Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Tragic Life Of The Roman Emperor, Julian The Apostate


When Constantine the Great became the ruler of the entire Roman Empire in 324 CE, most of his relatives probably thought they would be set for life in positions of power and luxury. Actually, when Constantine died in 337, only a few people in the royal family benefited. The large empire was divided between Constantine’s legitimate sons, Constantine II, Canstans I and Canstantius II. These three brothers each adopted the title of emperor and ruled their own domains. Unfortunately for all of the other relatives and cousins who were not direct, legitimate heirs of Constantine the Great, their fate was very different. Instead of being seen as allies and kin, the three new emperors saw most of their family as rivals and enemies.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Chaotic Reigns Of The Sons Of Constantine The Great



Constantine the Great, emperor of the Western Roman Empire (c. 312-324 CE), and later the entire Roman Empire (c. 324-337), climbed to ultimate power after defeating a host of rivals in a long and bloody civil war. Despite experiencing firsthand the complications that come with dividing a single empire among multiple emperors, Constantine the Great groomed all three of his legitimate sons for rule and gave them each the title of caesar. When Constantine the Great died in 337, none of his sons were given primacy. All three of them, Constantine II, Constans I, and Constantius II all proclaimed themselves to be an augustus (or emperor), and divided the empire amongst themselves. Constantine II ruled Roman Britain, Gaul (France) and Spain. Constans I took Italy, North Africa (excluding Egypt) and some of the Balkans. Constantius II took the remainder of the Balkans, and the rest of the Roman lands, with land spanning around the Mediterranean from Greece to Egypt.

Although the empire fell in succession to Constantine’s sons, it was these sons, and these sons only, who controlled the Roman Empire—all other relatives were considered a threat. In a plan probably masterminded by Constantius II, the emperors purged the land of potential rivals, including many of their own cousins and even a half-brother of Constantine the Great, ironically also named Constantius. Two notable imperial cousins that survived the purge were Gallus and Julian, the former would be a future caesar and the latter a future emperor.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Killer WWII Dogs Of Cat Island



During the Second World War, all the warring countries were looking for an edge in their war effort, be it through machinery and science, new methods of personnel training or, unfortunately, even experimental drug-use. While most military research and development funding went to the tried and true necessities, such as weaponry, tanks, airplanes and ships, the war-torn countries of the world were also open to investigating more abnormal methods of warfare. Looking for any and every way to win the war, some countries invested their resources into turning mankind’s furry, four-legged best friends into trained man-killers.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Marriage Fiasco of Cleisthenes, Tyrant of Sicyon


(Painting of a ancient festival to Demeter, by Francis Davis Millet  (1846–1912), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

The tyrant, Cleisthenes, is thought to have ruled the city-state of Sicyon from approximately 600-570 BCE. Sicyon was located somewhere in the northern Peloponnesus, between ancient Corinth and Achaea. Cleisthenes was a member of the Orthagoras family (or the Orthagorids), and his reign was the climax of his dynasty’s rule in Sicyon.

Cleisthenes successfully ushered Sicyon through the political and military conflicts of ancient Greece. He sided with the Oracle of Delphi in the First Sacred War (around the 590s BCE), which led to the destruction of Crisa. He was also a patron of athletics and sports, both in Delphi and at home in Sicyon.

It was around this time, after emerging victorious from the First Sacred War, that Cleisthenes began thinking of arranging a marriage for his daughter, Agariste. The tyrant, however, did not want just any marriage for his daughter; he wanted to marry his girl to the greatest man in all of Greece. To make sure the most accomplished men in Greece would hear of his daughter’s marriage eligibility, Cleisthenes made an announcement at one of Greece’s most prestigious events—either the Olympic or Pythian Games. According to the historian, Herodotus, he made his declaration after having won fist place in an Olympic chariot race. Yet, others think his announcement came after participating in the 582 BCE Pythian Games. Either way, the most athletic and affluent Greeks heard that Cleisthenes was accepting suitors for his daughter’s hand in marriage. As with most stories recorded by Herodotus, the tale of Cleithenes’ marriage fiasco is likely highly exaggerated and filled with folklore, but nonetheless, it remains incredibly entertaining.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

During WWII, A United States Serviceman Became A Serial Strangler In Australia


(Photograph of Edward Leonsky taken prior to 1942, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Private Edward Joseph Leonski, also known as Eddie, was one of around 15,000 U. S. military personnel stationed in Melbourne, Australia in 1942 during the midst of World War II. Yet, unlike the other thousands of U.S. troops, the twenty-four-year-old Edward Leonski was a serial killer who would go on a murder spree, ending the lives of three innocent women.