communi_kate: (monkey)
 Medieval merriment from the wonderful Toast. A critique of medieval maps, this article is part of the excellent Two Monks series. One monk is supremely confident about all things despite never travelling further than his own closet. His colleague is an incredibly gullible artist. Together, they invent various styles of crazy historical art. 

Because how do you know the lions there aren't giants? Really?

And all of Asia is mostly just one enormous castle...

Ex Urbe

Mar. 5th, 2014 08:51 pm
communi_kate: (Default)
 So the anonymous writer of my favourite history/culture blog, Ex Urbe, has just outed herself as the American historian Ada Palmer. And she's got a book out soon with Tor! And there's a photo of her wearing an amazing coat here! And she's blogging for Tor!

This is a great thing because Ex Urbe is awesome and well worth reading for the posts on Machiavelli and the Borgias alone. Palmer is currently posting a series of articles about philosophy and skepticism, which are so far over my head I don't even know where to start, but you should go read them anyway because she's a fantastic writer who loves Rome, the Borgias, snark and gelato, and these are all awesome things I thoroughly approve of.  
communi_kate: (Default)
Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?

Aaron: That which thou canst undo.

Demetrius: Thou hast undone our mother.

Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.

Shakespeare: 'Titus Andronicus'

The oldest recorded mom joke, from 'a tablet full of crude jokes and riddles about beer' written in cuneiform and dating back 3500 years to Ancient Mesopotamia. Translated as: "of your mother, by the one who has had intercourse with her. Who is it?" Article from the Daily Mail (so historical accuracy is in doubt) here

And Kate Beaton's excellent Tycho and Kepler comic here

communi_kate: (Default)
 "A young Florentine was going down to River Arno with one of those nets in which they wash wool, and met a frolicsome boy, who, out of fun, asked him what birds he was going to catch with that net of his? “I am going to the Brothel’s outlet,” replied the youth, “to spread my net there, and catch your mother.” “Mind you search the place carefully,” retorted the boy, “for you will be sure to find yours there also.”*

they've been around for years

(just like your mom)

*from the 15th Century Facetiae
communi_kate: (Default)
The meme's ending soon (what will  do with my evenings?) so go check things out, if you haven't already!

For [personal profile] rthstewart , Temeraire/historical RPF; Dragons, RAF Never was so much owed by so many to so few

Operation Chastise

"Bombs away!" cried Gibson as George sent Wallis' bouncing bomb spinning down towards the darkly shining water with a single flick of his curved talons. Gibson peered down past the Lancaster's olive-green shoulder to follow the bomb as it fell, and in the erratic light of the flashes of anti-aviator fire that lit up George's cloud-pale belly as if it was already Christmas morning, he saw the bomb bounce once, bounce twice and sink without a trace before it even reached the dam.

"Dammit!" Gibson swore briskly through his teeth and called to George for more height, feeling the massive wings beat slowly below him as they curved away to make room for Hopwood's dragon to take her own run.

For [personal profile] degrees , Assassin's Creed, Altair/Malik, Military AU

I know precisely what is meant by 'commissariat.'

"The trouble with you, Private ibn La'Ahad," said Captain Malik al-Sayf of the Army of Assassins' Intelligence and Logistical Corps. "is that you never know the best time not to fight."

"At least I can fight," Altaïr protested, his words loud in the sudden, icy silence of the commissariat.

"We need people who can stop fighting when they're told," Malik snapped, "just as much as we need people who can start."

[personal profile] betony , Much Ado About Nothing, Hero & Don John & his henchmen, "I am quiet and gentle and shy, my lords; but in no way am I merciful."

Merciful Grace

"Mercy?" Don John suggested to his assailant as Dogberry and Verges dropped their swords and slouched away into the shadows.

The figure that Don John had mistaken for Claudio tipped up her velvet mask and smiled coldly at Don John as he recoiled from the pitiless expression in her dark and lovely eyes and the bared blade held loosely in her hand.

"Mercy, my lord?"  Hero said softly, "I am quiet, and gentle, and shy, but in no way am I merciful."

For [personal profile] degrees , Assassin's Creed, Altair/Malik, can you keep a secret?


"Can you keep a secret?"

"Yes," said Malik," but that is not the question. The question is , can you keep silent?"

For [personal profile] rthstewart , Vorkosigan series; Ivan; competency


Spoilers for 'Cetaganda'.

"You are," the ghem-lady gasped as she arched back across the cushions, panting and spent, "...more than competent, Lord Vorpatril."

Ivan gritted his teeth and cursed Lord Yenaro and his own un-co-operative anatomy to the stars before he turned to her companion.

"On Barrayar there are four stages of competency, my lady," he purred, "let me show you them."


Oct. 24th, 2012 09:54 pm
communi_kate: (Default)
...this is relevant to my interests

'Marriage, Money and Divorce in Medieval Islamic Society' by Yossef Rapaport.
Free -and very readable-pdf. Three out of ten marriages in fifteenth-century Cairo ended in divorce-higher that modern times. Nusaybah would have loved this one.
Read and download here.

Jan Morris' 'The Venetian Empire: A Sea Voyage.'
God, I love Jan Morris even more than I love Ex Urbe. The Venetian Empire's always fascinating and this book pairs lyrical and thought-provoking travel writing with some serious history. It's also worth checking out her travel book about the fictional city-state of Hav.
Used copies 1p on amazon here, or you can read exercpts from the book as well.

NK Jemison's pinup fanart of Oree from The Broken Kingdoms -NSFW for'artful nudity' on Jemison's blog here
communi_kate: (Default)
Ex Urbe has the third part of Machiavelli essay up! And it's about the Borgias! Needless to say, it's the best yet. I do love the Borgias. You just can't make that shit up.
Read all about it here: Ex Urbe

Some choice quotes:

"Once upon a time (circa 1475) the whimsical Will that scripts the Great Scroll of the Cosmos woke up in the morning and decided: Some day centuries from now, when mankind has outgrown the dastardly moustaches of melodrama and moved on to a phase of complex antiheroes, sympathetic villains and moral ambiguity, I want history teachers to be able to stand at the front of the classroom and say, “Yes, he really did go around dressed all in black wearing a mask and killing people for fun.” Thus Cesare Borgia was conceived."


"By this phase, by the way, Cesare’s face had been disfigured by syphilis, and he had taken to wearing a mask. And dressing all in black. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he genuinely did go around dressed all in black wearing a mask, betraying and murdering people. Sadly, we have no documentary evidence that he went “Wa ha ha! Wa ha ha ha ha!”"


"Good morning, Mr. Machiavelli. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to prevent Cesare Borgia from conquering Florence. You will serve as our official ambassador to his court. You will shadow the Duke-Cardinal as closely as possible, report to us about his character and tactics, and develop a strategy to keep him from adding Tuscany to his expanding kingdom. While at his court, you will need to maintain yourself and your team with grandeur sufficient to make him take us seriously as a political force, but we can’t send you any funds to pay for this, since Borgia has so completely destroyed peace and order in the region that bandits are rampaging through the countryside robbing and murdering all our couriers. As always, should you or any member of your team be caught or killed, the Signoria will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will self-destruct in a few weeks when your office is inevitably looted and burned, but if you throw it in the fire that will speed things up."

You can say a lot of things about the Borgias, but they sure weren't boring.

communi_kate: (Default)
So auragirl requested a summary post of all my AC stuff. It's been something I've been considering for a while so-here goes.

UPDATE: Both Livejournal and my Net connection are being more than usually temperamental. It's late and tomorrow I head off to spend 3 weeks living in a campervan. I meant to add links to the relevant stories, but for now I'll just point you to my relevant tags on the left there, or to my or archive of our own accounts under . Sorry. I promise I'll get round to it.

The series should be read in order, but they're supposed to be designed to stand alone as well.

The Crusades series (AC1) in chronological order:

In which Malik al-Sayf loses his arm and his brother, works his butt off, fights with honour, considers and rejects suicide, gives money to the poor, hates camels (more than once) stabs a man in the face (also more than once), abandons an old woman to the mercy of the Templars, is sort of kidnapped, gets laid, kills an Assassin Grand Master, steals four Eden fragments, catalogues a hell of a lot of books, and would fight to the death for a random child who he's previously dangled from a window and then slapped in the face. Somehow he manages to make all this seem both normal and easy.

The Cross and the Sword
Pregame. A Templar Sergeant newly arrived in the Holy Land learns about the Assassins.

The Straight Path
In-game. Malik and Altair argue about Al Mualim's motives

The Length of God's Patience.
In-game. Malik comes to terms with the loss of his brother and his arm.

The Favour of Heaven
Postgame, AU. Altair and Malik are sent on a suicide mission by the new Master of Masyaf. They nearly die.

Both Worlds As Our Companion
Postgame, AU. The Assassins search for a missing Eden fragment in the Great Pyramid of Giza. They nearly die.

The Word of God and the Treasures of Wisdom
Postgame, AU. Malik and Altair travel across the desert to Timbuktu to find another Piece of Eden.They nearly die.

An Assembly of Bones.
Postgame. AU. Altair becomes the new Grand Master, and Malik must infiltrate a Templar castle to steal another orb. He nearly...oh, I'm sure you can guess the rest.


The Eve of the War:
Standalone Assassin modern day AU fic featuring Subject 16 Danny Lind.

The Renaissance series (AC2) in chronological order.

Because Ezio can't bear the thought of being left out of anything.

Pregame. In which Lorenzo and Giovanni discuss the future of Giovanni's children.

As the Sparks Fly Upwards
In-game. In which Ezio recovers from both his wounds and the loss of his family.

This Course of Fortune.
In-game.In which Ezio is a romantic, and his sister gets the better of him.

Only the Devil Laughed.
Postgame. AU. In which Ezio is captured by the Borgia and Leonardo and Rosa team up to rescue him. Hjinks ensue.

Of Hell and High Water.
In-game. In which Ezio is a romantic, and a woman he has never even met gets the better of him.


The Seventh Circle
In-game. Ezio and Leonardo become more than just friends. If you know what I mean.
communi_kate: (monkey)
 In which [ profile] squid314 takes my favourite 'History; you just can't make this shit up' trope and runs with it, demonstrating that World War Two was completely unbelievable and, further more, would have made a shit tv show. I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it...


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