Howard Wiseman's Hobby: History

History has been a passion of mine since I discovered how much we do know about the past. I particularly remember being astonished to find out, in my early teens, that the barbarian invasion of the Roman Empire was not a time of complete chaos with no historical record, but rather that we know pretty well what happened and when. Despite enjoying and doing well in history in junior school (age 15) I did not continue it in senior, opting for science subjects instead. I don't regret this, because I think history is more accessible to an interested amateur than is science.

My current level of activity in my history hobby dates from c.1993 when I bought the book King Arthur - The True Story by Phillips and Keatman. Although in hindsight I don't think much of the book's arguments, its importance was again that it revealed to me that this period of British history does have historical records, however meagre, and not just legends. The meagreness of the records meant I was eventually able to become familiar with pretty much all of them, and to create my first history website, The Ruin and Conquest of Britain, in 1997. Arising out of this site, I have managed to publish a couple of research papers on the history of early mediaeval Britons, in 2000 and 2011.
The Ruin and Conquest of Britain (1997-2018)

Eighteen Centuries of Roman Empire (2002-2011)

One Page Wonders --- A bref regard at the Longue Durée of Countries, Nations, or States.

Having charted the history of the Roman Empire, I next tried a similar exercise in my original region of interest, Britain. Here the emphasis was not on the continuity of a state, but rather the rise of different Empires within the one country. This has led to a series of similar studies (some still in preparation). Some will focus on the history of a country (e.g. the Island of Britain), others on that of a nation (e.g. the Nordic peoples), others on the history of states (e.g. the Burgundian states). Since each consists of just a single-page, I have grouped them together to avoid cluttering this page.

Twenty Centuries of "British" "Empires" (2003-2018): From the over-kingdom of Cunobelinus, through the Empires of the Romano-British, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Normans, Plantagenets, Tudors, and the world-straddling British Empire.

Thirteen Centuries of the Nordic Peoples (2009-2010): From the age of Vikings, Varangians, and Normans, to the present Nordic nations (Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, and Icelanders).

Between France and Germany --- 16 centuries of Europe's Middle Kingdoms (2012-2014): A quirky analysis of the geo-political evolution of France, Germany and the nearby states, in particular how the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy can all trace their origins to the Kingdom of the Burgundians.

Quick and Dirty Alternate Histories

One might view alternate history as a dangerous and unnecessary distraction, given how much fascinating real history there is. However, counter-factual argumentation is something historians must do to justify any claim for certain people or events as being crucial to history. And there are numerous counter-factual musings on various of my history pages. So I finally (2013) gave in to an urge to create a "quick and dirty" alternate history map, and another one (though more pseudo- than alternate) in 2018.

Alternate History Europe in 1884 (2013): In this alternate history, the dual monarchy was not created in 1867, and Austria was more aggressive. This resulted in the Great War of 1878-83. The map shows Europe and the Mediterranean after the 1884 Peace of Paris.

Alternate/Pseudo-History in 541 (2018): I have created a map based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's 1137 pseudohistory, featuring an epic war between King Arthur of Britain and Emperor Leo of Rome in the year 541. I speculate how this could have arisen as alternative history, diverging in the first century B.C. with a smashing defeat of Parthia by Rome, followed by Rome's expansion much further east than in our own timeline.

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