Qvadriga: Racing in Ancient Rome

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In 1984, Avalon Hill released a DOS version of their classic chariot racing board game, Circus Maximus. That was the last chariot racing strategy game released for the PC. It looked like this: Thirty years later, developer Turnopia reminds us what’s been missing from the gaming landscape: strong, turn-based, tactical chariot racing. That may sound [Read More...]

Truman’s Amazing 1950 Christmas Message

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Yes, I realize it’s not Christmas, but I didn’t know about it then, and will forget about by December, so here it is. I was listening to an old-time radio show and this was at the beginning: Can you even imagine it today? Plain ole Harry the haberdasher, speaking from the heart about faith in [Read More...]

A Dishonest “Cosmos”

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When my friend Tony Rossi posted about the cartoon about the life of Giordano Bruno that was inexplicably shoehorned into the reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series,  he received a number of negative comments. Tony had asked a few of us with a background in Church history what we thought before he wrote his post, [Read More...]

Our Ancestors Weren’t Idiots

Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher at study. wearing the first eyeglasses ever depicted in art. (Tommaso da Modena, 1352)

I spend much of my of time reading the words and trying understand the thought processes of the medieval mind. Christendom between about the year 1000 and the Reformation was a time and place with a view of the world profoundly different from ours. (The idea of the Renaissance as some great opening of the [Read More...]

The Daily Capybara, And a Bit of Legend

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The capybara is my favorite animal, and not merely because they’re the only red meat you can eat on days of Lenten fast. Well, that’s the legend at least. Supposedly, when the missionaries encountered the capybara in South America, they weren’t sure if it qualified as a mammal or a fish. It has webbed feet [Read More...]

What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 2)

St. Luke Painting the Virgin Mary, 1602, Marten de Vos

In Part One, I retold the major tradition associated with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This tradition is attributed to various sources depending upon where the writer first encountered it. The most widespread version was that told (twice) by Jacobus de Voragine in the Golden Legend. This lengthy chapter in the Legend shows various signs [Read More...]

What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 1)

Assume, 15th century, Sano di Pietro

What do we really know about the life of Mary beyond what the Bible tells us? Scripture gives us only glimpses of the Blessed Mother before she vanishes from history, only to reappear in the Book of Revelation as the “woman clothed in the sun” (Revelation 12:1-6). We have the last words she speaks, resonating [Read More...]

Medieval Book Shrines

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Medieval Fragments has a terrific, well-illustrated post on book shrines: shrines designed to look like books. Called a cumdach, the book shrine was a kind of reliquary contains pages from books associated with saints, and occasionally first class relics: Usually quite small, they served as a portable vessel meant for the preservation of a sacred [Read More...]


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