History Snippets: Cradle-land of Battles

This is the last planned post of my “History Snippets” series: Cradle-land of Battles, China, Measurement, Manned Flight, Hydrogen Bomb, Mt. St. Helens, Santorini, Battleships, Cast-iron Cannon. This is about the world of Athens and Sparta in the time of the Battle of Marathon. That’s not to say there won’t be more.

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History Snippets: China

Another part of the world was also beginning a massive territorial reshaping of its own, a struggle that would come in several waves, like Europe’s, of over two thousand years’ duration. In each world, that struggle would tear lives of the common people apart, and put them back together in ways pleasing to the ebb and flow of the ruling powers. That land was China.

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History Snippets: Measurement

The two tables published in this article translate early Greek units of measurement, and their numbering system. Such tables are utterly useless for everyday modern life. If you should one day find yourself reading Herodotus or other early Greek translation, you’ll hope you remember where to find them.

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History Snippets: Santorini

Santorini is on the short list of sites mentioned in the persistent search for the legendary “lost continent of Atlantis”. Like Chicxulub crater and some of the other truly global scale meteor-strike sites, the actual scale of calderas like Santorini did not necessarily become obvious before the advent of aerial and satellite mapping. Continue reading

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History Snippets: Battleships

Weighing about 45,000 tons, with a waterline length of about 860 feet and a speed of about 64 kilometers per hour, battleships were the most heavily armed ships ever put to sea. “Iowa class” vessels carried nine 16-inch guns, firing projectiles weighing around a ton up to 20 miles. In World War II, battleships were found to be indefensibly vulnerable to attack by air. They were replaced, in a historical blink of the eye, by the aircraft carrier. Continue reading

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History Snippets: Cast-iron Cannon

Primitive to us today, the technology to develop mass-produced cast-iron cannon was once daunting … One could not simply master precision casting of a cast-iron or bronze barrel with a hollow bore. The bore had to be machined or polished to a sufficient smoothness to prevent the projectile from sticking and blowing up both cannon and cannoneer. Continue reading

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