Equine Warriors — History Imagined: For Readers, Writers, & Lovers of Historical Fiction

By now, most readers of historical fiction are aware of and have probably read the 1982 best-selling novel, War Horse, and/or seen the critically acclaimed 2011 film, or attended a theater performance of the play employing amazing puppetry. The story is an emotional journey for both the main characters and readers/viewers. From our 21st century […]

Equine Warriors — History Imagined: For Readers, Writers, & Lovers of Historical Fiction

Click through to read more. One of Claire’s saddest thoughts in In The Eye of The Storm was that the horses she had to leave behind in France were impressed for use by the cavalry during World War I. It was a harsh reality.

Happy Birthday, Janis!

DOTCOL V2Jo came back from LA with my jeans and a ton of new records that he insisted on playing for me while we shared a pizza.

“My friend Diane painted them for you; she’s got a little boutique on Melrose and one day she’s going to be really big. She’s doing stuff for Janis and Jimi.”

Of course I knew who they were. Janis Joplin was practically a neighbor, and we saw her all the time. I loved going to her shows; she was so full of energy. Plus, I have to be honest; it was nice to hear a Southern voice besides my own now and again. — Down on the Corner of Love


A while back, I realized that all of the female singers I liked had big personalities and voices to match. Janis Joplin, who would have been 80 years old today, was definitely in possession of both.

The Misunderstood Roman Empress Who Willed Her Way to the Top | History | Smithsonian Magazine

Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great—to the roster of history’s unfairly maligned women leaders must be added the name of Galla Placidia Augusta. Although her name in Latin means “placidity” or “peace,” Placidia’s life was anything but; she experienced more adventures than Marie Antoinette and Amelia Earhart combined. Perhaps no other figure, male or female, enjoyed such an intimate view of the Western Roman Empire’s operatic death throes or influenced events for such a prolonged period. But the attacks on her reputation began not long after her death, with authors like Cassiodorus denouncing her rule as the nadir of Rome’s fortunes. Only in recent years have scholars gone back to read the contemporary sources with more objectivity, revealing Placidia as a far more sympathetic figure, a strong-willed leader with radical ideas on how to save the crumbling empire.

The Misunderstood Roman Empress Who Willed Her Way to the Top | History | Smithsonian Magazine

Ancient Roman concrete could self-heal thanks to “hot mixing” with quicklime | Ars Technica

The famous Pantheon in Rome boasts the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome—an architectural marvel that has endured for millennia, thanks to the incredible durability of ancient Roman concrete. For decades, scientists have been trying to determine precisely what makes the material so durable. A new analysis of samples taken from the concrete walls of the Privernum archaeological site near Rome has yielded insights into those elusive manufacturing secrets. It seems the Romans employed “hot mixing” with quicklime, among other strategies, that gave the material self-healing functionality, according to a new paper published in the journal Science Advances.

Ancient Roman concrete could self-heal thanks to “hot mixing” with quicklime | Ars Technica

Gladiator sweat and leech hair dye; how to survive in Ancient Rome – Historia Magazine

There were numerous beauty treatments available for both men and women. Skin could be made softer by an application of moist bread, wrinkles retarded by bathing in asses milk and complexions made fashionably paler by a foundation of (toxic) white lead.

Hair dyes were made from a variety of ingredients, including henna but the ickiest award goes to a potion of leeches fermented in vinegar for several months before being applied to the hair. After which you will have lovely black hair, but presumably not many friends due to the smell.

Gladiator sweat and leech hair dye; how to survive in Ancient Rome – Historia Magazine

First, I must say that L.J. Trafford’s How to Survive in Ancient Rome is a brilliant read.

This hair dye concoction referenced above is used by Stephanus the Fuller in my work-in-progress, Pompeii Fire. He hopes that his newly-darkened hair will impress Drusilla.

Click through for more interesting facts about ancient Roman medical and cosmetic treatments.