General History Questions thread

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Nooooo you can't just interject on my behalf like that when I didn't ask you nooooooo
I wasn't really. The link I shared says the opposite, the only links I was able to find supporting your statement were from random blogs that said "studies showed" without actually citing any study. I too would be curious to see what you've got.
Are there few? Maybe just compared to individual portraits. Those portraits were popular and didn't have to be too expensive.
They often showed a person as a famous/powerful/important character in society. They were perhaps also inspired by the tradition of icons of (individual) saints.
Family portraits were typically bigger and required everyone to actually be in the same room. The idea of family as people loving and caring for each other is also fairly new. Back then wealthy men cared little for childcare and didn't engage much in their lives e.g. (I'm simplifying it a little).
You had the patriarch and then the rest of the family beneath him. A strictly hierarchical worldview (Thomas Aquinas) doesn't fit well with family portraits, I imagine.
I don't know the numbers but can think of many famous family portraits, mainly royalty or high aristocracy - where everyone were high ranking (children as future kings, dukes, duchesses etc.).
I'm guessing when we reach the Enlightenment and romantic ideas of Rousseau et al. family portraits became more popular (and children, other than baby Christ, more prominent), but don't actually know. Something for art historians to delve into :grin:
Portraits where just as important as photos
today and for many of the same reasons.

Letter from a soldier in Roman Egypt :arrow:

"Apion to his father and lord Epimachos: Many good wishes!
First of all I hope you are in good health and that things are going well for you and my sister and her daughter and my brother. I thank the Lord Serapis [an Egyptian god] for saving me right off when I was in danger at sea. When I arrived at Misenum [the Roman war harbor, near Naples], I received three gold pieces from the Emperor [Trajan?] as road money, and I’m doing just fine. Please write me a line, my lord father, about your own well-being, second about that of my brother and sister, and third so that I may devotedly greet your hand, because you brought me up well and I may therefore hope for rapid promotion, the gods willing. Give my regards to Capiton [some friend] and my brother and sister and Serenilla [a family slave?] and my friends.
I’m sending you my little portrait through Euktemon. My [new] Roman name is Antonius Maximus. All my best!"

Fayum mummy portraits :arrow:

Female painter, Naples, National Archaeological Museum


15th-century portrayal of Roman painter Iaia
from a French translation of De mulieribus claris


Portraits where also important during diplomatic negotiations and often
carried and presented by envoys, especially during courtship proposals

8 Men Queen Elizabeth I Actually Could Have Married :arrow:

Nur Jahan holding a portrait of her husband Emperor Jahangir,
Jahangir holding a portrait of his father Akbar and a Symbolic scene
depicting Jahangir on an hourglass throne presenting a book to Sufi Shaikh Salim, while
King James and Ottoman Sultan Murad III are also included, both copied from their own
portraits, next to the artist himself Bichtir, holding one of his works!



Portraits also provided information about nations and figures in distant lands

Mongol feast representing Gluttony from a Latin prose treatise on the Seven Vices



"The Virgin, the Sibyl and the Roman Emperor Augustus" and "The Meeting of the Magi"
from the "Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry", Illuminated manuscript by the Limbourg brothers,
between 1412 and 1416. Both influenced by Emperor Manuel II Palailogos



& if you can afford too, maybe have a bit of fun!

Chinese Emperor Yongzheng (1678 – 1735)



Album of the Yongzheng Emperor in Costumes...


The Emperor as a Taoist magician


The Emperor as a Tibetan Lama


The Emperor as an enlightened Xian sage


The Emperor robed in Hanfu


The Emperor as a poet


The Emperor as a painter


The Emperor as a 'guzheng zither" player


The Emperor as a fisherman


The Emperor as a Persian


The Emperor as the Monkey King in Turk princely attire


The Emperor as a Mongol


The Emperor in Western Fashion



The Emperor as a Buddhist saint


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Why is Frederick the Great considered to be a great general?

In recent year or two, youtube has had quite an influx of videos focusing on various historical battles. Recently, a lot of battles involving Prussia and Frederick were introduced. I watched a few and I cannot but wonder why is this guy even considered to be a good general, let alone great. It seems (I watched about 8 battles I think) that his modus operandi is to find his enemy in advantageous position, attack anyway because why the **** not and either be carried by great skill of his regiments or dumb luck and win the battle, or get shot to shred while charging like a Total War AI and retreat. Where is any tactical finesse? Why is this guy placed alongside Hannibal or Napoleon? I demand answers! :razz:
Why is Frederick the Great considered to be a great general?
I think you got lost in a few battles. It's more about the grand picture. Prussia was a relatively small player in a time with empires fighting over Europe. Frederick managed to use his forces to their full potential, expand his territory and become a major military power (despite having practically all of Europe against him).
His reorganisation of the army is partly the reason and he wrote extensively about military theory.
Sure, he lost a lot of battles but often against great numbers.
I think he deserves the praise.
“After crushing defeats, and sometimes facing overwhelming odds from three adversaries, Frederick always managed to scrape just enough together to outmaneuver and outlast his enemies. Perhaps no other general in history other than Washington, who learned from Frederick, was so adept at this feat.”
When you take great risks you can occasionally suffer disasters:
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I wonder if anyone can help me. I am looking for a source - I think a manuscript illumination (?) - of a very unique helm that resembles a ridged, proto-kettle shape with a nasal. I believe it was from Italy, late 12th century. There should be an Osprey illustration of this helm as well that's I've seen but can't find that either. Any information about the source would be greatly appriciated. Thank you in advance

EDIT: I found the illustration relative to the source, but I have no idea what the original might be. Does this ring bell to anyone?
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I'm reading about Danish slave trade in late 18th century, (and its abolition).
It became particularly lucrative during the American War of Independence, in early 1780s.
Why was that? Did slaves die in high(er) numbers, or were there land expansions that required more labour?
I'm reading about Danish slave trade in late 18th century, (and its abolition).
It became particularly lucrative during the American War of Independence, in early 1780s.
Why was that? Did slaves die in high(er) numbers, or were there land expansions that required more labour?
Maybe, American Privateers attacked British merchant ships, switching the slave trade to Neutral flags.

the Continental Congress and the various colonies issued Letters of Marque to privately owned, armed merchant ships known as privateers, which were outfitted as warships to prey on enemy merchant ships. They interrupted the British supply chain all along the eastern seaboard of the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean and the Merchant Marine's role in war began.
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