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The Untold Story of the Nile Clan

The Untold Story of the Nile Clan

Hello people! I believe this is the last ever UGC 111 blog post for this semester so I hope you'll enjoy this original story that I've created. Please tell me what you think!

In 2300 BCE, unusual creatures started to emerge from the Nile River and were raised in Egypt. No one knows their actual origins. Just like the other Egyptians, they spoke the Egyptian language in the form of Coptic, donned clothes that were made of linen to protect them from the intense heat and wore copious amount of makeup, which they believed gave them protection of the gods Horus and Ra.

The Maid of Orléans

The Maid of Orléans

Hi everyone! We wrote a song about Joan of Arc and her life. The music was written with multiple movements in mind, depicting Joan's bipolar disorder, as well as the different significant events in her life (or death). Hope you guys enjoy it!



Hello Guys & Girls! For our last group post, we created our own music video on Cleopatra, using Nicki Minaj's <Anaconda> as the music. We hope this parody will be able to bring upon smiles to your faces and relieve some stress as the end of the semester is approaching. Lyrics and short descriptions of each main character are below the video. Enjoy!

Sei Shonagon: Lover of Making Lists


Being someone who loves reading, I enjoy looking for new and interesting things to read. Sometimes, I find that I can find quite innovative works and interesting people when I look into the past. I found such a discovery in one rather lesser known figure: Sei Shonagon. 清少納言 Sei Shōnagon. Unknown. c. 14th century. Public domain.

But who exactly was Sei Shonagon? Well, she was a court lady living in the Heian court period in Japan. She served Empress Sadako (not affiliated with the long haired lady who crawls out of televisions).

Japanese Empress Sadako at coronation of Emperor Taisho. Unknown - Imperial Household Agency, Tokyo. Created 1 January 1912. Public domain.

What makes Sei Shonagon important especially to Japanese history is her contribution to literature, her work "The Pillow Book". It is a fascinating glimpse into court life in the Heian era and also a look into her own life. She also established a genre of Japanese writing called zuihitsu, "to follow the brush".

She is also compared to the famous Lady Murasaki, who actually criticized Sei (in her diary, of course) for embracing every trend that came along and for being too proud of her Chinese compositions, that were "full of imperfections".

Burn book gif by xxbrandonsuxx. Photobucket.

Sei is a captivating author with a penchant for making interesting lists on topics such as "Things That Give a Pathetic Impression""Awkward Things", and of course, a list containing her pet peeves such as crying babies and people who snore (p.2). American-born Japanese scholar Donald Keene even thinks of "The Pillow Book" as the closest to "high comedy" in Japanese literature. Besides being plain hilarious, being relatable might be the reason why her work is so enduring till today.

To give you a little glimpse into Sei's life and work, here is a Listography account with some of the lists she has made. Maybe you might get inspired to create your own Pillow Book!



Lists taken from "The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon - Translated and Edited by Ivan Morris" 

Retrieved from

User image in Listography account same as post's featured image



Dead Qin Shi Huang takes on the Twittersphere!

Editorial Note: Images are currently missing from this post due to the change from Wordpress (the site on which this was originally published) to Squarespace. Images will be reattached by January 2017.

The title says it all. One of the craziest, most powerful rulers in the History of China tries his hand at micro-blogging in his..... tomb. 7 days after his death (10 Sept, 210 BCE), Qin Shi Huang starts tweeting and freaking out as he finds out... his worst fear has come true - he has died.

Qin Shi Huang had an intense fear of dying and was obsessed with searching for the fabled Elixir of Life. He wanted to live forever (hence, the corny 4eva in his twitter name haha). This was one of his weaknesses because it was so easy for him to fall prey to anyone who promised they had the secret to the Elixir of life.

Most of the potions and pills his doctors and alchemists created contained "mercury" - which would cause serious eurological malfunctions. He is believed to have died from mercury poisoning. Eek, looks like this "Elixir of Life" ironically shortened his life :(

The Ancient Chinese believe that the Mandate of Heaven is bestowed upon emperors - this gave them the right to rule over the people and the sacred Mandate of Heaven was given based on their ability to rule wisely and well.

About a year before Qin Shi Huang's death, a large meteor fell from the sky. This didn't bode well for Qin Shi Huang, it was an ominous sign. Qin Shi Huang, the tyrant, had his fair share of haters and someone etched "The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided." Many people saw this as a sign that Qin Shi Huang has lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Qin Shi Huang then destroyed the meteor and pounded it into powder and because he was unable to find the person who wrote the words, he killed every man in the vicinity.

Author's Thoughts: I find it so strange and spooky that there are always "omens" before someone dies. When I was doing my research for post 2, where I wrote on the death of Julius Caesar, there were some scary omens too! On the day he was assassinated, Caesar’s horses wept, a bird flew into the Theater of Pompey with a sprig of laurel but was eaten by a larger bird, Calpurnia had a dream of him bleeding to death And someone warned him to beware of danger no later than the Ides of March. Ahhhh! Scary. I wonder what I will encounter just before I die.

As he got older, he grew more paranoid and worried about his death. Qin Shi Huang built a huge tomb for himself, with 8,000 unique, life-sized soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. There were also officials and his entertainers. These figures were made to resemble the ones he had in real life! Poor Emperor even built rivers of Mercury (his Elixir of Life remember?), thinking it would keep him immortal when he rose again. This army was to ensure that when he became immortal, he would still have his strong army and trusty officials with him. In the tomb, there were replicas of his palaces too. Man... he really did not know how to let go.

About 2 millenniums later, on the 29th of Mar 1974, farmers digging a well found this huge tomb! Historians and archaeologists were all so intrigued and they excavated the site to search for more. However, they found that the paint on these soldiers were slowly flaking and fading off once they were exposed to the dry air...  hence, they decided not to open Qin Shi Huang's tomb in fear that they may not be able to preserve the artifacts.

Our fearful Emperor is left in his tomb, lonely and frustrated. But I guess he don't have to worry about being forgotten, or not being immortal. More than 2,000 years later, his legacy still lives on.


Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor of China, Asian History

Terracotta Army, Wikipedia

The fake tweets were made from

Qin Shi Huang's picture on his Twitter profile is taken from

The picture Qin Shi Huang tweeted is By Jmhullot - Own work, CC BY 3.0,



Here's a shoutout to all historians in What You Did Last Summer 10,000 BCE ago! Please allow me to introduce the worst execution place in Medieval Europe's history - Ancient Rome. Have you ever wonder how creative the Romans were to come up with all those nasty executions as a form of capital punishment? Did they really take pleasure in looking at the torture of others or were they simply just following the laws implemented by the Roman Senate? Well... Here's a casual interaction recorded as a podcast between myself and a colleague of mine! As a historian, I will be providing a brief summary about the Ancient Roman Executions and how it is related to the present world. Throughout the conversation, I will be clarifying all her doubts as well. Do give it a thumbs up if you truly enjoy and learn something from it! :) [audio m4a=""][/audio]



Me: Hey everyone! Welcome to a conversation on World Civilization. In this podcast, we will be going through how and why Ancient Roman Executions take place in early BCE and its impact on the current world we are living in. So… Let’s begin!

Colleague: Oh! (x2) I have a burning question in mind! Why did Ancient Rome impose such inhumane act against the people as a form of capital punishment?

Me: In the Ancient Roman society, capital punishment was seen as a solution to maintain peace and order. Therefore, it was essential in those times when the society was more chaotic and peace was often disrupted by neighboring cities. Not only was it humiliating, it was an extreme torture to our fellow human beings! From my perspective, it was implemented to reinforce the concept of “obedience” toward the Roman Senate. It is an act of inducing fear in people to not go against them. Also, I think that it was served as a public warning as well.

Colleague: Okay. May I ask where and how the Romans execute people?

Me: Well… Mass executions were conducted at the Coliseum to accommodate large crowds, witnessing the inglorious deaths of the condemned victims.

Colleague: OMG… How can they be so ruthless?

Me: Apparently, the Romans were told to attend as spectators for an important social function (back then, it was known as the Roman Games) by Emperor Claudius. The most common methods of executions were through exile and suicide. In the meanwhile, crucifixion still remained as the most well known execution of all time in history, ever since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Another popular execution method is known as Damnatio ad bestias.

Colleague: Oh wait. What does that mean?

Me: To put it simply, it means “death by damnation of the beasts" (Jrome, 2015). This was the case when the condemned victims were eaten alive by wild beasts (such as lions, tigers and panthers). In other words, they were simply thrown into the arena and offered as a form of sacrifice to the beasts. Hence, these exotic creatures were starved for days before they were released into the arena and feed on the victims. Not only was it introduced as a capital punishment, it was also seen as an entertainment back then.

Colleague: Wow… I am still shocked by their sadistic nature!

Colleague: I would like to clarify my doubts. Ermm... I understand that Roman citizens did not face crucifixion as a capital punishment. But why is that so? Was it a privilege that was granted to them?

Me: Yes, it was! Due to the fact that Ancient Roman society was more hierarchal and patriarchal, Roman citizens were at the top of the social structure followed by slaves and farmers. Therefore, Roman citizens were beheaded instead as they believed that it was a more honorable way to die. On the other hand, victims who were condemned to death by crucifixion were mainly criminals, slaves and surprisingly, Christians! Early Christians were often crucified because of their rejection to worship the Roman Gods or Emperor.

Colleague: So… When was the crucifixion introduced in Ancient Rome?

Me: In fact, crucifixion was introduced way before the birth of Jesus Christ in the early BCE. It was established to indicate the lowest social status of those who were condemned for public humiliation. Fortunately, crucifixion was abolished by “Constantine the Great” later in 4CE, who became the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire

Colleague: Okay… Ermm… How does it impact us in today’s world?

Me: Good question! Over the past few years, I am sure that all of us are aware that the world has been subjected to the atrocities of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). Barely a year ago, ISIS has engaged in public execution of 25 men at the Coliseum, which is known to be one of the most historical places of Rome. According to recent reports, it was believed that the Islamic State has taken a page out of Roman history and brought back the cruelty of public executions. Isn’t it shocking?

Colleague: Uh huh…

Me: Furthermore, crucifixion has unfortunately made its way to Modern Syria. In 2014, two dead men were blindfolded and hanged on a cross. Its intended purpose is to warn anyone who questions the authority of ISIS. Don’t you think it sounds familiar to the early practice of Ancient Rome?

Colleague: Yeah, it kinda does. Hmm… That’s really interesting!

Me: Yes. Thank you for listening.



Draw our history - Battle of Tours

In our rendition of Draw My Life, we will be featuring a quick summation of Draw My History, depicting the Battle of Tours, which happened in 732 CE, between the Muslims and the Christians. In summation, it arose from the efforts of the Muslims leader, Emir Abdul Rahman who was overly eager in the spreading of his faith. In order for that to happen he led his troop, the moors, in a mission to replace the faith of Christianity in France. We felt that it was important to let everyone know how trivialized the Battle of Tours was, as it was a significant battle that was able to determine the religious beliefs of France, today


(n.d.). Retrieved from historyofjihad:

Sourcebook, I. M. (1990). Subsidiary Sourcebooks. Retrieved from Fordham university : (n.d.). imperialism. Retrieved from

Watson, W. E. (1993). Retrieved from Providence: Studies in Western Civilization:


Draw our history - Battle of Tours

Draw our history - Battle of Tours

In our rendition of Draw My Life, we will be featuring a quick summation of Draw My History, depicting the Battle of Tours, which happened in 732 CE, between the Muslims and the Christians. In summation, it arose from the efforts of the Muslims leader, Emir Abdul Rahman who was overly eager in the spreading of his faith. In order for that to happen he led his troop, the moors, in a mission to replace the faith of Christianity in France. We felt that it was important to let everyone know how trivialized the Battle of Tours was, as it was a significant battle that was able to determine the religious beliefs of France, today

Early Islamic Art

Early Islamic Art

For today's post, we'll be going back to c. 7th Century CE (601 - 700 CE) to uncover some bits of history of Islamic art, as you might have guessed from the title above. Now, this type of art has a lot of categories, and one way that historians have come to classify Islamic art is by grouping them according to the dynasties that reigned during the period of time when the works of art were produced. This included two main dynasties: the Umayyad Dynasty and the 'Abbasid Dynasty. First of all, it is important to note that these dynasties were a result of conquered lands that already had an existing culture and therefore, art.

Are you sure you know Buddha ?

Introduction:                                                                                          Buddhism is one of the many things we learned in UGC 111. Our group was interested to find out more about what some students in UB think about Buddhism. Of all the other topics we decided on Buddhism, as many Singaporeans are familiar with this religion. Click on the video to find out what people thought!

Conclusion: From our little experiment, you would have realized that the notion of Buddhism differs from person to person. As we all have learned through lecture, Buddha was an affluent man who relinquished his material goods and turned to meditation to find an answer to the sufferings that exist in the world.

He became the “awakened one”, and he gave people the answer to how they shall live. Hence, Buddhism started being practiced by many people from early days in 320- 180 BCE in the Mauryan Dynasty and in many countries such as China, Korea, Tibet, India and many more! (take a look at the map in Prof’s Class 11 slides)

The notion of Buddhism has certainly evolved and has become something far more complex than what it originally was! Despite the existent perspectives, we hope you learned a few facts about Buddha today.




A is for Ashoka: Its Remarkable Work Supporting Social Entrepreneurs - The Positive Encourager. (2015). The Positive Encourager. Retrieved 4 April 2016, from

Buddha | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2016). Retrieved 1 April 2016, from

Centre, U. (2015). Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha - UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 6 April 2016, from The First Sermon of the Buddha | Tricycle. (2016). Retrieved 6 April 2016, from