This is an informational post with compiled text from external sources listed at the bottom. Julius Caesar declared January 1st as the New Year in 45 BC, starting the tradition. Caesar chose the date because the month of January is named for the Roman God Janus, a two-faced God who looks to the future and… Read More


Medieval Dog Names In England we find dogs that were named Sturdy, Whitefoot, Hardy, Jakke, Bo and Terri. Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of King Henry VIII, had a dog named Purkoy, who got its name from the French ‘pourquoi’ because it was very inquisitive. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest Tale has a line… Read More

Let others debate whether Santa Claus is white or not. There’s no debate that the definitive American Santa is political cartoonist Thomas Nast’s Merry Old Santa Claus (detail shown above) from the New Year’s Day 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly. If it looks a lot like the picture in your head from Clement Clarke Moore’s… Read More


Review From Library Journal This panoramic study is a magnificent achievement that addresses virtually every dimension of Japan’s modern history from the 17th century to the present, towering above all other works of its kind. In lucid and lively prose, McClain (history, Brown Univ.) analyzes major trends in politics, the economy, society, culture and the… Read More

The 19th century Urdu poet Asadullah Khan Ghalib, who saw his beloved Delhi destroyed by the grip of the British East India Company during  Indian rebellion of 1857, famously said; zakhm gardab gaya, lahu na thama, ‘though the wound is hidden, the blood does not cease to flow’.… Read More

  Qin Shihuang, first emperor of ancient China. Qin Shihuang (259BC-210BC), born in Ying Zheng, was the first Emperor of a united China and the founder of Qin Dynasty. During the preceding Zhou Dynasty, Ying Zheng was the king of the Qin State. Following his defeat of the other six Warring States in 221 BC,… Read More

  CARLISLE, ENGLAND—Two wooden tridents from the Neolithic era have been discovered in an extinct river channel in northern England and are set to go on display at the Tullie House Musem. Measuring six feet long, the tridents were made with stone tools from a single oak plank. Carbon dating of the artifacts shows they are between 5,900 and… Read More

(Assaf Peretz; courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority) RAMLA, ISRAEL—Highway construction in central Israel has uncovered the remains of a tenth or eleventh-century estate with a fountain in its garden. “It seems that a private building belonging to a wealthy family was located there and that the fountain was used for ornamentation,” said Hagit Torgë of… Read More

Pingyao in Shanxi Province, China is served by a small railway station of two platforms. Outside, the railway station you are greeted with what appears a scene typical of any small city in China: lots of traffic from cars, mopeds and bikes, barely enough pavements to walk safely, and – of course – large crowds of people busily eating… Read More