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Flying messengers November 11, 2011

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p. 80

The Leper King October 10, 2011

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Blondie at Cresson September 10, 2011

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The Colours of Pingelap August 18, 2011

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Atlas p. 98

Battle of Maldon and Overpride August 10, 2011

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The war to come

Sacking Constantinople August 10, 2011

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A Party on Norfolk Island July 20, 2011

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Atlas

King of the Tramps July 10, 2011

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p. 85 king of Tafur

The Nanjing Belt June 8, 2011

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It is, therefore, not totally impossible that a second story about aluminum, from China this time, might also be true.  This tale arose in 1952, when a tomb from the Jin Dynasty (265-420 AD) was opened for the first time. In it lay an undisturbed skeleton encircled by a belt consisting of about 20 pieces of metal. Four of these pieces are reported to be made of nearly pure aluminum. Assuming no hoax, it would appear that the Chinese had somehow isolated aluminum from its ores 1,500 years before the Europeans. Much has been made of the so-called Nanjing belt. No vague tale from antiquity, the tomb and belt were thoroughly studied by modern archaeologist and chemists. The latter vouched for the existence of aluminum. A hoax was deemed highly improbable. Where, then, did the aluminum come from? Two possibilities seem in play: (1) The Chinese metallurgists of the Jin Dynasty, who had high temperature furnaces, accidentally hit upon one of several ways to chemically win aluminum from one of its several ones. (2) Contradicting the encyclopaedias, Chinese geologists reported in 1985 that they had found grains of native aluminum in Guizhou Province. Could the Jin Dynasty metallurgists have collected enough of these grains to make the aluminum sections of the Nanjing belt? Did they hammer the grains together or perhaps melt them. The melting point of pure aluminum is only 1220 f. This temperature might not been out of reach 1,500 years ago.

Master of the Steppes June 5, 2011

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Guyuk’s enthronement on 24 August 1246, near the Mongol capital at Karakorum, was attended by a large number of foreign ambassadors: the Franciscan friar and envoy of Pope Innocent IV, John of Plano Carpini; the Grand Duke of Moscow Yaroslav II of Vladimir; the incumbents for the throne of Georgia; the brother of the king of Armenia and historian, Sempad the Constable; the future Seljuk Sultan of Rum, Kilij Arslan IV; and ambassadors of the Abbasid Caliphate and of the emperor of India.[5] According to John of Plano Carpini, Güyük’s formal election in a great kurultai, or diet of the tribes, took place while his company was at a camp called Sira Orda, or “Yellow Pavilian,” along with 3,000 to 4,000 visitors from all parts of Asia and eastern Europe, bearing homage, tribute, and presents. They afterwards witnessed the formal enthronement at another camp in the vicinity called the “Golden Ordu,” after which they were presented to the emperor. Mosul submitted to him, sending envoys to that assembly.

When the papal envoy John of Plano Carpini protested Mongol attacks on Catholic kingdoms of Europe, Guyug stated that these people had slain Mongol envoys in the time of Genghis Khan and Ogedei Khan. He also claimed that “from the rising of the sun to its setting, all the lands have been made subject to the Great Khan”, proclaiming an explicit ideology of world conquest.[6] The Khagan wrote a letter to Pope Innocent IV on the relations between the Church and the Mongols. “You must say with a sincere heart: ‘We will be your subjects; we will give you our strength’. You must in person come with your kings, all together, without exception, to render us service and pay us homage. Only then will we acknowledge your submission. And if you do not follow the order of God, and go against our orders, we will know you as our enemy.” According to the account of Plano Carpini, Chingis Khan’s daughter or the aunt of the Khagan was executed for poisoning Ogedei.

Guyuk followed his father’s policy and had Fatima arrested and executed for bewitching his brother Koden (Khuden) and Abd-ur-Rahman was also beheaded for corruption. Of the provincial officiars appointed under Toregene, only the Oirat official Arghun Aqa remained. Guyuk had Temuge’s case indicated by Orda Khan and Mongke, and they had him executed.[7] Guyuk replaced the child khan Qara Hulegu of the Chagatai Khanate with his favorite cousin Yesu Mongke to secure his position. He also restored his father’s officials, Mahmud Yalavach, Masud Beg and Chinqai to positions in the provinces.

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