History Girls

The marriage of Christians, man and woman, who have reached years of discretion, that is for a man at fifteen and for a woman at thirteen years of age, both being desirous and having obtained the consent of their parents, shall be contracted either by deed or by parol. A written marriage contract shall be based upon a written agreement providing the wife’s marriage portion; and it shall be made before three credible witnesses according to the new decrees auspiciously prescribed by us.

From: http://ping.fm/BGUNX


The high-heeled shoe, or a shoe whose heel is higher than the toe, is a matter of contentious and heated discussion.

Shoes in general have typically served as markers of gender, class, race, and ethnicity–and both the foot and the shoe have been imbued with powerful phallic and fertility symbols as evidenced in the contemporary practice of tying shoes to a newlywed couple’s car.

From: http://ping.fm/cpov3

Five thousand years ago the chain of independent city-states lining the River Nile united to form one long, thin country ruled by one king, or pharaoh. Almost instantly a highly distinctive culture developed. For almost 30 centuries Egypt remained the foremost nation in the Mediterranean world. Then, in 332 BC, the arrival of Alexander the Great heralded the end of the Egyptian way of life.

The unique culture was quickly buried beneath successive layers of Greek, Roman and Arabic tradition, and all knowledge of Egypt’s glorious past was lost. Only the decaying stone monuments, their hieroglyphic texts now unreadable, survived as silent witnesses to a long lost civilisation.

Some 2,000 years on, however, the ancient hieroglyphs have been decoded and Egyptology – the study of ancient Egypt – is booming. At a time when Latin and ancient Greek are rapidly vanishing from the school curriculum, more and more people are choosing to read hieroglyphs in their spare time. And the Egyptian galleries of our museums are packed with visitors, while the galleries dedicated to other ancient cultures remain empty.

From: http://ping.fm/7gMLt

Manduca da Praia was a capoeira mestre in the ninetieth century who was famed for his skill as a fighter, his sense of style and his elegant manor. He was tall, had a gray and copper color hair, a pointy beard and wore a white beaver hat. It was said that just looking at his face commanded both fear and respect and his eyes always showed him to be determined and extremely confident in himself and his abilities.

From: http://ping.fm/k0q6b

In many areas of study such as arts, social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and in particular history, it is vital to know the difference between primary and secondary sources.

The basic distinction between them is that the first is a piece of information that has been recorded by a person who is contemporary to the time the event/person it discusses. Secondary sources are recorded later and express the experiences and opinions of earlier commentators.

Primary Sources

Primary sources of history come in many forms; they can be personal information that was not intended for publication such as letters, journals, diaries or personal information that was published from manuscripts, memoirs, speeches or interviews. Primary sources can also include relics or artifacts such as pottery, furniture and buildings.

Other types include anything that gives a first hand account of something such as newspapers and magazines, (as long as the articles are about subjects or events of the time) or research reports. Works of art such as paintings, photographs, literature works and audio or video recordings can also count as first hand historical sources.

From: http://ping.fm/6S0D9

For hundreds of years, the secret doctrines of Zen have been transmitted from master to student in the form of seemingly absurd riddles or parables called koans. Intense meditation upon these is said to lead to enlightenment.

These koans were translated into English from a primary source in the form of a book called the Shaseki-shu (Collection of Stone and Sand) that was written late in the thirteenth century by the Japanese Zen master Muju (the “non-dweller”). The 101 Zen Koans collection also contains anecdotes of Japanese Zen monks taken from various books published around the turn of the 20th century.

68. One Note of Zen


Image Source

After Kakua visited the emperor he disappeared and no one knew what became of him. He was the first Japanese to study Zen in China, but since he showed nothing of it, save one note, he is not remembered for having brought Zen into his country.

Kakua visited China and accepted the true teaching. He did not travel while he was there. Meditating constantly, he lived on a remote part of a mountain. Whenever people found him and asked him to preach he would say a few words and then move to another part of the mountain where he could be found less easily.

The emperor heard about Kakua when he returned to Japan and asked him to preach Zen for his edification and that of his subjects. Kakua stood before the emperor in silence. He then produced a flute from the folds of his robe, and blew one short note.

Bowing politely, he disappeared.

69. Eating the Blame


Image Source

Circumstances arose one day which delayed preparation of the dinner of a Soto Zen master, Fugai, and his followers. In haste the cook went to the garden with his curved knife and cut off the tops of green vegetables, chopped them together, and made soup, unaware that in his haste he had included a part of a snake in the vegetables.

The followers of Fugai thought they had never tasted such great soup. But when the master himself found the snake’s head in his bowl, he summoned the cook. “What is this?” he demanded, holding up the head of the snake. “Oh, thank you, master,” replied the cook, taking the morsel and eating it quickly.

70. The Most Valuable Thing in the World


Image Source

Sozan, a Chinese Zen master, was asked by a student: “What is the most valuable thing in the world?”

The master replied: “The head of a dead cat.”

“Why is the head of a dead cat the most valuable thing in the world?” inquired the student.

Sozan replied: “Because no one can name its price.”

Read more: http://ping.fm/x3EDb

From: http://ping.fm/4rIfW

“Do not set out to stand around in the assembly. Do not loiter where there is a dispute, for in the dispute they will have you as an observer. Then you will be made a witness for them, and they will involve you in a lawsuit to affirm something that does not concern you. In case of a dispute, get away from it, disregard it! If a dispute involving you should flare up, calm it down. A dispute is a covered pit, a wall which can cover over its foes; it brings to mind what one has forgotten and makes an accusation against a man. Do not return evil to your adversary; requite with kindness the one who does evil to you, maintain justice for your enemy, be friendly to your enemy.

Give food to eat, beer to drink, grant what is requested, provide for and treat with honor. At this one’s god takes pleasure. It is pleasing to Shamash, who will repay him with favor. Do good things, be kind all your days.

Do not honor a slave girl in your house; she should not rule your bedroom like a wife, do not give yourself over to slave girls….Let this be said among your people: “The household which a slave girl rules, she disrupts.” Do not marry a prostitute, whose husbands are legion, an Ishtar-woman who is dedicated to a god, a kulmashitu-woman. . . .When you have trouble, she will not support you, when you have a dispute she will be a mocker. There is no reverence or submissiveness in her. Even if she is powerful in the household, get rid of her, for she pricks up her ears for the footsteps of another.

From: http://ping.fm/Vs6Ak

{January 19, 2011}   The Coronation of King George VI

George VI unexpectedly became the king of the United Kingdom when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. He was the head of state during the Second Word War, regularly visiting the troops and supporting his Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He was the last Emperor of India up until 1948, the last King of Ireland up until 1949 and the first head of the Commonwealth. This video is a news reel of his coronation on 12 May, 1937.

From: http://ping.fm/4ZB0m

During the Second World War, nearly a million women fought alongside their male counterparts and in October 1941, women’s aviation regiments began to be formed. Marina Raskova, already an ace pilot and member of the ‘People’s Defence Committee’, was allowed to organised three female aviation groups authorised by the Soviet high command. They were the 586 IAP (Fighter Aviation Regiment), the 587 BAP (Bomber Aviation Regiment) and the 588 NBAP (Night Bomber Aviation Regiment).

After being accepted to the training program, the young women underwent a rigorous six month flying and navigation course, fitting in to that time an amount of training that would normally take around a year and a half. In September 1942, Valerya Khomyakova of the 586 IAP’s or ‘Fighter Aviation Regiment’ became the first female Soviet pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft at night when she downed a Ju 99.

A month later, the 586 IAP assisted in Operation Saturn and Uranus, which was successful in eliminating the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, after which, they were given the task of defending some important military logistical facilities and strategic locations. In 1944, the unit took part in the Soviet offensive in Hungry fighting with Yak-9 fighters and they finished the war on one of the captured airfields in Austria.

From: http://ping.fm/GXo51

{January 18, 2011}   101 Zen Koans ? Numbers 66 & 67

Children of His Majesty

Yamaoka Tesshu was a tutor of the emperor. He was also a master of fencing and a profound student of Zen. His home was the abode of vagabonds. He had but one suit of clothes, for they kept him always poor.

The emperor, observing how worn his garments were, gave Yamaoka some money to buy new ones. The next time Yamaoka appeared he wore the same old outfit.

“What became of the new clothes, Yamaoka?” asked the emperor.

“I provided clothes for the children of Your Majesty,” explained Yamaoka.

From: http://ping.fm/2oEUN

et cetera