The carnage and crucible of WW1 didn’t end in 1918, but the gruesome genocide continued. The Greeks and Turks fought for centuries before then, and have continued since. No wonder.
World War I had been a catastrophe for the Ottoman Empire. Siding with the Central Powers, including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria, Sultan Mehmed V Rashād (The True Path Follower) fought the Serbians, Rumanians, Russians, British, French, Arabs, and others. The Turks enjoyed some early successes, notably at Gallipoli (1915) and Kut (1916). Such victories emboldened radicals in the government to attack their traditional enemies, the Armenians, and in this genocide 1.5 million Armenian Christians perished. The tide of war turned against the Ottomans, as it did against all of the Central Powers, and ultimately the strategically encircled Turks lost their empire and their political system. An estimated 5 million Turks died, the sultanate ceased to exist, and Mustafa Kemal, later known as the Father of the Turks (Ataturk), rose to prominence.
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In many ways a forgotten war, the War of 1812 was America’s first test as a nation. Had it ended differently, we might have been colonies again.
Reenactors and Living Historians in 2013 reveled in the 150th anniversary of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg, some of the most monumental battles of the American Civil War. Thousands of participants, tens of thousands of spectators, and merchants of all kinds have gathered to relive these events that shaped our nation and its people forever.
2013 and 2014 have seen anniversaries of other battles from an earlier war which has also shaped American History, the War of 1812. Though overshadowed by its later, longer and bloodier cousin, the War of 1812 was the first major military test of new United States, the only conflict in our history in which a foreign power invaded our states, and the only one in which our capital, Washington DC, was captured. The War of 1812 is famous for Fort McHenry’s valiant stand against the British fleet, the setting of Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner, and for Andrew Jackson’s (Old Hickory) decimation of the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans.
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John Calvin, the Frenchman who became one of the most famous Christian theologians and controversial figures in history, initially wanted nothing more from life than to study and write in ivory tower academia in the 16th century. Intrigued by the nascent Reformation, he first fled Paris to avoid punishment for heresy, and then was shamed by reformed French evangelist William Farel into serving in the church in Geneva, Switzerland, a city of corruption in a land of libertines.
Most religions are sacral, meaning that they are tied to a certain ethnic group and geographic location. To be a Sumerian was to live in Mesopotamia, follow Sumerian culture and worship Sumerian deities such as Anu, Enki and Inanna. To be an Egyptian was to live along the Nile, speak Egyptian and worship Orisis, Isis and Anubis. To be a Hebrew was to live in Palestine, follow the Law of Moses and serve Jehovah. The early Christian church broke this mold, with believers in every people group, and every location in much of the world. The civic religion was emperor worship, intended to unify to the Empire against threats within and without, and the main cause of Christian persecution was that believers did not join the civic religion. Thus they were guilty of treason.
Continue reading “Sacralism and Calvin’s Geneva”