Comprehensive texts on the history of Israel, Mandate era and beyond

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

From a Palestinian who’s attempting to take on “Israel’s history” from a unbiased side. Because to be quite honest if I am standing with Palestine, I’d like to have my facts straight and sources from an unbiased side (aka a non Israeli, or non Palestinian). I started reading this book from coexistence to conquest and I really really like it. They go into almost full analysis of what happened and what events lead for that to happen etc etc. Very good read regardless, I haven’t had the time to finish it but i think you should definitely give it a try


Remember, not every Israeli historian will have a pro-Zionist perspective. In academia, fewer and fewer actually do.


Read “six days of war”, an oral history by Michael Oren, in which he interviews many of the key players.


I read “Enemies and Neighbor’s: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017” by Ian Black and thought it was a pretty thorough look. But I’m no historian. I was just looking for more context.


“Once upon a country” by Sari Nusseibah is incredible. It is a good account from the Palestinian side that also is critical of Palestinian violence.


How were knights and nobility viewed by the average peasant in the Late Medieval Period?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

>Did peasants constantly live in fear of knights



>was chivalry largely just between nobility?



>going into a village, seeing a woman they liked and then raping her without any sort a repercussions.

No, that was not possible. It would count as a crime. Now penalty for rapping an aristocratic woman and commoner would be very different. Life of an aristocrat was valued much higher then that of a commoner. And then there were differences also among the commoners. Freeman would be more valuable then a serf or a slave. And we are talking order of magnitude difference.


>Were knights more viewed as terrorizer

No. Word knight itself is very ambiguous and it meant something else in different parts of Europe and in different times. At the beginning a knight was basically mounted warrior what fought as heavy cavalry. Later knight was lowest rank of nobility and at the end knight was sort of a common word for aristocratic warrior of any rank. Even king might have been and was “knight”.

In the Early Middle Ages, “knights” were people who enforced law and extracted taxes, not to mention participation in wars that included pillage, so knights might have been terrorizing “peasants”, but by the Late Medieval Period that was long not the case.


>and peasants a subjugated people?

Just like “knight” peasant was very ambiguous term. peasant was anybody that was working the land. From a slave to rich landowner. Feudal peasantry included wide range of social classes, that include people with limited freedom like slaves or serfs but also free farmers, some of which might have been as wealthy as lower nobility.

However, only some slaves and slave like classes would be considered “subjugated”. They often came form people captured during wars (including civilians). And slavery slowly disappeared in feudal Europe and was almost non existent already by High Middle Ages.

Vast majority of peasant classes were not viewed as “subjugated people”.


>I feel there’s a sort of narrative that tries to depicts knights as righteous and honorable but is this largely a myth?

Yes and no. It was a social ideal or a normative that shown how knights, and nobility in general should behave and what society as a whole expect from them. But real behavior of course left lot to be desired. In other words, it was how people in general thought knights should behave but knights themselves not always behaved.

Also when you talk about Late Medieval Period, you need to understand that you’re talking beginnings of capitalism, with knights and nobility playing increasingly diminished role, first at the battlefield and then as a consequence also in the society (still important but not as dominant as before).

High watermark of chivalry would be High Middle Ages, so if you look for sort of a golden standards, you need to look there.


Listen. Strange women, lying in ponds and distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.


The “chivalry” we envision is mostly a romanticized version of things. Back when they effectively were the only people with proper arms and armor, it probably varied from somewhere in the range of glorified bandits/bullies to actual idols depending on the individual.

Tourneys weren’t held without reason, and I believe it’s probably to keep knights busy during peace times.


In England at least, part of the chivalrous code is a Knight couldn’t kill peasents.

But there’s a lot of laws today that people in power can just simply ignore, so you’d assume that it was the same back then


Whose peasants? Are they your lord’s serfs? Are they free citizens of the empire, in a town, with town rights? Are they serfs of a rival noble? Are they in a war zone? Assuming they’re Christians, you shouldn’t be allowed to murder them without repercussions unless there’s a war happening. Note that enforcement of this rule will vary, depending on who can enforce it, that petty wars between minor lords was common, and “robber baron” is a phrase for a reason.


Driven from this video (fiction of course, not improbable still), I searched for communication systems such as lighting beacons across long distances in any period and area of this planet. Can anyone share similar means of long distance means of communication?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Early semaphore telegraphs in France(I think)


Surprised this hasn’t already been said but I believe beacons were used to spread the word of the incoming Spanish armada to Elizabethan England…


Lighting beacons (vårdkasar) have been used as a warning system to warn for enemy forces probably as early as the iron age in Sweden.


Nearly every medieval city in europe (or at least germany) around the time of the thirty years war.

Cities had several lines of defense. The first line was actually far in the countryside and was more a “wall” of dirt and bushes sorrounding the entire area of the cities countryside. The only easily crossable points would be the villages that were connected by this “wall” and usually had at least one building that was very high (tower or church). If this “pre emptive alarm system” would see an army or be attacked by raiders they would signal the cities wathctower with eather their chruch bells or a fire signal. Those signals were coded so the city would immidiatly know what the threat was. The signal would also spread along all the other villages through this system and depending on the threat the peasents would then evacuate as fast as possible to the city walls.

This system made it possible that the farmlands of the peasents were somewhat protected against thieves and raids (its far easier in theory that in practice to get through a dirt wall with thick thorny bishes on top then one might think) and it also served as a preemptive warning signal for the city so it could ready its defenses and get the citizens militia ready to fight in time (most cities only had very few all time guards so the citizens had to be armed and amde ready which took time).

It was basically a circle of peasent villages connected by a dirtwall that served as an alarm system for the entire region around the city and it was usually, depending on geography, supported by towers on hills,mountains or hidden in forests with a great view to increase the alarm range. Depending on the type of attack the time the city and especially the peasents had to defend themselfs or flee was just minutes.


On a related note, this scene is a Peter Jackson invention. In the book the beacons are being lit as Gandolf and Pippen ride south to Minas Tirith.


The final days of Anne Boleyn: why did she die?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

She died because her head was separated from the rest of her body


When I wrote my thesis, my argument was that it was because Thomas Cromwell had witnessed the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey years prior, due to his failure to secure Henry’s annulment from Catherine of Aragon. Once Henry lost interest in Anne, Cromwell extricated himself from the Boleyn faction and aligned with the Seymours. But it wasn’t enough for Henry to just divorce Anne, not if Cromwell wanted his rivals eliminated entirely; otherwise, they would come back to attack him, and his low birth put him at risk, as his existence depended entirely on the power of those around him.

Building a case against Anne, George, and throwing as many other men under the bus as possible meant that the Boleyn faction was utterly destroyed, and scared others enough that they wouldn’t try to fight back. Cromwell didn’t have a personal vendetta against Anne, he just knew that her death and the elimination of the Boleyns at court was his best chance at maintaining power.


Henry had used up all his piety forming a new Christian faith so he didn’t have any available to seduce a courtier and legitimize a male bastard. So he had to go with the tyranny option.

Disclaimer: once again I will remind you that everything I know about medieval history comes from playing /r/crusaderkings .


It’s interesting how I viewed Anne as a villain in her own rights for many years, thinking that she had seduced the king, demanded a marriage, and ultimately led to his ex wife’s death. Recently though, someone pointed out that she may have used her requirement for marriage as a polite way of telling the king that she wasn’t interested in his attentions, which resulted in everything else that happened. I’m certainly a lot more sympathetic towards her now. Between her and Katherine howard, it’s difficult to know who I feel worse for.


All these men vying for political power because the King liked bed hoping. It is almost comical that Boleyn’s daughter became the most famous Queen in Englands history,


Anne Frank betrayal suspect identified after 77 years

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

This is currently a heavily criticised conclusion. Bart van der Boom, a prominent historian at Leiden University who has done research about the Jewish Council, called it ‘slanderous nonsense’, for example.

The way this has been portrayed in the national media is as if it is a proven fact. Better to be very cautious about such claims, clearly the debate about this hasn’t yet been resolved.


I’ve read her book a few times over the years. One of her diary entries is very intriguing, and I personally believe shines a bit of light on this particular instance. Months before their capture, she writes that they were celebrating Hanukkah in the attic. Supposedly, no one was scheduled to be at work that day, in the building they were hiding in. She admits everyone got a little carried away with the festivities and they were being a lot louder than usual. Dancing and singing. Something they never did, they had always moved in complete silence during the day.

All of a sudden they heard a noise downstairs, and they all tense up and go quiet. Once they’re all quiet they can make out what sounds like footsteps. Then her father whispers to one of them to turn off all the lights. Peter (the son of the other family who is in hiding with them) gets up on the dining table to reach for the switch and he slips and falls and it makes a really loud noise. Everyone else cringes and next they hear the sound of someone below running out of the building.

Some of the others start freaking out saying that they’re definitely caught now and that they’ve heard through the grapevine that the Nazi’s allegedly reward those who turn Jews in. Her father tries to calm everyone down and leaves the attic to go check for himself.

He doesn’t find anyone in the building, but he surmised that whoever it was, seemed like they were looking for something, as there were things strewn about. This was explained as not being particularly uncommon, as this was during war. People are desperate, and if they come across an empty building, they will go inside and steal anything of value. They conclude that whoever it was probably won’t turn them in, as they would also implicate themselves in the process. Everyone sort of brushes off this incident and seemingly forgets about it. Anne doesn’t write anything else about it again and in later interviews when discussing the book her father never brings it up.

I’ve always gotten the vibe that it was this person who happened to accidentally come upon their Hanukkah celebration, who turned them in. Most likely out of desperation or greed. Probably hoping to get some type of reward for this information.

That or one of the employees who worked in the building. If I recall correctly, only a select few knew about those in the attic. Maybe an employee that forgot something at work and came back to retrieve it. I mean can you imagine walking into your supposed empty workplace and hearing a bunch of noise coming from the attic, most people would naturally investigate. Still even if that we’re the case, it’s ballsy to go straight to the Nazi’s with this info instead of talking to your employer about it first, I guess.


The Nazi’s forced people into attics. Asking a person to choose between their family and another family isn’t a choice. Why should you watch your husband or wife and children and maybe parents be killed if they have a chance of survival. The Nazi’s betrayed them.


Research has suggested that a member of the Amsterdam Jewish council may have been the one who betrayed the Franks in order to save his wife and himself. Whether or not it is true, do not be eager to pass moral judgement on those placed in impossible situations.


Man that sucks. Van den Bergh was in a no win situation. Either sacrifice your own family or give up information on others in hopes that the Nazis spare you so you can be an informant.


January 17, 1893, A historical political act : The illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarch?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

> illegal overthrow

i mean it’s an overthrow I doubt it’s ever legal


I mean… the US itself is a colony. How is overthrowing Hawaiian monarchy different from basically killing and taking native’s land ?


Sarah Vowel’s “Unfamiliar Fishes” is a great overview of European-Hawaii relations, and culminates with this overthrowing.


It was illegal and Grover Cleveland refused to annex Hawaii precisely for that reason.


Lol at all the people in here claiming you can’t criticize a bunch of tycoons overthrowing a government because “it’s just conquering, all land is stolen land” etc. I guess if China would invade the US you would think it was totally okay five minutes later because that’s just how history goes and the land was stolen before anyway?


Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday, January 15, 2022

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

How come certain countries in medieval Europe were labeled as different kinds of… “kingdoms”? Like, England was a kingdom, France was a kingdom, Russia had the king equivalent tsar in charge, but Lithuania was only a Duchy? Why only a Duke in charge? It seemed kind of self-imposed as well.


Was the transition between outhouses and bathrooms inside the home contested much? Like did people say “Only a stupid person would put a toilet inside the house! These modern architects are crazy!”


How did veterans, America, the world, react when Nazis first started being the butt of jokes in media like “Hogan’s Heroes” on TV? Seems like seeing all those swastikas would be a little jarring.


Why did Edison feel like he had to electrocute an elephant when he already built a working electric chair that killed a *person*?


What happened to the French debt, during/after the French revolution? Did the revolutionary governments inherit them, or were they written off when the monarchy was abolished somehow?