French terrorists vs Spanish insurgents

At the start of 1812, insurgents were big news in the French media.

“We learn from Valencia that the small fortress that Marshall Sechet has left in his rear, blockaded by various corps of the army, have successively surrendered, and the siege of Valencia has been seriously prosecuted by General Harispe, who commands under the orders of the Marshall. The Spanish General Blake is attempting to collect a force, in order to make a second attempt to relieve the place, but the uniform terror spread by the armies of France, is sufficient to impede his design; and the insurgents have, by the last account, been driven from the right bank of Guadilaviar. The Polish division has particularly distinguished itself in the late encounters with the enemy.”

USS terror at sea
The USS terror was a mine laying ship that operated with the American Navy during the second world war.

One thing I notice in looking at old documents is the use of the word “terror” in war, as if it were a good thing. The French weren’t alone is using “terror” as an instrument. Even in the US Navy, ships carried the name “USS Terror” as late as World War II. (The Terror was a minelayer, a ship whose primary purpose was to lay sea mines in the water.)

Of course, the word terror does not necessarily mean what we today call a terrorist. But has the definition of the word insurgent changed as well? Continue reading French terrorists vs Spanish insurgents

Mysteries of Lisbon: A historical film.

Like many of today’s historical films, Mysteries of Lisbon is long (very long). Before investing four and a half hours in a movie, it might be an idea to read a review or two.  After I invested my four and a half hours, ideas for reviews kept invading my head. But there are so many things to talk about, the director’s style, the actors, the camera work that one observer called “unobtrusive”, the level of history, it was hard to settle on something.

Sure, I could write a PhD thesis, researching the director’s life and speculating how that influenced the production, but I’m not interested in that. Instead, I’ll answer the two questions I think every reviewer should answer. Did I like the movie? And, how do my readers know if they’ll like it? Continue reading Mysteries of Lisbon: A historical film.

What rides should they have at Napoleonland?

French history buffs are planning their own theme park to compete with Disneyland, and honour France’s best known soldier.  Napoleonland will bring history to life, in ways that could even make fans of “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Killer” blush with embarrassment.

Et alors, can pure amusement be educational?  It worked for King Arthur’s Labyrinth in Wales, and that’s History.  Or, it’s a story.

So why not have Napoleonland!

If they do it though, better do it right.  Here’s some rides we’d like to see at Napoleonland: Continue reading What rides should they have at Napoleonland?