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TO BE A FRANK: ON THE ETHNIC EVOLUTION OF THE EARLY FRANKS, ESPECIALLY OF MODERN NETHERLANDS and BELGIUM

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A reconstruction of a sword, its scabbard and warrior’s belt of a Merovingian nobleman. Note the common Nordic elements with the cultures of Anglo-Saxon Britain and early Vendel Scandinavia.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Wikipedia Commons is the source of all the maps in this article.
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The early Franks were not a single tribe but a tribal union (or ‘loose’ federation or confederation) of smaller Germanic tribes emerging in the beginning of the 3rd century AD in the regions north and east of the Rhine. The first members of the Frankish confederation included the Sugambri (or Sicambri), Chamavi, Salii, Chattuarii (Chasuarii), Tubantes (Tuihantii), Ampsivarii, and probably the Bructeri. In the 20th century historiography the Salii (Salians) were believed to have been originally a confederation of Frankish tribes living near the sea (this is the meaning of ‘Salian’), mostly in modern Netherlands. This was definitely the case for the later Salii, being one of the two lesser tribal unions within the greater Frankish union. The other one was the Ripuarii (Ripuarian) Franks, meaning the tribes living by the river, i.e. the Rhine, in the Frankish hinterland, mostly in modern Germany. But the earlier Salii were rather not a confederation but a compact tribe which became the core people for the formation of the Salian Frankish confederation. Their cradle was possibly the region of Salland or Salaland in modern Eastern Netherlands.

HamalandSalland

Hamaland (map on the left) and Salland (on the right) in modern Netherlands were the cradles of two founding members of the Frankish federation, the Chamavi and the Salii  respectively. Betuwe in the map on the left, was the northern region of the land of the Batavi  tribe, another member of the Frankish federation, added to it later. It seems that the Batavi of Betuwe were already incorporated to the Chamavi when the federation was founded, while the rest of the tribe were a part of the Roman province Germania Inferior, south of the Rhine (see map below). In the 4th century, these ‘Roman’ Batavi (renowned auxiliaries of Rome) too were incorporated to the Frankish confederation.

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ΦΟΡΗΤΑ ΕΚΗΒΟΛΑ ΟΠΛΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΠΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΗΣ

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Tromponi Miaouli
Το τρομπόνι και το τηλεσκόπιο του Ανδρέα Μιαούλη.
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Στο παρόν άρθρο, θα ασχοληθώ με τα φορητά πυροβόλα όπλα της Ελληνικής Επανάστασης εκτός από το καριοφίλι με το οποίο έχω ασχοληθεί ΕΔΩ.
Τα φορητά όπλα αποκαλούντο «ψιλά άρματα» ή «λιανά άρματα». Διακρίνονταν σε εκηβόλα και αγχέμαχα. Τα φορητά όπλα πολλών στρατιωτικών αρχηγών ήταν χρυσοποίκιλτα, ασημοποίκιλτα  ή/και διακοσμημένα με ημιπολύτιμους λίθους. Ειδικά μερικές πιστόλες αποτελούσαν πραγματικά τεχνουργήματα. Τα εκηβόλα εκτός από το καριοφίλι, περιελάμβαναν τα ακόλουθα είδη:

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THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER or BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO (Part II)

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confederate
Confederate infantry reenactment (copyright: John Moore-Getty Images).
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER or BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO (Part I)

On the night before the big showdown, there was a “singing battle” between the rival soldiers who were established in positions within a few hundred meters apart. Some Federals began to sing their ‘national’ folk songs “Hail Columbia” and especially the “Yankee Doodle”, and the Confederates answered immediately singing their own traditional songs “Dixie” and “The Bonnie Blue Flag”. Soon the two rival lines began to sing each one its own traditional song more and more loudly, in an almost unbearable squealing. Eventually a group of soldiers started to sing the nostalgic song “Home Sweet Home” for the home and the family that every soldier had left behind, which brought a “musical compromise” of the opponents. Soon, thousands of ‘Yankees’ and “Rebels” were singing simultaneously its nostalgic lyrics, as an informal peace, without knowing that in the next day they would clash in the second bloodiest battle of the Civil war, after the battle of Gettysburg.

At dawn of December 31, Major General Hardee led the Confederate left wing and a strong cavalry force against the Federal right. The impetuous Southerners quickly outflanked their opponents who fell back towards the bank of Stones River. Thus Bragg surprised Rosecrans, forcing him to cancel his own envelopment maneuver. Around 7.00 am and under the pressure of the Confederate attack, Rosecrans recalled the division of his left wing which he intended to use for the maneuver. Its commander, Major General Thomas Crittenden, had crossed with his men the Stones in order to outflank the Confederate right wing under Major General John Breckinridge. Meanwhile, in the center of the two lines, the Union division of Major General Philip Sheridan and the Confederate Army corps of Major General Polk were clashing with unusual ferocity. The two rival army corpses were “familiar” to each other since the battle of Perryville, where they had clashed with the same determination.

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THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER or BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO (Part I)

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Re-enactors Union troops

Union infantry reenactment (copyright: EPA).
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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(OK, I know that you are a little disappointed when I’m not posting on ancient and medieval topics, but as you have probably guessed the Colonial Americas and the American Civil War are among my favorite topics. This article is a summary of the chapter “The Battle of Stones River or Battle of Murfreesboro” of my book “The Civil War”)
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In July 1862, the skilful Confederate Commander in Chief in the West, General Beauregard, was assigned back to the Eastern Front, but President Davis did not define a replacement for his office. The Confederate president confined in assigning the thrice distinguished in the Mexican War, Major General Braxton Bragg, as general commander of the armies at the Tennessee-Mississippi front, who was from now on the unofficial Commander in Chief in the West. Braxton Bragg and his subordinates Major Generals Kirby Smith and Earl Van Dorn started to prepare the Confederate counterattack in order to recover the lost territories in the Western Front. Their distressed forces were reinforced and revived by the recent conscription.

map(copyright: US Military Academy)
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The general Confederate plans involved three synchronized campaigns in all the fronts from the Mississippi River to Virginia. In the East, General Robert Lee (the new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia) would invade Maryland. On the Western Front, the armies of Bragg and Smith would launch major offensives to Kentucky rushing from Chattanooga and Knoxville respectively (southeastern Tennessee). Simultaneously, Van Dorn would campaign from the Mississippi State against Grant’s army in western Tennessee. If he could manage to force back Grant’s army, he would then join Bragg and Smith somewhere in Kentucky. The ultimate aim of the Southerners was to encourage the (Southern after all) states of Maryland and Kentucky in leaving the Union and joining the Confederacy. Much depended on the speed of their march, the communications and the logistics.
The success of the Confederate plan would also yield benefits on the diplomatic field because Britain and France would probably acknowledge the C.S.A. as a sovereign state – a much desired aim of the Richmond government. The French Emperor Napoleon III wanted to promote his plans on turning Mexico to a French dominion or semi-colony, but he would not officially acknowledge the Confederacy if the British did not do the same. However, the British were waiting patiently watching the progress of the war.

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Οι Βυζαντινοί ξιφομάχοι στο Μηνολόγιον του Βασιλείου Β΄ δηλώνουν τις θέσεις φύλαξης της Βυζαντινής οπλομαχίας

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Του Γεώργιου Ε. Γεωργά

Προλογίζει ο κ. Δημήτρης Σκουρτέλης αγιογράφος και ιστορικός ερευνητής, μέλος της Ακαδημίας Ιστορικών Ευρωπαϊκών Πολεμικών Τεχνών ‘Λέοντες’

Το λεγόμενο «Μηνολόγιον του αυτοκράτορος Βασιλείου Β’» είναι ένα εικονογραφημένο χειρόγραφο που περιέχει βίους αγίων. Φιλοτεχνήθηκε σαν δώρο για τον αυτοκράτορα, στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, στο τέλος του δέκατου αιώνα, ή τις αρχές του ενδέκατου.
Πρόκειται για κορυφαίο αριστούργημα της βυζαντινής τέχνης, και μάλιστα, υπογράφεται από οχτώ καλλιτέχνες, Πανταλέοντα, Γεώργιο, Μιχαήλ Νέο, Μιχαήλ Βλαχερνίτη, Συμεών, Συμεών Βλαχερνίτη, Μηνά και Νέστορα, πράγμα σπανιότατο για την βυζαντινή τέχνη. Σήμερα, το χειρόγραφο βρίσκεται στο Βατικανό.

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ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΣ Β΄ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΟΓΕΝΕΣΤΕΡΟΙ ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΕΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΙΣ: ΜΙΑ ΠΙΘΑΝΗ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΗ ΜΕΡΟΛΗΨΙΑ

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Alexander_British_Museum

Αλέξανδρος ο Μέγας
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Σε αυτό το αρθρο, θα ασχοληθω με μία πιθανή «ιστορική μεροληψία» σε βάρος του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου και των Μακεδόνων βασιλέων πριν από τον Φίλιππο Β΄. Και την αποκαλώ «πιθανή» επειδή αρκετοί μελετητές έχουν προφανώς διαφορετική άποψη. Αυτή η κατάσταση οφείλεται στην απόδοση κατά τις δύο τελευταίες δεκαετίες ενός υπερβολικού θα έλεγα ρόλου στον μεγάλο βασιλιά Φίλιππο Β΄, πατέρα του Αλεξάνδρου Γ΄, ως προς τη δημιουργία της Μακεδονικής πολιτικοστρατιωτικής ισχύος η οποία απόδοση αδικεί τόσο τον Αλέξανδρο όσο και τους σπουδαίους Μακεδόνες βασιλείς πριν τον Φίλιππο.  Προκειμένου να παρουσιάσω το πρόβλημα θα παραθέσω μία σύντομη περίληψη της ιστορικής πορείας των Μακεδόνων έως τον Φίλιππο Β΄.

Οι Μακεδόνες ήταν φύλο της Βορειοδυτικής Ελληνικής ομάδας με καταγωγή από την περιοχή του όρους Λακμου της Ηπείρου, συγγενείς των Δωριέων (της φυλετικής ένωσης των οποίων είχαν αποτελέσει σημαντικό φυλετικό συστατικό), των Θεσσαλών, των Αιτωλών, των Μολοσσών κ.ά. Οι περισσότεροι ερευνητές και ιστορικοί παρουσιάζουν, μάλλον υπερβολικά, την υπέρμετρη ισχύ του Μακεδονικού Βασιλείου την οποία κληρονόμησε ο Αλέξανδρος, ως σχεδόν αποκλειστικό δημιούργημα του πράγματι μεγάλου βασιλιά Φιλίππου Β΄. Όμως αυτή η άποψη, εκτός από υπεραπλουστευμένη, είναι και μεροληπτική. Προκειμένου να δειχθεί το έργο των Μακεδόνων βασιλέων πριν τον Φίλιππο, αρκεί να αναφερθεί πως όταν οι Μακεδόνες ξεκίνησαν τη μεταναστευτική και έπειτα κατακτητική τους πορεία από την κεντρική Πίνδο προς τον χώρο που κατέστη αργότερα η πατρίδα τους, αριθμούσαν μόλις λίγες χιλιάδες πολεμιστές και τους αντίστοιχους αμάχους (σύμφωνα με την έκταση της Μακεδονίδος – βλ. στη συνέχεια – και τους συνήθεις πληθυσμούς των ορεσίβιων μεταναστευτικών φύλων της Χερσονήσου του Αίμου της εποχής).

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