Monthly Archives: April 2014

Is He Misunderstood by History

Machiavelli is best known for writing ‘The Prince’ which is viewed as a guidebook for a despotic leader. However he also wrote a three volume ‘Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy’ in which he discusses the works by the Roman historian Livy which describe the early history of Rome. In this work Machiavelli discloses that he thinks that the best form of government is a Republic and the the best example was the old Roman Republic before it was replaced by the Emperors.

(The Great Courses – Machiavelli in Context)

The Storming of the Bastille

In 1788 France was in the middle of an economic crisis partly due to its wars with England before and during the American Revolution. King Louis XVI agreed to call an Estates-General which was an assembly of elected deputies to try and solve the crisis even though an assembly hadn’t been called in 175 years. As a result a new National Assembly was created which claimed to be representative of the PEOPLE. Louis XVI was eventually forced to recognize the Assembly but he was not interested in dealing with this group. Also in 1788 there was a shortage of food and the price of bread was rising. On July 11, 1789 Louis XVI fired Prime Minister Necker who wanted to negotiate with the assembly. Necker was seen as being friendly to the people and who was the one most interested in keeping the price of bread down. Protests immediately sprang up in the streets and three days later the Bastille was stormed in what is seen as the beginning of the French Revolution.

(The Great Courses – Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon)

From Pythagoras to Einstein

One of the best known theorems is the Pythagorean theorem which states that A squared = B squared + C squared for a right triangle where A is the length of the hypotenuse and B and C are the lengths of the other two sides. It turns out that if you take that triangle and pivot it into a third dimension the equations still holds with ‘D’ (the length of the side into the third dimension) squared being added into the original equation. The problem with continuing this process into the fourth dimension is that the original dimensions are measured in meters whereas the fourth dimension is time and is measured in seconds. Einstein was able to solve this problem by creating the ‘Einstein Hypotenuse’ which included distance, time, energy and momentum. When his new equation is written down with motion being set to zero the result is…..E = mcc !!!

(The Great Courses – Superstring Theory)

Catholics need not apply

In the mid 1700’s Denis Diderot helped edit the Encyclopedia.¬†This was meant to be a 28 volume book of all knowledge. The project was spearheaded by the leaders of the Enlightenment and was very political in in viewpoints. This included a complete denunciation of slavery. it also attempted to debunk religion as can be seen by one of it’s entries. ¬†Eucharist: See Cannibalism

(The Great Courses – Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon)


Alexander defeated the Persian faux king

When Alexander the Great faced the Persian King Darius III on the battlefield and Darius tried to forge a pact with Alexander, Alexander refused by calling Darius the usurper and not the true Persian King. Alexander had a good point even if it may have just been an excuse not to bargain with Darius. Darius I, Cyrus, Xerxes and all the other Persian Kings for hundreds of years up to that point were from the same family. Darius III took the crown only after the remaining brothers in the original Persian line were murdered.

(The Great Courses – The Persian Empire)