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
The transition from Roman Britain to early-mediaeval England and Wales is,
to me, one of the most fascinating periods in history. The struggle and
ultimate failure of one society to defend itself against decline and
replacement by another is bound to be interesting. It is of course the
time of the real "King Arthur", if there ever was such a person. It has
become a hobby for me to try to reconstruct the history of the 5th and 6th
centuries in Britain. I first put this website up c.1997, and it has been
evolving ever since. This site also contains the hitherto unpublished
historical novel Albion: The Lame Dancer
by Patrick McCormack.
From an interest in the survival of Roman institutions in Britain in the
5th and 6th centuries grew an interest in the mixed fortunes of the Empire
itself in that time: the end of the Western Empire and the flowering of
the Eastern Empire. This in turn led to finding out about the ups
and downs of the Roman Empire over its entire (but especially its later)
history, which I began studying in c.1998. This website charts the history
of the Roman Empire from 338 BC to 1453 AD. Here "charts" is used
advisedly, as maps form the core of this site. I have been drawing
historical maps of all sorts ever since my mid-teens, but computers and
the internet have given a new life to this hobby.
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.
of "British" "Empires" (2003-2009): 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.
Centuries of the Nordic Peoples (2009-2010):
From the age of Vikings, Varangians,
and Normans, to the present Nordic nations (Danes, Norwegians, Swedes,
France and Germany --- 16 centuries of Europe's Middle Kingdoms
(2012): 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.
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