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Author Topic: FOR HISTORY BUFFS  (Read 34251 times)

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Offline SANDRO43

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ANCIENT INSTRUMENT RECONSTRUCTED
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2017, 08:12:09 AM »
In 1929 a team of archaeologists digging in the Sumerian city of Ur discovered in a royal tomb 5 lyres, 2 of which were covered by a 2mm-thick layer of silver and had kept most of their original form.

Canadian Peter Pringle, a musician expert of ancient instruments, reconstructed a copy of the 5,000 y.o. lyre - using steel rather than silver for economy ;) - and here he plays it:


Interestingly, the lyres had 11 strings - the number of semitones in an octave - but it's impossible to know how they were actually tuned then ::).
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Offline SANDRO43

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BATTLE DRUGS
« Reply #51 on: November 14, 2017, 07:12:25 PM »
The first known mention of drugs used to enhance fighting efficiency is in Marco Polo's account of his travels "il Milione" (1299), where he relates of an "Old Man in the Mountain" who supposedly gave hashish to his Nizari Ismaili disciples, later to be called Assassins in European countries.

Alcohol
Much later the Royal Navy encouraged vessel commanders to issue a meal ("Seamen fight better on a full stomach") and a ration of grog (rum) before an engagement.

Even later, in WW1 it was customary to stiffen the resolve of troops about to exit their trenches and assault their enemy's with whatever strong drink was locally available - cognac, brandy, schnapps, grappa, vodka, etc.

Synthetic and natural drugs
In 1938 the German pharmaceutical company Temmler Werke GmbH developed Pervitin and successfully promoted its use as an anti-depressant and stimulant for the general population.


The Wehrmacht medical staff experimented this methamphetamine on soldiers and discovered its efficacy in enhancing coincentration, reducing sleepiness and hunger, etc. During WWII it was supplied to the Nazi and allied armed forces in huge quantities. My father told me how he and his fellow Regia Aereonautica pilots used to take simpamina in 1942-3 to face their appalling losses over the Mediterranean when transporting supplies to North Africa.

The Allies also used it - it seems more sparingly - as Benzedrine.

The Vietnam War saw US troops having widespread "unofficial" recourse to heroin, easily and cheaply available from neighbouring Thailand and environs.

One wonders what "stimulants" were later and are now given to world armed forces 8).
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Offline SANDRO43

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TRANSUMANZA
« Reply #52 on: November 16, 2017, 05:23:31 PM »
Transhumance means the yearly movement of shepherds and their flocks of sheep, in Italy from its central mountain areas to the southern plains in late summer - some 150+ miles covered in a couple of weeks.


A practice dating back a couple of millennia, the first recorded law issued around 100 AD by Emperor Augustus on tracturia - tratturi, the paths to be followed - and the allowed grazing sites, fostering the production of wool. It decreased  markedly after the fall of the Roman Empire, only to reappear gradually in the Middle Ages thanks to the spreading network of monasteries. Then local rulers saw the benefits they might reap from wool, and even the Florentine family of the Medicis invested in acquiring lands and building castles/fortresses on the route, as Rocca Calascio (altitude 1,460 metres) where some scenes of Ladyhawke were filmed.


Nowadays they organise excursions on foot, bikes and motorcycles on parts of the itinerary ;).
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Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2017, 11:45:12 PM »
I have completed an alternative, jazzed-up :D version of my Glossary:


I'd appreciate any comments before releasing it ;).
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 07:28:49 AM by SANDRO43 »
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Offline Brasscasing

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2017, 09:43:16 AM »
I have completed an alternative, jazzed-up :D version of my Glossary:


I'd appreciate any comments before releasing it ;).

Looks good, Sandro.

Page links work, graphics are animated and the windows load immediately. The information contained is accurate and well referenced.

I like it. Learned some new terms myself from the pages I visited. :)

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...Build the wall. Even Heaven has a gate...

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Offline BC

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2017, 10:58:10 AM »
Is pretty interesting :)  lots of words I never heard before...

Might want to consider putting the alphabet link at the top of each page, so the user can easily switch without going back.

Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2017, 12:16:16 PM »
Might want to consider putting the alphabet link at the top of each page, so the user can easily switch without going back.
I had thought of that possibility. However, it is not how one normally scans a dictionary: usually a specific word is searched for, rather than a sequence of letter-unrelated words. Therefore I decided not to do it.

Thanks for the suggestion, anyway :D.
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Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2017, 12:21:36 PM »
One major change that took me a lot of time to implement was the "sticky" heading for the table, so that it remains in place while the page is scrolled. It seemed to work with all the browsers I tested it with except IE.

Is it someone else's experience, too?
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Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #58 on: December 09, 2017, 01:50:38 PM »
Brian, on second thoughts your suggestion was spot on. I had not considered the fact that a page often has several cross-references to entries on other pages, therefore a reader may indeed want to jump more quickly elsewhere.

I shall do it shortly.

 
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Online msmob

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #59 on: December 10, 2017, 01:43:57 AM »
Your site raises another 'serious' question... I note that 'What shall we do with THE drunken sailor' has become an indefinite article to the Irish and others ;)
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Offline BC

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #60 on: December 10, 2017, 04:41:39 AM »
Zenith :- Term used in celestial Navigation - Distance which is the compliment of Altitude ie 0 deg in the Zenith, 90deg on Horizon, up TO 180deg at the Nadir.

Zinc: A sacrificial underwater metal fixture that helps reduce the effects of electrolysis on fastenings, rudder, shaft and propeller.

Maybe include Zulu also?

Online msmob

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #61 on: December 10, 2017, 05:24:13 AM »


Maybe include Zulu also?

Whatever for ? ;).. GMT / UTC  is a more commonly used term in 'proper' English..
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Offline BC

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #62 on: December 10, 2017, 05:53:23 AM »
Whatever for ? ;).. GMT / UTC  is a more commonly used term in 'proper' English..

Yeah, but we're talking about dirty mouthed sailors here :)

Online msmob

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #63 on: December 10, 2017, 06:10:48 AM »
Yeah, but we're talking about dirty mouthed sailors here :)

But not dirty mounted Brit ones !  The 'wet' ward rooms must seem awfully inviting to US Officer ;)

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Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #64 on: December 10, 2017, 06:43:08 AM »
Zenith :- Term used in celestial Navigation - Distance which is the compliment of Altitude ie 0 deg in the Zenith, 90deg on Horizon, up TO 180deg at the Nadir.
Your Altitude, I am deeply honoured by Your compliment ;D.
Quote
Zinc: A sacrificial underwater metal fixture that helps reduce the effects of electrolysis on fastenings, rudder, shaft and propeller.
IINM, the only metals on wooden sailing ships were iron (guns, shot) and copper (galley pots and hull sheathing) ::).
Quote
Maybe include Zulu also?
Then, out of fairness, I should also Bantu, Xhosa, etc. too ;).
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Offline SANDRO43

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REMEMBRANCE DAY
« Reply #65 on: January 27, 2018, 06:58:39 PM »
On 1st November, 2005 the UN Assembly decided to celebrate 25th January, 60 years after Soviet troops entered the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, as the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust.

This year of 2018 coincided with a shameful 80-year anniversary for us: in 1938 Mussolini promulgated his Leggi Razziali, declaring Italian Jews de facto non-citizens and later leaving them open to Nazi deportation to extermination camps after our surrender to the Allies in September, 1943 - 8,000+ dying there, only very few returning. 

The President of our Republic Sergio Mattarella, a usually rather uncommunicative Sicilian, a week ago appointed survivor Liliana Segre a life-time member of our Senate as in his powers, and also conducted on 25th January a solemn celebration of the date at the Quirinal palace:


Segre and Mattarella

Our President spoke forcefully of the abomination of racial discriminations, urging young people in the audience NEVER to fall for such idiotic ideologies.
I wholeheartedly endorse his strongly voiced views on the matter :clapping:.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 07:11:50 PM by SANDRO43 »
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Online msmob

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2018, 10:56:22 PM »
It 'never happened', Sandro...   :(

It's scary how some ignorant folks suggest it is 'fake news'...

Thanks for reminding us.

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Offline BdHvA

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #67 on: April 16, 2018, 08:39:30 AM »
Here is an interesting article regarding marine superstition. 

Superstitions, Rituals and Taboos

Italian Pietro Fantoni notes that before we can demonstrate our racing skills, we must first be certain we have not gone foul on any of the superstition that have been part of our sport since man became a sailor.

From the early days, man realized that the sea can be a hostile place, especially when it was still believed that the earth had an edge that could be sailed off. The sea imposes respect and evokes fears, so there are many superstitions, rituals and taboos.

While time has marched on, Fantoni contends how the intelligent modern sailor, not leaving anything to chance, should still observe the following guidelines.

Launching
The celebration of the launch of a new boat has very ancient origins. While today it is customary to break a bottle of champagne on the bow, in ancient civilizations the launching ceremony was more serious.

Homer tells us that the Achaean fleet could not reach Troy, because of strong headwinds that keep it along the coast of Aulis. The prophet Calchas prophesied that the fleet would not leave until the Achaean king Agamemnon had sacrificed to the goddess Artemis his more beautiful daughter Iphigenia. Iphigenia, was sacrificed and the fleet set sail for Troy.

Argo was the ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. In her bow it contained a fragment of wood from the forest of Dodona, which could speak and prophesy. To ease the journey, the Argonauts sacrificed to Apollo two oxen, partied, got drunk and then fell asleep to the sound of the lyre of Orpheus.

For the Greeks, libations to the gods were an important rite to be performed before the start of navigation. And the keel of a new ship was made wet before the launch, with the blood of slaves bound in chains.

Likewise, the Vikings sacrificed prisoners to the gods, shedding their blood on the deck to protect their new ships.

For the ancient Romans, cutting their hair and nails when the weather was good was a bad omen. So was sneezing, swearing and dancing on board ship.

Nowadays the launching ceremony, though harmless and bloodless, is still full of superstitions. Many sailors would feel bad if the bottle does not break against the bow on the first attempt ... whether it is the bow of a big ship or a Snipe. And make sure to soak the boat with a few drops of champagne before you gulp down the rest of the bottle!

Leaving the dock
"Buona fortuna!" ("Good luck!") In Italy this wish, for most sailors, means bad luck. So most follow it with a gesture: touching the balls ... to ward off bad luck.

Instead of "buona fortuna," push your Italian sailing friends off the dock with "in bocca al lupo" (which means literally "in the mouth of the wolf"). Or even more specifically, "in culo alla balena" (literally.... "in the asshole of the whale").

Friday
Friday is an unlucky day. This is one of the oldest and most enduring traditions of sailing. It is unlucky to begin a voyage or 'set sail' on a Friday.

The entire article is here > http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2018/04/15/superstitions-rituals-taboos/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Scuttlebutt%205060%20-%20April%2016%202018&utm_content=Scuttlebutt%205060%20-%20April%2016%202018+CID_83da2be15f8ccc2daa1d1ba29346889c&utm_source=Email%20Newsletter&utm_term=Read%20On#more <
Experierence is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. A. Huxley

Offline alex330

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #68 on: April 16, 2018, 08:50:24 AM »
No bananas on the boat. We will toss you over the rail if you bring a banana onboard down here.






Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #69 on: April 16, 2018, 10:37:30 AM »
"in bocca al lupo" (which means literally "in the mouth of the wolf").
The proper reply to which is: "Crepi il lupo!" (May the wolf die!)

Superstition is probably a heritage of pagan times, even though it is very much alive in a most Catholic city like Naples, where an untold number of shops and street kiosks sell amulets to ward off the "evil eye", the most popular being the "cornetto" (small horn) - which used to be made of red coral, once abundant in the bay - and the horn gesture made with the hand, also signifying "cuckhold" - both maybe a reminder of the bull sacrifices of old :D


Another form of superstition is the interpretation of events and dreams through the "Smorfia napoletana" (http://www.portanapoli.com/Ita/Cultura/smorfia_napoletana_1.html), which assigns numbers 1 to 90 to them, a maximum of 5 to be played at a time at a "Ricevitoria del Lotto":


Prizes are multiples of the bet, increasing in value from 1 to 5 (cinquina: 6 million times). The lottery is drawn weekly or twice-weekly on 11 "ruote" (wheels) corresponding to major Italian cities.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:44:17 AM by SANDRO43 »
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Online msmob

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #70 on: April 20, 2018, 02:43:10 AM »
The number of times I have set off on a sailing cruise on Friday (long weekend) ..

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Offline SANDRO43

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #71 on: April 26, 2018, 07:44:05 PM »
HOW THINGS EVOLVE
PAINTING

For me it's fascinating to witness how what we have been used to seeing in our contemporary lives has gradually changed over time, often for curious reasons.

Take for instance painting, an activity in which humans have been engaged for millennia, its early results still visible on cave walls.


Altamira, Spain

Why Paleolithic homo sapiens felt the urge to depict himself and his preys on unlit rock surfaces is still a debated subject. Later, the advent of organised realms and their religions took a more understandable slant: worship of earthly and supernatural powers.


Horus, Ramses, Anubis

Greeks and Romans preferred statues (vividly coloured) and floor mosaics to wall paintings, the latter devoted to more mundane subjects. The advent of Christianity created a new need: to explain the Scriptures to a mostly illiterate audience, hence church-wall frescoes for the congregation, and portable images (icons) on wood for the more affluent.


Greeek icon - Giotto's frescoes in the Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua, ca. 1305

Giotto is considered the innovator who added perspective (depth) to a thitherto 'flat' art. However, the "al fresco" technique relied on water colours, which need a warm climate to dry sufficiently quickly on the plaster-covered walls.

An attempt by Leonardo da Vinci to use fire buckets to hasten the process was a total failure, and his Battaglia di Anghiari which should have graced a wall of the "Sala del Gran Consiglio" in Firenze's Palazzo Vecchio is lost, some arguing that it was covered over by a later painting and is still there to be discovered.

Therefore water colours were not a good solution for the more northern climates, and the Flemish and Dutch painters in the late 1400s hit upon the idea of mixing their colours with oil and using a more flexible support like canvas.


Hieronymus Bosch, Hay Cart Triptych (ca. 1516)

The higher brightness of oil colours was soon a success adopted by most other painters, also considering that it was faster to produce and allowed easy retouching of unsatisfactory work, almost impossible with water colours.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 11:41:58 AM by SANDRO43 »
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Offline krimster2

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #72 on: April 26, 2018, 09:50:54 PM »
when you see these paintings in person they are amazing, and then you think they're over 500 yr old!!!


Offline BdHvA

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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #73 on: April 29, 2018, 08:03:48 AM »
It should be noted Antwerp and the later centers of Northern painting were many things, but one thing they all shared; they were damp. Watercolours do not like moisture. Well into the 17th century wood (and copper) was the preferred support for Northern European artists.

By the time of R. van Rijn, F. Hals and J. Steen there was a trend towards a support of canvas. 'Panels' preferably mahogany and oak remained popular in the north through the 20th century. But all of the above painted on both canvas and wood panel. Both supports (wood and canvas) have inherent weaknesses. 

Krimster, It is quite interesting to compare the work of say A. Modigliani as well as other early modern artists to the 'ancients'.
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Re: FOR HISTORY BUFFS
« Reply #74 on: April 29, 2018, 09:11:07 AM »
"A. Modigliani "

I agree, with colors so vibrant, you feel them
and instead of being 'dimmed' by the tide of time,
are instead somehow brightened...

will be in your neighborhood "Amsterdam" in two months, will take my daughters to the museums
we are also all bringing our sketch pads
i'm bringing my color palette to try and get the colors right for the canal houses at certain hours of the day...
photographs don't let you "get it"

 

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