Saigō Takamori: the true story of the last samurai

In 1877 the Satsuma Rebellion or Sainan War against the Japanese imperial throne ended with the victory of the latter and the definitive confirmation that the Meiji Revolution was continuing with the modernization of the country, putting an end to the traditionalist faction that had resisted it. The leader of the Meiji Revolution died in…Continue readingSaigō Takamori: the true story of the last samurai

The Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

About 80 kilometers southwest of Paris stands the city of Chartres, one of whose main cultural attractions is its Gothic cathedral built between 1194 and 1220. It was built in the same place where other churches and cathedrals had been before, the first one around 360 A.D., all of them destroyed by fires: the first…Continue readingThe Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

The High Court of Chivalry, a medieval institution still active in the United Kingdom

Heraldry is the science of the coat of arms, the “art of explaining and describing the coats of arms of each lineage, city or person” (apart from making ostentation and self-praise). It is a science that dates back to the Middle Ages, since it was then that this type of identity representations were born, and…Continue readingThe High Court of Chivalry, a medieval institution still active in the United Kingdom

Hippika gymnasia, the Roman cavalry tournaments

We are used, thanks to literature and cinema, to the image of medieval horsemen engaged in chivalry tournaments. Although this type of competition and its rules are exclusively of medieval invention, in reality similar exercises existed long before, such as the one practiced by the Roman cavalry, probably due to Greek influence. It was called…Continue readingHippika gymnasia, the Roman cavalry tournaments

The Rosenstrasse protest, when German women saved their Jewish husbands by confronting the Nazi regime

In 2003 the German Margarethe von Trotta, director, scriptwriter, actress and wife of the famous writer Volker Schlöndorf, won the David de Donatello Award (the most important in the Italian film industry) in the category of best European movie with her film Rosenstraße. It is a German-Dutch co-production whose protagonist also won the award for…Continue readingThe Rosenstrasse protest, when German women saved their Jewish husbands by confronting the Nazi regime

How Sumerians named substitute kings during eclipses and the custom survived even in Alexander’s time

Between 1805 and 1799 B.C. (according to short chronology) or 1868 and 1861 B.C. (according to medium chronology) King Erra-Imitti ruled in the Sumerian city-state of Isin in present-day Iraq (about 20 miles south of Nippur). His name comes to mean something as a follower of Erra, who was a god of war, riots and…Continue readingHow Sumerians named substitute kings during eclipses and the custom survived even in Alexander’s time

Beijing-Paris, the automobile race of 1907 that inaugurated the tradition of celebrating victory with champagne

If there is one classic of sports celebrations, it is motor racing, where victories are showered with champagne (including competitors, hostesses and the team at the foot of the podium). It is something that has transcended to the point that other disciplines also do the same. But no one asks why, what is the reason…Continue readingBeijing-Paris, the automobile race of 1907 that inaugurated the tradition of celebrating victory with champagne

The British Museum objects that no one can see and that Ethiopia claims

Although the British never conquered or colonized Ethiopia, in April 1868 a battle took place there that ended the so-called British Expedition to Abyssinia (as the country was then known). It all began in October 1862 when Emperor Theodore II of Ethiopia, beset by internal unrest and external threats, requested military assistance from Queen Victoria…Continue readingThe British Museum objects that no one can see and that Ethiopia claims

Jasper Maskelyne, the magician who fooled the Germans with his tricks in World War II

In 1983, the famous magician David Copperfield caused a sensation by making the New York City Statue of Liberty disappear in a live television broadcast. It is curious that almost forty years before, in the middle of World War II, another illusionist also performed a magical feat of great proportions, although in his case it…Continue readingJasper Maskelyne, the magician who fooled the Germans with his tricks in World War II

The Lemnos Stele, a funerary inscription from the 6th century B.C. that links the Pelasgians to the Etruscans

In 1885, a unique stele was found as part of the walls of a church in the town of Kaminia on the Greek island of Lemnos. It has been dated to the 6th century BC, prior to the conquest of the island by the Athenians in 510 BC to the Pelasgians. This was the name…Continue readingThe Lemnos Stele, a funerary inscription from the 6th century B.C. that links the Pelasgians to the Etruscans