Friday, 15 August 2014

A Game from Ancient Egypt

Games of Ancient Egypt

The Jewel of Osiris
The evil god Set wanted to seize the jewel of Osiris, but the followers of Osiris kept it safe by throwing it to each other. To play the game “Jewel of Osiris” you will need a ball and three or more players. One of the players becomes Set, the others are the followers of Osiris. The followers stand around Set. One of the followers of Osiris has the ball, the jewel, and throws it to another follower of Osiris. If Set manages to touch the ball he changes places with the follower of Osiris who threw the ball. The game then continues with the new Set.

from "Action Files: Ancient Egypt" by Rupert Matthews
Get your copy HERE

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Continent of Empires

A Continent of Empires

Before World War I, Europe was dominated by three large empires that no longer exist today: The German Empire, the Russian Empire and the Hapsburg Empire, which is sometimes called Austria-Hungary.

A fourth Empire was the Turkish Ottoman Empire which had once ruled all of southeastern Europe, but was now confined to the Middle East.

All of these empires were governed by autocratic rulers who took little notice of democracy or the wishes of their peoples. They took decisions themselves based on what they thought was right for their empires or for themselves.

From "1000 Facts about World War I" by Rupert Matthews
Get your copy HERE

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Powers of the King in Ancient Rome

The Powers of the King in Ancient Rome

The system of government under the kings of Rome is unclear. The Romans liked to claim that many features of government dated back to the time of the kings to make them appear older and more prestigious than they actually were.

The earliest kings – Romulus and Numa Pompilius – ruled over a small state. They probably ruled directly, issuing orders and ensuring that they were carried out themselves.

All the kings held the position of chief priest of Rome. He had to supervise the other priests to make sure that the correct rituals and sacrifices were carried out.

The kings were also the commanders of the army. They had to supervise the mustering of the citizens and the selection of those who would go on campaign and those who would stay in Rome.

On campaign the king was the general of the army. He decided what strategy would be followed, which tactics would be used and gave orders to the various units when battle was joined.

from "1000 Facts on Ancient Rome" by Rupert Matthews
Get your copy HERE

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Greeks arrive in Greece

The Greeks arrive in Greece

About 5,000 years ago the peoples living in what is now Greece learned how to plant grain crops such as wheat and barley and how to grow fruits such as plums and grapes. They began to live as farmers.

About the year 2000bc a new type of people began to move into Greece from the north and northeast. These people were the Hellenes, the ancestors of the Greeks.

The early Greeks were pastoralists, meaning that they herded cattle, horses and sheep. As they settled in Greece they learned to stay in one place farming food crops.

The goats and sheep that the Greeks brought with them ate leaves and shoots from young trees and so stopped them growing. Slowly the forests were destroyed.

from "1000 Facts on Ancient Greece" by Rupert Matthews
Get your copy HERE

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

NEW ebook - Myths and Mysteries of the First World War [Kindle Edition]

NEW ebook -  Myths and Mysteries of the First World War [Kindle Edition]

My very good friend Leonard James has a new ebook out.

From the Angel of Mons to the sealed cargo on the torpedoed liner Lusitania, from the secret evidence in the Nurse Edith Cavell trial to the haunted U-boat, the First World War was a hotbed of mysteries and myths. This book explores the best known in the light of latest evidence from declassified documents.
The First World War had a massive impact on the peoples of the time. The wide scope of the fighting and enormous human tragedy marked the popular mind as no other war had. Part of the impact was made by the huge number of legends, myths and mysteries that circulated among the front line soldiers and among civilians or were reported in the media.
In this book military historian Leonard James goes back to the original sources, unearths obscure government records kept secret for decades and seeks to get back to the truth of what went on. He disentangles the confusion between the very real Angel of Mons and the fictional “Bowmen” story in the press. He reveals the evidence suppressed for so long about Edith Cavell, the nurse shot by the Germans. He finally solves the conundrum of who actually shot down the Red Baron. He seeks the truth behind the mysterious “sealed cargo” on board the British liner Lusitania when she was torpedoed with the loss of over 1,000 lives. He tracks down the story of the Phantom Piper of the Black Watch, seeks out the German eyewitness to the RFC “death flight” and tries to track down the elusive, but deadly Gurkha with the silver kukri. Be it the Ghost Plane of Calais, the Madonna of Albert, the Russian soldiers in London, the Lost Battalion, the fate of Captain Ball, the antics of the Mad Major or the mysterious airman known as “Ballooning Bertie” you will find it all in this fascinating, mystifying and at times amusing but carefully researched foray into the Myths and Mysteries of the First World War.

About the Author
Leonard James is the grand son or great nephew of three soildiers who fought in the trenches of the Western Front in France. His father served in RAF Bomber Command in World War II and he has written a number of books about the Second World War. This is his first book about the First World War, but is far from being the last.

Buy your copy HERE

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Scots invade Britain from Ireland

The Scots invade Britain from Ireland

As Roman Britain stood on the edge of collapse raiders from Ireland pillaged western areas. Known as Scotti, these men eventually turned from raiding to settlement and farming. In some areas they were absorbed, in others driven out, but in northern Britain they stayed and founded the kingdom that later became Scotland.

The arrival of the Scots in northern Britain was a major turning point in history. The language of the people had been Pictish beyond modern Stirling and British further south. But the Scots changed the language to the Gaelic form of Celtic spoken in Ireland. Strangely there is no known tribe in Ireland called the Scots. The word seems to derived from a Gaelic word meaning ‘to rob’ or ‘to plunder’, appropriate for a band of sea-borne raiders.

The Scots themselves preserved an oral tradition that they arrived in Argyll from northern Ireland in three ships, each carrying fifty men. No date is given for this invasion, but anytime between about 390 and 420 is likely. The ships involved were probably large open rowing boats, about 17 metres long. Within a few years many more Scots must have arrived for, in about 450, they could field an army 1500 strong and send 20 ships to sea.

In contrast to their military might, the Scots who settled in Argyll left almost no trace in the archaeological record. It is known that they took over the great British fortress of Dunadd soon after landing, but digs on the site have shown no sign of them. The pottery, stonework and other finds are effectively identical to those of a British tribe. It is possible that the invaders were made up only of a chief and his warriors. The lack of women and children would explain the lack of Irish domestic utensils. But the men must have been formidable indeed to create a nation by themselves.