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15

Basically, you've given the answer yourself in the question: handwatches were a very rare thing in Soviet Russia at the time and it is small wonder that they became the soldiers' favourite trophy, especially since handwatches were highly portable and could be kept by the soldier himself. As to why handwatches were so rare in Russia - well, that was a ...


14

Caring for the old and infirm goes far further back than the historical record. Remains have been found in multiple neanderthal sites of individuals with old injuries that would have made them unable to fend for themselves. The best known example was a neanderthal found at Shanidar Cave I who had evidence of multiple deformaties and old partially healed ...


11

Very interesting. I found this explanation on geneology.about.com: In earlier times, a marriage bond was given to the court by the intended groom prior to his marriage. It affirmed that there was no moral or legal reason why the couple could not be married and it also affirmed that the groom would not change his mind. If he did, and did not marry ...


11

Actually, for a brief span of seven years there was such an army (or, strictly speaking, a corps) - the Palmach, founded in 1941. Its officers wore no special insignia (and in fact, there were no ranks in the usual sense, only command-titles such as "platoon commander"), got the same pay as the privates - and ate together with them. This all makes a lot of ...


11

According to Paul Devereux in his book Mysterious Ancient America, most of the pre-Columbian American civilizations were controlled by shamanistic cults who used various hallucinogenic substances prepared from plants - mushrooms, cacti, jimson weed, etc - to induce trance-like states which gave them the appearance of "communing with the spirit world", etc ...


9

The concept of praying to the Roman Gods as well as to whatever local deity did mean that the Republic then Empire could assimilate a lot of cultures. After all, they were always worshuiping the same gods, and now they can have access to all the good things that Rome provides -- see Life of Brian's "What did the Romans ever do for us?" speech. Even when the ...


9

To an extent the answer depends on what you mean by 'medieval times'. The answer in 800 is very different from 1400. However, I'll have a go for the later medieval period, post Normanisation around 1100 until 1500. The idea that Scotland in the late medieval period operated under some sort of 'clan system' is not true. 'Clan' is really just another name for ...


9

From Maid-of-all-work: Historically many maids suffered from Prepatellar bursitis, an inflammation of the Prepatellar bursa caused by long periods spent on the knees for purposes of scrubbing and fire-lighting, leading to the condition attracting the colloquial name of "Housemaid's Knee". It was a common condition caused by the hard physical labor ...


8

It certainly was condemned in the late Middle Ages. The Oxford English Dictionary has this delightful quotation, dated to circa 1450: "Pike not þi nose; & moost in especial..to-fore þi souereyn cratche ne picke þee nouȝt." In other words, "Don't pick your nose, and especially, don't scratch or pick in the presence of your sovereign."


7

This legendary self-sufficiency isn't quite as it seems. From Colonial days, almshouses (aka poor houses) and orphanages were around to look after those with no family although this tended to be uneven in application and quality of care. While many of these were affiliated with a church, some were operated by state and local governments. People also ...


7

A recent report by USAID offers a brief but insightful view on some of current research on 'Youth Bulge' hypothesis. Some of the key take-away are: The common thread across the latest research is that youth bulges alone do not cause conflict. Rather, when unstable politics and social deterioration are combined with large numbers of disadvantaged young men, ...


7

This is not a complete answer because your question is actually a huge topic with many possible approaches. Birth is ethnicity My personal view on this is that, long ago, at a time when the nomadic way of life was the rule, nations did not relate to geographical origin but rather to birth. The etymology of various IE languages is very clear on this: ...


7

"Nationalism" as a term in its modern definition Regularly being referred to as an author of remarkable influence on the terms nationality and nationalism in their modern recipation is Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803). In his work Ideas for the Philosophy of History of Humanity (1784–91), he is at least one of the first to claim that human societies ...


7

For the most part, you would be talking about what is referred to as vernacular architecture. This was pretty much enforced until the last couple of generations, as "architect" is a licenced profession in the USA, and African Americans (and women) had trouble getting themseleves licenced. Paul Williams became the first in 1923, although census results in ...


7

The Roman armies of the early to mid-Republic were largely conscript based with the conscripts serving for a relatively short period. Only land owners were eligible for conscription. Conscripts were unpaid and expected to provide their own equipment. This worked well enough for a while but as the extent of Roman territory grew it proved increasingly ...


7

Latin was indeed the lingua franca of the period, and very, very few people could read or write. There just wasn't a lot of reason to be able to do so; paper was not introduced to Europe until the 1200s, so before then if you wanted to write anything down you had to go through the painstaking process of creating a piece of vellum or parchment for what it was ...


7

The german Wikipedia has a bit about this. In short: No - it was illegal in WWI. And during the Nazis it was deadly. EDIT: Den Ersten Weltkrieg betrachtete die Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft ebenso wie die SPD als deutschen Verteidigungskrieg und lehnte die Kriegsdienstverweigerung deshalb weiterhin ab. Sie erlitt mit anderen deutschen pazifistischen ...


6

The French Revolution occurred from 1789 to 1799. The period covered by Les Miserable which is the June Rebellion of 1832. Articles on the June Rebellion indicate the restored king was Louis Phillipe.


6

A New York bar's website is one of a few sites which provide the following (seemingly) credible explanation for this practice: No one is exactly sure of the reasons why larger format bottles were given biblical names. But, according to the Champagne expert Francois Bonal, winemakers in Bordeaux had been using the name Jeroboam for the four-bottle size ...


6

I'm not sure about consensus, but there are books on the topic. Example: http://www.amazon.com/Organised-Crime-Antiquity-Keith-Hopwood/dp/0715629050 Further east, Yakuza originated in 1600s. More controversially, you could view pretty much any feudal lord as an organized criminal (since your question wasn't terribly specific on how you define organized ...


6

I'm going to do a total long shot here, and provide a comparison that seems to fit all 4 points. However, as a larger picture, it's not necessarily a very good parallel since very little practical advice can be gleaned from it as far as what needs to be done. USSR in the late 1980s till 1991 fits: Decentralization forces driven by existence of ...


6

The French Légion étrangère has the closest interaction between officers and soldiers that I know of. For example, they all spend Christmas or any other official holidays together. Officers are as well expected to be able to do what the soldiers do and frequently have to. My experience of Legionary officers and homme du rang is that they share more in ...


6

During WWII the US military was heavily segregated. Most black soldiers served in support roles such as truck drivers and stevedores. There were some combat black combat units such as the Tuskegee Airmen and 761st Tank Batallion. A notable exception occurred during and after the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. Faced with a shortage of replacements ...


6

How would it matter if people support war when Spain was not the aggressor? They supported it as it was a defensive war. In these times it was obvious to fight. I read a Polish book, some years ago, later on the evening (I live in CET zone) I will provide this as a source if someone is interested, but the main idea was that Spanish knew they were about to ...


6

The Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) is a mythical character to which many inventions are attributed. However, like King Arthur or Robin Hood, there is no evidence that he ever really existed. The legend actually does not credit the Yellow Emperor with creating Chinese script, but rather to his historiographer and magician named Chang Jie. The earliest forms of ...


6

In medieval France at least, the occupation of apothecary was severely restricted by law and required a licence to be lawful (such licences appeared first in Montpellier in the 12th century, probably under the influence of the then famous academy of medicine established there then spread in the rest of France). These licences typically incorporated a ...


6

There is a text of Cicero in which he defends a friend of his, named Milo. Milo was on trial for the murder of P. Clodius Pulcher, but manumitted (freed) all his slaves in advance. Roman slaves where required to be tortured for evidence against their master, hence freeing them will make this impossible. (Cicero, Speech in Defense of Milo 57, 58). I don't ...


5

There's no good cut-and-dried answer to what 'the origins of organized crime' are, as it is a phenomenon that sprang up in many places independently. I'm not aware of any consensus as to the very first example of an organized criminal group either, although, as DVK points out, you would have to define what you think would qualify as organized crime. ...


5

The assumption that the object in the soldier's right wrist is a watch is not entirely safe; for all we know it's a wrist worn compass, and more specifically an Adrianov compass. Adrianov compasses were pretty common with Red Army soldiers, and they would have been worn on the right wrist. From a distance, a soldier wearing a compass would look like wearing ...


5

The only sensible answer to this question shorter than a book is really as simple as Moore's Law. The phones got smaller every year because they could; the smaller phones were cheaper and more energy efficient by virtue of their reduced size; cheaper phones were bought by more people, which inspired phone companies to erect more towers providing better ...



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