What uncertainties and questions surround the death of Attila?

What uncertainties and questions surround the death of Attila?

Merriam-Webester's Concise Encyclopedia says

Attila died on his wedding night, possibly murdered by his bride.

What uncertainty does the word possibly imply there about the death of Attila?

The other source is a recent book by a philologist who argues from literary analysis that Attila was actually murdered. See for a sympathetic review of the book. However, the review also points out some of the weaknesses in Babcock's theory.

Since no new evidence is likely to come up, the jury will probably have to remain out on this on. So it is quite understandable that the Britannica chose to apply Occam's razor to this question.

Who was Attila the Hun, the barbarian ruler who terrorised the Romans?

Attila the Hun, later branded as “the scourge of God”, is one of history’s most infamous characters, standing as the ultimate barbarian. In the fifth century he controlled a huge territory and menaced the Roman Empire. Yet the leader who wanted to rule the world failed to translate his military achievements into a successful and long-lasting empire, and although described as being “born into the world to shake nations”, Attila would eventually bow to diplomacy. So why his fearsome reputation? Here, historians Miles Russell and John Man explore the life and legacy of Attila the Hun…

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Published: August 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Who was Attila the Hun?

Attila the Hun (c406–453) was the leader of the ancient nomadic people known as the Huns from 434 to 453 AD and ruler of the Hunnic Empire. He was a powerful warlord and an astute politician, keeping a diverse confederation of tribes together for decades. He was also a successful crime lord, extorting money from his enemies with a ruthlessness that exceeded any later mafia don, says Miles Russell.

Unfortunately we know very little of the man himself, for the Huns failed to write their own version of history. In fact, ‘Attila’ may not have been his real name, for ‘Ata-ila’ may be translated as ‘Little-Father’, akin perhaps to the title ‘Atatürk’ (the ‘Father of the Turks’) later given to Mustafa Kemal, first president of Turkey. For information surrounding Attila’s life and world-view, we have to rely on the writing of his bitterest enemies, the Romans.

Born into Hunnic aristocracy early in the fifth century, Attila and his elder brother Bleda were nephews of King Rugila. The Huns were a nomadic, pastoralist society who, from the fourth century AD, had been migrating west towards the Roman Empire. Growing up, Bleda and Attila would have learnt to ride almost as soon as they could walk. They would also have been trained as archers, for the Huns were renowned for being able to dispatch arrows with great accuracy from horseback in battle. He was certainly known to have had many wives, polygamy helping to bind the Hunnic clans together.

When King Rugila died in 434, he was succeeded by his nephews. We don’t know how Bleda and Attila got on, but they seem to have at least tolerated each other, successfully co-ruling for over a decade. In 445, however, Bleda was dead. Some hinted at Attila’s involvement and, whilst there is no direct evidence, dispatching his brother in a bid for power would certainly fit what we later know of his character.

How did get his fearsome reputation?

Attila is one of history’s most notorious personalities: bogey-man, “God’s Scourge”, brutishness personified, the vilest of the barbarians who tore at the flesh of the decaying Roman Empire in the mid-fifth century AD. Yet given what he achieved, it is hard to understand why, says John Man. His empire was at its height for a mere eight years, never included more than a few acres of Roman soil, and vanished instantly after his death in 453. He was, in the end, a failure. So why his fearsome reputation?

Part of the answer lies in the bare bones of Attila’s rise. The Huns sprang from obscurity on the steppes of Central Asia in the fourth century. Possibly, their ancestors were a people called the Xiongnu – Hun-nu in Mongolian – who ruled a sizeable empire in Mongolia for 300 years, until China broke them apart in the second century AD. If the Huns were the Xiongnu, they seem to have forgotten their former glory as they moved westwards. They first came to the attention of the Greeks in about 375 as pastoral nomads and experts in mounted archery, able to shoot with extraordinary accuracy and power while at full gallop. In 378, they joined Goths to destroy a Roman army at Adrianople (present-day Edirne, in Turkey).

Rome’s days of glory were already in the past. For a century, the empire had been falling apart. Its two halves, western and eastern, Latin and Greek, had been increasingly at odds since Constantine founded Constantinople – the “New Rome” – in 330. The split grew after each half acquired its own emperor in 364. Ties of family and history were not enough to defend a divided empire against the menace of Germanic tribes pressing in from beyond the Rhine and Danube. This barbarian threat intensified when the Huns, with their very different Turkish roots, emerged from what is now the Ukraine. Their skills carried them into modern-day Hungary, where in due course Attila killed his co-ruler and brother Bleda to seize sole power in 444 or 445. Other tribes were soon co-opted as allies, allowing Attila to deploy forces the like of which no one had ever seen before, his mounted warriors being reinforced with infantry and siege-machines.

Attila the Hun timeline

The Huns take part in the Battle of Adrianople, in which the Goths defeat the Romans. Soon afterwards, the Huns cross the Carpathians into Hungary

The Huns raid the Eastern Roman Empire through the Caucasus, devastating towns in Syria and Turkey

The Huns dominate much of Hungary and Romania. Birth of Attila

Death of the Hun king Ruga, Attila’s uncle. Attila becomes joint ruler with his brother Bleda

444 or 445
Attila murders Bleda and becomes sole ruler, establishing a permanent base near today’s Szeged, on the Tisza in southern Hungary

Attila’s first Balkan campaign, raiding into Pannonia and Moesia, seizing several cities in the Danube region, including Singidunum (modern Belgrade)

Attila’s second Balkan campaign. Earthquake damages the walls of Constantinople. Huns besiege and take Naissus and many other cities, and (probably) advance to Constantinople, to find the walls have been repaired. Emperor Theodosius sues for peace, agrees annual tribute to Huns of 2,100 pounds of gold

Priscus accompanies embassy from Constantinople to Attila’s headquarters. The envoy includes would-be assassins. Attila foils the plot

Attila advances up the Danube to the Rhine, marches along the Moselle and invades Gaul. His advance is stopped by Aetius at Orleans. He retreats, is defeated by Aetius at the Battle of Catalaunian Plains, but is allowed to escape

Attila invades northern Italy. He takes Aquileia, and advances along the Po Valley. Famine and disease force a retreat

Death of Attila

The Hun empire shatters. Western Roman Emperor Valentinian murders the popular military leader Aetius

How big was his empire?

By the mid-fifth century, Attila had created an empire that reached from the Baltic to the Balkans, from the Rhine to the Black Sea. Then from his headquarters in southern Hungary he struck deep into Rome’s eastern and western parts, in four major campaigns and several minor ones. Hun warriors who crossed the Balkans on their way to Constantinople in 441 could have watered their horses in the Loire in 451, and then the next year bathed in the Po.

In reality, however, this immense ‘empire’ was no more than a loose coalition of tribes, bound together by the genius and military prowess of Attila, says Miles Russell. Priscus, an envoy sent from Constantinople to Attila’s court, came face to face with the King, and observed that “he was a very wise counsellor, merciful to those who sought it and loyal to those he had accepted as friends”. In fact, so generous could he be to his supporters that, Priscus noted, many considered life with the Huns to be better than in the Roman Empire corruption, injustice and taxation all being unknown. While Attila lived, his empire was a successful business operation.

The Huns soon discovered that large amounts of cash could be extorted from the Roman Empire merely from threats, both direct and implied. Throughout the 420s and 30s, the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II paid the Huns 350lb of gold a year just to stay away. By 442, this had increased to 1,000lb. When, in 447, Theodosius refused to pay, Attila took an army directly into the Balkans and began burning towns. Theodosius swiftly capitulated, immediately agreeing to settle arrears and restart payment, Attila raising the annual sum to 2,100lb of gold. The Hunnic King was evidently not a man to cross.

Mindful of the effect that Roman luxuries could have on his people, Attila tightly controlled all movement across the frontier. He decreed that no Hun could settle within the Roman world nor serve in its army, all ‘deserters’ being returned to him for punishment by the subservient Roman state. Instructing the emperor Theodosius to create a no-man’s-land along the border, Attila was able to limit any form of direct contact, this early ‘Iron Curtain’ establishing cultural apartheid between Roman and Hun. Now Roman envoys had to come directly to Attila’s capital at Margus (Požarevac, near Belgrade) in order to negotiate treaties and pay protection money.

Priscus, who provides an eyewitness account to life inside Attila’s court, notes that, after being kept waiting for a number of days, ambassadors were invited to a banquet in the great hall. Here Attila, dressed simply and without ornament, sat on a raised couch at the head of the company. According to Priscus, the guests all received “a luxurious meal, served on silver plate”, but Attila, ever aware of theatrical nature of the feast, “ate nothing but meat on a wooden trencher”. His cup too was of wood, whilst the visitors drank from goblets of gold.

How power-hungry was he?

From the few facts that can be established one thing is clear – we are dealing with an astonishing personality who grips the imagination, says John Man. Driven by overweening ambition and an addiction to booty, Attila attempted far more than he could ever achieve. Set on ruling as much of the world as he could grab, his ambition drove him to risk everything against overwhelming odds. In 447, he was at the towering and utterly impenetrable walls of Constantinople, perhaps hoping to take advantage of damage caused by a recent earthquake. Too late: by the time he got there across the Balkans, the walls had been repaired.

The evidence suggests that Attila’s ambition was not simply personal. It was a political necessity. To keep his restless chieftains happy, he needed loot. At first that meant raids then war and finally, as his empire grew, large-scale conquest.

But conquest would bring challenges of a different order. Attila would need to learn the arts of government, such as record keeping, taxation, and administration. Unless he fundamentally changed his people’s culture, built cities and joined the western world, his empire would never be secure from the threat of war and possible defeat. Attila employed secretaries and envoys to play at politics, but as an illiterate barbarian war-leader he could not contemplate a settled life. This was the dilemma that Genghis Khan solved 800 years later, but not Attila. His only answer was war, and more war. So in 450 he conceived the idea of turning on the west. Nothing revealed his addiction to war more than the astonishing way in which he justified it.

The story concerns Honoria, sister of the emperor Valentinian III, both of whom were based at the court in Ravenna. Honoria was an ambitious young woman, jealous of her brother, with her own apartments and entourage, but no real authority. Bored by her life of wealth, she had an affair with her chamberlain, Eugenius.

The affair was discovered, Eugenius executed, and Honoria betrothed to a rich consul. In his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon portrays Honoria as a dizzy teenager. In fact she was a scheming thirty-something. Seething with rage, she determined to exact vengeance on her brother and take power for herself. Knowing that Attila had plans to invade Gaul, she sent off a loyal eunuch, Hyacinthus, to Attila, asking him to rescue her from a loathsome marriage, promising cash. Hyacinthus carried her ring as a pledge of good faith, with the implication that she was willing to become Attila’s wife. Honoria’s actions were discovered. On his return, Hyacinthus was beheaded.

Who were the Huns?

Possibly originating from Mongolia, the Huns were a terrifying prospect for Rome. Most barbarian migrants desired food, land and territorial security, travelling in large, slow-moving groups. The Huns were different, being highly mobile and, for the Romans, who had little contact with the Asian Steppe, of unusual Worse, from a Roman perspective, they were unrepentantly pagan, displaying little desire to settle down and behave.

Rome’s predominantly Christian society viewed the Huns with a mixture of horror and fascination. The Roman historian Jordanes described them as “little, foul, emaciated creatures possessing only the shadow of speech monsters with faces made of shapeless collops of flesh” whilst Ammianus Marcellinus noted that they were always untrustworthy and unpredictable. Living their entire life on horseback, Ammianus observed that they possessed only rudimentary cooking skills, eating either roots or animal flesh “which they warm by placing it between their own thighs and the backs of their horses”.

One evident truth Ammianus records was that the Huns were “immoderately covetous of gold”. Positioned at the northern fringe of the Roman world, they were a near and present danger, able to extort a large amount of the precious metal from their Mediterranean neighbours.

The Roman Empire of the fifth century was divided into two. To the east an emperor ruled from Constantinople (now Istanbul), whilst the West, a territory badly affected by invasion and civil war, was nominally held together by an emperor based in northern Italy. In theory, both leaders worked together for the good of the Empire in reality, however, the relationship was strained, division being less of an amicable uncoupling, more a traumatic and acrimonious divorce. A disunited Empire played well for the Huns, for Rome divided meant that no single opponent was strong enough to stand against them.

What happened next?

Meanwhile Attila had been preparing for invasion. He had to move fast to forestall an attack from Constantinople, and he found the perfect excuse in Honoria’s crazy offer. He sent a series of messages to Valentinian, with ever wilder demands: make Honoria co-ruler, said one message a second ordered Valentinian to hand over half his empire as Honoria’s dowry a third envoy bore the insulting words: “My master has ordered you, through me, to prepare your palace for him”. Valentinian rejected these demands, and Attila had his excuse.

In the spring of AD 451, Attila crossed the river Rhine at the head of a vast army. The reasons for this sudden change of strategy, from extortion to military intervention, are unclear. It may be that, in order to stay in power, he required a major demonstration of strength. Alternatively, it may be that he felt the Western Roman Empire simply hadn’t paid him enough respect (or gold). History tells us that the catalyst was the letter from Honoria (detailed above). Whatever the true reason, the Huns were now inside the Empire, burning, looting and killing large numbers of civilians.

He was two-thirds of the way across France, perhaps aiming to cut Gaul in half, when a joint Roman and Visigothic force stopped him at Orléans. By then Attila’s army was too overstretched to fight. He retreated, until he was forced to give battle on the Catalaunian Plains, the great open expanses that lie between Châlons and Troyes.

On the morning of 20 June 451, both sides clashed on the Catalaunian Plains, near Troyes, northeast France. More than 160,000 died on either side, the Roman historian Jordanes noting the fields were “piled high with bodies” and the rivers “swollen with blood”. It was close, but the Huns were beaten.

Here, Attila was preparing to immolate himself on a pyre of wooden saddles, when his opponent, the great Roman general Aetius, allowed him to go free. Why? Possibly because he felt that the Huns may yet prove useful to him, says Miles Russell. Perhaps he was simply letting a respected opponent retreat with honour intact. Aetius had spent his youth as a hostage with the Huns and had grown up with Attila. Even though the two men were on opposing sides, they evidently had great respect for one another. Another possibility, says John Man, is that Aetius feared that Attila’s fall would mean the resurgence of the Visigoths, Rome’s old enemies and now their current ally, so he got rid of both of them, the Visigoths back to their homeland in southwest France, Attila to Hungary.

Whatever the reason, allowing Attila to go free would ultimately prove to be a costly mistake. Attila could not be content with this stroke of luck, because he was out of cash with which to keep his troops happy. The following year, Attila returned with an even larger army, this time striking deep into northern Italy, aiming at Rome itself. In the event, having taken a dozen cities in the Po valley, the Huns were stopped by disease and famine, not by military defeat, and returned to Hungary for the last time.

Attila’s retreat from Italy

Following the destruction of Aquileia, the Western emperor Valentinian sent ambassadors to Attila hoping to negotiate terms. Among the envoys was Leo, Bishop of Rome. We don’t know what was said at the meeting, but when it finished, the Huns simply packed up and left. This was spun by the Church as “The Great Miracle”, Rome saved by the word of God and the bravery of Leo, his representative on Earth, and was immortalised in a painting by Raphael. Here, the saintly Leo defiantly stares Attila down, whilst behind him Saints Peter and Paul descend from heaven, fully armed and up for a fight. Upon seeing this, the satanic Attila recoils in abject terror.

The reality was perhaps more down-to-earth. The Emperor offered a complete and unconditional surrender, agreeing to all of Attila’s demands, promising him Honoria as a wife and offering a dowry to be paid in gold. Attila, on his part, was probably also keen to leave Italy, for not only was the campaign taking its toll (food was short and disease rife), but also his army was starting to fall apart.

Hungary’s hero: what nationality was Attila the Hun?

Hungary was founded by Árpád, who led his Magyar people over the Carpathians in 896. Yet there is, deep in the Hungarian psyche, the shrewd suspicion that Árpád was only reclaiming land staked out 450 years before by Attila. That is the story related in the 13th-century chronicle, Gesta Hungarorum. By the 15th century, Attila had become a sort of Hungarian Charlemagne, the forefather not only of the Arpads but of Hungary’s greatest king, Matthias Corvinus, praised by his courtiers as the second Attila.

Until recently, Hungarian histories often reproduced a pseudo-biblical family tree, in which Attila begat four generations of descendants, who at last begat Árpád, (although each of them would have produced his heir at the age of 100). To Hungarians, he was a Hungarian at heart, and they honour him. Attila is a common boy’s name and many towns have streets named after him.)

How did he die?

The retreat from Italy marked the beginning of the end for Attila. In 453, shortly after his retreat from Italy, he took a new wife to add to the many he already had. Her name was Ildico, and she was probably a Germanic princess. During the marriage night, when, Jordanes tells us, “he had given himself up to excessive joy”, Attila suffered a seizure. In the morning, appalled attendants found him dead, with Ildico weeping beside him beneath her head-scarf. Our source, Jordanes, mentions an effusion of blood, which had apparently filled the king’s lungs and drowned him. Later stories circulated of a drunken fit, or a heart attack brought on by sexual excess, or even murder at Ildico’s hands. The most probable explanation, says John Man, is that veins in his gullet, enlarged by years of drinking, burst, but failed to wake him from a drunken sleep.

But there is an alternative theory as to how he died. Miles Russell says: “Given that Attila was renowned for moderation (at least as far as alcohol was concerned), it is more likely that he was assassinated.”

Attila’s death deprived the Huns of a great and charismatic leader. Within a few years, their empire had disintegrated. It may have been no more than a violent, short-lived robber state, but the impact of the Hunnic Empire upon the political, religious and cultural institutions of Europe was profound. The meeting between Leo and Attila proved a turning point for the Western Empire, demonstrating that it was the Bishop of Rome who wielded ultimate power. Arguably, it was this that cemented the status of the papacy and ended the secular supremacy of the emperors.

Where was he buried?

Attila’s burial is the subject of further mystery. The sources mention that the Huns did something with three metals, gold, silver and iron, which eventually inspired a legend that he was buried inside a triple coffin. (This became popular currency, especially after a novel, Geza Gardonyi’s The Invisible Man (1902), brought the legend vividly to life, yet almost certainly, the coffin was of wood, containing at most a few personal relics, with small symbolic clasps of the three metals.)

And then came the burial itself, in secret and carried out “in the earth”, not in a tumulus, with the pall-bearers supposedly being slain to keep the site a secret. This part may be true, for slaves could have acted as grave-diggers and then been despatched, leaving only a few leaders to guard the secret.

A secret it remains. There are no Hun burial mounds, nor were there traditional royal cemeteries, because the Huns had not been in residence long enough. Secrets, of course, inspire legends. Treasure-seekers still dream of finding a tomb filled with treasures, and a gold-silver-and-iron coffin.

A barbarian king at the gates, high drama, intrigue, murder, and mystery: no wonder Attila remains an archetype today, his shade caught by an Amin here, a Saddam there. Their qualities are Attila’s: devious, ruthless, scary, mercurial, sometimes charming, good at finding yes-men to do their bidding, and never master of the events they unleash. That is the force exemplified by Attila in our minds. His epitaph, reported by Priscus, sums him up. He plundered widely, and “died safe among his own people, happy, rejoicing, without any pain. Who therefore can think of this as death, seeing as no one thinks it calls for vengeance?”

That’s the best his people can say of him – that he was a successful robber-baron and died without giving them an excuse to kill in revenge for his death. As one expert, Otto Maenchen-Helfen, says, it sounds “like an epitaph for an American gangster”.

And he could have been so much more, says John Man. With a little more diplomacy and a commitment to administration he could have seized all northern Europe, had Honoria in marriage, created a dynasty that ruled from the Atlantic to the Urals, from the Alps to the Baltic.

Dr Miles Russell is a senior lecturer in prehistoric and Roman archaeology at Bournemouth University and the author of 15 books.

John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. He is the author of Attila The Hun: A Barbarian King and the Fall of Rome (Bantam, 2006)

This article amalgamates two features, published in the Christmas 2016 issue of BBC History Revealed magazine and the March 2005 issue of BBC History Magazine, written respectively by Miles Russell and John Man

The real story behind the assassination of Julius Caesar

On Feb. 15, in the year 44 BC, Julius Caesar, the all-powerful ruler of Rome, visited a soothsayer named Spurinna, who “predicted the future by examining the internal organs of sacrificial animals,” among other omens.

“The Death of Caesar:
The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination”
by Barry Strauss
(Simon & Schuster)

As per the ritual, Caesar “sacrificed a bull,” and Spurinna “made the chilling announcement that the beast had no heart.”

Brave Caesar was “unmoved,” but Spurinna said that he feared Caesar’s life “might come to a bad end,” and warned the dictator that “his life would be in danger for the next 30 days.”

He did not say anything about the “Ides of March,” just one difference of many between the version of Caesar’s assassination presented by William Shakespeare and the likely truth, according to Cornell University history professor Barry Strauss’ new book, “The Death of Caesar.” Strauss pored through ancient texts to determine the truest possible version of the events surrounding the assassination of the legendary leader.

In 45 BC, Rome was emerging from five years of civil war and policy debates concerned the very nature of the Roman Republic. Caesar had just been declared Dictator for Ten Years by the Roman senate, and sought more.

He believed that the Republic was an entity whose time had come and gone, and that “only his genius offered the people of the empire peace and prosperity.” The Roman Senate, having grown comfortable with their own power, believed otherwise.

Caesar understood how to nurture the love of his people. His soldiers were well-paid, and he passed laws (over the Senate’s objections) helping the poor, including protecting them from abusive government officials.

Strauss points to Caesar refusing the crown from Mark Antony at the Lupercalia Fertility Festival as the final straw that hurt the public and senatorial perception of him Getty Images

In time, though, his hunger for power made even longtime admirers squeamish. In early 44 BC, in tribute to Caesar’s recent military victories, the Senate proclaimed him Rome’s Dictator in Perpetuity, and there had long been talk that Caesar sought to be King, an unacceptable occurrence for many Romans. After the obsequious Senate declared that upon his death, Caesar would become “an official god of the Roman state,” the perception became that Caesar was too power-mad for comfort.

Several incidents followed, including one where Caesar was perceived to mock the senators just after they’d voted him honors, that hurt public and senatorial perception of Caesar.

Strauss sees one episode as the final straw. On Feb. 15, Romans enjoyed the annual Lupercalia Fertility Festival, where “after a sacrifice, priests wearing only loincloths ran around central Rome and touched bystanders, especially women, with goatskin straps.”

Caesar sat atop the Speaker’s Platform in the Roman Forum, an 11-foot-high stand he’d use to address his subjects. At one point, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), the chief priest of Rome and Caesar’s cousin and longtime compatriot, approached the platform with a crown and placed it on Caesar’s head, proclaiming, “The people give this to you though me.” As the stunned crowd stood silent, Caesar removed it, and “Antony tried again, only to get the same response.” Having rejected the crown, Caesar told the crowd, “Jupiter alone of the Romans is King.”

The reasons for Antony’s actions are unclear — he may have been trying to flatter Caesar, or perhaps convince him to give up his breathless quest for power — but many believed it a test engineered by Caesar himself to preview the people’s reactions should he be made king.

For many, this was the final proof they needed that Caesar’s ambition had turned dangerous. In the eyes of increasing numbers, Caesar had to be taken down.

Busts of Marcus Junius Brutus ( left, by Michelangelo, 1539) and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Strauss says the two enlisted the help of a third man to help carry out Caesar’s assassination. Getty Images (left)

Shakespeare cites two men, Gaius Cassius Longinus (Cassius) and Marcus Junius Brutus (Brutus), as having ignited the conspiracy against Caesar. Strauss says the bard was two-thirds correct.

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus (Decimus) was a great general and a close friend of Caesar’s who rose in the ranks to become one of the most powerful men in Rome. But in a culture where the concept of “dignitas” — a complex term that meant not just dignity, but also worth, prestige and honor — was the “cherished ideal,” a life spent in Caesar’s shadow rendered Decimus uneasy.

Cassius, a general and senator, had several motives for wanting Caesar dead.

In addition to fearing his ambition, he had been passed over for several high-level positions and faced rumors that Caesar slept with his wife.

When Cassius began to seek out co-conspirators, he found that he could “manage the conspiracy but lacked the authority to lead it.”

Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus had Caesar’s full confidence and was the final piece in Cassius and Brutus’ plot. Wikipedia

For this, he needed Brutus, another high-level military man and politician who came from “one of the oldest families in the Republic,” and had just enough populist appeal to win over the people, thereby increasing the chances that the conspirators would survive the assassination.

As others warmed to Cassius’ conspiracy, they began a “public-relations campaign” to “persuade Brutus to act.” Graffiti began popping up in locations where Brutus worked, reading, “If only now you were Brutus,” “If only Brutus were alive,” “Brutus, wake up!” and “You aren’t really Brutus.”

This, combined with persuasion from Cassius and Brutus’ principled opposition to tyrants, drove Brutus against Caesar.

Decimus was the final piece of the puzzle, since, as “a close friend of Caesar’s,” he was the only one with the ruler’s full confidence.

(In Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,” Strauss notes, Decimus is “misnamed as Decius” and shunted to a minor role.)

The soothsayer warns Caesar of the Ides of March. Caesar originally cancelled his appearance in the Senate on March 15th, but went after Decimus mocked his fears and said the senators would look at him as weak if he didn’t attend. Getty Images

The three recruited approximately 60 men to join them, including Caesar supporters who felt inadequately compensated for military victories and were angered by Caesar’s policy of clemency for conquered peoples, as “they wanted to see their former enemies humbled, not raised to equality.”

For security reasons, the conspirators met in small groups in people’s homes and forewent the usual conspiracy ritual of taking pledges over sacrificial animals. They had barely a month to act, as Caesar was leaving for the Parthian War on March 18 and would be surrounded by his army from then on.

They decided to kill Caesar in the Senate House. They felt it would be the safest place, since no weapons were allowed in the Senate, several senators were involved and Caesar’s other friends would not be there to protect him.

On March 15, Caesar was scheduled to attend a meeting in the Senate. The purpose was procedural business, but a rumor was spreading that there would be a proposal to crown Caesar king.
That morning, Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, woke from a nightmare that saw her husband murdered — probably a result of her recalling the soothsayer’s earlier warning — and begged Caesar not to attend the meeting.

He shared his wife’s bad feelings about the day, especially after telling Spurinna, “The Ides of March have come,” and having the soothsayer respond, “Aye, they have come but not gone.” (The infamous “Beware the Ides of March” was never actually spoken in that form.)

Caesar, fearing the omens, cancelled his appearance in the Senate. The conspirators, then, had to persuade him to change his mind. His close friend Decimus was chosen for the task.

In an ultimate act of betrayal, Decimus, who served Caesar closely for more than a decade and was well-rewarded for his efforts, met with Caesar at his home. He told the ruler that he “should not risk disappointing the Senate, or worse, seeming to insult or mock it.” He convinced the ruler that if he failed to show for the meeting, the senators would look upon him as “a tyrant or a weakling.” He also mocked the soothsayer and the visions of Caesar’s wife, saying, “Will someone of your stature pay attention to the dreams of a woman and the omens of foolish men?”

Decimus’ prodding worked. He had succeeded in luring his dear old friend to his death.

Inside the Senate House, at around noon, Caesar took a seat on his golden throne as his enemies took the stage, having snuck in daggers under their togas or in their slaves’ baskets.

Caesar’s assassins snuck in the daggers under their togas or inside their slaves baskets. Getty Images

“Some of the conspirators stood behind his chair,” Strauss writes, “while others gathered around him, as if they were going to pay their respects or bring some matter to his attention. They were really forming a perimeter.” Strauss says it’s likely that Caesar was initially surrounded by around 12 men, with more prepared to join a “second wave.”

Once the meeting was underway, Caesar, as per the plan, was approached by Tillius Cimber, a “hard-drinking scrapper” who “had Caesar’s favor,” and presented “a petition on behalf of his exiled brother.”

As he made his point, Cimber “disrespected Caesar by coming up to him with his hands out instead of keeping them humbly beneath his toga. Then, Cimber took hold of Caesar’s toga and held it so tightly that he kept Caesar from getting up.” Finally, Cimber “pulled the toga from Caesar’s shoulder.”

“Why, this is violence!” screamed the enraged leader, who understood all too quickly — and yet, too late — that the omens had been correct.

“As agreed on in advance,” writes Strauss, “pulling down Caesar’s toga was the signal to start the attack.”

Publius Servilius Casca, a friend of Caesar’s and an “experienced killer,” was given “the honor of the first blow.”

Casca swung his knife toward Caesar’s neck, but stabbed him in the chest instead, as Caesar was now thrashing to defend himself. He likely swatted Casca away, but the blows from others were coming too quickly.

Pulling Caesar’s toga was the signal to begin the attack. Getty Images

Casca’s brother, Gaius Casca, “delivered the second blow, which struck the dictator in the ribs,” and his other attackers descended, encircling Caesar and mutilating his body. Many of the key conspirators got shots in, with Cassius “plant[ing] a slanting blow across the face,” Decimus striking “deep under the ribs,” and Brutus, who himself received a slash across the hand from Cassius in the melee, likely connecting with Caesar’s thigh.

Strauss notes that throughout this, Caesar never cried out, “Et tu, Brute,” proclaiming the phrase a “Renaissance invention.”

It is believed that Gaius Casca’s blow was the fatal one, and that those who thrusted after stabbed Caesar’s dead body simply so they could proclaim their involvement. Caesar likely received 23 stab wounds and died within minutes.

The conspirators immediately hit the streets, seeking public support by denouncing Caesar as a tyrant and boasting of how they’d return Rome to glory as a Republic. So assured were they of obtaining this support that they walked “with their daggers drawn and their hands still bloody.”

But both the public and Caesar’s army were more divided than they’d hoped. Ultimately, Brutus and Cassius went into battle against Caesar supporters Mark Antony and Gaius Octavius (Octavian), with each side having anywhere from 50,000-100,000 men.

Antony captured Decimus, ordering his death, then soundly defeated Cassius’ forces. Cassius mistakenly thought Brutus had been beaten by then as well, and, believing all was lost, had one of his men decapitate him. Brutus, then seeing his own defeat as inevitable, killed himself.

Antony and Octavian divided Rome and its territories between them, and after Antony’s death, Octavian became Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire.

In time, Julius Caesar would be remembered not as power-hungry but as a great leader, with many Roman rulers after him taking on Caesar as a title. “The German ‘kaiser’ and the Russian ‘tsar,’ ” Strauss notes, “derive from Caesar.

“Far from condemning Caesar as a tyrant, people mourn him as a martyr. Caesar’s genius and his sympathy for the poor live on while his war against the Republic in favor of one-man rule . . . [is] forgotten.”

39. Fast and Furious

Riding down from the steppes in marauding droves, the Huns began their rampage of Eastern Europe as early as 370 AD. By 408 AD the Hunnic empire extended in the west from the Alps to the Baltic Sea, and in the east from the Alps to the Caspian Sea. By 430 AD Rua, the uncle of Attila, had assumed leadership of the tribe.

Wikimedia Commons


Rome soon grew to hate its leader, and citizens began a secret push to get rid of him. On January 24, 41 A.D., Caligula was attacked by a group of guardsman, following a sporting event. During the assassination, Caligula was stabbed 30 times, and killed. His body was dumped into a shallow grave, and his wife and daughter were murdered.

Caligula&aposs death pushed the Senate to immediately order the destruction of his statues in hopes of eradicating him from Rome&aposs history. Still, more than two millennia since his rule, Caligula&aposs legacy is deemed a fascinating piece of Roman history.

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A Guide to Volcanoes

Editor&rsquos Note (6/4/18): This story is being re-posted in light of the deadly eruption of Guatemala&rsquos Fuego volcano on Sunday (June 3), which covered nearby villages in fast-moving ash flows.

Attila Kilinc, head of the geology department at the University of Cincinnati, offers this answer. Most recently, Professor Kilinc has been studying volcanoes in Hawaii and Montserrat.

When a part of the earth's upper mantle or lower crust melts, magma forms. A volcano is essentially an opening or a vent through which this magma and the dissolved gases it contains are discharged. Although there are several factors triggering a volcanic eruption, three predominate: the buoyancy of the magma, the pressure from the exsolved gases in the magma and the injection of a new batch of magma into an already filled magma chamber. What follows is a brief description of these processes.

As rock inside the earth melts, its mass remains the same while its volume increases--producing a melt that is less dense than the surrounding rock. This lighter magma then rises toward the surface by virtue of its buoyancy. If the density of the magma between the zone of its generation and the surface is less than that of the surrounding and overlying rocks, the magma reaches the surface and erupts.

Magmas of so-called andesitic and rhyolitic compositions also contain dissolved volatiles such as water, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Experiments have shown that the amount of a dissolved gas in magma (its solubility) at atmospheric pressure is zero, but rises with increasing pressure.

For example, in an andesitic magma saturated with water and six kilometers below the surface, about 5 percent of its weight is dissolved water. As this magma moves toward the surface, the solubility of the water in the magma decreases, and so the excess water separates from the magma in the form of bubbles. As the magma moves closer to the surface, more and more water exsolves from the magma, thereby increasing the gas/magma ratio in the conduit. When the volume of bubbles reaches about 75 percent, the magma disintegrates to pyroclasts (partially molten and solid fragments) and erupts explosively.

The third process that causes volcanic eruptions is an injection of new magma into a chamber that is already filled with magma of similar or different composition. This injection forces some of the magma in the chamber to move up in the conduit and erupt at the surface.

Although volcanologists are well aware of these three processes, they cannot yet predict a volcanic eruption. But they have made significant advances in forecasting volcanic eruptions. Forecasting involves probable character and time of an eruption in a monitored volcano. The character of an eruption is based on the prehistoric and historic record of the volcano in question and its volcanic products. For example, a violently erupting volcano that has produced ash fall, ash flow and volcanic mudflows (or lahars) is likely to do the same in the future.


The term "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" appeared as far back as the 1920s, [1] [2] whereas the similar formulation "doubts, fears, and uncertainties" even reaches back to 1693 the least. [3] [4] By 1975, the term was appearing abbreviated as FUD in marketing and sales contexts [5] as well as in public relations: [6]

One of the messages dealt with is FUD—the fear, uncertainty, and doubt on the part of customer and sales person alike that stifles the approach and greeting. [5]

The abbreviation FUD is also alternatively rendered as "fear, uncertainty, and disinformation". [7]

FUD was first used with its common current technology-related meaning by Gene Amdahl in 1975, after he left IBM to found his own company, Amdahl Corp.: [8]

FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products. [8]

The term has also been attributed to veteran Morgan Stanley computer analyst Ulrich Weil. [ citation needed ]

This usage of FUD to describe disinformation in the computer hardware industry is said to have led to subsequent popularization of the term. [9]

The idea, of course, was to persuade buyers to go with safe IBM gear rather than with competitors' equipment. This implicit coercion was traditionally accomplished by promising that Good Things would happen to people who stuck with IBM, but Dark Shadows loomed over the future of competitors' equipment or software. After 1991, the term has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon. [8]

By spreading questionable information about the drawbacks of less well-known products, an established company can discourage decision-makers from choosing those products over its own, regardless of the relative technical merits. This is a recognized phenomenon, epitomized by the traditional axiom of purchasing agents that "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment". The aim is to have IT departments buy software they know to be technically inferior because upper management is more likely to recognize the brand.

Software producers Edit

Microsoft Edit

From the 1990s onward, the term became most often associated with Microsoft. Roger Irwin said: [10]

Microsoft soon picked up the art of FUD from IBM, and throughout the '80s used FUD as a primary marketing tool, much as IBM had in the previous decade. They ended up out FUD-ing IBM themselves during the OS/2 vs Win3.1 years.

In 1996, Caldera, Inc. accused Microsoft of several anti-competitive practices, including issuing vaporware announcements, creating FUD, and excluding competitors from participating in beta-test programs in order to destroy competition in the DOS market. [11] [12] One of the claims was related to having modified Windows 3.1 so that it would not run on DR DOS 6.0 although there were no technical reasons for it not to work. [11] [13] This was caused by the so-called AARD code, some encrypted piece of code, which had been found in a number of Microsoft programs. The code would fake nonsensical error messages if run on DR DOS, like: [14] [15] [16]

Non-Fatal error detected: error #2726
Please contact Windows 3.1 beta support
Press ENTER to exit or C to continue [14] [15] [16]

If the user chose to press C , Windows would continue to run on DR DOS without problems. While it had been already speculated in the industry that the purpose of this code was to create doubts about DR DOS's compatibility and thereby destroy the product's reputation, [14] [15] internal Microsoft memos published as part of the United States v. Microsoft antitrust case later revealed that the specific focus of these tests was in fact DR DOS. [17] At one point, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates sent a memo to a number of employees, reading

You never sent me a response on the question of what things an app would do that would make it run with MS-DOS and not run with DR-DOS. Is there [a] feature they have that might get in our way? [11] [18]

Microsoft Senior Vice President Brad Silverberg later sent another memo, stating

What the [user] is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is DR-DOS and then go out to buy MS-DOS. [11] [18]

In 2000, Microsoft settled the lawsuit out-of-court for an undisclosed sum, which in 2009 was revealed to be $280 million. [19] [20] [21] [22]

At around the same time, the leaked internal Microsoft "Halloween documents" stated "OSS [Open Source Software] is long-term credible… [therefore] FUD tactics cannot be used to combat it." [23] Open source software, and the Linux community in particular, are widely perceived as frequent targets of Microsoft's FUD:

  • Statements about the "viral nature" [24] of the GNU General Public License (GPL).
  • Statements that "…FOSS [Free and open source software] infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents", before software patent law precedents were even established. [25][26]
  • Statements that Windows Server 2003 has lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than Linux, in Microsoft's "Get-The-Facts" campaign. It turned out that they were comparing Linux on a very expensive IBM mainframe to Windows Server 2003 on an Intel Xeon-based server. [27][28]
  • A 2010 video claimed that had a higher long-term cost of ownership, as well as poor interoperability with Microsoft's own office suite. The video featured statements such as "If an open source freeware solution breaks, who's gonna fix it?" [29][30]

SCO v. IBM Edit

The SCO Group's 2003 lawsuit against IBM, funded by Microsoft, claiming $5 billion in intellectual property infringements by the free software community, is an example of FUD, according to IBM, which argued in its counterclaim that SCO was spreading "fear, uncertainty, and doubt". [31]

Magistrate Judge Brooke C. Wells wrote (and Judge Dale Albert Kimball concurred) in her order limiting SCO's claims: "The court finds SCO's arguments unpersuasive. SCO's arguments are akin to SCO telling IBM, 'sorry, we are not going to tell you what you did wrong because you already know. ' SCO was required to disclose in detail what it feels IBM misappropriated. the court finds it inexcusable that SCO is. not placing all the details on the table. Certainly if an individual were stopped and accused of shoplifting after walking out of Neiman Marcus they would expect to be eventually told what they allegedly stole. It would be absurd for an officer to tell the accused that 'you know what you stole, I'm not telling.' Or, to simply hand the accused individual a catalog of Neiman Marcus' entire inventory and say 'it's in there somewhere, you figure it out. ' " [32]

Regarding the matter, Darl Charles McBride, President and CEO of SCO, made the following statements:

  1. "IBM has taken our valuable trade secrets and given them away to Linux,"
  2. "We're finding. cases where there is line-by-line code in the Linux kernel that is matching up to our UnixWare code"
  3. ". unless more companies start licensing SCO's property. [SCO] may also sue Linus Torvalds. for patent infringement."
  4. "Both companies [IBM and Red Hat] have shifted liability to the customer and then taunted us to sue them."
  5. "We have the ability to go to users with lawsuits and we will if we have to, 'It would be within SCO Group's rights to order every copy of AIX [IBM's proprietary UNIX] destroyed ' "
  6. "As of Friday, [13] June [2003], we will be done trying to talk to IBM, and we will be talking directly to its customers and going in and auditing them. IBM no longer has the authority to sell or distribute IBM AIX and customers no longer have the right to use AIX software"
  7. "If you just drag this out in a typical litigation path, where it takes years and years to settle anything, and in the meantime you have all this uncertainty clouding over the market. "
  8. "Users are running systems that have basically pirated software inside, or stolen software inside of their systems, they have liability." [33]

SCO stock skyrocketed from under US$3 a share to over US$20 in a matter of weeks in 2003. (It later dropped to around [34] US$1.2—then crashed to under 50 cents on 13 August 2007, in the aftermath of a ruling that Novell owns the UNIX copyrights.) [35]

Apple Edit

Apple's claim that iPhone jailbreaking could potentially allow hackers to crash cell phone towers was described by Fred von Lohmann, a representative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), as a "kind of theoretical threat. more FUD than truth". [36]

Security industry Edit

FUD is widely recognized as a tactic to promote the sale or implementation of security products and measures. It is possible to find pages describing purely artificial problems. Such pages frequently contain links to the demonstrating source code that does not point to any valid location and sometimes even links that "will execute malicious code on your machine regardless of current security software", leading to pages without any executable code. [ citation needed ]

The drawback to the FUD tactic in this context is that, when the stated or implied threats fail to materialize over time, the customer or decision-maker frequently reacts by withdrawing budgeting or support from future security initiatives. [37]

FUD has also been utilized in technical support scams, which may use fake error messages to scare unwitting computer users, especially the elderly or computer-illiterate, into paying for a supposed fix for a non-existent problem, [38] to avoid being framed for criminal charges such as unpaid taxes, or in extreme cases, false accusations of illegal acts such as child pornography. [39]

Caltex Edit

The FUD tactic was used by Caltex Australia in 2003. According to an internal memo, which was subsequently leaked, they wished to use FUD to destabilize franchisee confidence, and thus get a better deal for Caltex. This memo was used as an example of unconscionable behaviour in a Senate inquiry. Senior management claimed that it was contrary to and did not reflect company principles. [40] [41] [42]

Clorox Edit

In 2008, Clorox was the subject of both consumer and industry criticism for advertising its Green Works line of allegedly environmentally friendly cleaning products using the slogan, "Finally, Green Works." [43] The slogan implied both that "green" products manufactured by other companies which had been available to consumers prior to the introduction of Clorox's GreenWorks line had all been ineffective, and also that the new GreenWorks line was at least as effective as Clorox's existing product lines. The intention of this slogan and the associated advertising campaign has been interpreted as appealing to consumers' fears that products from companies with less brand recognition are less trustworthy or effective. Critics also pointed out that, despite its representation of GreenWorks products as "green" in the sense of being less harmful to the environment and/or consumers using them, the products contain a number of ingredients advocates of natural products have long campaigned against the use of in household products due to toxicity to humans or their environment. [44] All three implicit claims have been disputed, and some of their elements disproven, by environmental groups, consumer-protection groups, and the industry self-regulatory Better Business Bureau. [45]

While common usage of the term "FUD" is relatively recent and somewhat limited, the practice of casting unwarranted aspersions upon other persons, products or circumstances to further one's own goals may be as old as humanity examples in classic literature include Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, and the terms in the "See also" section below offer many further examples.

    – A person employed to incite others to commit incriminating actions – The study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt – Arrangement in which fear of retribution is pervasive – Framework in military intelligence theory – Parody where water is presented by an uncommon name – 2008 book by David Michaels (book) – Cognitive bias where people with low ability overestimate their skill – Anti-competitive Microsoft business strategy extending open standards with proprietary capabilities (EEE) – Covert operation designed to deceive – Deliberate use of fear-based tactics – Term with various meanings – Deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as the truth – Character in Othello – 2014 American documentary film by Robert Kenner (film) – 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (book) – Feeling of fear spread among many people that some evil threatens the well-being of society – Practice of obscuring information – Influence tactic – Term used in British politics – Form of communication intended to sway the audience through presenting only one side of the argument – Practice of avoiding research whose cost exceeds its benefits – Form of malicious software – Political jargon for a particular form of character assassination as a smear tactic – Hat and stereotype for conspiracy theorists – Product announced but never released – Formal fallacy
  1. ^ Yarbrough, Caesar Augustus (1920-05-22). "Chapter: Letters from Association Answering Objections - Laymen's Repies to Criticism with the Author's Comments - Association Not Formed for Evangelical Purposes". The Roman Catholic Church Challenged in the Discussion of Thirty-two Questions with the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia. Macon, Georgia, USA: The Patriotic Societies of Macon. p. 75. LCCN20009417. OCLC1084527008. Cl. A570137. ark:/13960/t26982v0c. […] Suspicion has no place in our interchanges it is a shield for ignorance, a sign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. […] [1][2] (NB. In there, Yarbrough is citing a 1917-09-21 letter by J. J. Farrell, Augusta, Georgia, USA, which contains the quotation.)
  2. ^
  3. Gardner, Monica Mary (1926). Dent, Joseph Malaby (ed.). The Patriot Novelist of Poland, Henryk Sienkiewicz. London, England: E. P. Dutton & Co. p. 71. […] Again he was caught in a tempest of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. […] (See also: Henryk Sienkiewicz)
  4. ^
  5. Payne, William (1695) [1693-03-21]. "Chapter VII. The Conclusion.". Written at London, England. A Practical Discourse of Repentance, Rectifying the Mistakes about it, especially such as lead either to Despair or Presumption. Perswading and Directing to the True Practice of it, and Demonstrating the Invalidity of a Death-Bed Repentance (2nd ed.). The Princes Arms, St. Pauls Church Yard: Samuel Smith Benjamin Walford. p. 557. OCLC51617518 . Retrieved 2019-06-02 . […] This will give unspeakable comfort peace and satisfaction to his Mind, and set him not only out of danger and free him from an ill state, but out of all doubts fears and uncertainties in his thoughts about it […]
  6. ^
  7. Payne, William (1708) [1693-03-21]. "Chapter VII. The Conclusion.". Written at London, England. A Practical Discourse of Repentance, Rectifying the Mistakes about it, especially such as lead either to Despair or Presumption. Perswading and Directing to the True Practice of it, and Demonstrating the Invalidity of a Death-Bed Repentance (corrected and reset 2nd ed.). The Sun and Moon (near the Royal Exchange), Cornhill the Ship, St. Paul's Church-Yard: Richard Burrough and John Baker William Taylor. p. 406. OCLC1086876590 . Retrieved 2019-06-02 . […] This will give unspeakable comfort peace and satisfaction to his Mind, and set him not only out of danger, and free him from an ill state, but out of all doubts fears and uncertainties in his thoughts about it […]
  8. ^ ab
  9. "The search for self". Clothes. New York, NY, USA: PRADS, Inc. 10 (14–24): 19. 1975-10-01 . Retrieved 2011-06-10 . […] One of the messages dealt with is FUD—the fear, uncertainty and doubt on the part of customer and sales person alike that stifles the approach and greeting. […]
  10. ^
  11. Harris, Rhonda (1998). The Complete Sales Letter Book. Armonk: Sharpe Professional. ISBN0-7656-0083-8 .
  12. ^
  13. Jansen, Erin (2002). Netlingo. Ojai: NetLingo. p. 179. ISBN0-9706396-7-8 .
  14. ^ abcd
  15. Raymond, Eric Steven, ed. (2003-12-29). "FUD". The Jargon File. Version 4.4.7. Archived from the original on 2019-09-01 . Retrieved 2004-03-19 .
  16. ^
  17. Elliott, Gail (2003). School Mobbing and Emotional Abuse . Philadelphia, USA: Brunner–Routledge. ISBN0-415-94551-8 . (NB. For example, FUD has been used to describe social dynamics in contexts where sales, lobbying or commercial promotion is not involved.)
  18. ^
  19. Irwin, Roger (1998). "What is FUD?". Archived from the original on 2019-01-14 . Retrieved 2006-12-30 .
  20. ^ abcd
  21. Susman, Stephen Daily Eskridge III, Charles R. Southwick, James T. Susman, Harry P. Folse III, Parker C. Palumbo, Ralph H. Harris, Matthew R. McCune, Philip S. Engel, Lynn M. Hill, Stephen J. Tibbitts, Ryan E. (April 1999). "In the United States District Court - District of Utah, Central Division - Caldera, Inc. vs. Microsoft Corporation - Consolidated statement of facts in support of its responses to motions for summary judgement by Microsoft Corporation - Case No. 2:96CV 0645B" (Court document). Caldera, Inc.Archived from the original on 2018-08-05 . Retrieved 2018-08-05 .
  22. ^
  23. Susman, Stephen Daily Eskridge III, Charles R. Susman, Harry P. Southwick, James T. Folse III, Parker C. Borchers, Timothy K. Palumbo, Ralph H. Harris, Matthew R. Engel, Lynn M. McCune, Philip S. Locker, Lawrence C. Wheeler, Max D. Hill, Stephen J. Tibbitts, Ryan E. (May 1999). "In the United States District Court - District of Utah, Central Division - Caldera, Inc. vs. Microsoft Corporation - Case No. 2:96CV 0645B - Caldera, Inc.'s Memorandum in opposition to defendant's motion for partial Summary Judgment on plaintiff's "Technological Tying" claim" (Court document). Caldera, Inc.Archived from the original on 2018-08-05 . Retrieved 2018-08-05 .
  24. ^
  25. Ball, Lyle (1999-04-28). "Caldera submits evidence to counter Microsoft's motions for partial summary judgment" (Press release). Caldera, Inc.Archived from the original on 2018-08-05 . Retrieved 2018-08-05 .
  26. ^ abc
  27. Schulman, Andrew (September 1993). "Examining the Windows AARD Detection Code - A serious message--and the code that produced it". Dr. Dobb's Journal. Miller Freeman, Inc.18 (9): 42, 44–48, 89. #204. Archived from the original on 2005-12-10 . Retrieved 2013-10-05 .
  28. ^ abc
  29. Schulman, Andrew Brown, Ralf D. Maxey, David Michels, Raymond J. Kyle, Jim (1994) [November 1993]. Undocumented DOS: A programmer's guide to reserved MS-DOS functions and data structures - expanded to include MS-DOS 6, Novell DOS and Windows 3.1 (2 ed.). Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley. p. 11. ISBN0-201-63287-X . (xviii+856+vi pages, 3.5-inch floppy) Errata: [3][4]
  30. ^ ab
  31. Reynolds, Aaron R. (1993-02-24) [1991-12-06]. "msdos detection - hot job for you" (PDF) (Court document). MS-PCA 1164868-1164869 X0532177-X0532178 Comes v. Microsoft Exhibit 1133 Gates Deposition Exhibit 85. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-08-03 . Retrieved 2018-08-04 . (NB. This court document is a copy of a mail by Aaron Reynolds written in 1991 and forwarded by one of its recipients, Phil Barrett, in 1993.)
  32. ^
  33. Lea, Graham (1999-11-05). "How MS played the incompatibility card against DR-DOS - Real bear-traps, and spurious errors". The Register. Archived from the original on 2016-11-25 . Retrieved 2013-09-26 .
  34. ^ ab
  35. Goodin, Dan (1999-04-28). "Microsoft emails focus on DR-DOS threat". CNET News. Archived from the original on 2015-05-26 . Retrieved 2008-08-21 .
  36. ^
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This article is based in part on the Jargon File, which is in the public domain.

4. Romanov Easter Eggs

Lilies of the Valley Fabergé Egg , 1898, The Arts Society

Peter Carl Faberge was a Russian jeweler of French descent. He is known for the exceptional quality and beauty of his work and especially for the popular Faberge Eggs .

The royal tradition of the Faberge Eggs began with Tsar Alexander III who in 1885 ordered a decorative Easter egg from Faberge’s studio as a gift for his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna.

When she received the gift, Maria Feodorovna saw an ordinary egg, made from white gold. But the emperor had prepared several surprises within the egg. As she opened it, she found a golden yolk. In a similar way to the Russian matryoshka, the egg had more surprises waiting to be found – the yolk was to be opened to reveal a golden hen with ruby ​​eyes.

Inside the golden hen, there was a miniature copy of the imperial crown made of gold and diamonds, as well as a small ruby ​​for the Empress to wear on a chain around her neck. This original egg remains in history under the name “Hen”.

From this day onward, the crown would have Faberge make one egg per year for Alexander III until his death. This tradition was continued by his successor Nicholas II who, in total, ordered 44 more eggs.

The exact number of the eggs remains unknown since several were made for other rich Russian families. It is believed that there were around 70 in total but the mystery here is that 8 of the royal eggs have gone missing.

Each of the surviving Faberge eggs is worth millions of dollars which means that the ones that are missing would be worth even more.

Mongol Invasion in 1200 Altered Carbon Dioxide Levels

The Mongol invasion of Asia in the 1200s took enough carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to offset a year's worth of the world's gasoline demand today, according to a new study. But even Genghis Khan couldn't create more than a blip in atmospheric carbon compared to the overwhelming effect of agriculture.

The study, published online Jan. 20 in the journal The Holocene, looked at land use and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between the years 800 and 1850. Globally at the time, humans were cutting down forests for agriculture, driving carbon into the atmosphere (vegetation stores carbon, so trees and shrubs are what scientists call "carbon sinks"). But in some regions during certain times, wars and plagues culled the population, disrupting agriculture and allowing forests to regrow.

The question, said Julia Pongratz, a postdoctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution's Department for Global Ecology at Stanford University, was whether this regrowth could have locked up enough carbon to make a difference in global atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"We wanted to check if humans had an impact on carbon dioxide by increasing it by deforestation, but also by decreasing it," Pongratz told LiveScience.

Catastrophes and carbon

Pongratz and her colleagues used a detailed reconstruction of historical agriculture to model the effect of four major wars and plagues in the 800 to 1850 time period: the Mongol takeover of Asia (from about 1200 to 1380), the Black Death in Europe (1347 to 1400), the conquest of the Americas (1519 to 1700) and the fall of the Ming Dynasty in China (1600 to 1650).

All of these events led to death on a massive scale (the Black Death alone is thought to have killed 25 million people in Europe). But Mother Nature barely noticed, the researchers found. Only the Mongol invasion had a noticeable impact, decreasing global carbon dioxide by less than 0.1 part per million. This small amount required that the forests absorb about 700 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is the amount emitted annually by worldwide gasoline demand today. But it was still a very minor effect, Pongratz said.

"Since the pre-industrial era, we have increased atmospheric CO2 [or carbon dioxide] concentration by about 100 parts per million, so this is really a different dimension," she said.

The effect of all of the events was small or nonexistent for a few reasons, Pongratz said. For one, disasters such as the Black Plague or the fall of the Ming Dynasty are too short to allow for full forest regrowth. It can take a century or more for a tree to get to its full carbon storage capacity, Pongratz said, and populations were recovering by then. Plus, rotting roots and felled vegetation continued to release carbon into the atmosphere for decades as the fields lay fallow.

Another factor was that while one part of the world burned, the rest planted. In the case of the conquest of the Americas in particular, Pongratz said, native people with a minimal agricultural footprint were dying, while deforestation continued across the globe.

The role of agriculture

Studies of Antarctic ice cores suggest that carbon dioxide dropped much more during these eras than the models by Pongratz and her team revealed. That may mean that natural factors, such as changes in solar radiation, played a larger role in atmospheric carbon dioxide than reforestation during this time, Pongratz said.

But agriculture's proportional role isn't certain yet. The researchers may have underestimated the effect of forest regrowth, said Richard Nevle, an instructor at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose who has investigated environmental change surrounding the conquest of the Americas. Some of the team's assumptions about the amount of carbon released from rotting vegetation in the soil were more conservative than necessary, Nevle (who was not involved in the study) told LiveScience. Nonetheless, he said, the study provides a "new, sophisticated tool" to advance the understanding of climate change in the pre-industrial era.

"I think it will eventually help us nail down a more definitive answer to the mystery of the large drop in atmospheric CO2 concentration that occurred during the 16th and 18th centuries," Nevle said. "I look forward to seeing this work evolve."

You can follow LiveScience Senior Writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas.

Watch the video: Attila the huns death: Murder or natural causes? (November 2021).