A Requiem For King Richard III

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In only a few weeks’ time we will reach the untimely demise of one of history’s greatest kings, Richard III of England. Slain in the “act of fight not flight” on Bosworth Field. England’s last Yorkist king, none since him have died in battle. He was killed whilst charging for his opponent Henry Tudor. Those three reasons are why I find Richard…King Richard III to be England’s most valiant king. He fought with his troops, stood strong until the end, and refused to yield, even though it cost him his life. The man was the last of his line, the last direct descendant of Henry Plantagenet, he was a widower and childless. Bloodlines and family casualties certainly took their toll on our poor king, but did not slow his soul. He remained focused, strong, and diligent in his duty as king. An honorable man in a field of treachery surrounded by many foes and few friends. Historians disgusted by Richard III will have you believe he murdered his nephews, but I call bullshit. As I said he was surrounded by treachery, and this king was known to be honorable and just. So, I ask you what Just man murders children in their beds? I’ll wait.

Richard was hated for how he wanted to teach the common people literacy.

Hated for his honesty.

Hated for being incorruptible.

Hate and treachery brought him down from grace.

He wasn’t perfect, but he was a fine administrator. I understand the misgivings people have regarding the usurpation of his nephews, but I think Richard had no choice but to seize the crown. The Woodevilles had deep influence over young Edward V, and when the family failed to notify Richard of his brother’s death then stole the treasury and fleet, and tried to thwart the wishes of the late Edward IV. The Woodevilles were guilty of treason and dishonor. This preemptive strike forced Richard to defend. The scars of the Wars of the Roses haunted all factions even Richard, which is why I believe he put his nephews Edward V and Richard of York in the Tower of London. It really was for their protection. Richard didn’t want the boys to slip into their mother’s hands, for if they did Elizabeth could raise support from noble lords in England, muster troops, and overthrow Richard. And Richard was no fool, he wasn’t going to lose his head. This was pure survival. To be honest I don’t think Richard wanted to be king, certainly not in that way. I confess my belief in the truth that he was pushed to put on the crown not of his own volition, but by the persuasion of those around him.

This is only a brief analysis of our true King my aim in the coming weeks is to present my readers with an in-depth discussion and analysis chronicling Richard’s life, duties, epic deeds, and failures, and how he could have won the Wars of the Roses. I plan to deliver this presentation not as a single writing but as a series set to begin on the day of his death August 22, 1485.

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Loyaulté Me Lie (Loyalty Binds Me)

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History’s Unknown: Special Edition, The Untold Story of 2,000: Caribbean POWs on British Soil

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The siege of Fort Charlotte, St. Lucia in 1796 ended with two-thousand African-Caribbean soldiers and their families surrendering to British forces. They threw down their arms and ammo, and marched onto British ships clapped in irons. Terms of the surrender promised they would be treated as prisoners of war rather than cattle (slaves). The soldiers were ex-slaves, freed by France after the Revolution, but a minority of its garrison was white.

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The journey across the Atlantic to Portchester Castle was rough with soldiers and prisoners both suffering from sickness. A total of 268 prisoners and 100 soldiers died. Approximately 2,080 African-Caribbean and 333 white soldiers, and 99 women and children arrived at Portchester in October of 1796.

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African-Caribbean soldiers were subject to abuse and bullying by European prisoners. A physician argued that the prisoners be feed potatoes for dietary staple reasons seeing that was the closest thing to yams.

A year later, in 1797 it seems a large portion of the imprisoned Afro-Caribbean soldiers defected to the British joining their captive’s navy and forming battalions under British command. The soldiers saw action in France, Russia, and Italy.

Britain’s own black population during this time was relatively small, at least 10-15,000. This is a forgotten chapter in black history, and the identities of the POWs have been lost too. A curator at the English Heritage by the name of Abigail Coppins is responsible for finding this lost fabric of history. This past Wednesday, Portchester Castle opened an exhibit honoring the black fighters, a few of whom were the first to fight against slavery.

The most famous prisoner at Portchester, the one whose identity we do know of is Captain Louis Delgres. He was born in Martinique, a man of mixed ethnicity. His parents were most likely a white man, probably French, and his mother an African slave. However, the practice and customs of slavery in the Caribbean differed from slavery in States. Delgres was captured by the British troops in St. Vincent in 1796.

In 1793, colonies in the West Indies belonging to Britain and France were dragged into war by their colonial masters, Britain and Revolutionary France. Victor Hugues captured the island of Guadeloupe from Britain in 1794 with the intention to end slavery.

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History’s Unknown, Part V: Ancient Colors

Raven has been missing!! Sorry guys been busy enjoying my post-Associate’s Degree life. For the past few weeks I been strategizing how best to build up my platform, and the answer that always arrives to me is…WRITE. Just write anything, and post it. So that is my plan, and I begin by continuing my History’s Unknown series.

Yesterday I was speaking with my American history professor (I have now begun my journey for a Bachelor’s degree) about Hernan Cortez’s arrival and eventual conquest of the Aztec Empire, he brought to my attention an Unknown History, the Cochineal Red. It is not mentioned in many history books, and you guys know how much I venerate about the unknown history topics. Usually the discovery of new knowledge leads me. So here we go, with the history of Colors lol 

Beginning with Cochineal insect found near the Colorado River resting on cactus pads. This beetle produces a rare form of red known to us. For thousands of year the old cultures of the New World harvested the Cochineal red. The Aztec warriors painted it on their, their kings accepted large bags of the red dye as tribute from lesser kings. When Cortes visited Tenochtitlan (Mexico) he observed the rich quality of the Cochineal red dye, which was brighter than the European red. 

The red dye used by Europeans prior to their arrival to the New World was dull and faded. Cortes brought the red dye to Spain, and soon the product was in high demand beating. It was worth more than gold and silver. Cochineal red was expensive, and like ancient silk it was reserved for the elite classes. Money and power. The red robes worn by Catholic cardinals and red coats worn by British troops in the American Revolution were made from Cochineal. It also became a common food dye for cakes, pies, ice cream, and cosmetic materials. 

Another rare and rich colorful dye was Tyrian Purple, not to be confused with Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. Produced by the Phoenicians who extracted the dye from the mucus of Murexes, a type of snail found in Tyre. Commonly associated with royalty purple became standard fashion for Rome’s great families and its emperors, and adopted by its successor state the Byzantine Empire. 

Tales from Phoenician mythology state the God Melqart discovered the value of this substance when his dog Tyros returned home with a purple stained tongue from biting Murexes. 

Blonde, still on the topic of colors but on this one I’m including a little information about hair too. Two Norse goddesses, Sif and Freyja were blonde. Freyja is associated with love, beauty, and fertility hence the common association of blonde and beauty. Other European myths speak of fairies with blonde hair. Fairies would steal any human blonde babies from their cribs and switched them with changelings. 

Natural blonde hair is caused by eumelanin, a pigment deficiency. Low levels of sunlight in parts of the world account for the creation of blonde hair. We know loss of sunlight results in loss of Vitamin D, which can not only turn the skin lighter but hair too. Northern Europe is one example of this, where blonde hair is common. 80% of the Scandinavian population is blonde haired. 

Pink, this is my baby sister’s favorite color! So Keely this is for you. We you here pink you think sweetness and romance. Innocence and tenderness. But eroticism and seduction make up the common inception of this color. The term, pink was not used until the 17th century. Pink was not as fashionable as purple was in the Middle Ages. But there was a rise of this color in 13th and 14th century art. And pink was not always a girly color, it was originally referred to boys and blue went to girls. Considered as a masculine color. They say it was stronger, and passionate, and given that pink is a very light red it was a perfect fit for boys.

Black, this my other sister’s favorite color. So this one for Julia. And as a professor of mines said once “girls who wear black are cooler” a true statement. But both my sister’s cool as ice though. The darkest color, its use goes back to the Neolithic cave paintings. Perhaps the oldest color in human history. By the late Middle Ages royals, nobles, clergy, and other officials adopted the use of black in their wardrobes. Two famous historical figures to do this was Edward the Black Prince and my ancestor, Cesare Borgia, but some historians argue it was due to syphilis. Benedictine monks wore black as a meaning of humility and penitence. The reason for black ink was due to the fact it provided the greatest contrast with white paper, hence the reason why black is so formidable to our literature. 

The reason aristocrats and lawmakers adopted black in the 14th century was to show how serious they took their jobs. Furthermore, a series of laws were passed around Europe reserving only the nobility the right to wear exotic colors. The merchant bankers of Italy retaliated by changing to black robes. It was then picked up by the nobility beginning with the Dukes of Milan and Savoy. Seen as a color of power, dignity, humility, and temperance. 

History’s Forgotten Battle: A Preview of the Aftermath to Come

Good morning fans, friends, and loyal Ravenmen, today I, Ravengaddafi release to you an excerpt from my new eBook titled Aftermath to be released August 22nd, 2017 in celebration of the 632nd anniversary of King Richard III’s murder on Bosworth Field.

(The title and written material were copyrighted on April 7th, 2017)

I do not own any images associated in this excerpt.

Here we go…

“April 30, 

We learned the usurper had docked at Port’s Wind with an army of mercenaries in his employ. The King had originally anticipated Richmond Jasper to be a novice with no support in our realm, but unfortunately his arrival drew inspiration from opportunists and lords we thought to be honorable men. However, those traitors were few in number.

The king dispatched envoys throughout the realm carrying orders for every lord, baron, and knight to assemble his men-at-arms. Several of the King’s closest councilors and powerful supporters answered his call for aid faithfully.

May 1st
I was selected to accompany the army as chief chronicler; witness, observe, and record the events of the impending battle. The King was confident in his ability to win, as were his men.

It was decided we would camp at Tannen Field, after scouts reported seeeing Jasper’s army received a warm welcome from the villagers in the county of Hummit. Soon as we settled in word had arrived that Jasper too had taken up a position across the small wooded area, which divided Tannen field. Our King’s ambassadors and Jasper’s met, discussed, and decided the battle would commence the following morning.
On the twenty-third hour of that day, as the camp was sleeping, I sat awake by the fire…I noticed a woman rush out the King’s tent, a whore no doubt. The king kept many mistresses, but I didn’t recognize this woman. Perhaps she was new. In any case as she exited the pavilion, she grabbed one of the guards, pulling him into the pavilion. The second guard stayed his post.

The first guard emerged from the pavilion a few moments later. He whispered something to his fellow guardsman and off he rushed. The girl was about to exit, but the first guard pushed her back in. I heard a squeal, got up from the log I sat upon, and slowly crept forward closer to see what was transpiring. I looked left to see the King’s brother and Lord Hamilton arrive on the scene with some few retainers. I stopped and hid.

I must have hid for over an hour. No one else came in or out of the tent, but the King’s brother and Lord Hamilton. I witnessed the guards carrying the girl off into the unknown. She was gagged and bound, and when the king’s guards returned Hamilton’s retainers slit their throats and took charge over the pavilion, and the King’s brother departed in the direction of his tent. Within the hour I saw him leaving camp altogether with all his retinue and knights, some 6,000 footsoldiers.

May 2nd

The sun was rising, the battle was about to begin. Two armies stretched out in the field, across from one another. No one except myself and Hamilton knew of last night’s events, and the latter’s knowledge of my witness evaded him. There was no sign of the King’s brother…But there sat the king on a white horse at the head of his 8,000-strong army, covered in crown regalia and gold plated armor. Oddly, though his head was covered. His helm shut closed. He said nothing, no speech, no words of motivation to his troops. Only his hand raised up for a brief second, then dropped down in a great strike like lightening to a tree. 

That was the signal, our cavalry raced across the field. We saw the enemy’s response, Jasper called for a shield wall and sent them into position, they slowly crept forward in a defensive stance. I could see the look of confusion on Hamilton’s eyes, I felt the same. “Who sends a shield wall against armored cavalry” I thought this would-be usurper to be a fool. But the joke was on us because as soon as our troops came into contact with the shield wall did a wall of wooden spikes spring from the ground like darts. Big huge darts.

The front line of the cavalry was hit, repelled, broken, and left confused. The horses in the second and third lines crashed into the front, breaking formation. The fourth line panicked due to the fear of the horses who were hysterical. Riders fell to the field as did many of their mounts too. Some riders were even crushed or trampled. Riders from the front line were thrown over and into Jasper’s shield wall, due to the horses falling either face flat from the projectiles or slamming head into shield. The thrown riders were surely hacked to pieces by Jasper’s pikemen.

Many events pertaining to the fighting transpired that day, but eventually we lost the battle, I was captured and imprisoned along with several highborn lords and knights, and it was revealed the man dressed in our King’s armor was not the king. His body had been discovered, after the battle, in the pavilion prepped and ready for burial. At the time no knew how he died. Hamilton was slain in battle, leaving the King’s only brother as witness to the events in the pavilion that night…”

History’s Unknown, Part IV: Pot-Smoking Assassins

There is a story about an Old Man in the mountain who trained other men to kill false worshippers. He founded an Islamic sect headquartered at Alamut castle. The Old Man’s name was Hasan, and he was so shrewd that he was able to steal possession of the castle from its original owner all without a single drop of blood. 

This sect of Islamic fundamentalists supplied themselves with a very potent type of marijuana known as Hashish. This group of Muslims known to history as the Hashshashin Assassins, was an elite secret society of highly trained warriors who occupied the castle of Alamut. This palace was buried deep in what is now the Qazvin Province of Iran.

(Photo of the infamous hide-and-conceal daggers used by Assassins)

The Assassins (unrelated to the classic videogame) were a terrifying, clever, and zealous group of Islamic warriors. Operating in absolute stealth, none of their victims ever saw them coming. The Assassins themselves feared nothing, not even death, in fact they embraced it.

Like a pack of wolves preying in the woods, fear of the Assassins could be felt by all souls in the Islamic world from sultans and princes, to Christian kings and their knights, and the Pope and his Crusaders. The Christians received the stealth brutality of the Assassins, but the organization itself did not discourage from Killing Muslims either.

(Pictures of the Assassins victims)

Their victims numbered in the thousands, all while they smoked hash on a daily basis receiving hallucinations. Pictured at the top left is their first victim, Nizam al-Mulk. On the right is King Conrad of Jerusalem, whose belly was sliced open by the Assassins as he strolled down the city streets of his kingdom despite having an armed escort of guards. Yeah that’s exactly how good they were. 

Pictured at the bottom right is the first European to feel the poison daggers of the Assassins, Raymond II of Tripoli (Syria). Last, on the bottom left is the attempted assassination of King Edward I of England.

Back at Alamut castle, its grandmaster Hasan, his soldiers, and servants were getting their smoke on, delving deep into the aurora of hallucinations. Hasan would use hash to recruit young boys off the streets. Furthermore, the effects of the drug gave Hasan the power he needed to hypnotize and brainwash these young cadets, binding them to his will and bidding. The term Assassin originated from the term Hashshashin. 

Marco Polo had this to say about the young killers of Hashshashin “when these young men woke, and found themselves in the garden with all these marvelous things, they truly believed themselves to be in paradise. And these damsels were always with them in songs and great entertainments.” 

The garden Marco speaks of possesses rivers filled with honey and wine. Exotic plants like palm trees, and much more. The recruits first consumption of hash caused them to fall in a deep sleep for three days, and once under the Old Man’s spell after entering this “garden” they were promised a place in heaven. 

History’s Unknown, Part III: Ancient Graffiti

Recall how I began this series with a discussion on ancient emojis, well my third entry in the Unknown series follows along the same lines. Communication is the heart, but the smiley faces and taco symbols have been replaced with graffiti!

Graffiti is spontaneous! Unlike inscriptions made by stone, which last centuries graffiti can fade easily. Graffiti has been around forever; from ancient caves to carved mountainsides, to city murals. 

Graffiti is a work of art thrown or carved onto any kind of surface. Beyond that graffiti is a tool of many human expressions ranging from political uprising to advertising.

Pompeii, this ruined city houses the oldest known graffiti. Pictured above, the message reads “Gaius Pumidius Diphilus was here.” Dated October 3, 78. B.C.

Looking at the graffiti running along the walls and old town markets of Pompeii you’ll find messages and drawings references jokes, undying romance, insults, and even memorials for fallen loved ones. 

Thankfully, these ancient inscriptions survived the destruction of Pompeii. A volcanic explosion left Pompeii in an eternal coat of ash, but the graffiti left behind by its residents tells a story that recreates the city entirely. As you walk along the streets of this ruin reading the various messages written on the walls you begin to hear voices of the past.

The city continues to be one huge notebook, call it a writer’s paradise. It makes you wonder did people go around leaving messages on walls for their friends saying “let’s meet up, come by the market.” Very intriguing, as it can be considered the first text messages. 

The origin of social media lay here. Pompeii was a nexus city filled with informative inscriptions detailing merchant transactions to the birth of donkeys. I mean hell you could discover information about anywhere, anybody, and anything!!!!

History’s Unknown, Part II: Ancient Desserts

Hello friends, fans, and loyal supporters sorry my series is dragging, but I have been busy traveling and attending conferences on historical topics. 
This second essay in the History’s Unknown follows sweets and treats from Classical Antiquity, from Rome and Greece and such. More importantly this essay on Ancient Desserts is a special dedication to by very best friend, my little sister, Keely who we call Kiwi! Happy 21st birthday babygirl lol but I guess I can’t call you that anymore huh haha 

First we begin with Keely’s personal favorite, ice cream, the girl adores this treat most of all. Roman Emperor Nero once ordered that ice be chipped and carted from the mountains, and brought to his palace, where they were to be combined with fruit toppings.

Ice cream is not as recent as people may think, in fact, in the year 1780 B.C. the King of Mari commanded an icehouse be built to store snow. It was the first of its kind. These icehouses flourished in the eras of Persian and Greek empires; Alexander the Great is said to have preferred his snow flavored with honey and nectar, and used it as an instrument to reward his soldiers.

The icehouses belonging to the Persians called Yakhchals had the capacity to store snow for long periods of time. The Persians were quite fond of flavoring their snow with grape juice.

There is also the tale of King Tang of Shang who loved to freeze buffalo milk then mixed it with flour, and flavored it with camphor. In the tomb of his descendant, prince Zhanghuai depicts a picture of women carrying “Su Shan” another ancient dessert. 

The Arab formula for ice cream. mainly in Baghdad and Damascus was, of course milk and sugar. But they also used rosewater, nuts, and dried fruits. 

The Egyptians were famous for many things, but desserts is one of thier more underrated treasures by historians; found on a broken piece of Egyptian pottery was the recipe for Tiger Nuts.

Tiger Nuts come from the Cypherus esculentus plant. The nuts were chopped into small pieces, and topped with honey and spices. 

Honey cakes, date loaves, and dumplings. While the latter is a famous food, the formers are pretty rare for the most part; we have tomb paintings depicting Egyptians smashing down honey cakes. Cooked in the shape of a folded pie and filled with not just honey but fruit and nuts.

Date loaves were crocodile-shaped loaves of mashed dates, mixed with goat’s milk, honey, and coconut. The reason for the crocodile shape is due to its symbolism in Egypt, which meant good luck.

Furthermore, dumplings as I said are nothing new. The ancient Egyptians rolled their dumplings in cinnamon. drizzled them in honey, and shaped into balls.

As you can see honey was a major staple in Classical Antiquity. Ironically, it can be considered the first candy. Once sugar was introduced in the medieval period did consumership of sweets triple. 

The term “cake” is originate from the Norse word “kaka”. And as you have read you see how cakes of the ancients was different from ours, as they were made out of bread and honey.

The pie has surprising roots too. Known as galettes in 9,500 B.C. it was cooked over host coals inserted with various fruits and reserved only for the Egyptian Pharoah. King Ramses loved his pies so much his tomb is decorating with paintings of such. 

And so Happy Birthday babygirl!!! ❤❤❤