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Dive into the intellectual unknown!

Even in the knowing of historical fact there is great unknown. I claim no complete expertise in any area of history - that of art, architecture, famous figures or their feuds... Yet, I also deny the claim of others who might profess a full understanding of a specific time period, person, or creation of people. 

We are all finding our path toward understandings of Life, the Universe, and Everything. The conflicts between understandings make up some of my favorite historical topics. How is it that Genghis Khan can have served as a destructive and genocidal warlord, killing up to three quarters of the population of the Persian Plateau, and yet be thought responsible for having ushered in an extensive period of peace and prosperity known to historians as Pax Mongolia? What is the role of the historian when reading dehumanizing accounts of the Aztec people written by 16th century Spanish priests, soldiers and profiteers?  Aztec society was undeniably ferocious, a fact that explains the hostile alienation that led many of their neighbors to support the Spanish invaders. The brutality of these Meso-americans can hardly have been surpassed by the conquistadors as they massacred their opponents and dissembled the mighty Aztec empire.

Many teachers and students of history seem to think that these controversies require a moral judgment. One finds, however, that historical analyses of the motives and conditions of a people within their lost time and place can never be complete. Just as the paleontologist can surmise something of the structure of a dinosaur from collected bones but not know with certainty the skin color or the tone or timbre of the dinosaur's roar, historians can never have a full and complete picture of the stories we compile.

Which, to my mind, means that everyone is welcome to participate. The stories we uncover as we sift through what others have discovered and what we, ourselves, uncover are the stories of humanity. Each tale is a contribution to an intricate and endless Book that feeds our souls as we search for meaning in the great, expansive wealth of human experience.

Ibn Khaldun of Tunis asserted in the 14th century that, "It should be known that history is a discipline that has a great number of approaches." On this site I explore historical evidence that helps to describe the human experience, carefully making room for ambiguity, uncertainty, and conflicting viewpoints. I seek out alarming! arresting! diverting! and quietly thought-provoking (hi)stories and offer them to you.