In the development of the ancient catapults, a process that went through several phases with each phase having a slight improvement over the previous one; was based on a theoretical framework that all the parts constituting the catapults including the weight as well as the length of the projectile had to be proportional to the torsion springs. The development of the catapult refutes the widely held misconception that theory and practice were on different sides of an unbridgeable divide during antiquity. The engineers of the days applied the theoretical frameworks as well as principles of mathematics and physics to come up with the catapult, which became one of the most powerful weapons in the ancient society. Looking at the progress of development of war machinery like the catapult, it is worth noting that the progress was hit by an ‘insufficient density’ problem so that there was a shortage of tinkerers who could embrace the metal age to come up with fine metal pieces of weapons. The engineers of the day were more into applying the theoretical frameworks than seeking innovations for the same. That is why it took for instance a lot of time to come up with gunpowder and eventually make a switch to more powerful weapons like the guns.
Among the early Greeks society, the catapult was made using a belly bow mounted on a case. Later on when they wanted to develop a much faster weapon, it was enlarged and a winch pullback system adopted. The later engineers working for Philip II of Macedonia modified it a little bit. The bow was replaced with springs made up of tight bundles of sinews/ropes all wrapped up around the two frames. They also fixed the sinews on a base and fitted it with a release mechanism. The use of the proportionality aspect and hence mathematics made it possible to standardize the construction of catapults and even the compilation of table of specifications to aid in referencing. Ancient Greeks were not failures in technological developments. The society constituted genius individuals. If the Greek had reached a point where they could apply scientific principles of proportionality as well as mathematical principles to come up with specifically designed war tools like the catapult, they has in many ways succeeded. It is therefore worth noting that in terms of technology, they were not inferior at all. The stone throwers, which were used by the ancient Romans, as well as the legendary engines that were made by Archimedes stand in this text as evidence of their superiority in technology. This therefore formed the basis for other projectiles used later like missiles.
Historical knowledge is not common to all, not even among scholars themselves. The problem with historical literature is that the actual knowledge is not in the hands of a specific person or entities, they are scattered and in possession of different persons. Because of these reasons, historical documents, records and history always exhibit a ‘missing link’ trait. Relics only appear in the form of human artifacts. It indicates that history has continued to be represented physically but not in the form of deeds or ideas. This has also resulted in inability to link some of the historical relics to past events because there is an information gap.
The presence of the physical representations of history without information putting them in the right context has ensured that different version emerge over and over again. This outcome of events has been explained in a theoretical framework that most of the past is only yet to be revealed to man and that what is already visible is almost ubiquitous so everybody knows about it. This explains the unnecessary repetition done by historians. Attrition of meaning has also hit historical things like relics. The present generation continues to find little significance in the past and continue to look ahead into the future they expect to live. The historic artifacts for instance are more likely to be perceived in the light of the context within which the person can place it or even depending on one’s mood at the time of coming into contact with the materials. One other thing is that while the historical artifacts remain as they were before, man lives in a very dynamic world and situations keep changing everyday.
There is also a theoretical framework upon which many people have always operated especially in regards to history. People continue to believe that everything that looks a little backwards or out of place should be linked to history. The major setback therefore that history based on physical aspects has is that it restricts the scope of history and locks out important ingredients of history like feelings, actions and thoughts. Among the few merits hat come with them is that they are accessible since they are available in tangible forms. One therefore doesn’t have to keep imagining what really happened or what a certain available artifact looked like since it can just be seen locally. To bring out the real historical contexts, there is need to fuse or create an interconnection where the physical aspects of history like pictures or relics are used together with descriptive texts which put them into perspective.
The gap that exists in history has created an open window for people to bring forth very many versions about the same things to an extent that whenever two scholars are talking about the same events, the look and sound even more different. This weakness is also based on the fact that when representing history, many scholars tend to build on other people’s work before adding something controversial as their contribution. The result is a history in disarray.
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The Victorian Age history is one that everyone thinks he/she fully understands. One thing about those who claim to comprehend the Victorian age history, are characterized with conspicuous elements of ignorance and a sense of placid perfection which in real sense is unattainable. The Victorian age is amassed with volumes upon volumes of history which would surpass even the perspicacity of even a Gibbon. All this cannot just be narrated through scrupulous methods but through more subtle strategies which seek to depict the singular epoch in question in palatable light. While looking at the Victorian age history, it is important not to veer into the absurd of looking at human beings in the context of simply being symptoms of the past. This is particularly because they have value attached to their actions which while studying historical events.
The times when people started writing biographies are believed to have fallen in the wrong and evil times in England. This piece holds that while a few master pieces have been produced in terms of biographies England during the initial days, it is nothing compared to what the French did at the same time. The difference is that the English biographies had absolutely no fontenelles nor did it have the Condorcets. They also had fairly incomparable eloges which beautifully compressed just into a few shining pages, the evidence of manifold existence of man.
In Victorian era, the English relegated this delicate and very humane art of writing to the journeymen of letters. It therefore appeared that at this time, people really never realized that it could just be as difficult to write about a good life as it is to live one. Fat volumes of literature have been written about dead historical figures which exhibit slipshod style and have tones of very tedious panegyric. The contents of such volumes in most cases would remain unknown even to the persons themselves if they had the ability to know the contents of the literature. The literature has continued to show lack of design selection and even a sense of attachment. Over the years they have remained the same as they change and as a result have become so familiar as the undertaker’s ‘cortege’. They all have the same sluggish tempo with a characteristic funereal barbarism.
This piece holds that most of the Victorian era literatures were written in such a way that the audience would be tempted to imagine that they were composed with the functionary of being the last pieces on the same. They create the impression that they were the final items on the person in question’s job. While these pieces of writings exhibit immense levels of discrepancies and missing links, they still offer incredible and vital lessons and insights into standard versions of biographies. They have formed a part of examples that even present biography writers can borrow from. Their use in literature therefore helps a biographer to preserve some element of becoming brevity to exclude all that is redundant and never to exclude anything that is of significance. The other vita lesson that comes with these pieces of writing during the Victorian era is that as much as they exhibit missing links, they are a testimony of a biographer’s freedom of spirit. They indicate that a biographer is supposed to simply lay the ‘facts’ bare without necessarily seeking to comply to certain codes or set parameters, so he/she writes things the way he understands them.
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In “The end of generation Gordon”, an English gentleman was more concerned about identifying where the ark first touched ground according to biblical records, the site of crucifixion, the lines of division that existed between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the position of the garden of Eden and to identify the Gibeon. For this purpose he walked around with a thick book. This person turned out to be General Gordon and the thick book he carried along was actually a bible. His quest and obsessions led him to die in both ruin and horror. Thee happenings became source of historical materials but surprisingly, they more these literature spurned out, the more they became different since each had its own version. Gordon was a man who was not new to controversy at all.
While in the army academy, Gordon was so mischievous and ended up bullying so many newcomers, an act which saw him suspended from the cadet for some time. During this time, he became involved in religious activities and he reflected upon his sins and hoped for salvation. However, even while in search of the religious questions which disturbed his mind, he was not devoid of controversy because he took sacrament every Sunday despite the fact that he was not confirmed. He eventually went back to the forces and managed to execute his duties in different wars and peace keeping missions. While still in China, as a general, he contracted Small pox and he claimed that at long last the disease was taking him back to his Christian roots and that he hoped he would be a better Christian next time. He played a significant role among the Chinese in the battle front and later as a revered religious leader. The sad part of it is that while this looks like an important historical event there have been different versions of the same events that took place hence bringing into sharp focus the quality of the English scholars who wrote bibliographies at the time.
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When the British went into war with the Germans, several fatalities occurred. This was mainly due to the fact that there was a misconception in the attack plan. The British soldiers thought that they had destroyed the German dug-outs but no! The enthusiastic soldiers who had just joined the British army had all of a sudden been brutally killed at the battle front simply for being misled. ‘No man’s land’ which was established by the Germans became a field of doom for the British troops as they were constantly wiped out in a rain of bullets from machine guns. They were pushed out of the German frontlines not only in the south but also in the north. The British only managed to capture three of the thirteen villages which had been integrated within the German line and which they were supposed to bring under their control.
Rawlins on made a number of misjudgments. He failed to take opportunities when the windows of opportunity to go across the battle lines and concur opened. While the British had about 57,000 casualties, the Germans had a relatively smaller number of just 8,000 people. The casualty stations overflowed and the British soldiers were lying out in the sun unattended to. At the end of it all, they had not managed to capture ‘no man’s land’ and were the repercussions were even more severe. Later on when Tawney who had been assisting the wounded soldier’s came to the battle front, he imagined that things would be easier. He suffered the same fate only that he didn’t die and lived to tell his story. It is obvious that Tawney didn’t accept that as massive as the British soldiers were, they could be out maneuvered the way they were done. He received news of what happened, didn’t believe it, set out to find the truth and suffered the same fate only that he lived to tell the story.
The difficult memory brought about by the Vietnam War is one that the US popular culture has tried to handle in numerous ways. Through an analysis brought forth through after press coverage of the 25th anniversary of the ‘Fall of Saigon’, it is evident that the Us was neither the victor nor was it the Liberator as has been perpetuated in different theoretical points of view. The happenings during this war have been anchored on the theory of ‘rescue and liberation’. It has since become a morally controversial as well as unsuccessful issue of war. During this 25th anniversary, instead of the US press seeking to explain to the public the reasons why the US had to go into the war and the consequences for going into the war, they took a completely different platform and sought to depict the US as the liberator who was keen on bringing out how the US played an important role in rescuing as well as taking care of the Vietnamese ‘runaways’ due to the war. It therefore sought to erase the significant role which the US interventionist foreign policy could have played in the induced migrations.
Several myths and theories have been fused to bring out the narrative that the very fact that there are several Vietnamese War veterans recuperating is a significant indication of America’s mythical innocence. In most of the US commemorations and public discussions like the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Saigon, Vietnamese refugees have always been at the center and featured as evidence that the US world hegemony was a justifiable experience especially in the Vietnam War. They have struggled to paint a picture that the war in Vietnam was an absolutely necessary involvement by the US no matter the costs attached to it. They also assert that it was as necessary as it was moral and successful intervention. The underlying conclusion is that he notion of ‘We win-even-when-we-lose” syndrome has energized and even emboldened the actual perpetuation of American militarism in the entire world and more so in the post cold-war era.
In all the passages, there is an element of history being misinterpreted, put in the wrong context or simply being a source of controversy. It is evident in both that due to the fact that very little is known about history, and therefore the unknown has made people to create several versions of the same history. The little that is known has been repeated severally to an extent that it has become ubiquitous. When added to the fact that there is always a deliberate attempt to twist history to fit the authors and that the only available evidence in terms of relics say nothing much without the literature putting them into perspective, has made history even more difficult to portray as it was.
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