Author: Historical Nonfiction

It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his…

It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them.

Where Men and Women Speak Different Languages

In the Ubang language of southern Nigeria, men and women speak different languages. While there are many words that men and women share, there are others which are different depending on their gender. It’s not a matter of adding a suffix or changing the tense – men’s words and women’s words are totally different, with different letters and different sounds.

Raised by their mothers and other women, boys grow up speaking the female language, but at age 10 they’re expected to switch to the male. “There is a stage the male will reach and he discovers he is not using his rightful language,” says Chief Oliver Ibang. “Nobody will tell him he should change to the male language. … When he starts speaking the men language, you know the maturity is coming into him.” Boys who do not make the switch by a certain age are considered abnormal.

According to Chief Ibang, the Ubang’s unique language(s) are from heaven. “God created Adam and Eve and they were Ubang people…” God had initially wanted every group to have two languages, but after giving the to the Ubang, God did the math and realized there were not enough languages for every group to get two. “So he stopped. That’s why Ubang has the benefit of two languages — we are different from other people in the world.”

Origins of the Word “University” in Various As…

What Was The Neolithic Revolution?

The Neolithic Revolution, also known as the Agricultural Revolution, occurred about 12,000 years ago. For those, like me, who are not the best at math, that is around 10,000 BCE. There was a global trend away from nomadic hunting and gathering and towards sedentary farming. It appears to have arisen independently in multiple places in the Middle East, as well as in China and Papua New Guinea. Egypt and the Indus River Valley may have independently developed agriculture as well, or gotten the idea and the seeds from the Middle East or China.

Cereals, like barley in the Middle East and rice in China, were likely the first to be domesticated, eventually supplemented by protein-rice plants like peas and lentils. As people began to settle down they also domesticated animals. The earliest archaeological evidence of sheep and goat herding comes from around 10,000 BCE in the Iraq and Anatolia. Animals could be used as labor in the fields, or as sources of additional nutrients and calories to supplement the new cereal-heavy diet.

The Neolithic Revolution did not happen everywhere, and not all at once. And there remain a variety of hypotheses as to why humans stopped foraging and started farming. Population pressure may have caused increased competition for food and the need to cultivate new foods; people may have shifted to farming in order to involve elders and children in food production; humans may have learned to depend on plants they modified in early domestication attempts and in turn, those plants may have become dependent on humans. Whatever the reason, the Neolithic Revolution changed humanity – and our world – for good.

See the date – this newspaper piece was …

See the date – this newspaper piece was published in 1912.

Europe During The Ice Age

Regular

The Battle of Solferino in 1859 was the last major battlein world where both sides were under the direct command of their respective monarchs. The Franco-Italian allied forces were under command of Napoleon III of France serving under Victor Emmanual II of Italy, and the Austrian forces were under command of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Inscriptions written in the Cherokee script ha…

Inscriptions written in the Cherokee script have been discovered at the head of an underground stream in Alabama’s Manitou Cave. It is the first cave inscription found written in that script. The Cherokee script was a syllabary, which means symbols represented syllables not sounds. Invented by Sequoyah it was officially adopted by the Cherokee Nation in 1825. It was quickly in wide usage, in daily life, in printed materials, and apparently in cave inscriptions!

Jan Simek of the University of Tennessee, scholars from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees, and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, as well as additional colleagues worked together to understand the cave’s newly-discovered inscriptions. The scholars concluded that the text was written to commemorate a sacred game of stickball played on April 30, 1828. (Stickball is one of the forebearers of modern lacrosse). The rituals conducted before the game are thought to have been presided over by Sequoyah’s son, Richard Guess, whose name appears in an adjoining inscription. A third inscription, reading “I am your grandson,” was found written backwards on the ceiling of the cave.

A Pretty Geologic Time Scale

When Pigs Ate Fish

About 5,000 years ago, on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, wild boars were enjoying an unusual diet. Isotope analyses of wild board remains revealed that they were eating fish and other marine animals. The only way they could have gotten access to such food, researchers think, is if humans were deliberately feeding the boars seafood.

Why would they do that? Perhaps they used marine resources to domesticate the boars, a useful source of meat if they can be made tamer. Note that 5,000 years ago is before the agricultural revolution reached Denmark. So the locals were attempting animal domestication before they had adopted domesticated plants.