The best way to explain a thing tends to be the simplest – and the rise of memes have presented history with an unprecedented opportunity to get to the “truthiness” of historical situations.   Thus we can explain the four hundred+ year rivalry between Austria and Russia in the Balkans this way: Of course, the …

  • March 8, 2021
  • History , Interesting
  • Comments Off on The Non-Balkan Nations Who Wanted the Balkans

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The last thousand years of Balkan history is a tale of three powers pulling on the limbs of an infant, as in the Biblical parable of Solomon’s wisdom.  The Balkan baby is yanked first toward Austria, then toward Russia, and all the while the Ottoman Empire is pulling steadily on its legs.  The arguments between …

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When the pre-eminent Russian poet Alexander Pushkin died on 10 February 1837, it was in a tragic echo of an incident of the life of his great-grandfather, Avram Petrovich Gannibal (also written as Hannibal). Pushkin was killed by his brother-in-law in a duel over Pushkin’s wife Natalya, a parallel to the first marriage of Gannibal, …

  • February 10, 2021
  • History , Interesting
  • Comments Off on I Was Not Born to Amuse the Tsars

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After Eugene of Savoy sacked Sarajevo in 1697, the city had a very rough century-and-a-half.  Nearly all the wooden buildings had been burned to the ground and many of the stone buildings had suffered significant damage.  The city’s Catholic population had fled in fear of retribution, following the Austrian army which had specifically targeted Muslim …

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Before the ink on the surrenders were dry in the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, they began demanding a very special tribute from the inhabitants of the area – their children.  As the founder of the Janissaries, Candarli Kara Halil Hayreddin, said: The conquered are slaves of the conquerors, to whom their goods, their women, …

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