Croatia, between a rock and a hard place.

In the next installment in our 1014 series, Robert Horvat gives the history of the medieval Kingdom of Croatia. Stuck between the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, Croatia was going to have a tough time of it. Robert details some of the struggles they faced around the turn of the millennium. In 1014, the kingdom was ruled by Krešimir III, who would sit on the throne for 30 years. Check out more of Robet’s blog if you haven’t already!

Amazing Women Who Inspire Us ! (Part 3)

ImageRobert Horvat gives us a series called Women Who Inpire Us. It’s a response to my Fab Five Series. Neither of us listed any women in our lists of historical figures, and Robert is atoning for both of us. This installment features Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of my favorite figures from my favorite era as well as Empress Pulcheria, who I’ve just learned about. I think you’ll be as fond of her as I now am. You’ll find the rest of the series on his blog. Enjoy!

Amazing Women Who Inspire Us ! (Part 3).

An excerpt…

Empress Pulcheria 

One might wonder what the early fifth century Byzantine world would have been like if Aelia Pulcheria was not around and her younger brother Theodosius II was led by other ambitious men ? Sometimes, strong Byzantine women like Pulcheria aren’t given enough credit for the role they play in the Byzantine State and society.

Fab Five Series – Sean Munger’s Version: Dinner with the GenSek, the Sage of Monticello and More

General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev speaking at a news conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986. Permission via Commons: RIA Novosti

General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev speaking at a news conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986.
Permission via Commons: RIA Novosti

This is the fourth part in our weekly Fab Five Series, where I ask other bloggers, writers, podcasters and friends to give their five favorite historical figures. The criteria is up to them…so is the work!

I’m Sean Munger, a historian, teacher and author. I wrote the historical horror novel Zombies of Byzantium and I run a lot of history-related articles on my website, Big thanks to Aaron for letting me participate in the “Fab Five” series, which seemed like a lot of fun from the moment I heard about it! I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember. After spending years as a lawyer, I chose history as my second career, and I’m very happy to have made the choice.

My selection criteria for my “Fab Five” historical figures is pretty loose and undefined: people from history I’d most like to meet and have dinner with. It may be because of their own accomplishments, their own opinions and personality, or perhaps just the time they lived in. It’s so hard to narrow it down just to five, and if you asked me on any other day my list would probably be very different. But, at the time of this writing, here’s who I would enjoy meeting

The GenSek: Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR.

The only figure on my list who’s still alive, I’m astounded that Gorbachev doesn’t have more historical cachet in the world than he does. I believe Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the most important figures of the 20th century. He was incisive, innovative, and brave enough to seize the bull of history by the horns and do what he could to guide it, regardless of his own risks. Coming to power in the period of Soviet stagnation, Gorbachev recognized that the USSR had to modernize and reform, and he was willing to accept the thankless job of doing that amidst a government and power structure filled with spineless apparatchiks. Furthermore, the personal relationships he formed with Western leaders—Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, George Bush—became the basis of lasting change in the world and indeed a more peaceful order. If I had dinner with Gorbachev I would ask him when and how he decided upon his course of reform and whether he suspected it might lead, as it eventually did, to the collapse of the Soviet Union. I’d also ask him about what he thinks of the course Russian and world history have taken since he exited the stage (for the most part) in 1991. I think this would be a really fascinating conversation.

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1014: An Introduction

Alfonso V of León. Date and artist unknown. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Alfonso V of León. Date and artist unknown. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Hello, again. I wanted to take a minute to explain my new series in a bit more detail. It’s called 1014, and will take a look at the world of the year 1014. It was born out of the impending over-coverage of World War I, in this year, the centenary of the conflict’s buildup and commencement. I realized I’d never been through an anniversary of anything major. While the hailing and lauding of the Great War is well-deserved, what the hell happened in 1014?

In the series I plan to look at the key events, star players and major empires that shaped the world of 1014. It was an age of Viking conquest and exploration. Wars raged from the Balkans to the British Isles. Empires were rising and falling across the globe. I’ll be posting on the 1000th anniversary of any of the key dates, though exact dates are often hard to come by. Otherwise I’ll be posting two or three times a month on various topics from the period.

There’s a lot to cover and I don’t plan to do it alone. The idea for this series is that it will be a collaboration. I’ve got a few guest contributors with knowledge on some of the key events lined up. I’ll also be looking to re-blog as much as possible. If you’ve got any info or content you’d like to share or would like to write a post, I’d love to hear from you. Whether it be a biography on Alfonso V of León, a study on farming techniques in medieval India or a post on siege warfare of the 11th century, I’m interested.

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