The Sack of Rome painting (Public domain)

The High Renaissance was a period of remarkable development in the arts including painting, sculpting and architecture. The period lasted a quarter of a century and produced such magnificent works as the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Last Supper, and the Mona Lisa. The High Renaissance was made famous by people such as Bramante, da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo who stunned the world with their vision and expertise in their fields. During this time period places such as Rome and Florence transformed into the mystical cities of art and culture that we know and love today. …

Ruins of the bishop’s palace in Greenland

The Catholic Church in the 13th century was nearing the height of its powers. It had yet to be rocked by the coming Protestant Reformation and it had seeded all of Europe with churches, monasteries, cathedrals and diocese that were bringing in coin from all corners of the known world. Over the next hundred years the church would sponsor five official crusades and numerous lesser campaigns. They continued to spread into the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Ruling from the Eternal City in Rome the church collected tithes and taxes from churches stretching from Sicily to the mythical lands of Rus.

American tanks roll through the fog in 1944 (Public domain)

The stock market is a strange and amorphous thing. If people could understand it better they could be rich. Indeed, even today there are entire businesses set up to try and get people to buy the secret to understanding the stock market. The reality is, we can all guess but predicting what the market is going to do is impossible and frequently maddening.

This phenomena is highlighted very well by studying how the markets performed during the Second World War. Were the markets down? How did a global conflict affect stock prices?

The stock market and World War II are…

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

My phone is silent. It is not on silent, it will ring if you call me, but other than that it is completely quiet. When I tap the screen to check the time, I have one notification for a text message. That is it.

I turned off all of my phone’s notifications making it impossible for apps to ding me continuously. It has been completely life changing and now I want other people to be able to do the same.

Silence is golden

Almost ever application you download onto your phone has a notification system that it will try and use to suck…

A nuclear power plant in Europe (Trougnouf / CC BY-SA 4.0)

On April 26th, 1986, a reactor in a nuclear power plant outside of the Soviet town of Prypiat in Ukraine exploded and melted down. The resulting disaster took the world by storm. The Soviet government furiously tried to cover up the corruption, lack of accountability, and poor training that led to the disaster as a large cloud of radioactive material slowly spread across Europe.

The result of this accident changed history. The Chernobyl nuclear incident permanently damaged the Soviet Union’s international credibility. People on the ground who were exposed to serious levels of radiation felt betrayed and lied to by…

A photo from Exercise Tiger, 1944 (Public domain)

Every large scale production goes through rehearsal. Nothing that has a multitude of moving parts can go into effect without proper practice and that even includes large scale invasions. D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion in history and the invasion was practiced and rehearsed in a series of exercises in April of 1944 on the beaches of southern England. The practices were so poor that it almost doomed the entire mission from the start.

Not only did the exercises put doubt into the minds of the Allied commanders about the feasibility of their daring plan, it tipped off the Germans…

Photo by dogherine on Unsplash

Cell phones, the home computer, the internet, these are all things that are extremely new in the realm of human experience. With new experiences comes new information and with new information comes new misconceptions. These things have been around long enough that we pretty much know how they work and their real inherent risks but that was not always the case. Here are four myths about technology that made waves but never actually came true.

1. Cell phones attract lightning

There was a time when people thought that having a cell phone in your pocket would increase your likelihood of being struck by lightning. If…

MacArthur at the invasion of Inchon (Public domain)

From 1945 until the outbreak of the war in Korea in 1950, General Douglas MacArthur had been ruling from Japan and overseeing the Allied occupation of Japanese territory. During that time period he had built himself a network of intelligence agents, sycophants, trusted advisors and Japanese locals who propped up his regime from Tokyo.

MacArthur was still revered as a top rate military hero. He was an instrumental figure who helped the USA win World War II. He had shown a knack for battlefield intuition and had a magnetic personality that everyone gravitated towards. …

Arrows added by the author (Public domain / edited)

If you have ever watched a World War II documentary with actual footage from the war you will have, no doubt, come across a shot of a city that is sitting ominously below a smattering of odd seeming balloons. They sit there looking like small blimps or a single person rigid airship but they do not move. Normally, a shot of a city with these balloons floating overhead is immediately followed by images of chaos. Bombs exploding. Fleets of level bombers passing overhead. Fires. Rubble.

Some people think the balloons were supposed to block bombs but that is not the…

A total solar eclipse (Thammarith Likittheerameth / CCA 4.0)

Thanks to modern science and some canny math people today can accurately predict every solar eclipse that will ever happen in the future and they can also retroactively apply their math to the past and find out the exact dates of previous eclipses. In the ancient world, such predictive powers would be considered sorcery but that did not stop one philosopher from trying to do just that.

Thales of Miletus came out with a bold prediction that claimed that the sun would darken on a certain day in the spring of 585BCE. …

Grant Piper

Professional freelance writer with an eye for history and storytelling. Mining stories from history is my passion. Sharing is caring.

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