Historical notes

Masters and mentors

Raphael’s Rooms is a series of rooms in the Vatican Palace richly decorated by Raphael .

Instead of presenting a bigger gallery from this place, for now, I selected only a small fraction of this masterpiece that unlike many others, is of civic nature. It is called the School of Athens. 

Liberty leading the people

Believe this or not. But this sequence is one of the most visited on my blog, even if my coverage is just about this painting and recuperation of the events that took place in France to liberate the People. Longue vie à la France. Today it is rather about: Longue vie à le Peuple.

The Ishtar Gate of Babylon

The Ishtar Gate was one of the main entrances to Babylon. It was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar, who was the patron deity of love, fertility, and war. The Ishtar Gate was rediscovered in the early 20th century by a team of German archaeologists led by Robert Koldewey. Koldewey had been excavating at the site of Babylon since 1899, and had uncovered many important artifacts and structures from the ancient city.

A couple who came from England

During our two-week stay in New Zealand, we once visited a town that seemed totally deserted. In high season it was popular with surfers. But with a heavy storm on approach, there was not a soul around us. It was like we would have reached the end of the world. The name of the town was Collingwood

On vandals and revolutionaries

Two thousand years ago, a tribe called Vandals originating somewhere in the Southern Scandinavia took a long road South. In the V century, they seized the eternal city and looted or destroyed some of the heritage of ancient Rome. Today the historians are no longer convinced of the latter. But in the international vocabulary, a vandal is someone who destroys or damages things of value. Those may be things of monetary value as well as of historical significance.

Written in the Norman city of Rouen

As Normandy is located in the traditionally French territory, we associate it with French, or as referred to earlier in the history – the Franks. But who were the Normans according to historical facts? There is probably no better place in Europe to answer this question than Rouen, located in the present-day French Normandy, but in the past – the birthplace of the Norman traditions and culture.

Patria, in commemoration of 1830

Pro Patria, the monument at the Martyrs’ square in Brussels, commemorating the events of 1830. The female figure carved from Carrara marble in 1838 by Guillaume Geefs represents Belgium standing on the chains of oppression after years under foreign rule. Patria is an originally Latin word meaning one’s native country or homeland.

Other reads and photos

The Old Port in Gdansk

In fact, this place is one of my favorites to spend leisure time in Poland, just to walk around, enjoy good food and make many beautiful photos. It is indeed very photogenic, no matter the season or time of the day. But the Old Port in Gdansk, known as the Main City, is also about its history. It has been an important center of maritime trade and commerce since the Middle Ages.

The Berlin Quadriga

The Brandenburg Gate is a famous entry gate located in the center of Berlin. The gate is one of the most important landmarks of Berlin and German history. At the top of the gate is the Quadriga. It depicts a chariot with four horses being led by the goddess of victory, Nike.

An elected king, a great battle and a fall of once a mighty kingdom

Looking through my photos taken in the Vatican Museums, I found a picture of a huge painting showing a nobleman on a horse leading a great battle. The nobleman is John III Sobieski, the king of Poland, more precisely of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The battle is the Battle of Vienna that for once and ever in the late Middle Ages stopped the Ottoman Empire from invading Europe

A short note on the Roman Empire

A short note on slavery in Middle Age Europe

One day, as I was driving home at a late evening hour, with the radio on for a moment, I was listening to the beautiful Gladiator theme by Hans Zimmer. Somehow, by association, my first thought was of the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza monument, or actually two twin monuments I photographed at Spain squares, one in Madrid and the other in Brussels.

Yes, an association that seems to be a bit far-fetched at first sight. On the second thought, however, the link between the two pictures is not that impossible at all. 

Ich bin ein Berliner

“Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berlin citizen) were the famous words spoken 1963 by the American president John F Kennedy in West Berlin. The gesture and the whole speech were considered a response to the erection of the Berlin Wall. 

Vikings did not bother to settle there

The Vikings homeland was lower Scandinavia, the coastal Northern Norway on Lofoten and a small continental region under the Gulf Stream impact. Although much land was available in Scandinavia, the Vikings did not settle there. Their interest was in the South.

Charlemagne, the King of Franks

Charlemagne (Charles the Great) is one of the most influential figures in French and European history of the early medieval time. He was a skilled military commander and a shrewd politician. His reign from 768 to 814 AD marked the set up of the Carolingian Empire that replaced the Roman Empire in the Western parts of Europe. Its successor (although with a smaller territory limited to so-called West Francia) was the Kingdom of France and consequently after the French Revolution the present French Republic.


Historical notes