Category Archives: History

Ideas that add up #182

British artist Benjamin Haydon left a superb picture of these ‘old sweats’ when he saw them at Fontainebleau in 1814, wearing the correct uniform, ‘seamed with scars, elegant,’ ‘More dreadful-looking fellows than Napoleon’s guard I had never seen. They had … Continue reading

Posted in History, National cultures | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ideas that add up #179

An analogy between agriculture and electricity may help explain and exorcise it [the “fallacy of agricultural primacy”]. Cities today are so dependent upon electricity that their economies would collapse without it. Moreover, if modern cities had no electricity most of their … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ideas that add up #169

The greatest of the Gillray prints is “The Plumb Pudding in Danger”, an amazing image of two voracious western leaders carving up the globe between them. Which is the greater villain, Napoleon who confines his attentions to Europe, or the … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ideas that add up #163

When I asked a Finnish historian whether Finns were ashamed of having fought alongside Hitler, he asked me whether Britons were ashamed of having fought alongside Stalin. Touché, I thought.  Simon Kuper, FT Magazine, May 2nd, 2015 Yeah. ‘Nuff said.

Posted in History, War what is it good for | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ideas that add up #159

The feudalistic society of the early Chou dynasty operated according to two principles: one was that of the li (rituals, ceremonies, rules of conduct, mores); the other was that of the hsing (penalties, punishments). The li formed the unwritten code … Continue reading

Posted in History, Political science | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ideas that add up #154

As far as the main army was concerned, military operations ceased once Genghis reached the waters of the Indus. Messengers had brought news of the Khwarazm Shah’s death: his army had been decimated, and Jalal al-Din was no longer thought … Continue reading

Posted in Eat Drink Man Woman, History | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ideas that add up #151

The essential point, constantly in Cao Cao’s mind and in the thoughts of his more astute companions, was that while a reputation for open dealing was desirable, it could not be gained by excessive informality or loss of dignity. That … Continue reading

Posted in History, Political science | Tagged | Leave a comment