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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Annotated Links: Recycling in the ‘Old’ World

In History, Internet Resources on April 22, 2010 at 16:25

by Staff of West Civ Sec 2

For Earth Day, our class took a look at the history of recycling.

Here is a short annotated collection of what we found online. It’s pretty interesting because even though most people believe that recycling is a modern idea, research has shown that even the Ancient Romans recycled!

Ancient Greece

The people of crete creating an urban garbage dump about 3,000 B.C. The Athenians were some of the first to dump their waste outside the city.

Ancient Rome

The Ancient Romans took old metal after conquering a new place and melted it down to make statues.  This reused the metal and made it into something useful. The Romans would recycle the swords and jewelry of the places and regions they defeated. They would melt the metal down to make statues of gods and war heroes.

Stones used in the walls of Roman cities were recycled and used to make other people’s houses and other things when part of the wall was damaged. Much later, museums in Britian used glass from the Roman times to turn into gems and decorate their displays.

The Numberlands took the old bronze Roman coins and they recycled them into trinkets for the Roman Army and sold them for more money than the older coins were worth.

Ancient Romans also recycled and reused their broken pottery.


This site is about how the Vikings recycled old metal weapons by melting them down and using them for other things. It is maybe unusual to hear that the Vikings recycled, but they would always reuse weapons from obtained from battles.
The Vikings recycled their old weapons by taking them to smithies after battles and having them reprocessed.  This allowed broken weapons to be reused over and over again.

Further reading…

This site from the Waste Watch Project’s WasteOnline has a “Chronology of Waste” that has information dating back to 3000 BC . This site tells how different civilizations recycled waste and used their waste products.


We Are Vikings!

In History on March 22, 2010 at 21:57

by Elliott Weinberg, Bryan Fidler, Becky Hottle, and Mackenzie Rayburn

In gearing up for a Viking raid, the Norsemen would have first gathered their weapons. A sword with a blade about 90 cm long that was sharp on both sides would be needed.

They would also take a short ax and a round shield. Many of the Vikings also wore helmets made of iron with eye, ear, and nose coverings.

Bows and arrows would also have been taken to shoot at the enemy from boats, or on land when approaching. Some Viking warriors had mail tunics, and these would have been brought to battle as well. Once this gear and weapons was gathered, it would be loaded into shallow draught longships that were used for “hit-and-run” surprise attacks by the Viking raiders.

Sometimes, however, things just didn’t work out for the Viking Warrior.

“Combat Equipment and Fighting Techniques of the Vikings.” The Vikings., 1999-2008. Web. 18 Mar 2010. (

Koeller , David. “Vikings Raid European Mainland.” The Web Chronology Project. WebChron Project, 1996-1999. Web. 18 Mar 2010. (

Were the Early Roman Emperors Really Fit to Lead?

In History on March 17, 2010 at 19:22

by David Knaide

The first Julio-Claudian dynasty consisted of the very first emperors of Rome, and although they started the Roman Empire, some of them were crazy tyrants who greatly abused their power. Following the death of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire started, and instead of having a Republic, individual emperors held the sole power. Aside from Augustus, the first emperor, probably the only reason they became emperors was because each had to be of family relation to the previous one. The emperors were not able to choose their heirs, and as a result, unfit men became all-powerful rulers of Rome. Some of the earliest emperors of Rome were quite unfit to hold this position.

Julius Caesar’s heir and the very first emperor of Rome, Augustus Caesar, did a good job of restoring order after the death of Caesar. However, the other emperors in the dynasty either did not want to rule the empire or were abusive of the power they had. The second Roman emperor was Tiberius. In the beginning of his reign, he did not seem to be ready for such power. In fact, he did not seem to want to be emperor at all, and he tried to use as little power as possible. (“Tiberius.” Wikipedia. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. It did not take long, however, for this to change. Tacitus, an ancient historian who lived very shortly after Tiberius, wrote, “Suddenly fortune deranged everything; the emperor became a cruel tyrant, as well as an abettor of cruelty in others.” (“The Annals by Tacitus.” The Internet Classics Archive: 441 Searchable Works of Classical Literature. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. This became clear when Tiberius had a man called Sejanus killed because he was supposedly trying to become emperor himself. Tiberius did not stop there; he had anyone associated with Sejanus in any way assassinated. (“Tiberius.” Wikipedia. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. Tiberius was definitely unfit for a position of such great power.

Though Tiberius was a bad emperor, his successor, Caligula, was far worse. Caligula was certifiably insane, and he abused his power greatly. Aside from this, he is said to have had a scandalous relationship with his own sister. His insanity is proven in the fact that he tried to make his horse a consul. (“Roman Emperors – DIR Caligula.” Roman Emperors – DIR. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. Caligula not only insane, but he was also extremely cruel. He had many people killed, even those who were very close with him. For example, he had his own father-in-law murder himself on account of treason. He did the same thing to his right-hand man, Macro. Just a year or two after he became emperor, Caligula had almost driven the Roman Empire to become bankrupt. (“Caligula.” VROMA :: Home. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. This is probably because he was wasting so much money on an unnecessary floating bridge made of ships. Without much money and ships for transport, Caligula caused the people to experience a famine. Despite the problems he caused, Caligula was very self-absorbed, and he thought of himself as a divine being. This cruel emperor was clearly not very popular among the people, so it is not surprise that after only four years of rule, he was assassinated. (“Caligula.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. It is obvious by looking at Caligula’s actions that he did not deserve the title of Emperor.

The next emperor in the Julio-Claudian Dynasty was Claudius, who was forced into the position after Caligula’s death. He had almost no experience, and when he was called to the Capitol, he returned word that he would not come. (“Ancient History Sourcebook: Suetonius: Life of Claudius.” FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. In fact, he was found hiding behind a curtain, and it is clear that he did not want to become emperor. He was a bit of a pushover; the first thing he did when he became emperor was pay the military a large sum of money so they would be loyal to him. (“Claudius.” The Roman Empire. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. The Senate did not like him throughout his reign, and there were several attempts to kill him. Claudius was definitely not good at choosing a wife; he married four times, his third wife attempted to kill him, and his fourth succeeded. Because he did not want to become emperor in the first place, Claudius was not fit to have so much power.

Though he was the last emperor of the first dynasty, Nero was one of the worst. He had his own mother, who had helped him rise to the top, murdered after he came to power. Nero was another egotistical emperor, and one of his most infamous acts is the fire of Rome. He is said to have started a great fire at the Circus Maximus that spread and burned everything in its path for over five days. He supposedly did this in order to make space for the building of a new complex in his honor. In order to shift the blame away from himself, he targeted the Christians and had many of the killed and persecuted. (“Emperor Nero: 54-68.” Then Again. . . Web. 13 Mar. 2010. Aside from this, Nero spent more time in Greece than he did in Rome. It seems that his own pleasures were more important to him than ruling the Roman Empire. The people eventually grew tired of him and actually forced him to commit suicide. Even on the verge of death, Nero remained egotistical and kept saying, “What an artist the world is losing!” (“Ancient History Sourcebook: Suetonius: De Vita Caesarum–Nero, C. 110 C.E.”FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. Because he was so self-absorbed and interested in his own happiness, he was quite an unfit emperor of Rome.

The emperors of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty – Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero – were the first of the Roman Empire. Some of them were too selfish while others did not even want to be emperor. Aside from Augustus, the men of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty caused Rome a lot of trouble, and they were certainly unfit to be emperors.

Works Cited

“Ancient History Sourcebook: Suetonius: De Vita Caesarum–Nero, C. 110 C.E.” FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Ancient History Sourcebook: Suetonius: Life of Claudius.” FORDHAM.EDU. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“The Annals by Tacitus.” The Internet Classics Archive: 441 Searchable Works of Classical Literature. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Caligula.” VROMA :: Home. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Caligula.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Claudius.” The Roman Empire. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Emperor Nero: 54-68.” Then Again. . . Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Nero.” NNDB: Tracking the Entire World. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Roman Emperors – DIR Caligula.” Roman Emperors – DIR–De Imperatoribus Romanis Roman History Roman Roman Empire Imperator Basileus De Imperatoribus Romanis Encyclopedia Byzantine. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.

“Tiberius.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 12 Mar. 2010.

Old School Gaming: Ancient History Game Reviews

In Games, History, Internet Resources on March 16, 2010 at 13:33

by Thomas Sullivan

There are many great games out there geared towards learning about the ancient world.

In ‘Gladiator: Dressed to Kill‘, you dress up Roman gladiators for battle.

The game gives information about the Roman gladiators like how they were armed in a variety of styles that were designed to mimic mythical figures as well as Rome’s past enemies. Specific gladiators were matched together so there would be an exciting fight.

In the game you have sixty seconds to dress up the specific gladiator for his specific battle. You can ask for clues that will help you to figure out which weapons and armor your gladiator should were into battle. You only have four clues and you need to choose four weapons and armor. The four weapons that you can give to your gladiator are a trident, a sword, a spear, and a dagger. Other things that may be given to the gladiator are different types of armor as well as shields and a net. The clues can give you a hint as to what weapon and what armor to send the gladiator in with. An example is “The Retiarius gladiator is lightly armed, and has the equipment of a fisher man.” Based on the clue you can that the weapon that the gladiator should be given is a trident and fishing net. If you choose three of the correct weapons you will be given the palm branch of victory. If you choose all four correctly, you will be given a wooden sword that symbolizes the gladiator’s freedom.

This is a fun game that will help you learn about how gladiators fought and what they were like. It gives information on what kinds of weapons and armor they took into the arena with them which can be very interesting.

In the game, ‘Dig it up: Romans‘, you are an archaeologist.

In this game, you are trying to dig up archaeological items, hence the name. You are set in a place where there are many underground Roman items and there are places where you can dig up specific items from a specific Roman time period.

Meanwhile, in the ‘Mesopotamia Farming Game‘, you have to take care of three different plots of land, farm, sow your crops, water, and maybe even flood your crops.

This game can be helpful to learn about farming, but it doesn’t teach much about Mesopotamia, except that people from there were farmers because of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This game would be better if it was more interactive with more facts about Mesopotamia and if it had more things to do than just farming. has created an interactive game where not only can you learn about the history of the Giza pyramids but you can learn how to build one.

While building the pyramid, the game gives you a time limit of about 23 years. It is very realistic, down to point where you have to get barracks for the workers. This game is good for anyone who wants to learn what it felt like to be in charge of having one of the Pyramids at Gize built.

BBC has a an interactive game that goes through the process of digging up ancient civilizations in the Indus Valley.

Professor Indus is an archaeologist. He gives you the mission of finding the lost city of Mohenjodaro. It is a great game where you learn about the tools that an archaeologist uses as you learn about the Indus Valley. It is quite clever and fun to play and i recommend it.

That’s it until next time. Until then… enjoy gaming and learning!

What? No Horns?

In History on March 16, 2010 at 13:11

by Hunter Kothenbeutel and Eric McIntyre

It is a myth that viking wore helmets with horns on them. The few helmets that did survive from the viking age do not have horns. Also any depictions from that time do not show the vikings with horned helmets. It is more likely that this was believed to make the vikings seem more savage.

The christian influence in Europe most likely did this to make the vikings appear more pagan to others and more like barbarians. Another explanation is that because the Norse God Thor had a winged helmet that others mistook these for horns. There are many other other possible solutions for depicting vikings in horned helmets.

The Vikings did not wear helmets that had large horns on them. The helmets that they wore were simpler, made out of iron. The idea that Vikings wore helmets with horns or wings on them was made popular in the 19th century.

If a helmet from that time did have horned I think they would be bull horns. This would be more likely because they look the more similar to artist depictions than other types of horns that belong to animals from Europe.


Top 10 Misconceptions About The Vikings. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.

“Viking Age Arms and Armour -.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Mar. 2010.>.

Prizvanievaryagov.jpg. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.