Pickering Castle, North Yorkshire, England

The original structure was built by the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1069–1070. This early building included the large, central mound (the motte), the outer palisades (enclosing the bailey) and internal buildings, notably the keep on top of the motte. Ditches were also dug to make assault on the walls difficult. The main purpose of the castle at this time was to maintain control of the area after the harrying of the North.

Its remains are particularly well-preserved because it is one of only a few castles which were largely unaffected by the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War of the 17th century.

Reconstruction of Pickering Castle

tags: #history


Garum —- The official condiment of the ancient Roman Empire

In the ancient Roman world a salty, oily condiment made from fermented fish guts took the Roman Empire by storm.  Called garum, it became an important commodity all over the empire, providing fats, protein, salts, vitamin, minerals, and most importantly flavor to places in the empire were little could be found.  Originally a Greek creation, the Roman obsession with garum would propel the fish sauce to become the most popular condiment in the Roman Empire.

Our modern society is a very wasteful society, we take it for granted that we can just use something and throw it away.  However, our ancestors had a completely different attitude.  Nothing went to waste and everything was put to use.  “Waste not, want not” was not simply a saying, but a mantra that meant life or death, prosperity or disaster for ancient people’s.  So if an animal was slaughtered, it was guaranteed that every part was consumed or used in some way. 

Garum was a result of this culture.  When the fishmongers gutted the daily catch, the guts were not merely thrown away, rather they were gathered by the garum maker.  The guts were coated with salt, layered in large urns, and left out to heat in the sun for one to three months.  During this time the ingredients would liquefy and ferment, forming a thick paste.  When ready, a clear amber colored fluid would separate for the thicker material.  This clear fluid was pure garum, and was skimmed, bolted, and sold for a hefty price.  The skimming of more fluid would lead to cloudier and less pure forms of garum, which were much cheaper.  The remaining paste was called “allum”, and was sold as a budget “poor mans garum sauce”.  All grades of garum were flavored with different herbs and spices, depending on local tastes.

Because the Roman Empire was centered in the Mediterranean, the Roman economy was also heavily dependent on fishing.  Numerous fisheries and ports dotted all along the Mediterranean coast, and where there fisheries, there were garum makers.  Usually, however, the garum makers were relegated to the outskirts of a city, as the process of garum making tended to create an enormous stench.  Garum itself became one of the most important commodities of the Roman world, being shipped all over Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.  It was issued regularly as rations for Roman soldiers and was even accepted as money.  Garum was also valued for its medicinal value; used to treat dog bites, diarrhea, ulcers, dysentery, to remove unwanted hair, and to remove freckles.

Alas the fall of the Roman Empire would lead to the fall of garum, especially as Germanic peoples who turned their noses at fermented fish sauce settled Europe and carved out kingdoms from the former Roman Empire.  Today garum still can be found, though only produced by small business who cater to specialty gourmet foods.  At around the same time the Romans were making garum, peoples in Southeast Asia were making a remarkably similar fish sauce called  nước mắm, which today is still widely popular in Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodian cuisine.



Jeanne Hachette

Why she kicks ass:

  • When a snooty Disgraced French Duke came to conquer her town, with his army of degenerative psychopaths. This teenaged peasant grabbed a hatchet and buried it in his throat, kicked him square in the chest, and sending him flying off the very high wall to his death below. 
  • she pulled his flag up out of the ground, broke the flagpole over her knee and hurled it down into the moat on top of him.
  • King Louis XI,  threw a parade for her, lavished her with gifts, and gave her the right to marry the man of her choosing.
  • In celebration of her heroism a parade known as the “Procession of the Assault” takes place every year on the anniversary of the battle.



tags: #history


Antoine Lavoisier - Scientist of the Day

Antoine Lavoisier, a French chemist, was born Aug. 26, 1743. Lavoisier is rightly considered the father of the chemical revolution of the late 18th century, and he is remarkable for having achieved this stature without discovering a single new element or gas or any other natural phenomenon. Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide were identified by others. What Lavoisier did was to reinterpret how these elements interact. Contemporary chemists invoked a substance called “phlogiston” to explain why things burn or rust; it was thought that phlogiston was given off when a substance burned. In 1778, Lavoisier proposed that oxygen was the key element; things burn by taking on oxygen, not by giving off phlogiston. Rusting is just a slower “oxidation” of an element.

The oxygen theory of combustion turned out to have much more explanatory power that the phlogiston theory, especially since it explained why substances gain weight when they oxidize. Lavoisier later set down the first modern list of elements, and he also reformed chemical nomenclature, dumping the colorful alchemical language of “flowers of sulfur” and “sugar of lead” in favor of carbonates and oxides and adjectives like sulfuric and nitrous. His collaborator in much of his work was his wife, Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze, who also illustrated most of Lavoisier’s scientific publications. It is sad that she had to witness Lavoisier’s final fate. Lavoisier was a member of the Ferme-Générale, a tax collection agency, and he was arrested along with the other administrators during the Reign of Terror and executed by guillotine on May 8, 1794, at age 50. As a countryman said at the time, “It took only a moment to cause this head to fall, and a hundred years will not suffice to produce its like.”

The double portrait of Antoine and Marie-Anne above was painted by the great Jacques-Louis David in 1788, and you can see it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The other image shows a reconstruction of Lavoisier’s laboratory at the Musée des arts et métiers in Paris.

We have nearly all of the works of Lavoisier, as well as numerous translations, in our History of Science Collection.

Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City


Four young evacuees from Sacramento, California, read comic books at the newsstand in the Tule Lake Relocation Center, in Newell, California, on July 1, 1942.”

(National Archives)

tags: #wwii #history







Lt Colonel Fighting Jack Churchill, aka Mad Jack

  • fought throughout WW2 with a longbow and a broadsword
  • was also known to bring bagpipes
  • he volunteered for the Commandos, not because he knew what they did but “because it sounds dangerous”
  • he crawled out of a concentration camp
  • about the end of WW2, he commented “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years.”
  • atta boy

dear god

How to be batshit with a load of epic.

this is probably the fifth time i’ve reblogged this but it’s just too awesome not to.

Everytime I see this I reblog it. Jack Churchill is my hero.

I need a sword for my bug out bag

(Source: navalenigma)

tags: #history


Not even sorry.

tags: #history



If you ever feel like you’ve screwed up, just remember that in 1348 the Scots thought it would be a good idea to invade England because the English were weakened by the Plague. They subsequently caught the plague themselves, went back to Scotland, and killed half their own population.


tags: #history


Two friends play one final game while awaiting evacuation, in San Francisco, California, in early 1942.”

(National Archives)

tags: #wwii #history


You now that Girls Boxing on a Roof 1939 photo? The one that people either love and say it’s so badass and fun but others dismiss as irrelevant because it looks fake?

Well, here’s the full scoop:

Astute observers have been able to pinpoint the exact rooftop the photo takes place - the Ball Building on the Paramount Lot in Hollywood.  (You stand in front of it on Google Street View.) The original photo was captioned with Radio Pictures Chorus Girls - these girls could very well have been preparing for a role or variety act as boxers and hamming a stage punch for a photo.  

Women have pretty much always boxed (and been given a hard time about it), you see, and it was hitting popular culture hard in the 1920s and 30s (right along with the growing popularity of women in judo and jiu jitsu).

So I say this photo is awesome and looks like great fun despite not being some kind of underground rooftop fight club. :P 

Some people think that the girl taking the hit looks a lot like Clara Bow who starred in a silent film comedy called Rough House Rosie (1927) about a ladyboxer.

tags: #history