Author Archives: gypsytalaitha

Blood Diamond

I saw Blood Diamond on Friday of last week and It made me realize how much we are blessed in the US that we do not have the same worries that everyday people have in Africa. The fact that the R.U.F is going around city to city just to kill people to overthrow the government and to get diamonds to smuggle is something I did not know Africa had a problem with. The people that are dying everyday and it is not only dieases that are killing people, but people killing other people, is something I did not really think still happened today. People that are from the same motherland are killing each other for greed, politics, and significance. At least fifty percent of the people who were the R.U.F were kids and I could not believe the things that training a person to kill would do.

The perspective that the movie holds is between the men, Soloman and Archer. Soloman was a man who was just trying to fight for his family and to get his family back again. Archer was just a man of greed who throughout the movie softens up and becomes the heart of gold who helps Soloman get his family back.

The only thing that could help out with this is if people do not buy diamonds from Africa or at least Sierra Leone and put the R.U.F down. Something as small as a stone is killing thousands and millions of people, its outrageous.

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Final Project: Scutum and Pilum

To make the legionary shield, it took a lot of planning and designing in my head what I wanted it to be like before I even looked for the materials. I first looked up legionary shields on Google, and I also looked at the design that was on Trajan’s column. The legionary shield, or the scutum, was used to as a defense mechanism against the Persians and enemies of the Roman Empire. It started at the beginning of 100 BC till about 300 AD. The scutum was made from pieces of wood that were glued together piece by piece. There was a frame that was usually made out of bronze and protected by a metal band. Then the surface was covered in leather with different color schemes according to each cohort’s own color. If not in battle, the shields were strapped on the back of the legionary.

I first found a piece of wood that was warped a little that was just plywood. I cut it a little bit just to straighten out the edges but it looked to be about the right size for a man. I sanded down the board around the edges and sharp corners, but could not fit it to curve to a body because it took a very long time. It would not have been hard to curve a shield to a legionary because they went around the frame and they glued the pieces of wood together, giving it a curved shape. I drew the design that legionaries had on a piece of parchment paper and painted the shield red. Then painted the design over the shield in yellow. The final part was that I had to outline everything in black and make the frame on the outside.

The pilum is the roman javelin that the used to attack enemies while marching or the first attacks. The pilum was used to disarm and wound the enemy before they actually got to attack them. The top three feet of the pilum has a spear metal top to attack enemies and detaches from the other four feet of wood. I used a dowel that I had with a fence post that fight and put them together. However, since I could not attach metal to wood, I could not have the pilum completely attached. Legionaries were able to melt down metal and make a spear and fit a piece of wood to the metal.

This project was so much fun, and I loved it.

Works Citied:

Rockwell, P.  Bridge. Retrieved April 5, 2012 from

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Crusades: Past and Present

The Crusades all started because the Christians had lost the Holy Land to the Muslims. Thus, the Pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Urban II, said for his people to fight to the death for Jerusalem. Jerusalem was rightfully that of the Church and not people who did not believe that Jesus was the son of God. Thus the first Crusade started against Western Europe (Spain, France, and other followers of the Roman Catholic Church) and the Middle-East as well as Muslim followers in 1095-1099. Pope Urban said that, “Pope Urban II called upon all Christians to join a war against the Turks, promising those who died in the endeavor would receive immediate remission of their sins.” (Wikipedia) In the picture below, it showed how the Christians had won their first battle against the Muslims and that Godfrey of Bouillon had taken over Jerusalem.

However, the question that poses now is the fact that the tables have turned and the Muslims are fighting against the Christians because it is their “Jihad” to get rid of the infidels. The “Jihad” is the Holy War that the Muslims have been told to fight against the infidels such as America to advance the rein of Islam. (Wikipedia) How is this different from the Crusade that the Christians almost one thousand years ago? Christians and the Western world do not think that they have ever had something such as a Jihad and something like what happened on September eleventh. However, the Crusades that happened about 200 years had killed thousands, and maybe even millions of people. The Christians had a “Jihad” just as the Muslims do now, but it happened so long ago that no one seems to mention it now. But, it is the same idea; A holy war that with every person who dies on the right side, will go to heaven for the sake of religion.

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Trajan’s Column: Bridge

Bridges have always been something that many civilizations have had trouble with. What with the bridges having being able to withstand weather, floods, and also being strong enough to hold up to travelers and an army. The Romans were given the credit of having the “first and longest lasting bridges built” (Wikipedia) in first and second century AD. As shown in the below picture, the Romans are able to put a lot of weight on their bridges that are even still up today.

File:Roman bridge.jpg

Before the Romans many of the past civilizations had been trying to a form of cement, which the Romans used as well, but they were the ones who had thought of making arches which opened up a whole new world of bridge making. The Romans got much of their engineering from the Etruscans and also the Persians (Jays History) but learning to use a keystone arch for their bridges had been a new thought process entirely. It was during the reign of Trajan, a Roman emperor, that the new design of bridges were built. “Some of the most impressive Roman bridges are over ravines. A fine surviving example, built for Trajan in AD 105, spans the Tagus in Spain, at Alcántara. Its two massive central arches, 110 feet wide and 210 feet above the normal level of the river, are made of uncemented granite. Each wedge-shaped block weighs 8 tons.” (History net)

The bridges that were created essentially had made traveling and new towns because people could have easier access. “Allowing the river to be crossed at any time of the year, the bridge was an important factor of development for the town, but it was also necessary and useful for the Pax Romana: here there were hot springs visited by a lot of people; in the region there were mines with precious metals, whose product was taken to Rome; across the bridge passed the important Roman road of Braga to Astorga, with a lot of traffic; and lastly here was quartered a numerous detachment of legionnaires of the Roman army.” (Wikipedia)

The bridges that the Romans had created were the first steps into making the idea of a unified world. Not to mention that bridges have changed the architecture of everything. The picture of the bridge in the Trajan’s column shows how much without the bridges, the Romans couldn’t get across the Danube, and it has changed the outcome of the world. (Peter Rockwell, STOA)

Works Citied:

Rockwell, P.  Bridge. Retrieved March 8, 2012 from

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Tribunus laticlavius

The Roman army started to form a new form of military ranks between the time of the late Republic and the time of Principate (753 BC to 476 AD). The Roman military was called a legion. “When recruits have been carefully selected who excel in mind and body, and after daily training for four or more months, a legion is formed by order and auspices of the invincible Emperor.” (Vegetius, page 34) In a legion, there are ten cohorts that are carefully selected by a person’s status. This includes family, honor, prestige, and money. The legion of the Roman army would fight primarily against the Germans and the Parthians. There were legions all throughout Europe and the map below are the legion camps that the Romans had settled into. (Wikipedia)

File:Roman Legions camps - AD 80.png

The head leader of a cohort was the legatus legionis but the second in command was the tribunus laticlavius. The laticlavius “broad-stripped tribune” was usually a younger gentleman whom was from one of the richest families in Rome and knew the legionary commander quite well (Wikipedia). The laticlavius was given the name because of the “broad purple striped tunic which contrasted the narrow stripe of the equestrian tribe.” (Maxfield)

The laticlavius was the typical rich, pretty boy who constantly asked the praefectus castrorum, the prefect, what to do or not do while he is guarding or actually on the senate. (Matyszak) If the legionis were to die in battle, the laticlavius took over the legion. (Wikipedia) However, usually the legionis did not die in battle, but was actually poisoned by a person from the cohort senate. Though the laticlavius was young and inexperienced, they were quick learners and had to take in charge quickly otherwise the cohort would not pay attention. They were trained to become commanders, and if there was a legionis before them, they were on the senate as guards and did not give a lot of orders or talk while in second command.

Works Citied

Maxfield, Valerie

Milnder, N.P. “Vegetius: Epitome of MilitaryScience.” Vegetius: Epitome of Military Scienc. Second RevisedEdition. Trowbridge, England: Redwood Book, 1996. Print.

Matyszak, Philip. Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s Unoffical Manual. New York, New YorkT: Thames and Hudson, 2009. 91.

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The Lines of the Battle of Zama

The Carthaginians did not think that the Romans, or anyone for that matter, could stop them from taking world. Hannibal had defeated the Romans with the tactic of circling around them and had taken the Romans and Scipio down. However in 202 BC, Scipio returned to Rome and wanted revenge and take Hannibal down to his knees.

The Carthaginians definitely had the upper hand at first glance. Hannibal had 45,000 people in infantry, 4,000 men in cavalry, and had eighty war elephants (Wikipedia). Hannibal had put his people in three rows, and the last row being farther back than the others with the elephants at the front of his army. “He placed his elephants in front so that their irregular charge and irresistible force might make it impossible for the Romans to keep their ranks and maintain the order of their formation, in which their strength and confidence mainly lay. Then he posted the mercenaries in front of his Carthaginians, in order that this motley force drawn from all nations, held together not by a spirit of loyalty but by their pay, might not find it easy to run away.” (Livy)

However, Scipio used the same tactic as Hannibal did when they had the first Punic War. Scipio turned the tables on Hannibal by having three rows of his army, which only had 34,000 in infantry and 9,000 men in cavalry, but had the infantry all according to the best warriors. “The Hastati first, with an interval between their maniples; behind them the Principes, their maniples not arranged to cover the intervals between those of the Hastati as the Roman custom is, but immediately behind them at some distance, because the enemy was so strong in elephants. In the rear of these he stationed the Triarri. On his left wing he stationed Gaius Laelius with the Italian cavalry, on the right Massanissa with all his Numidians.” (Polybius) The Hastati, Principes, and the Triarri were all according to the classman of the Roman army.

The reason why the Romans had won even with the disadvantage is that they had blown horns to scare the Carthaginian war elephants and the elephants almost completely wiped out the left wing side of the Carthaginian lines. With the elephants out of the way, Scipio made the Romans go behind the Carthaginians and stab them in the back as well as surrounded them, and ultimately destroying them in the second Punic War.

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The Women and Changes of Alexander the Great

From the moment that Alexander III of Macedonia was born, he was born into a world that was for his taking. After the death of his father, Philip, Alexander started his rein to take over the world in 336 BCE and would keep going until his death in the summer of 323 BCE. Alexander had to “reaffirm Macedonian power in Greece, Alexander defeated Persian forces in a first battle at the River Grancius in northern Asia minor.” (Brosius, 31)

The problem that Alexander faced, that may have been even more difficult than trying to rule the world, was that Alexander had to win over the countries he had invaded. Alexander took prisoners of war such as noble men and women, and made them a part of his court in order to understand the culture of the Persians. One of whom was Barsine. “Alexander, esteeming it more kingly to govern himself than to conquer his enemies, sought no intimacy with any one of them, nor indeed with any other women before marriage, except Barsine, Memnon’s widow, who was taken prisoner at Damascus.” (Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 21.7-9) Alexander knew that he had to get married in order to win the heart of the Persians and to better communicate with them, but Barsine did not cut it. She was too “Greek” and European, and not Persian enough. Though being a noblewoman, he could not take the risk. The picture below is of what the Persian noblewoman looked like. (Livius)

This had led to Alexander falling in love with Roxane (Roshanak). She was a prisoner of war at the young age of sixteen and Arrian wrote “Alexander fell in love with her at sight; but, captive though she was, he refused, for all his passion, to force her to his will, and condescended to marry her.” Ultimately, Roxane was Alexander’s first official wife even though he had a child with Barsine.

With falling in love with Roxane, Alexander fell in love with Persian culture. The most prestigious interesting thing that the Persians did that the members of Alexander’s court from Macedonia loathed was “Proskynesis.” “When the Persians meet one another in the roads, you can see whether those who meet are of equal rank. For instead of greeting by words, they kiss each other on the mouth; but if one of them is inferior to the other, they kiss one another on the cheeks, and if one is of much less noble rank than the other, he falls down before him and worships him.” [Herodotus, Histories 1.134] Alexander started to use proskynesis and his followers did not believe that he was losing his heritage, as pride was a huge issue for the Macedonians. However, Alexander believed that to rule over the Persians, he had to change himself and his people and have a good medium. He thus forced many of his soliders to marry Persian woman after he had concurred another part of the Persian empire.



Works Citied:

Brosius, Maria. The Persians: An introduction. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Primary Source: Herdotus, Arrian, Pulrach

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Honor and Shame for Battle of Thermopylae

After the defeat of the battle of Marathon, the Persian King Darius I was enraged and “needed to Punish Athens for its involvement in Persian affairs.” (Brosius, 23) However this was postponed for reasons such as the revolt from Egypt and Babylon, as well as the fact that Darius I died in the winter of 486 B.C. (Brosius, 23) His son, Xerxes I, was the next in line for the thrown and had to reclaim their land and to punish the Athenians for everything they have done.

Xerxes knew that to have his father’s vengeance, he had to make a greater army, greater navy and stronger warriors in order to defeat the Greeks. (Picture) The honor/shame that Xerxes had was one that had been passed down for many generations of early Persian kings was how great their power becomes during their reign. Each king had to try to succeed the other and to surpass their father, grandfather, and sometimes brother. (Brosius, 33) With Darius failing with their first invasion to Greece, Xerxes “over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion to Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae (The Hot Gates).” (Wikipedia)

When the first invasion of Greece happened in 490 BC, the Persians were brutally defeated at the Battle of Marathon. However, with Xerxes out for revenge for the second invasion, he had his mind set on destroying the Greeks. King Leonidas I, the Spartan leader and leader of the Greeks in the second invasion, underestimated the new Persian army under Xerxes. Leonidas not know that Xerxes had created an army that would not end or what they called the “Immortals” (Livius) Leonidas underestimated how many attacks and heats of people Xerxes had, and this was the element of surprise that Xerxes used against Leonidas. After the first two heats of the Persian warriors were defeated, Kind Leonidas had a problem. The honor/shame of losing the men of his army because they left, or because they were told to leave because the Athenians thought they were going to win. The honor/shame of leaving your army was not acceptable to the Greeks and especially the Spartans in the early centuries. (Kraft, 183) At Thermopylae, which is a passage in the mountains, there were only 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, the vast majority of whom were killed. (Wikipedia) It is not known if Leonidas told the rest of his army to leave or if they were cowards or over confident and went home, but this was one of the first steps of the fall of the Greek Empire. And Xerxes did a job that his own father could not do, and they wiped the Spartans and the rest of the Greeks out.

File:Persian warriors from Berlin Museum.jpg


The Pass at Thermopylae, Greece.John C. Kraft, George Rapp, Jr., George J. Szemler, Christos Tziavos and Edward W. Kase

Journal of Field Archaeology , Vol. 14, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 181-198
Herdotus, Histories. 1. VII. Rawlinson: <;.
Brosius, Maria. The Persians: An introduction. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

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