History & Tradition

Ng Mui - The Nun Who Invented the Martial Arts Wing Chun

Although they are rarely mentioned, accounts of female warriors in history are increasingly researched and studied. Among the most well-known historical figures are Hua Mulan of 6th century China, Itagaki of 13th century Japan, the Celtic queen Boadicea in 1 CE and Joan of Arc of 15th century France. Of martial artists, however, the accounts are rarer still, and generally become a mix of historical facts and legends. One such story is the Shaolin Abbess Ng Mui, her student Yim Wing Chun, and their roles in the conception of a martial art called the Wing Chun Kung Fu.

It is widely...Read more

Subutai: Dog of War - Sophisticated Military Strategist Behind Genghis Khan’s Conquering Empire - Part I

There have been many renowned and infamous conquerors and generals such as Sargon of Akkad, Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria, Cyrus the Great of Persia, Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Hannibal of Carthage, Julius Caesar of Rome, Attila the Hun, and Tamerlane, to name a few throughout history. Every one of them has rightfully earned a spot in the history books as a brilliant strategic tactical genius or an uncompromising, bloodthirsty sociopath. However, for some, names and actions have gone largely unnoticed through the annals of history. One such man of great influence but little renown...Read more

Castrati: The Superstars of the Church and Opera in 16th Century Europe

“Long live the knife, the blessed knife!” screamed ecstatic female fans at opera houses as the craze for Italian castrati reached its peak in the 18th century. When Farinelli, the most famous castrato of his time, sang in London, one woman squealed "One God, one Farinelli!" Farinelli was later summoned by the Queen of Spain to sing her husband, Philip V, out of his depression, and went on to become the most potent politician in Spain as well as owner of his own opera house.

A castrato was a male singer with a vocal classification of a female or a child’s voice—a soprano, mezzo-...Read more

Defeating Death: The Ancient Quest for Eternal Life through Artifacts, Divine Foods and Elixirs

The very earliest written histories reveal that humanity has had the universal desire to live forever, and has sought countless ways in which to defeat the utterly relentless inevitabilities of time and mortality.

Whether bestowed by deities, attained through acts of extreme good, conjured through magical objects or potions, received as a form of punishment, or acquired through a mishap of science, tales of eternal human life exist in numerous legends, myths, religions, ancient historical texts, and they even present themselves in the modern era through life-extension and cryogenic...Read more

Questions of Identity: Who are the Europeans?

Many of us with European heritage are confused about identity. Regardless of where we now live – Europe, North America, Australia or elsewhere - questions arise such as “where is the homeland, what are our origins and who dispossessed whom”?  Are we really even ‘European’?

Europe might have been the part of the world where our grandparents and more distant ancestors once lived, but that does not necessarily mean that those people were indigenous to Europe. In particular, there is a lot of confusion about the identity of Celts. By focusing on the origins of Celts and others, more...Read more

Legendary Riches: Commercial Gains, Trade and Tragedy During the Reign of King Solomon

During the reign of King Solomon, it is said Israel for the first time was at peace with most of its neighbors, according to the Bible. Moreover, peace allowed the United Kingdom of Israel to flourish in commercial activity as well as exploration. This was attributed to Solomon’s nature. Unlike his father King David, who was a man of war, Solomon was believed to be the exact opposite; Solomon was a man of rest or peace, at least when it came to foreign policy. (I Chr 22:7-9)

He was all about building and enterprise, as well as building trustworthy relationships with those around...Read more

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