The Rest Is History

Henges, old beer, and the thirst stratagem.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, February 19, 2021

Peasant Couple with a Drinker, by Cornelis Dusart, 1689. © The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

• On the Draft Riots: “The gruesome events should be remembered. They are as much a part of the city’s history as 9/11, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, or immigration through Ellis Island.” (New York Times)

• Found: what may be the world’s oldest known beer factory. (BBC News)

• “It’s not common knowledge that for several decades at the end of the last century, southern Oregon was the heartland of lesbian separatism.” (Places Journal)

• “How did an ideology that relished violence, dictatorship, and illiberal communitarianism animate so many different people in a country whose founding myths extolled individualism and self-government? What led these Americans to admire fascism and even suggest it was the logical successor to democracy?” (Boston Review)

• Revisiting Freedomways. (JSTOR Daily)

• On the Renaissance inventions and stratagems of Taccola: “For a besieging army, he proposes the ‘thirst stratagem’: send a herd of thirsty sheep or oxen into an enemy castle to drink up the water supply, forcing the enemy to surrender. For a castle under siege, there’s the more elaborate ‘enogastronomic stratagem’: build a low stockade, making sure it’s easy to climb over. Next, heap delicious food and wine just inside. Finally, flee, pretending you’re hastily abandoning your feast in terror at the enemy’s approach. The enemy soldiers, climbing effortlessly over the low fortifications, will fall victim to their own gluttony, eating and drinking themselves into a stupor, and you can retake your castle.” (The New York Review of Books)

• “A body burned inside a hut twenty thousand years ago signaled shifting views of death.” (Science News)

• “For decades, it was nearly impossible to type in Urdu online. Meet the people fighting to digitally preserve its script.” (Rest of World)

• “In archaeological news, researchers have recently unearthed evidence to suggest that Stonehenge was originally built in Wales, before being taken and re-erected at its present site in Wiltshire. But what is a ‘henge’ anyway?” (The Guardian)

• This week in obituaries: Rush Limbaugh, Brenda Ballin, Norman Golb, James Ridgeway, Iain Pattinson, Ruth Dayan, Jorge Morel, Johnny Rogan, Isadore Singer, Robert A. Altman, Danny Ray, Bernard Lown, Milford Graves, Albor Ruiz, Hilton Valentine, J. Hillis Miller, S. Prestley Blake, and Carlos Menem.