Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, December 13, 2014

On This Day in History

The estmable Dr. Boli tells us that...

On this day in 627, the Roman Empire in the East finally broke the power of the Persian Empire after more than seven centuries of nearly constant conflict—the longest, and therefore most profitable, war in human history. It was the greatest triumph of the Roman Empire, and it lasted for about half an hour, after which the Caliphate obliterated Persia and reduced the Roman Empire to a state about the size of Delaware.

5 comments:

  1. Well, there was a war between the Byzantines and the Sasanid Persians in the early seventh century. And the Caliphate did obliterate Persia. Dr. Boli has got that much right.

    There were not seven centuries of ‘nearly constant conflict’. There was a long and uneasy peace, beginning in the 1st century B.C. when the expanding Roman Republic came into contact with the Kingdom of the Parthians along the line of the upper Euphrates. This peace was punctuated, as relations between neighbouring powers are wont to do, by several sharp and nasty wars. None of these wars were profitable for the participants; the expense of patrolling their mutual frontier was a constant and heavy burden on the treasuries of both empires. The last of these wars did not end on this day in 627, or on any day in 627, but in the following year. The eventual defeat of Persia was not ‘the greatest triumph of the Roman Empire’ – that distinction belongs to Trajan’s conquest of Parthia, which actually reduced the kingdom to a Roman client state until Hadrian restored the status quo ante. The peace following the Byzantine-Sasanid war did not last ‘about half an hour’, but eight years, before the incursions by Arab raiders newly converted to Islam turned into an all-out invasion at the Battle of the Yarmuk. And the surviving portion of the Roman Empire was not ‘a state about the size of Delaware’, unless Delaware (2,489 sq. mi.) has recently had its boundaries redrawn to be about the size of Turkey (302,535 sq. mi.). (Byzantium did not control all of modern-day Turkey, but in compensation, it held portions of Greece, the Balkans, southern Italy, and the Mediterranean islands, even at its low ebb c. 800. AD.)

    Other than these quibbling details (i.e. nine-tenths of the history), he certainly seems to have two of his facts right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Comic hyperbole is an acquired taste. For 9 December, he featured:
      On this day in 480, Odoacer occupied Dalmatia, having defeated an army of spotted white dogs.
      And "Civilization destroys civilization" is a classic.
      http://drboli.com/2013/02/10/dr-bolis-complete-history-of-the-world-13/

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. The spotted white dogs thing is not comic hyperbole, it's a pun. It's also much more successful.

      Delete
  2. (Sigh...) Literalists.

    Biblical creationists. Dogmatic atheists. Alanis Morissette critics:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32LCwZFoKio

    The epidemic over-emphasis on literalism dashes poetry and humor upon the rocks. [NB: No actual rocks were hurt in this metaphor.]


    JJB

    ReplyDelete

Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the spiral arm the writing life thomism thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play xmas you can't make this stuff up