1.) From "History" Page

These Essays are not meant to be exhaustive. In fact, the purpose is the opposite: we mean only to interest or excite the reader into seeking more information about the subject. The Essay pages are deliberately brief - meant only as a teaser - but nevertheless to cover the "essential points" of a subject. That is why these essays are written to cover only a page or two.

We recommend that, if we have succeeded in igniting an interest in learning MORE about the subject, the visitor use a Search Engine with the key words in the search having a plus sign in front of each key word. Thus if you want to know more about the Trojan War, search by filling in the search box with:
+Troy +Trojan War

and you will get hundreds of links to read through.

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2.) The Renaissance   ("rebirth" in French.   In Spanish - "naciente")
(Do we know about rebirth, on a website named naciente? Yes we do.)

The period we have named the Renaissance, covering the 14th, 15th, and 16th Centuries, represents that period in European history when economic, political, scientific, artistic, and other methods broke loose from the inflexible constraints of the Medieval feudal system, made even less workable by the ravages of years of bubonic plague. Learning and education which was restricted to monasteries, trade which was inhibited by the barter system, inefficiencies of the guild system, the notion that a person could never rise above the station to which Medieval society had assigned them from birth forever based on who their father was, and a life lived in fear of religious taboos, would give birth to a new period of intellectual freedom, self-determination, and self-reliance. It was a "renaissance" because the major players in this movement believed they were re-birthing what they regarded as the great golden age: that of the Greeks and Romans. (Which is a stretch - but what the hell.)

Thus, a money economy replaces the barter system, a change made more fluid by the massive influx of gold and silver bullion as the result of the explorations in the New World beginning in 1492. Whereas the Medieval system placed wealth (based on land) in the hands of the nobility, the new commerce placed wealth in the hands of successful merchants. Such freely flowing money ignites an artistic class, as the pursuit of art and luxuries becomes possible even among the general population.

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3.) City of Florence, Italy   (Firenze)  ("Flower")

Best known as the city expressing the highest level of what would be called The Renaissance - in many minds the "birthplace" of the period - was established by the Etruscans as a community on the banks of the River Arno about 200 BC. (The history of the Etruscans is a fascinating and minimally known story.) Destroyed in wars with the Romans - who were known at the time as the "Latins" - it would be rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as "Florentia" ("May She Flourish").

It would begin its ascent as a powerful Italian city-state about 1,000 AD and reach pinnacle in the late 15th Century under the leadership of the Medici family, accomplished bankers and financiers who used their great wealth to make the city the most beautiful in Italy if not the world, and to make it Italy's cultural center, with the greatest artists and art works and the finest centers of learning. Florence would bring science and philosophy together, and for a period of many years Florence would be the most powerful state in Italy. In this regard, it was Lorenzo Medici in particular, called "Lorenzo the Magnificent", most responsible for this rise to acclaim and power.

Artists associated with the city were Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Michelangelo, Boticelli. Writers were Dante, Petrarch, and Machiavelli. In science there was Galileo, in sculpture, again Michelangelo.

Population in 2006: 366,500

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4.) Carolingian Miniscule  

This impressive revision of writing occurred under the hand of Charlemagne and spread throughout his empire. The rounding of letters increased clarity, and in combination with the use of spacing between letters, words, and sentences, reformed education by making teaching and study easier. This font would go into decline when Gothic (sharper angled letters) appeared, but was revived during the Renaissance in modified forms and is the antecedent of Times Roman used today. Here is an example of Carolingian miniscule:

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5.) Greek portraiture in sculpture  

The Greeks were fond of sculpting the hero's face with the helmet tilted onto the back of the head, so that facial features were revealed. Nearly all portraits in stone of Pericles are of this type, suggesting that the fighting Greek wore his helmet like that: No, No, No. Not the way to fight. But then if portraiture had the helmet set correctly, all hero's would look identical.

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6.) L'Enfant terrible   pronounce: LON-FONT-TUR-REEB      (all syllables with the same intensity.)  

L'enfant terrible (Terrible child) is a French term for a child who is terrifyingly candid by saying embarrassing things to adults. Webster's Dictionary also defines an enfant terrible as a usually successful person who is strikingly unorthodox, innovative, and/or avant-garde.

Its use was coined by Thomas Jefferson to describe Pierre Charles L'Enfant, Architect of Washington, who was a handsome, idealistic, and very headstrong French military engineer. L'Enfant had difficulties dealing with the map engravers and then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and Washington City Commissioner Daniel Carroll especially, after L'Enfant had Carroll's new house, still under construction, torn down to build a street. L'Enfant was fired after eleven months by Jefferson, an upstart in his own right.

In Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina Princess Tverskaya uses this phrase to describe Liza Merkalova and Anna Karenina in the context of discussing their actions as unfaithful wives. The Princess points out the dichotomy of the virtue of those two women. On the one hand, Anna Karenina is poignantly aware of the repulsiveness of her "position", and all of the lying and deception that it entails. Anna, according to the Princess, sees her situation "tragically" and turns it "into a misery". Conversely, Liza Merkalova is a "naive nature", handling the situation as one unaware of the difference between right and wrong, looking at her situation "simply and even humorously".
One more thing: I have heard this book title referenced as "Anna Kar-ah-NEEN-ah". It is "Anna Ka-RIN-ah-na" because, in Russian, the matronymic follows the patronymic, and Anna's husband was "Ka-RIN-in." Look it up. You add an "a". That's it.

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7.) Fernand Point     "pwahn", though if you spoke French, you would add an almost invisible "t".

Point trained a generation of French master chefs: Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel, Louis Outhier, Georges Perrier and Jean and Pierre - the Brothers Troisgros, at his restaurant "La Pyramide" in Vienne, a small town near Lyon, which he opened after World War I. During WW II and Vichy France, German officers began patronizing his establishment, so he stopped serving dinner. When they came for lunch, he closed his restaurant entirely. Now that is a man of France.

8.) Parthian shot

As noted, the Parthians were excellent mounted archers, and probably originated the military tactic of feigning retreat and then, with horse at full gallop and guiding it only with legs, turn in the saddle and release a fusillade of arrows. This would be known as a "Parthian shot." It required excellent archery and horse skills. The Romans would be regularly suckered by it.

The tactic would be employed by other nomadic Asian tribes that followed, such as Huns and Turks, and would be used to greatest success by the Mongols, who would create the world's largest empire.
(Largest, though brief. Read

In modern times it is used (infrequently) to mean a last insult by someone walking away from an argument, and is the probable antecedent of the phrase "parting shot", which has that meaning exactly.

This painting illustrates the tactic.
Some mounted archers carried more than one hundred arrows.

Click on the image to enlarge it, and note the following: bow held in right hand, while left hand has fingers down, bow drawn by the thumb, arrow on the left side of the bow. This is the Steppe method used by the Scythians, from whom the Parthians derived.

The modern archer - meaning, at least as far back as the English Longbowman - holds the bow in the left hand, draws the string with 2 (or 3) fingers of the right, holding the tip of the index finger at the corner of the mouth. Shaft is still on the left.

Unlike the current rage, which is a bow of plastic and steel, with multiple strings, pulleys and weights, and "bead" sighting and windage, the webmaster here is a "modern" archer who draws a recurve bow based on wood, eschews mechanical sights, and releases the arrow based on intuition. He can hit a poker chip with regularity from 100 feet. But not always.

9.) Global Warming Hoax

Google "Global Warming Hoax" and you will get 211,000 links. Try "Swindle" instead, get 551,000 links. Use "Myth" instead, get 1,970,000 links. Try "Scam" and get 3,480,000 links. Use "Lies" and get 4,400,000 links. That's over 10 million links. So not everyone in the world is fooled, but MOST Americans are. Does that make you sick? Another unhappy result of the creation of the National Education Association, origin of collapsing school scores ever since. More than Half of American voters chose the idiot Algore in the year 2,000. Thank God for the Electoral College. (But the College did not preserve us from the smooth-talking and totally inexperienced Socialist named Obama, elected with a few points over half, by a population still experiencing orgasm as this page is edited.)

Read my essay on global warming

10.) "Merchant Ivory film"

Such a film is either of two things. It can be the name of an actual film company, named from its producer, Ismail Merchant, and its director, James Ivory. Such films as "Howards End" and "Remains of the Day" are representative.

Or it is a phrase to describe a particular genre of film - a period piece set in the early 20th century, in England or in India, of genteel folks dealing with complicated and tragic relationships, played by mainly English actors.

11.) From the Spider Page: making your own

Keep in mind that Google and other search engines record sentences which are in HTML code, not those appearing as part of a graphic image, so type in the information you wish to be added to search engine data bases. Take another peek at my Spider Page to see again how I mixed graphic images with typed data. Do not include your age, birthdate, mother's maiden name, or such information that credit card thieves might want to see. Listing the towns you have lived in, and the schools attended, and maybe places you have worked, will identify, for those looking for you, who you are - they do not need more than that.