King Alfred the Great: Bone of the First King of the Anglo-Saxons Found in a Box?

King Alfred the Great. Artist and date not listed. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

King Alfred the Great. Artist and date not listed. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The latest edition of  my History in the News Series, a look at current events that have some sort of historical slant.

King Alfred is the greatest of Anglo-Saxon kings and one of the most famous monarchs in England’s long recorded history. His list of deeds includes defeating Viking hoards, uniting the Anglo-Saxons, strengthening the islands defenses, legal reforms, fomenting scholarship and general, all around enlightenment. Rare for a king of his time to accomplish so much, especially with hereditary monarchy being such a crap shoot. He is England’s Charlemagne. He truly was deserving of the nickname ‘The Great.’ So why was his pelvis bone found in a box at the Winchester City Museum?

“I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and to leave after my life, to the men who should come after me, the memory of me in good works.”

Words purportedly spoken by the great king. But first, some more on the man and his times.

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Hiroo Onoda: A Serious Commitment to Duty

Hiroo Onoda as a young officer, c 1944. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Hiroo Onoda as a young officer, c 1944. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The latest edition of  my History in the News Series, a look at current events that have some sort of historical slant.

On January 16, 2014, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army passed away at the age of 91.

Sometimes some people take things too seriously. War is probably something that does not fall into that category very often. There were a handful of Japanese holdouts following the island empires defeat in World War II who continued the armed struggle well beyond the August 15, 1945 surrender of their nation. Most of them were cut off by the United States’ island hopping campaign and were located on small islands in the Pacific. Some held out through the 40’s while others managed to keep the struggle going until the 70’s. Onoda’s story is, by far, the most remarkable.

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Rise of Apartheid: A Nightmare in Living Memory

Frederik de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos in January 1992. Copyright World Economic Forum

Frederik de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos in January 1992. Copyright World Economic Forum

Nelson Mandela has passed away.

I had planned on having a weekly segment on the blog called History in the News. The idea is to demonstrate history’s relevance and impact on our daily lives while simultaneously forcing myself to write about topics I wouldn’t normally tackle. The vast majority of what I’ll cover on the blog will be from the distant past. With the idea in place, all I needed was a current event to fall into my lap. Shortly before the publication of my first post, Mandela passed away after 95 years, and the choice became obvious. The world does not lack for tributes to the great South African statesman in the wake of his death. There’s really no need for me to add another to the mounting multitudes. I’ve decided to give a quick look at the system whose dismantling he would grow to symbolize: apartheid.

I’ll link to some biographies and tributes below, for those of you that are interested.

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