9
votes
4answers
441 views

Is there any evidence to support the claim that the US Strategic Defense Initiative played any significant role in undermining the USSR?

I have been reading Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson, and one of the things that stuck me was a quote by Soviet hydrogen bomb creator Andrei Sakharov who was released from political imprisonment ...
9
votes
5answers
420 views

Is there any documentation regarding the use of war elephants in battles?

Does anyone know of any battles where war elephants played either a major or decisive part in the victory of whoever had them? As far as I know, they were mostly used for the fear factor and were ...
8
votes
1answer
161 views

Indian account of the Battle of the Hydaspes River

Are there Indian accounts of the Battle of the Hydaspes River? If so, what are they, who authored them, and how do they differ from the Greek & Roman accounts?
8
votes
1answer
479 views

How did Aztec armor and weaponry match up to the Spaniards?

If you discount the germs and the gunpowder, how did the average Aztec warrior match up against the average Spaniard facing him? As I understand it European metallurgy was considerably more advanced, ...
8
votes
2answers
801 views

What are the problems archaeologists face in deciphering Indus Valley writing?

From this link on Indus Valley writing, I came to know that: The first Indian script, developed in the Indus Valley around 2600 B.C. is still undeciphered. Thus, it is still not possible to fully ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Was the UN critically involved in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Is there any evidence to show that the Cuban Missile Crisis was scaled back because of the actions of UN personnel acting in their UN role? The topic came up recently about precedent for UN having ...
8
votes
2answers
285 views

Army formation: veterans at the first line

I am trying to understand the early roman legion deployment. I can see some advantages to putting the inexperienced warriors at the first line and the veterans at the last. But have there been ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Did the Olympics make the Star Spangled Banner the US national anthem?

A long, long time ago, I remember watching a TV miniseries about the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896. One of the amusing substories I remember involved the USA's National Anthem and the ...
8
votes
1answer
478 views

How Many Members of US Congress Have Died While In Office?

As best I can tell, Leo Ryan of California is the only U.S. Member of Congress murdered while in office. He was killed by members of the People's Temple in Guyana in 1978. What I'm looking for are how ...
8
votes
1answer
612 views

How do war elephants fight?

Do they just run breaking phalanx? Do they pull their front food and then crush enemies below? What do elephants do? Or are the fighters on top of it just shoot arrows?
8
votes
2answers
896 views

Did war chariots ever actually have blades on the wheel hubs?

Several movies depict Greek and Roman war chariots with sharp, sword like blades protruding from the hub in the centre of the wheels. Was such a design just theatre on the part of the movies or is ...
7
votes
3answers
134 views

What evidence is there that English Political divisions from the 1600s are replicated in American politics today?

This post makes the claim that American political divisions today have their roots in English political divisions from the 1600's. For example: East Anglians, the core of the Parliamentarian ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of samurai crest / symbol

I would like to ask you all to explain the meaning of the 8-th symbol in this picture*: I would like to also know what are those symbols? Thank you very much. * Source: ...
7
votes
1answer
166 views

Who were the “tyrants” that Charles Martel “crushed”?

The second chapter of Einhard says: It was this Charles that crushed the tyrants who claimed to rule the whole Frank land as their own, and that utterly routed the Saracens, when they ...
7
votes
0answers
152 views

Why were there so many suffect consuls during the Principate?

As quoted from this wikipedia article, it states: If a consul died during his term (not uncommon when consuls were in the forefront of battle) or was removed from office, another would be ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Why did Christopher Columbus think he had arrived near Japan?

This question came to our mind as a long discussion in chat between some users over ELU including me and we thought to post the question here. Wikipedia states he thought he had arrived Japan. In ...
7
votes
4answers
810 views

Why and how were east Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia taken away from Germany after WW2?

These areas have always been German, in fact Pomerania and Brandenburg were both part of Prussia since the 1700's. Why did the Soviet Union do this, and how did the victorious powers justify taking ...
7
votes
4answers
349 views

The practice of translating foreign monarch's or noble's name

In history texts, past foreign monarchs are normally referred to by the English version of their name, e.g. Francis I (not François), Charles V (not Carlos, Karel, or Karl), Phillip II (not Felipe). ...
7
votes
2answers
271 views

Examples of censorship causing economic decline

I am writing a blog post about knowledge banning, either by state censorship or by self-imposed censorship, like the US Comics Code Authority of the 20th century. My focus is moral censorship, ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?

Iran was a friend to the USA until Carter traveled to Iran and immediately afterwards Iran faced revolution. Khomeini went to Iran from France. On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic ...
7
votes
4answers
663 views

Was Russo-Polish of 1919-1920 a war of independence?

What evidence is there to call the 1919-1920 conflict between Poland and the Soviet Union a "war of independence"? As for a definition of independence, I would say it is a full political, legal, and ...
7
votes
1answer
935 views

What is the origin of the rampant lion herald?

We often see the image of the rampant lion used as a symbol in heraldry and other places. I understand the significance of the lion, and I am aware that ancient art often incorporated the lion, but ...
7
votes
2answers
310 views

Did the Gallic army besieged in Alesia conduct itself well when expecting relief?

During a Gallic revolution against Rome, a Gallic army of some 80,000 men took shelter in the fortress town of Alesia, where they were besieged by some 50,000 Romans under Julius Caesar. (His army may ...
6
votes
4answers
446 views

What were Britain's defensive plans for a Nazi invasion?

Despite the fact that it never ended up happening, a Nazi invasion of England was kind of a common sense inevitability for a while during the beginning of World War 2. Had the Battle of Britain gone ...
6
votes
4answers
542 views

What were the key differences between United States' and Indian revolutions?

The Thirteen Colonies and Indian subcontinent were two of the most significant colonies of the British Empire, yet the former was able to gain independence via a rebellion relatively early on, whilst ...
6
votes
2answers
202 views

How/why did Plzeň become the “armourer” for Austria-Hungary?

In 1938, Nazi Germany coveted (the modern) Czech [Republic] in large part for its Skoda Works which produced something like one-quarter of the arms and ammunition used by the Third Reich. From what ...
6
votes
4answers
293 views

Inquiry into the nature and roots of the temporal power of the Roman Catholic Pope:

The Roman Catholic Pope is head of both the Roman Catholic Church: "Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church", and a head of state: "Sovereign of the Vatican City State". Official list of Papal titles ...
6
votes
2answers
750 views

When did the last formal and recorded duel take place?

It seems that duels are no longer fought because of a combination of both changes in law and in fashions. E.g. Tom Reiss' The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte ...
6
votes
1answer
252 views

Who gave Charles the Bold his nickname and why?

I am talking about the Duke of Burgundy here. Wikipedia has a tantalizing footnote (n. 1): Charles le Téméraire is more accurately translated in English as "the Rash", but the English speaking ...
6
votes
3answers
277 views

How did it happen that countries and cities got different names in different languages?

I wonder why a single city's (or country's) name is different in various languages. To me, city and country names are somewhat similar to a person's given name, and it doesn't seem right to call ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

What did sectionalism have to do with the American civil war? [closed]

I've been writing an essay for school and I've been wondering what did sectionalism have to do with the American Civil War? Does sectionalism include the Missouri Compromise and the breaking away of ...
6
votes
1answer
955 views

How were war elephants used against cavalry?

In this question: How do war elephants fight? it was mentioned that horses tend to dislike elephants, so it is effective against cavalry. How does this work in practice? I don't imagine it would be a ...
6
votes
1answer
246 views

What was the first assassination/murder recorded on film?

Was it the murder of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand?
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Oldest known international sporting event

We know that modern Olympics are very popular international sporting events. What is the earliest known (documented) instance of an international sporting event? Let us define an international sports ...
6
votes
1answer
401 views

What are the archaeological evidence for the Aztec's use of entheogens?

A recent Skeptics question, Was honey used preserve psychoactive mushrooms in the ancient past?, caught my attention and I came upon the Wikipedia article on the Aztec use of entheogens. The article ...
6
votes
2answers
326 views

What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century?

I have been reading about European history in the XII century and I am finding out that several of the modern day languages hadn't yet evolved to what they are now: Langue d'oïl was still being used ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How did Egypt become a protectorate of the British empire?

How did Egypt become a protectorate of the British empire in 1914? (Feel free to add more content to this question)
6
votes
2answers
273 views

At what point did mapmaking begin to accurately reflect what we now know about the earth?

Looking at maps through the ages, it is apparent that maps have become closer and closer to representing the locations and shapes of the Earth's features with increasing accuracy over the centuries. ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

What was the age of majority in 1900 United States?

What was the age of majority in 1900, in the United States? For women and for men? I am not asking about the age of consent. The age of majority is the chronological moment when minors cease to ...
5
votes
4answers
271 views

Why did it take so long for humanity to be able to cross the oceans?

Caravels were a key invention that allowed Iberian Peninsula people to sail from Europe to America. But why it took so long for this to happen? Which problems had to be solved to make that possible? ...
5
votes
1answer
175 views

When the term “president” was used the first time?

Wikipedia mentions that the term was used in Oxford and Cambridge universities at least in 1464. But I wonder whether the title was used somewhere before. Was is used under Ancient Rome?
5
votes
2answers
778 views

Was the painting of men's nails a rare practice in the mid-20th century?

I came across the following description of Hermann Göring after his capture in 1945 in Elizabeth Borgwardt's A New Deal for the World (On Google Books): The impression of a dissolute voluptuary - ...
5
votes
2answers
345 views

How high was the morale of non-Soviet Warsaw Pact states' armies and governments in the '80s?

Does anyone with any relevant expertise know the general mood of the armies during the time? Is there documentation of any concerns from high ranking Soviet military officers, or of their Warsaw Pact ...
5
votes
3answers
208 views

Les Misérables historical setting

What is the period in French history portrayed in Les Misérables in the early 1800s? Also, who was the French King at that time - the restored King? I thought the French Revolution was in the late ...
5
votes
1answer
791 views

Who first wrote about deafness?

Aristotle referred to the sense of hearing in his work "The Problems". He correlated hearing with the capacity of learning, he believed that the sense of hearing was the most important in order to ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the tradition of Christmas gifts comes from?

Where does the modern tradition of exchanging gifts from Christmas comes from? I've heard that it's inspired by a similar tradition the Ancient Romans had on one of their festivals, is that true?
5
votes
3answers
186 views

What language was the Charter of Liberties written in?

While researching my answer for the What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century? question I came upon the Charter of Liberties, or Coronation Charter, issued by ...
5
votes
1answer
643 views

Does a Baal human sacrifice statue from Carthage exist?

While I was reading a Roman history book, it said that people from Carthage used to sacrifice children by placing them on the arms of Baal's statue and letting them roll to the fire. What would be ...
5
votes
1answer
832 views

Sources for letters written during the Boer Wars

For a project at my school i need to make a 'letter home' of a canadian soldier that participated in the second boer war. I need to draw from primary sources and im not having luck finding any. so ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

How was Euclid's Elements likely written?

How was Euclid's Elements written? I mean, what type of paper, ink and pen did Euclid likely use? As I guess there is no definite answer on this, you can also answer: How did people in 300 BC write ...

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