History

Panta Rhei – everything changes

Things change. They always have, they always will. Take, for example, the written word. If we were to travel 5 000 years back in time, there was not much written word around. Yes, we had the hieroglyphs in Egypt, the cuneiform writing in Mesopotamia, but in general, the vast majority of the human race had …

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Going with the flow – or the spark of life

Electricity has always been around. Lightning is a form of electricity – but our ancestors called it magic, and cowered in fear in their recently decorated caves as the skies burst apart with bolts of light. Or they blamed it on God. “Let there be light,” He thundered, and the sky lit up from within. …

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Eating yourself to death

Back in the good old times, the possibility of eating so much you would actually die was restricted to the upper classes. The common folk never got the chance of overindulging in anything much, and as a consequence obesity was often a sign of wealth. In some cultures, to this day obesity is used as …

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Chasing God out of the brickwork

The other day, we visited a nearby castle. Bäckaskog sits on a narrow isthmus bordered by two lakes, and once upon a time there was a merry little brook leaping from one lake to the other – deep enough that fish could move back and forth. These days, the water levels have been lowered, and …

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Revisiting my favourites

I was trying to find some of my favourite historical posts on this blog (yes, I do have some posts I like more than others, despite having written them all myself) and found it all something of a trial, so I decided to do a little list: Anna’s own historical favourites: 1. Kristina Gyllenstierna – …

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The Travails of a Constant Mistress

Some days ago, I posted about pretty Aurora and her lover, Augustus the Strong, king of Poland. As some of you may recall, Augustus and Aurora parted way some time after the birth of their son, and as Aurora was a savvy lady, she made it easy for Augustus to leave her for other welcoming …

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Giving voice to a lost people

Today, I thought we’d leave the comfort zone of history after the 1200’s (not that it is much of a comfort zone – not really: war, famine, Black death, religious persecution, witch trials…) and travel far back in history, to a time when the Greek city states were mostly at war with each other and …

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Oh, glorious dawn come hither…

… and no, this is not  a post about returning light. Seeing as us Scandinavians are already experiencing how our days are growing shorter, I am simply not in the mood. Instead, I aim to introduce you to Aurora von Königsmarck, one of the first documented examples of female Swedish sin. Aurora, apparently, was drop …

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How a Swedish spread became a part of New York

We have recently had cause to celebrate here in Sweden. Or in Denmark. Or on the Faroe Islands. You see, some days past it was 375 years since Jonas Bronck bought himself quite a spread just on the outskirts of New Amsterdam, and to this day the area in question still carries his name. The …

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With the attention span of a gnat

When I was a child, dear reader, we had at most two TV channels. (No, it wasn’t black & white, I’m not that old…) In some parts of Sweden, the two Swedish channels were augmented by the Danish single channel. In others, one could peek at Norwegian TV. In the far north, the Finnish channel …

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