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Byzantine Empire

Hi everyone! For the final blog post, I created a timeline of the Byzantine Empire and highlighted some of the many historical events that occurred. The Byzantine Empire was the continuation of the Eastern half of the Roman Empire which managed to last for another 1000 years after the Western half collapsed. It was only in 1453 that the Byzantine Empire came to an end after suffering a defeat from the Ottomans.






The Olympics will be back in Rio De Janeiro this August! Are you hyped up? We sure are! The four-year wait will be over soon! Have you ever wondered of the origins of the Olympics? The ancient Olympics actually began in the 776 BC in Olympia, Greece. The games were as extravagant in ancient times as they were today, with fire-eaters, palm readers and prostitutes attending the event. The Olympic games were an allegiance to Zeus and the first game only had a foot race. As time went on, there were more events such as running, wrestling (pentathlon), discus throwing, jumping, boxing, pankration (“primitive form of martial art combining wrestling and boxing”) and equestrian events (“horse and chariot races”) etc. The ancient Olympic games actually ended in 393 or 394 AD (some disparity in sources) as “pagan festivals” were forbidden under emperor Theodosius. However, the first modern Olympics started back in 1896 in Athens, Greece. (thankfully!) We created a twitter thread to incorporate the ancient Olympics into modern times. Check out our twitter timeline to find out more about some of the legendary athletes of the ancient Olympics!

A Travel Across Time: Architecture in Korea

Over the years, architecture in Korea has become vastly diverse, with various elements and styles incorporated into it. The city’s skyline is very much dominated by skyscrapers, from office buildings to residential apartments.

Korean architecture may have undergone major changes; yet, it still retains the very sole characteristic of traditional Korean architecture – harmony with nature. In the past

A Play: Power Past Girls

A Play: Power Past Girls

This piece titled Power Past Girls attempts to reveal snippets of the lives of Empress Wu Zetian, Cleopatra VII Philopator and Joan of Arc. Despite being from different historical periods, these women have made a name for themselves as prominent female rulers in their respective societies. However, their individual journeys as female rulers were definitely tainted with common struggles and opposition. We wonder what it would have been like if these three rulers were not alone in their leadership but had girlfriends whom they could share their joy and sorrow with.

From the Emperor's Eyes

The Ascend to Man's Best Friend

Ever heard of the saying that “Dogs are Man's Best Friend”? Well, the first known account of that statement was first made by Fredrick II, King of Prussia in 1789. Enough about him, let us focus on the tale at hand. Dogs have been part of human history that date back to at least 13,000 BCE (With some researchers speculating that the dogs may have dated back to 100,000 years ago). Dogs were seen as protectors of agriculture, hunting companions, as well as many other variations throughout different cultures and time periods. Loyalty to the us homo-sapiens was a key trait that kept our bond strong, so strong that even part of our anatomy - our canines, resemble their name. This led to the Canis Familiaris (Scientific name for dogs) being featured in many myths and legends that have withstood the test of time.

Historical dog pictures are still dog pictures. And what better way to view them than Tumblr.

Our Tumblr Page:

For those of you out there who really dig history and love dogs, we hope you loved the article as much as dogs love you. Please do not hesitate to share your experiences with dogs in the comments below. Stay pawsome.



If you are interested in where to find specific information from our blogpost, you may view the url links below:

Interesting Related Videos that inspired this post to be created:

Mesopotamia (c. 5000 - 3500 BC)

Ancient Egypt (c. 3100 - 2686 BC),_305_B.C.E.-395_C.E.,05.308.jpg,_Nordisk_familjebok.png

Ancient China (2070 - 1600 BCE)

Ancient Greece and Rome (800-500 BCE),_from_Pydna.jpg,_San_Francisco).jpg

Medieval Europe (5th - 15th Century),_indicating_a_plague_bubo_on_his_gro_Wellcome_L0022461.jpg

Aztec (14th - 16th Century)

Hope you enjoyed the post.


Savor the Past!

Hi everyone! We did a tumblr post as part of our blogpost #3 assignment. The topic we have worked on is Food Preservation. But before we proceed, here is a brief introduction presented in the form of a poem. Enjoy!

Food Preservation? Yeah that's right!

From Drying through to Canning,

it has put up a good fight!

As something that evolved gradually over time,

having more than a basic understanding is prime.

Fret not, for we'll walk you through the steps

But do brace yourselves, for it may be a little complex.


The purpose of our project is for you to understand

the subject of food history that is made to your hand.

Of preservation methods that made sustenance possible,

it is not a doubt that these processes are un-stoppable.

From past to present,

people's mentality have changed,

Of intentions that we have planned

and the roads that we have paved.

From procuring food commercially to preserving at home,

It's usage evident wherever you wander, wherever you roam.

Interests on preservation have shifted from a "need" to a "want"

So, hesitate no further and join us on our food jaunt!

Here is the link for the tumblr account:



Cover photo- (CCO- Public Domain, Pixabay) (CC by 2.0, Wikimedia Commons) (CC-BY-SA-2.5, Wikimedia Commons) ( CC-PD-MARK, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)  (CC-BY-SA-2.0, Wikimedia Commons) (CC-BY-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons)  (CCO Public Domain, Pixabay) (CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated, Wikimedia Commons) (CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay) (CCO Public Domain, Pixabay) (CCO Public Domain, Pixabay) (CCO Public Domain, Pixabay) (CCO Public Domain, Pixabay)


Make easy Strawberry jam at home, SeasonalBerries's Channel, 16 September 2011

The dried fruit factory process Cecilia'sFarmStories, 27th October 2013



Food Preservation, Science Clarified (2016)

Food Preservation - Scientific Principles, Historical Methods Of Preservation, Thermal Processes, Packaging, Chemical Additives, Irradiation (2016)


Nummer, B.A. (2002) Historical Origins of Food Preservation, National Center for Home Food Preservation

Katie, A. (2015) A Brief History of Food Drying

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO) (2015) Simple Fish-drying racks improve livelihoods and nutrition in Burundi


International Dairy Foods Association (2016), The History Of Ice Cream

Bella's Gelato (2013), The History of Gelato

History of Ice Cream in Italy, 7th April 2014

Lebovite, D., What is Gelato?, 18th July 2004


Shurtleff, W. , & Aoyagi, A., (2004) A Brief History of Fermentation, East and West, Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and Soy foods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s


Alba-Lois, L. & Segal-Kischinevzky, C. (2010) Yeast Fermentation and the Making of Beer and Wine, Beer & Wine Makers, Nature Education 3(9):17

Wise Choice Market (2010)

Zemser, R. (2012) Fermentation- An Old Process Made New

Terebelski, D. & Ralph,N. (2003), Pickle History Timeline

The Accidental Scientist- Science of Cooking (n.d.)

Avey, T. (2014), History in a Jar: The Story of Pickles

How Products are made,  Made How, Vol.5, Jam and Jelly

Armadillo Peppers (n.d.) Jam and Jelly Guide

Glatz, J. (2010) Canning Food, from Napoleon to now,-from-napoleon-to-now.html


Hartson, W. (2013) Top 10 facts about canned foods

Ewald, J. (2014) Life Health, What is canning and what are the benefits?

Canned Food Alliance (n.d.), The Canning Process



Kennedy, C. (2009) Cold feat: choosing the right freezing technology for your production line

Mescher, V. (n.d.) In a Pickle- Types of Food Preservation in the 19th Century



Delong, D. (2006) How to Dry Foods, The Drying Process (pp.7-11)

Kalantzopoulos,G., Pintado, M., Gomes, A. (2006) Food Safety: A Practical and Case Study Approach, Exploitation of Microorganisms by the Food and Beverage Industry (pp. 153-154)


Hueston,W. & McLeod, A. (2012) Improving Food Safety Through a One Health Approach: Workshop Summary. Overview of the Global Food System: Changes over Time/Space and lessons for Future Food Safety

Getting Married!

The night sky is filled with thousands of stars, dazzling brightly, as one looks up into the sky.  It never fails to amaze me when I gaze upon the beautiful starry night. Tonight was a special night. This night sky today made me realised how blessed am I. I realise that I might not have any chance to enjoy these dazzling stars at very this spot ever again. I slowly stepped into the room and sat down on the chair. Looking into the mirror, looking at the contour of my face, I didn’t realise how much my face changed over the years, until now. Memories of me playing in front ofour tall, red, brick house, withmy clay dolls of Nubians in my hands, still remain fresh in my thoughts and mind.

Closing my eyes, I couldn't help but imagine how perfect my marriage would be, starting from tomorrow. I could feel my pounding heart like I have never experienced before, as I think about him. Even though our wedding is an arranged marriage, I will admit we are deeply in love. Finally, when I am fifteen years of age, I am marrying "Brother", (the way ancient Egyptians call their loved ones) who is 3 years older. I believe that after our marriage, I will be loved and respected by Brother.

Our marriage contract is already at the local temple. It is written as below:

“The Adjo, born in Egypt, son of Ahseb,

whose mother is Sesha, has said to the woman

Wenis, daughter of Shuyet, whose mother is

Neken: I have made you a married woman.

as your womans portion, I give you two pieces of

Silver lf I dismiss you as wife and dislike you and

prefer another woman to you as wife, I will give you

two pieces of silver in addition to the two pieces of

silver mentioned above and I will give you one third

of each and everything that will accrue to you and me.”

Suddenly, I stood up and ran to the wardrobe, just to look at my wedding dress once more. It is apretty long white linen dress, with a red ribbon in the centre, and it is able to cover my whole body, sewed with bead-net.Looking at my own reflection in the mirror, I put on my biggest smile. Will he be amazed when he sees me tomorrow? Will he be as excited as me too?

But alas. My worries came like a rock striking my head. What if he does not love me anymore and gets a concubine? What if I do not bear his child within a year? I might get a divorce! I grew nervous that he might regret and not accept me tomorrow. The mixed feelings I had, hoping for a good marriage and to maintain it, no matter the hardships and circumstances that may come.

Tomorrow, there is no grand ceremony for our wedding. However, there will be a simplefamily banquetwith all the delicious dishes, accompanied by dance and music. Empty wine jars laid flat on the table. People celebrating the happy occasion with wine and meat that was hunted few days before the ceremony. Hearing Brother’s melodic singsong voice, my heart was coated with honey. The traditional song that I longed for from my special one.“ One, the lady love without a duplicate, more than perfect than the world… …” I will be wearing my long dress tomorrow. Galana mesdemet and malachite beautified my face. Kohel maintains my eyes in almond shape.(Types of makeup in the 4000 BC).


Halfway through the banquet in my imagination, we are about to exchange our rings which symbolised a gateway for the future event. It is a common belief in our culture that ring finger had a vein links to our hearts. It also represents that he trust the household in my hands. He is looking deeply into my eyes, with his filled with confidence and without any hesitant, he put on the ring on my left ring finger. That moment will be breathtaking. I believe that he entrusted me and had faith in me. This action allows me to proclaim that I am his official wife. I am finally going to be the wife of Adjo!

Sincere wishes and congratulations will come non-stop from my family members. Tears welled up my eyes and began to roll down my cheeks as I know it is the time that I part with my parents whom I had been living with for the past fifteen years just by picturing in my mind. I started to feel uneasy at the thought of a new environment, a new home I am going to stay. Turning my head, having a quick thought about my in-laws, I fear that I cannot live in harmony with them. Flashbacks of me at home in the past appeared in my mind. My mother treated me like a princess and never allowed me to do any housework when I am supposed to. She did everything herself for the sake of me. Her love for me is very commendable. However, from now on, I will be alone myself, with no guidance and things need to be done alone. I know that it will be tough as I need to learn everything. However, Adjo trusted my ability. I cannot disappoint him.

All the anxieties spurred up to my mind. My vision became blurry. Unconsciously, I fell into a deep sleep on the chair.

When I opened my eyes, the rays of the morning sun has shone through the windows and brighten my room. Looking at my belongings which I carefully packed at the side of the door, I know that the time has come to move into Brother’s house. Seeing my brick wall dyed in my favourite colour, blue, remembering my lovely garden with very neat paths, I know I am already missing this place.

An Ode to Love - Medieval Europe


Love. This subject has never lost its popularity throughout history and even up till today. But have you ever wondered how men and women went 'steady' during the Dark Ages, the time of Knights and other honorable things? For this last post, we'll look through how courtly love shaped relationships during medieval times, and listen to one of my favorite songs (of all time!!) that I personally think gives a modern interpretation of the old-fashioned way of love :) -

There are 9 stages in the art of courtly love.

  1. Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance.

  2. Worship of the lady from afar.

  3. Declaration of passionate devotion.

  4. Virtuous rejection by the lady.

  5. Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty.

  6. Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness).

  7. Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart.

  8. Consummation of the secret love. (*smirk emoji*)

  9. Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection.

Even though #8 says that it's a "consummation", courtly love wasn't really about sex. It was more like a playground romance, full of giggles and adoration. Sex was considered to be something of a duty in a marriage.

Speaking of marriage, courtly love did not necessarily lead to marriage, nor did a marriage mean that you were in love with your spouse. Back then, marriages were arranged, and the prosperity of the marriage was based on the material wealth that both involved parties could get from matrimony.

But wait! Does this mean that infidelity was commonplace during these times? Well, yes. Since marriage was more for political gain, that didn't mean there was love present in this union. Why else would there be a stage #9 that required them to be discreet about their affairs? Ah... everything should click by now.

All in all, courtly love (as it was practiced) was a very passionate way of falling in love. The men faced an enigmatic balance between the pleasure of love and being in pain (which they felt because no matter how strong their feelings were for the woman, they could never have her). So now I'll bring you to one of my favorite songs of all time, Edge of Desire by John Mayer!!!

If you closely at the lyrics (it's at the bottom!), you'll notice that there are certain elements that I can personally relate to carry these same emotions that the people who practiced courtly love felt- the strong desire to want to be with someone, the intense emotions felt in the heat of passion... You get it. Alright, it's time to press play. Enjoy!




Young and full of running tell me where is that taking me? just a great figure eight or a tiny infinity?

love is really nothing but a dream that keeps waking me for all of my trying we still end up dying how can it be?

don't say a word just come over and lie here with me 'cause I'm just about to set fire to everything I see

I want you so bad I'll go back on the things I believe there I just said it I'm scared you'll forget about me

so young and full of running all the way to the edge of desire steady my breathing silently screaming I have to have you now

wired and I'm tired think I'll sleep in my clothes on the floor Or maybe this mattress will spin on its axis and find me on yours

don't say a word just come over and lie here with me cause I'm just about to set fire to everything I see

I want you so bad I'll go back on the things I believe there I just said it I'm scared you'll forget about me

don't say a word just come over and lie here with me cause I'm just about to set fire to everything I see

I want you so bad I'll go back on the things I believe there I just said it I'm scared you'll forget about me

The Suit. (Zheng He vs Columbus)

One sunny day in 1499, a World Fair was held to celebrate great achievements not unlike Nobel ceremonies. Amongst the many proud speakers was Christopher Columbus, who was invited to speak about his greatest discovery in 1493.

The uproar was caused by a Chinese man who was initially just another face in the crowd until Columbus announced his greatest discovery. Once a gallant sailor, Zheng He claimed with conviction that he was the one who found America and was deeply offended (amidst bemusement) by Columbus’ heinous announcement. Zheng He immediately engaged lawyers and a few days later, decided to file a lawsuit against Columbus. Promptly (or at least, as promptly as mail was delivered back in 1499), the letter of lawsuit was sent to Columbus, demanding that he appear in court.

Lawyer Letter page 1
Lawyer Letter page 1
Lawyer Letter page 2
Lawyer Letter page 2

As this is a closed-court case, only the transcript of the court proceedings can be released to the public. Though the case dates back to 500 years ago, we have an exclusive reveal of the transcript, conveniently translated into a common language that our readers would understand.



Zheng HeRep by Wai-Yu Soo Dim


Christopher Columbus Rep by Hippolytus de Marsiliis (Dr)

Courtroom One Gavel

Transcript of Court Proceedings

Bailiff: All rise. Department One of the Superior Court is now in session. Her Honour Judge Heyther Bairnatte presiding. Please be seated.

Judge Bairnatte: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of Zheng He from China versus Christopher Columbus from Italy. Thank you all for coming. We will now commence the proceedings. Plaintiff?

Wai-Yu: Your Honour, the defendant has been charged with the crime of falsely claiming to be the one who found the Americas. The evidence that I am going to present will prove to you that the defendant is guilty as charged.

Judge Bairnatte: Very well. Prosecution, please present your first evidence.

Wai-Yu: Your Honour, might I refer you to Exhibit A. (Wai-Yu points to the map)


Wai-Yu: The copy of the map here is dated 1418, almost 80 years before the defendant reached the Americas. As you may see here, this map presents the world as a globe with all of the major continents that we know of in our current knowledge of the world around us. As you may see as well, the continents are portrayed in a fashion consistent with your European maps, with a precision of the land mass that cannot be seen on the European maps. Now, with this map dated back to 1418, it shows how Chinese sailors, my client included, have knowledge about longitude, latitude and the basic shape of the world - round - by that time, at the very least, even before European sailors caught on.

De Marsiliis: Objection!


According to map experts that we have consulted, Exhibit A does not fit other maps that depicted China. In fact, Exhibit A seems to have influences of the French maps, such as that by French cartographers Nicholas Sanson and Alexis Hubert Jaillot, published in 1691. Please, if you may refer to Exhibit B.

A decorative map of the world from the French cartographers Nicholas Sanson and Alexis Hubert Jaillot published in 1691.
A decorative map of the world from the French cartographers Nicholas Sanson and Alexis Hubert Jaillot published in 1691.

De Marsiliis: Besides, other Chinese cartographers did not project the world in the same way that Zheng He supposedly did during his time period. This map did not project China in the center of their cartographic piece, which is very unusual for the Chinese maps at that point usually depict their country in the center of the piece! So, ladies and gentlemen, I find the truth to Zheng He’s map highly suspect. WIth that, Your Honour, I rest my objection.

De Marsiliis: Your Honour, to move with my case, I must stress again that under the law, my client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. There is no real evidence against my client thus far. The truth is as such: that Christopher Columbus was the one who found the Americas. It was only because of him that the rest of the world came to know America. My client started what is to be known in the modern times as the Columbian exchange: a frequent exchange of the planets and animals between Europe and the Americas that lasted for at least a hundred years!

De Marsiliis: This was due to a few factors: Firstly, he was rejected many times by the various European monarchies to finance his trip. If it weren’t for his persistence, this discovery could not have happened! It was also due to his persistence that the Spanish Government financed his last voyage, which allowed him to re-established the trade! His determination played a big part in this discovery; if not for him, the development of the Americas might not have happened at all!

(murmur in the audience)

Judge Bairnatte: (taps gavel) Order in the court.

De Marsiliis: Besides, he also charted the wind directions of the Atlantic Oceans, which served as valuable information that allowed other ships to travel to the Americas and back, and established a settlement at the Americas, necessary infrastructure that facilitated trade.

De Marsiliis: They might argue that at one point of time, trade between both sides stopped due to his bad relations with his crew as well as the natives. Yet I would like to point out that it was also due to his ingenuity that trade was restored. Using an almanac, Columbus took advantage of an eclipse that just happened to con the natives into believing that they have lost the moon, and the only way to restore it is to re-establish trade with Europe. As such, it is no wonder that my client is often credited with being the founder of the Americas. For what use is the land if its potential is not unleashed and it is not developed?

Judge Bairnatte: Very well. As we have had unforeseen delays before the case started, I now propose a time of recess for the two parties and the audience to collect themselves and have a quick bite. I also invite the members of the jury to convene for discussion. Recess for 60 minutes, and we will convene after that.

Baliff: All rise.

(Judge Bairnatte stands up and leaves. People start to mill out of the courtroom.)

Maritime Courtroom 4

At the corridor, Columbus bumps into Zheng He and they have a conversation together.

Columbus: I have something to say. As the debate progressed, it becomes clear to me that we are disagreeing because we have different definitions of what it means to find the Americas. I have never meant that I was the first to have landed in the Americas, for goodness’ sake! What I meant when I said that I found the Americas is that it is because of me that trade and commerce can happen between Europe and America, all that sparked off the development of the Americas! Your definition of finding, it seems, is literally “finding” - stepping foot on the grounds when no one else has. Looks like there is some misunderstanding here!

Zheng He: Oh! So THAT is what you meant by finding? I thought you meant it literally and I found it absurd because I very well know that I was the one who first stepped foot there! So this is indeed a misunderstanding… How unnecessary! Shall we inform the judge?

Columbus: They seem pretty busy at the moment. How about going to grab a coffee and getting to know one another better, what do you say?

Zheng He: Sounds like a plan!

Addendum: Timelines of the different real individuals (Columbus, Zheng He, Hippolytus de Marsiliis) have been altered to fit together in this post - they may not have existed together at the same time in 1499. This also applies to some of our substantiation, in bid to build a case and to, hopefully, entertain the readers. Addendum addendum: Any individual represented here, real or fake, has no real connections and/or connotations to anyone dead or alive and any instances of similarity is purely coincidental. Addendum addendum addendum: This is a fictional court case with a fictional lawyer letter.

Resource List: Columbus' address Zheng He's arguments: Existence of the mapMap reveals knowledge of latitude and longitude

Objection: Inconsistency and missing ChinaProjection style conflictColumbus' arguments: Subsequent voyagesSignificanceColumbian Exchange