14
votes
2answers
782 views

Were Shakespeare's plays written for “high culture” or “entertain the bawdy masses” during his time?

Currently, the plays of William Shakespeare are viewed as great English literature, and viewed as "high culture". However I heard someone say that Shakespeare was writing "bawdy, violence filled plays ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

How far could an English war bow shoot?

The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds) So says Wikipedia. I did read, however, in a semi-fictional, semi-historical work of ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

Why did so many Italians emigrate to Argentina?

On 13th of March, 2013, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became new pope of Catholic Church. He was born and raised in Argentina with Italian origins. There are more than 24 ...
14
votes
4answers
371 views

Where and how did the concept of “incorporation” originate?

Wikipedia states that "The alleged oldest commercial corporation in the world, the Stora Kopparberg mining community in Falun, Sweden, obtained a charter from King Magnus Eriksson in 1347". Is this ...
14
votes
1answer
743 views

What is the state of the art historical analysis of claims that Carthaginians discovered America?

The Carthaginians, and the Phoenicians in general, are renowned for their seafaring abilities. There is evidence for their circumnavigation of Africa, and strong evidence for the fact that Hanno the ...
14
votes
3answers
783 views

Where are Genghis Khan's Mongols?

In the 13th century, Mongol hordes invaded most of the known world and Genghis Khan's nobles had strong legacies to rule in China, Iran and Central Asia in the the following centuries. What about the ...
14
votes
4answers
528 views

How did Richard I sail through the strait of Gibraltar?

Here's something that puzzles me. At the start of the third crusade, Richard I sailed to the holy land around Europe, through the strait of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean. At the time, the ...
14
votes
2answers
209 views

How does Nigeria stay together?

My naive mental picture of Nigeria - the second largest economy in Africa - is as follows: A Muslim North scratching out a living in the Sahara desert A nominally Christian South making money on the ...
14
votes
2answers
825 views

When people use spears to fight cavalry do infantry stab the horse or the rider?

I am just curious. In most games spear infantry is a "counter" against cavalry. How does that really work anyway? Any clips on actual cavalry fighting infantry that's historically accurate would be ...
14
votes
4answers
613 views

From whom did Gandhi learn his protest technique of non-violence?

I know that Gandhi was involved in the civil rights movement in South Africa during he beginning of the 20th century, but was there a specific person, or group, that he learned how to protest through ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Did the Germans purposefully arrange to send Lenin to Russia to start a revolution?

A recent documentary, The World Wars, on the History Channel suggested, strongly, that the Imperial German government secretly arranged safe-passage for Vladimir Lenin to return to Moscow from ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Who was the first head of government to support same-sex marriage?

Earlier today, Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage. He told ABC News: "...for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be ...
14
votes
2answers
370 views

Has the United States ever been formally condemned by the United Nations?

Presumably, due to its veto power, the United States has never been condemned by the UN Security Council, but has it has it ever been formally condemned by another UN governing body, like the General ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

Why didn't Japanese infantrymen and samurai use shields?

Shields were considered useful in Europe until the development of full plate armor. Despite the fact that they never had anything comparable to plate armor, shield use was apparently abandoned by the ...
14
votes
2answers
468 views

How did Hitler behave towards all those whom he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power?

What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention ...
14
votes
2answers
259 views

Were there ever actual organizations of pirates?

You can see depictions of pirate organizations in popular media a fair bit. For example, in many movies, and the Captain Morgan commercials. But I get the impression from my readings that most pirate ...
14
votes
2answers
746 views

How was life in the Iron Age different from life in the Middle Ages?

Let's say you were from the Middle Ages, 1200s England or Germany, and you got thrown back in time to the Iron Age. It's still the same place, but it's 400 BC. Apart from the language, what would ...
14
votes
1answer
287 views

What was the motivation for the Gregorian Calendar?

The Gregorian Calendar eventually replaced the Roman calendar at some point, I know this was something to do with the days not being quite accurate so specific days (I think equinox and solstice) were ...
14
votes
9answers
611 views

Intersection Between Computer Science and History?

I am a computer science undergrad with a great interest in history. Lately I have been asking myself if there are general aspects or specialties of computer science which lend themselves to the study ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How much tax did Romans pay?

According to this guy The Jewish rebellion in A.D. 66 that ignited the war with Rome was by no means inevitable. Judaism was a legal religion in the Roman Empire, and Nero's own empress, Poppaea, ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What kind of labor was used to build the Egyptian pyramids?

Most people believe the pyramids were built with slave labor (or at least it seems that way). This notion is perpetuated by movies; the building of the pyramids often evokes images of ancient ...
14
votes
3answers
432 views

Nero and the Great Fire of Rome 64AD

I have always been fascinated by the history of ancient Rome and this is one of the topics, I always wanted to know a little bit more about. The rumor about Nero himself giving the order to burn down ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

In the Medieval period, how long would an average swordsmith need to forge an average sword?

Based on this question over in RPG, I'm trying to figure out how long it took to forge a sword in the Medieval/Renaissance smith to make swords. I am recalling a figure of about 9-12 months per ...
14
votes
1answer
396 views

How do Friedman and Bernanke's explanations about the causes of the Great Depression compare?

I know that both Friedman and Bernanke wrote papers (or books, in Friedman's case) about the cause of the Great Depression. How do their points of view compare and contrast?
14
votes
6answers
6k views

Are modern Greeks related to the ancient Greeks?

Greece has been subject to many many invasions since the 7th century and there must have been a serious mixing of peoples. In a similar situation, we do not usually consider the French or the Germans ...
14
votes
1answer
376 views

Did the Germans have a team equivalent to the one from Bletchey Park in the UK during WWII?

There is a lot of information about the British code breakers at Bletchey Park and the work they did for cryptography, computing and the war effort. Still, I haven't heard a lot about a German ...
14
votes
2answers
12k views

Why did the Federalist party collapse?

The Federalist Party in the United States was a significant political force during the early years of the United States' history. Wikipedia doesn't really cite reasons why the party declined and ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What was the life expectancy of an ancient roman child and adult?

I'm assuming the average life expectancy of a Roman did not change very much between 500 BC - 500 AD (?), as there was probably no significant progress in medical knowledge or nutrition. Do historians ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why wasn't San Marino unified with Italy?

Why wasn't San Marino unified with the Kindom of Italy during the unification process? Were there plans or efforts at the time to unify the two states? Did either government at any time try to annex ...
14
votes
3answers
273 views

What were the origins of Etruscan Civilisation?

Given the differences between Etruscan civilisation and other Italian peoples of the same period, is the conclusion that Etruscan civilisation was autochthonous sensible?
14
votes
1answer
257 views

Classical battle sizes vs medieval battle sizes

Why did classical battles did tend to be larger than medieval ages? One particular example I am thinking of was the battle of Stamford bridge, which had around 30,000 participants, compared to the ...
14
votes
3answers
569 views

In what ways did the rise of a true middle class in Europe during the late 19th century become apparent?

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were very transformative for Europe with the rise of a real middle class. Typically before this the middle class was more of a bourgeoisie and not the middle ...
14
votes
3answers
332 views

What are the most comprehensive historical references for ancient India?

India is referenced in many ancient Greek and Persian sources, but these are often fragmentary. Which sources (if any) exist which describe ancient India in detail? Since ancient can be interpreted ...
14
votes
4answers
269 views

Were there any well known royal dynasties that did not in some way cite religious mandate for their rule?

Most of the royal rulers in the last 2000 years seemed to be strongly relying - as one of the sources of their power - on the notion that they hold "divine rule"/"sanction of god"/"mandate of heaven" ...
14
votes
2answers
459 views

Did Ancient Roman insulae reach more than 10 storeys?

High-rise apartments flourished in classical antiquity. Ancient Roman insulae there and in other imperial cities reached 10 and more storeys. Beginning with Augustus (r. 30 BCE-14 CE), several ...
14
votes
1answer
285 views

in what form did William the Conqueror write the date of his own coronation?

This is a question about the English legal calendar as viewed by people living at the time, not as historians recorded it later. New year shifts to 1-January To the best of my understanding, the ...
14
votes
2answers
245 views

How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
14
votes
1answer
362 views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
14
votes
1answer
219 views

Are photos of WWII US Navy damage reports available online?

I have located a PDF of the USS Marblehead's Bomb Damage Report from 4 Feb 1942. The report lists plates of photographs which are not included in the report I have found. Do copies of this report ...
14
votes
3answers
360 views

What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
13
votes
5answers
448 views

Are modern handguns a major reason for democratization?

I had a history teacher who argued that a major reason for the fall of the feudal system, was that the knights lost their military superiority because of development in weapon technology (longbow, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

How did the US/South Vietnam lose the Vietnam war?

South Vietnam was helped by US. Even when the US was gone, they had a 1 million army. So why did they lose? Even without US support, South Vietnam had about the same manpower, higher technology, and ...
13
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the historical background of the current Ukraine crisis?

Apparently the "Ukraine" is actually split east and west. Many people in the eastern part would prefer for their country to be part of Russia, while protesters in the western Ukraine wants something ...
13
votes
3answers
566 views

If modern human existed for hundreds of thousands years why was writing invented only some 7000-9000 years ago?

Linguistic studies indicate that human languages were not that different from modern languages 6000 and 7000 years ago. They had distinguishable sounds, vowels, consonants, syllables, roots and stems ...
13
votes
5answers
938 views

Why did Jews not immigrate to the Muslim world?

Throughout most of history, Jews lived significantly better in the Muslim countries than in Christian ones. Moreover, after the expulsion from Spain, many Spanish Jews moved to the Muslim world (from ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans

I encountered an interesting quote on the English Wikipedia page for Germania some time ago, which seems to have persisted, albeit without citation. I was hoping someone could find a reliable source ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What did squires do in the middle of a medieval battle?

According to wikipedia, a normal squire daily job included: Carrying the knight's armour, shield, sword, Holding any prisoners the knight takes, Rescuing the knight should the knight be ...
13
votes
2answers
434 views

New World Sickness

When Europeans came to the Americas, they brought with them "Old World diseases" that decimated the Native American population. There's a big list of them here. Were there any "New World" diseases ...

15 30 50 per page