14
votes
2answers
371 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
307 views

Why did the Arabs start the 1973 War during Ramadan, and did it affect their performance?

The Arab-Israeli War in 1973, besides the Jewish Holiday, also took place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which practicing Muslims observe mandatory daytime fasting. Did this affect ...
14
votes
1answer
236 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
226 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
309 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
3answers
318 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
411 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
6answers
1k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
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
2k 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
3k 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
3k 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
1k views

How was Israel able to build a powerful military within days of the formation of the state?

The State of Israel was formed in May 14, 1948. I guess the first Arab-Israel war broke out in the same month of the same year. Israel won the war decisively. The question is not "How did they win ...
13
votes
3answers
370 views

Why were the British so reluctant to allow Jewish migration to Palestine?

Not sure this is the correct forum to ask this, but i'm currently reading 'Exodus' by Leon Uris, and i'm curious as to why the British were so reluctant in letting jewish people in Palestine. This ...
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
195 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What caused the Iranian 1979 revolution to become Islamic?

How did an initially anti-Shah revolution become an Islamic revolution? Was it because of Khomenei's return to Iran such that he seized the Iranian revolution?
13
votes
2answers
411 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
537 views

What do I need to know about Syria's history to understand the 2011-2012 uprising?

Syria is in the news a lot lately due to the current uprising, but it's not a country that many people know much about. It can trace its history back to the origins of civilization, and as a result ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Did Native Americans ever fight the indigenous people living in Mexico before Europeans arrived?

From elementary school, my history teacher used to talk about the fighting between native American tribes. Then, later in the semester, we would briefly discuss the rise of Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, ...
13
votes
1answer
604 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did the Moors invade the Iberian peninsula?

Almost all of the information that I can find with regards to the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula simply states when the Moors invaded. There seems to be very little on what the motivation ...
13
votes
4answers
793 views

Why are the Portuguese so obsessed with salted codfish?

Portugal nowadays catches only a small amount of codfish annually but imports huge amounts (especially from Norway), sometimes already salted, sometimes not. Salted cod or bacalhau is a very common ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Did Hitler really support Subhash Chandra Bose's cause and did he do anything to help Bose?

Bose had come to realize that Gandhi's doctrine of non-violence was not doing much in forcing the British to retreat. He went to Germany to seek Hitler's assistance in India's struggle for freedom. ...
13
votes
4answers
596 views

What was the reason for Soviet troops to withdraw from Yugoslavia in World War II?

For all these countries that the Red Army entered (Poland, Romania, part of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), the procedure was straightforward. Once the Soviets beat the Germans they become de facto ...
13
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
833 views

Why did native Americans and Europeans mix in South America but not in North America?

A large part of the current population of South America are descendants of both native Americans and Europeans. In contrast, in north America the intermingling of native Americans and Europeans was ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is Spain's base timezone UTC+1?

Looking at the time zone map on Wikipedia we can see that countries such as France and Spain technically should have a time zone of UTC+0. Wikipedia says: France previously used GMT, but was ...
13
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
245 views

Where was the furthest extent of Arabian trade explorations?

Traders from Arabia travelled to and traded with Roman and Asian empires and this Nabataean Sea Merchants article. How far did Arabian traders travel - where was the furthest extent of their ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did Poland keep Warsaw as its capital instead of returning it to Krakow in the 20th century?

My recollection is that Krakow was Poland's capital for much of the Middle Ages, having moved there from Thorn(?) shortly after 1000 A.D. My understanding is that Warsaw, a newer city, became ...
13
votes
3answers
662 views

Was any significant percentage of Mongol army infantry?

Mongols of Khan's time are generally considered to be a cavalry army, which makes sense logistically, given the width and speed of their military maneuvers. But is there historical evidence of Khan's ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What do the modern Japanese people think about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Japan has been an ally of the USA for a long time now. On the other hand, every year they observe Hiroshima Day. Moreover, Japanese people visit Yasukuni Shrine. Then what is the catch?
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Does the number of legs in the air of a horse statue indicate how its rider died?

I have heard that the number of legs a horse has in the air in a statue indicates how the rider died. According to what I have understood: 2 legs in the air: rider died in battle 1 leg in the air: ...
13
votes
1answer
209 views

Husaria, the winged hussars

The Polish husaria did carry wings -- as can be seen here or here. Their purpose has been debated with no clear answer. What I want to know is was there an evolution in the wings design or just one ...
13
votes
3answers
894 views

Gender Color Association: When did boys become blue and girls pink?

What historical evidence exists for the origin of the association of blue colors with boys, and pink colors with girls? I realize this is a cultural specific trait. An article "Beyond Pink and ...
13
votes
1answer
360 views

What happened to all the french guillotines?

Quoting Wikipedia: "The guillotine remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981. The last guillotining in France was that of torture-murderer ...
13
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
663 views

How did the monks whose job was to copy books react to Gutenberg's printing press?

It's typical to see people whose job it is to perform a manual task to - collectively - object when a new technology is introduced which makes their job obsolete (as the quintessential example, see ...
13
votes
1answer
182 views

Castaways rescued by a message in a bottle?

Has there ever been a time when people were rescued by sending out a message in a bottle to drift across the sea? The "bottle" doesn't have to be an actual bottle. It could be a box, a cask, a ...
13
votes
3answers
253 views

Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded?

I know that "The Great Game" was originally concerned with Russian-British competition in Central Asia, but my question is was this competition and British fear founded on anything? My understanding ...
13
votes
2answers
304 views

What would be accurate illustrations of vikings and viking culture?

Vikings didn't have horned helmets as is often depicted. Where can I find accurate representations how vikings and viking society looked?
13
votes
2answers
216 views

Medieval Saharan Caravan Navigation

During the medieval times, trade caravans using camels criss crossed the Sahara and Meghreb. For example, salt caravans from the Empire of Mali to the near east. I've wondered for a long time how ...
13
votes
3answers
852 views

How accurately could ancient astronomers find latitude and longitude?

In classical times (let's say 200 BC to 400 AD), how accurately could a Greek/Roman/Babylonian/etc. astronomer determine their location on the earth by coordinates like latitude/longitude? Could they ...
13
votes
2answers
208 views

How did Quebec transition from French Law to English Law?

When Britain conquered Quebec at the end of the Seven Years War, Quebec began a transition between French law and English law. How did that transition occur?
13
votes
3answers
516 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
266 views

How much is known about the Punic language (of classical Carthage)?

How much is known of the Carthaginian language, which as I understand it is called Punic and descended from Phoenician? Google searches show some sketches of alphabet characters and such, but do we ...
13
votes
5answers
620 views

What was the significance of changing the name of “Persia” to “Iran”?

As best as I understand it, the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 was when Persia became Iran. What was the motivation for changing the name?
13
votes
2answers
270 views

Is the “youth bulge” hypothesis an evident explanation for imperialistic/rebellious historic movements and genocides?

The "youth bulge" hypothesis says that whenever the proportion of young men in the population was very high, their unhappiness with their future prospects - i.e., their inability to get jobs and ...

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