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One Minute History

Jean Baptiste Denys: The blood of the calf.

I am the first to recognise that a great deal of scientific advancement has developed from accidents, mistakes or radical misconceptions. I also believe that in science even a negative result is a good thing. Advancement in any direction is still advancement. However rarely in history when a scientist starts with a profound misunderstanding about […]

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Folklore, Myth and Legend

Ankow: Don’t fear the reaper

One of the oldest surviving legends from the Brythonic world tells of a being called the Ankow. This is its Cornish name, the Normans and Bretons(Brittany) know it as Ankou. A skeletal figure that collects and guides the souls of the dead. It is often depicted wearing a wide brimmed hat and carrying a scythe. […]

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One Minute History

War on Nature

Humans are driven towards conflict. We as a species are like Mick, the drunk Glaswegian staggering around the streets on a friday night, picking fights with lamp posts. However there are times we get bored fighting other humans as we declare open war on the animal kingdom with mixed success. Side Note: Mick, you know […]

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Folklore, Myth and Legend

Korrigan: White Deer

Humans have always tried to explain away what they do not know with a supernatural answer. We are a species that are tied to each other and to the land through our oral tradition. Exploring our myths and legends can tell us a lot about a culture and sometime offer us a connection through them […]

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One Minute History

Alexander The Great: A night on the town

I was going through some files a couple of weeks ago and found an essay I wrote for A-Level Classical Civilisations. I half-arsed the living crap out of this thing. It was about Alexander the Great and what factors I felt led to his success in expanding an empire. Honestly I think I wrote it […]

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Folklore, Myth and Legend

Pwyll of Dyved: Legend One

I’m slowly working my way back through the Mabinogion, because who doesn’t love medieval Welsh literature? I actually found myself chuckling at this light hearted tale of sexual exploitation, violent extortion and the total deception of two nations. Pwyll was the Prince of Dyved, one day he decided to go for a hunt so he rode […]

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One Minute History

Boudica: Sing O Goddess…

Looking at the last few posts and the realisations I have come to through the research I had undertaken to write them, it has become increasingly clear that even in a free western society we are taught to look at our national past through a very specific and forgiving lens. Even when approaching cases like […]

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One Minute History

Lithuanian Immigration to Scotland

This post is intended to support the Biographica Incognita article on Johnny Ramensky. In researching the social and political landscape in which Johnny found himself, a large story started to unfold which I couldn’t fit into the article and was so much bigger and separate to the man himself. Some of the details from the […]

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One Minute History

Saragarhi: Bole So Niha

Towards the end of the nineteenth century the British had been trying to solidify their imperial borders in what is today Pakistan. Despite the enormous wealth India had brought the empire it also provided its share of problems. Arguably more so than any other region under British control. The tried and tested method of arming […]

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Jack Sheppard: Stone walls do not a prison make.

In researching my next Biographica Incognita entry I have been looking at impressive escapes from prison. This inexorably led me to the story of Jack Sheppard whose criminal career only lasted about two years but in those two years he accrued the notoriety of a lifetime. Jack was born in March 1702 in Spittlefields, London […]