Tag: tv

History on the Screen 2: Thanks Be to GOT!


Thank heavens for the success of Game of Thrones!



Its huge wave of popularity emboldended moneymen, er, TV producers to greenlight similar shows set grimly & grimily in that distant past of dark armor, shields & swords that gives Game of Thrones its look and feel.

Bernard_Cornwell copy.jpg

Surging forth first (or at least most notably) on this cashflow has been the epic & popular “Vikings”, and now “The Last Kingdom”, a BBC adaptation from a book in a series by British historical novelist and former news correspondent Bernard Cornwell that chronicles goings-on in England in the centuries before the year 1000.

And it’s awesome.

Statue_d'Alfred_le_Grand_à_WinchesterIt’s set during the reign of King Alfred the Great of England, so in the late decades of the 800s AD/Common Era (CE). Like stories &960 copy cinematic adaptations before such as Little Big Man, it inserts a fictional character into totally historically accurate situations to tell the past context in human detail.

For now, and for any fan of the show, here’s a chart I’ve done showing Alfred’s descendants for a few generations. Click on it and in the new tab click it again so you can check it out in detail if you like. More on this show later.

alfred the great family tree, wessex, anglo-saxons, mercia, northumbria, essex, kent, last kingdom, edward the confessor family tree, edmund ironside, winchester, louis iv of france, aethelred, eadwig, eadred, aethelstan, english, eadgar, early english kings family tree, by kylen Campbell, famtracking

More on the show next time.



Dead Crazy! (Ringer)

Like those of you who stop by here, (I imagine) my intricate and endless fascination with history takes me down many a road, tangential often, but like National Geographic can’t quit Ancient Egypt and can be counted on to return to it, oNATL GEOS EGr like the always and forever “very big” arena of Space will find its way back on to the cover of Scientific American regularly I find I return SCI AMSto certain topics or periods with enough frequency that their centrality to my thinking must form veritable broad avenues unto highways in my thought patterns. And on occasion, from some familiar historical haunt of mine I’ll be afforded a view across, over, out, further to see some other thing I hadn’t before, as I again adjust my view of the world at large through the scrim of whatever of my the historical “comfort foods”/favorites it might be.

And in this case, the little connection I share here today I can’t believe it’s not already all over the web’s hang-out zones of the the two areas that cross-pollinate in today’s post.

IMG_0001 copy82804

On the one hand, a contender if ever there was one for the Greatest of the “Greatest Hits” of history–a favorite not only of mine, but of no less a personage that guy who had the patience to write the 6 volume “History of [its] Rise and Fall”, of the Nat’l Geo’s weighing down everyone’s basements, to say nothing of being the bread and butter of the History Channel, weighing in at approximately 15,620,000 pounds becuz NG2Sthat’s how much their yearly revenue would weigh, it’s: the Roman Empire!


In the other corner, spied, as it was, as it were and as it shall be, by my little eye, and hailing from the mind of a master scavenger of History, culled from the Perfect Stormy Royale with Frommage du Plantagenet, pulled from the pages of Rose Colored Medievalania, the Histori-Tolkeinian Mashup Ye can always be Dragon out at cocktail parties, weighing in at a hefty 562 million pounds becuz that’s how much their viewers-per-episode weigh en masses is everyone’s favorite dragon dance of swords and dwarves: Game of Thrones!




I can’t be the first to point out the crazyresemblance between the smug little King Joffrey Baratheon of the HBO TV adaptation of (the fictional) Game of Thrones (as portrayed by young irish actor Jack Gleeson) and Caligula Caesar, the infamously off-kilter and cruel (and 100% real) 3rd Emperor of the Roman Empire for four years (37-41). I mean: look at that!Game-of-Thrones8

Cuirass bust of Caligula. Marble. 37—41 A.D. Inv. No. 1453. Copenhagen, New Carlsberg Glyptotek.

More on Jefferson, before moving on


So in addition to linking you to the genuinely amazing and rich resources for studying him, his life and DM BOOKSthe world of his time and of slavery that are made available by Monticello (his home), I’m actually really making this post to gush about a TV show.

Screen shot 2015-10-20 at 5.43.21 PMI know, I know, a TV show? Really? Well it’s not so much a “show” as it was a mini-series. And it is partially about Jefferson. And it’s also one that aired, like, 8 years ago which I didn’t watch at the time because I was just starting the process of my divorce and had no TV, certainly not one with HBO.

I’m speaking, of course, about the HBO mini-series John Adams based on the celebrated biography written by one of our nation’s great and most accessible historians, David McCullough.


I was blown away in particular by the performance of the guy playing Jefferson. I was just like, oh my god, THAT is totally what he must have been like in the flesh. For now here are pix of that, too.





…and the funny part that I then went to look up who the actor was…only to find he’s now MUCH more widely known–including by me, but I didn’t recognize him doh!–as “Stannis Baratheon” in Game of Thrones. Lol.



More later, enjoy the pix and go fiind a a place to wach the mini-series. It’s absolutely great. Ignore the persnickety critiques you might find online, they didn’t get it.