional allocation that came out of Jesse Jackson’s campaign 20 years before. Considering this history, and considering the valence of African-American culture and heritage in our collective lives, in the very founding of this country, in our politics, I am not sure how much comparisons with European countries can tell us.
Barack Obama was not prophecy. Whatever had been laid before him, it takes gifted hands to operate, repeatedly, on a country scarred by white supremacy. The significance of the moment comes across, not simply in policy, by in the power of symbolism.
The last of the Neanderthals may have died out tens of thousands of years ago, but large stretches of their genetic code live on in people today.
Though many of us can claim only a handful of Neanderthal genes, when added together, the human population carries more than a fifth of the archaic human’s DNA, researchers found. Read more
Photograph: Jose A Astor/Alamy