The architecture throughout history

Architecture exists since the first time someone had the idea of planning, designing and constructing a building of any type anywhere. Just think about it, when was the first time someone decided to change his own environment for good and with what knowledge? Who was the first architect on Earth? These are questions that might not have an answer but we are lucky we can enjoy buildings and constructions that can easily have more than 8,000 years of age…

When was Architecture created? It must have been during the Neolitic (more than 10,000 years BC), and thanks to this new type of men we now call architects, people could now become sedentary, as now they had new shelters, walls, houses and organized crops to be able to stay in a recently built town instead of having to move elsewhere from time to time. The era of moving from one place to another was a thing of the past.

These new constructions and buildings were created by men who could transform their environment into anything that was needed: a defensive castle, an independent or self-sufficient place, etc. People who had the ability of seeing these images on their head and making them real weren’t called architects yet, but now it is one of the most important professions in the world.

Then of course came the unbelievable constructions of the Ancient Mesopotamia with the Ziggurat of Ur, the Assyrian palace of Ashurnasrirpal II or the Ishtar Gate, which are buildings that can impress you even now, 5,000 years later.

Architecture was booming at that time, people with money wanted to become eternal and leave their footprint forever. This is how the pyramids of Giza were created or the Temple of Horus at Edfu, a typical example of Egyptian architecture.

But the trend wasn’t over yet, now it was time for the Greeks and their Agoras, surrounded by their buildings and temples. The Partenon in the Acropolis still rises as one of the most beautiful buildings of all time.

But what about the Colosseum or Coliseum? Romans took advantage of the architectural knowledge of the Greeks and even perfected it. The Roman’s aqueduct of Segovia is a good example of how important architecture can be to save or improve the lives of many people in towns and cities. The interior of the Pantheon in Rome, is also something that can amaze you now in 2018.

By then everybody knew that ‘something as external as a building could really have an impact on our daily mood’. Architecture was absolutely necessary by then and it’s still the same way today. Society needs good architects and especially the ones that go into things that aren’t mainstream like the professionals who choose to study a Master of architecture in Collective Housing.

There is such a competition nowadays that if you want to be the best you need to offer something different. This is why many students are now specialising themselves. A good example of this is what we said before: An architect that needs to specialize in Collective Housing or an Asian Historian who wants to specialize in Spanish History, for example. The fact remains, architecs are one of the most important professions today, at the same level as doctors. And from General-History we’d like to thank you all for your passion, time and effort.

By | 2018-12-21T16:57:27+00:00 December 21st, 2018|History|0 Comments

Spine problems?

Human beings have suffered spine problems throughout the ages. Fossilized evidence of bone straightening exists and the ancient Greeks perfected this art. Therefore, spine surgery is not new, whether used to correct back deformities in children or because some kind of surgical procedure was necessary. This was a far cry from the spine surgery we use today but it shows that we have always understood that bones can be straightened and corrected. (more…)

By | 2018-11-08T12:08:20+00:00 November 8th, 2018|History|0 Comments

Cosmetic Surgery and its Place in Modern Society

People have been concerned about their appearance from the beginning of recorded history. It might sound surprising, but cosmetic surgery has been around for centuries. The tools and methods may differ, but physicians have always searched for ways to make changes to the body of individuals who want a different look. Most of the procedures we see today have been in existence for many years. Their purpose is the same as it used to be, what has changed throughout the years are the tools and the methods used. For example, tattoos and piercings have been popular for centuries; injections and stitching were used to give the body a beautiful and smoother look, and were the beginning of cosmetic surgery. On the other hand, non-invasive surgery came into existence as a medical treatment which made it unnecessary to cut open the body during surgery, for example, non-invasive back surgery is a surgical procedure recommended for patients who suffer chronic neck or back pain. A degenerated painful disc is replaced with a new artificial one. The aim of this procedure is for the patient to regain a normal lifestyle.  In Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR), no bones are cut.

Different types of cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery, are different, however, they are closely related. They both deal with improving a patient’s appearance but their underlying principles are different.

Cosmetic surgery is focused solely on enhancing a person’s physical appearance. This can be performed on all areas of the body including the neck and head. Within the scope of cosmetic surgery are body contouring: liposuction, tummy tuck; facial rejuvenation: brow, neck, eyelids, and facelifts; breast enhancement: lifting, reduction; facial contouring: cheek, or chin enhancement, rhinoplasty; skin rejuvenation: Botox, filler treatments, and laser resurfacing.

Plastic surgery deals with repairing birth defects, reconstruction of normal functions and appearance. Some of these defects are caused by disease, trauma, burns, and birth abnormalities. Basically, the aim of plastic surgery is to correct dysfunctional areas of the human body; therefore, it is reconstructive. Plastic surgeons can perform cosmetic surgery, but they tend to specialize in reconstructive plastic surgery. In 1999, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons adopted the name American Society of Plastic Surgeons to emphasize the fact that plastic and reconstructive surgery is the same. Some examples of the procedures these surgeons perform are: hand surgery, burn repair surgery, breast reconstruction, lower limb reconstruction, breast reconstruction, congenital defect repair: limb defect repair and cleft palate.

The first cosmetic surgery

As time passed, doctors incorporated cosmetic surgery as a part of plastic surgery. Therefore, cosmetic surgery was born out of reconstructive surgery. This all began in central Asia. Asian physicians used most of the methods used in rhinoplasty today to beautify the shape of the noses of royal family members. Sushruta, an ancient Indian healer, was supposedly one of the first cosmetic surgeons in the world. He was the first person to perform skin grafting around the 6th century BC. He used a piece of skin from another body part to graft on the face to enhance and correct a person’s appearance.

By | 2018-06-26T16:21:11+00:00 June 12th, 2018|History|0 Comments

William Turner (Painter)


William Turner VeniceJoseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was an English painter who stood out thanks to his extraordinary watercolour landscapes and oil paintings.

The particular confusion between brilliance and madness was very obvious in the biography of William Turner. An academic painter during his origins, Turner developed his art until reaching a free, atmospheric and in occasions, abstract style that made critics reject his creations until they finally understood he was just a genious. (more…)

Don’t forget to read books!

Don’t neglect your reading!

Expert or inexpert, millions of people read blogsites, blogspots, online books, political pamphlets etc. The offer is endless using the Internet. But one should NOT forget the good old book . . . books have been around in printed, readable form for centuries. A well-made bookshelf full of printed knowledge may take up much more room in your bed-sitter or your palace, but it is worth it.

Talking of books, General-History comes in book form too, in softback and on sale at reasonable prices on almost any of your Amazon outlets; www.amazon.com (USA), www.amazon co.uk, even www.amazon.es. which invariably deals with books in Spanish. General-History by Dean Swift has not yet been translated from the original English. The book is divided into 3 volumes – Vol. I with a red cover stripe, Vol.II with a green one, and Vol. III with a blue stripe. There are well over a thousand pages in all three volumes, all selected and edited from the website www.general-history.com

Please go to Amazon, click on ‘Books’, then key the following – General History Dean Swift. Up should comethumbsof all three volumes, with details of price and packaging, delivery etc. Do not be confused by the author-name: ‘Dean Swift‘ is a pen name of historian Jeremy Taylor.

This website receives an average of 100.000 visits per annum according to Statistics. Why not consider having all three volumes among your own books?

By | 2018-04-24T15:10:28+00:00 February 26th, 2015|History, Today, World History|0 Comments

The wit of two conductors

Sir Thomas Beecham / dailymail.co.uk

Sir Thomas Beecham / dailymail.co.uk

It is possible that many players in orchestras have heard very funny comments made to them during rehearsal, or even during the actual performance of an orchestral piece. But someone needed to be quick enough to scribble what was said, and this has not always happened. The following remarks were noted at the time, though critics simply attribute them to the speaker. (more…)

By | 2015-01-30T08:29:56+00:00 January 28th, 2015|British History, History, Humour|1 Comment

The demise of the Church of England

Dr. Michael Ramsey

Dr. Michael Ramsey

A distinguished elderly gentleman on a professional foreign tour, lay on his hotel bed waiting for news of a cancelled flight. His press secretary found him there, hands clasped behind his white head. He was repeating the words, “I hate the Church of England.” The secretary commented, “ It’s a good thing nobody’s here but me to hear you say that!” Dr. Ramsey, for it was he, said again, “Oh, but it’s true. I do hate the Church of England. Indeed I do.”

Ramsey was Archbishop of Canterbury at the time. At the time of his enthronement at Canterbury, he said, “Here in England, the Church and State are linked together . . . We ask for a greater freedom in the ordering and in the urgent revising of our forms of worship . . . If the link of Church and State were broken, it would not be we who ask for this freedom who broke it, but those – if there be such – who denied that freedom to us.”

The Reformation that took place in sixteenth century England was the process by which an English Church rejected the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church’s established doctrine and liturgy. At the same time it was the means by which Chancellor Thomas Cromwell, urged on by Henry VIII, sequestered Church lands and property ready for ‘redistribution’ to the Crown and those at Court who wished to buy it cheaply. Henry became Head of the Church of England (though he never stopped being a Catholic) and the ancient authority at Canterbury continued under the same name.

When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey Ramsey had been beside her when she was annointed by the Archbishop, Ramsey’s former headmaster Dr. Fisher. One should not be surprised to learn that Fisher had told the Prime Minister when the time came for his retiremen that he could not recommend his former pupil for the job. Harold Macmillan replied, “Well, Archbishop, you may have been Michael Ramsey’s headmaster, but you are not mine (Fisher had been Head Man at Repton; Macmillan a boy at Eton) and I intend to appoint Dr. Ramsey. Good afternoon.”

Dr. J.A. Robinson

Dr. J.A. Robinson

In the early 1960s the Bishop of Woolwich, Dr. J.A. Robinson, was apparently a real Church of England man, son of a famous theologian, married with three daughters and a son. He was not the ‘fashionable and photographed’ bishop, a trendy who might advocate practices and doctrines which would offend the sensibilities of any narrow-minded or puritanical church-goer. He was not a ‘Red Dean’ of Westminster, who believed that Stalin has established an Earthly Paradise. Nor was he Barnes, Bishop of Birmingham who once described himself as ‘a troubled theist’ – a difficult phrase which an unconcentrating news sub-editor rendered next day as ‘a troubled atheist’.

But it was this Bishop of Woolwich who wrote a very short paperback and offered it to a small Christian publishing company. When it was ready for what promised to be a tiny sale, the good Bishop wrote an ad. for his own book in The Observer with the hardly subtle headline ‘Our Image of God must Go’. Not even the mild Dr Robinson could have predicted the result; His tiny paperback opus Honest to God sold 300,000 copies in the three months after publication and was translated into other languages many times. Though hard to believe, it might well be that this little book was the beginning of the not so gradual collapse of the Church of England, and a great wave of disbelief in the Christian Church generally. Many previously practising Christians felt that what Robinson wrote was simply heresy, questioning the very basis of what they thought was Christianity itself. The Archbishop (Ramsey) wrote a short essay denouncing Honest to God, insisting on a more orthodox theology, but Macmillan wrote to him, ‘I think it is a mistake to bewilder people.’

The Most Reverend Arthur Michael Richard Ramsey was the hundredth Archbishop of Canterbury, and was surely one of the strangest occupants of that office, though historically one of the most significant. The old Great Britain was breaking up by the Sixties, in every sense, and Ramsey deliberately and systematically set in motion the machinery and the means required to dismantle the Church of England. He and others of course, but he was one of the key players.Part of the ‘dismantling’ which began in the middle Sixties of the last century was the Church of England’s stunning policy of selling off its parsonages, rectories and vicarages, as well as empty churches and accompanying land. The descending trend of church attendance was alarming and relentless. In 1968 only 5% of Anglicans went to Communion Service. Hardly anyone used churches for weddings, baptisms or funerals. Within ten years of the publication of Honest to God churches in England were getting together in desperation, calliong it ‘ecunemism’. In the future years,the Church would make the effort to delude itself that the sudden secularization of the West was not terminal. They tried popular music to attract believers, but the dwindling congregations were nothing to the millions who had firmly decided not to attend church. Britain after the 1960s became a purely secular state.

(I am indebted to Andrew Wilson and his book Our Times, the age of Elizabeth II; Hutchinson, 2008)

By | 2015-01-26T20:21:16+00:00 January 26th, 2015|History|0 Comments

An error in author names

Our editor has noticed that on Wikipedia, one of the pieces on Winston Churchill originally appeared, with a new link, under the author name of JAMES DEAN instead of DEAN SWIFT. In case this error appears again, we must remember that Dean Swift is a pen name used by a living author, and that James Dean was the name of a celebrated American film actor who sadly died in a traffic accident in 1955. James Dean starred in only three movies, each of them exceptionally good – East of Eden (1955), Rebel without a cause (1955), and Giant, released the year after Dean’s death.

Jeremy Taylor, editor of General-History.com and three volumes of collected history articles by Dean Swift.

By | 2015-01-18T11:58:07+00:00 January 18th, 2015|History|0 Comments

Hohenstaufen & Hohenzollern Dynasties (further notes)

what remains of the castle at Staufen / flickrhivemind.net

What remains of the castle at Staufen / flickrhivemind.net

Brief details of these two important German dynasties have appeared before on in General-History.com. Here are some additional notes:

The Hohenstaufen royal dynasty got its name from the castle of Staufen, in north Swabia. From 1138 to 1254 members of the family wore the crown as Holy Roman Emperor (q.v.). The dynasty reached its most significant period with Frederick I Barbarossa and Frederick II; both were Kings of Germany and Sicily. The dynasty is best remembered for its support of culture and courtly behaviour, though their wars are by no means to be discounted.

As Holy Roman Emperor:

1138 – 1152 Conrad III

1152 – 1190 Frederick I Barbarossa

1190 – 1107 Henry VI

1198 – 1208 Philip of Swabia

1198 – 1214 Otto IV (both Otto and Philip maintained their claim)

1215 – 1250 Frederick II

1250 – 1254 Conrad IV

The German dynasty of Hohenzollern ruled Brandenburg/Prussia from 1415 to 1918, and Imperial Germany from 1871 to the end of the Great War. The family was first noted in the ninth century, in Swabia, and a branch became Burgraves of Nuremberg. Then a descendant, Frederick VIII was awarded the title of Elector of Brandenburg in the same year as the Battle of Agincourt (1415). The Thirty Years War over, the family continued its policy of expansion and consolidation of power, starting a lengthy rivalry with the House of Habsburg (1740 – 1871). Otto von Bismarck ensured that the Hohenzollerns obtained the imperial title in 1871, but the Great War destroyed Hohenzollern fortunes and forced abdication on the last emperor, Wilhelm II, a grandson of Queen Victoria of Britain.

As Electors of Brandenburg:

Frederick I (1417 – 1440), Frederick II, Albert, John, Joaquim I, Joaquim II, John George, Joaquim Frederick, John Sigismund, George, Frederick William (the Great Elector, 1640 – 1688).

As Kings of Prussia:

Frederick I (Frederick III as Elector Brandenburg 1688 – 1713), Frederick William I, Frederick II The Great, Frederick William II, Frederick William III, Frederick William IV (1840 – 1861).

As Emperors of Germany:

William I (also King of Prussia) 18611868, Frederick III (only 1888), Wilhelm (William) II 1888 – 1918

By | 2014-12-27T13:15:18+00:00 December 27th, 2014|History|0 Comments
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