Gaspar – Gaspar Correia here for Minimum Wage Historian. We’ve received literally threes of letters…um…e-mails asking questions about history. And I, as the most senor historian here, will answer them.
Anna – I’m older by far.
Gapsar – I said, “senor,” not senior.
Anna – I can’t take this. Zach doesn’t pay me enough.
Gaspar – Excellent. Now she won’t be here to spout the lies they tell you in your public schools. First letter is from a “Frank” in Wisconsin. Frank? A Frenchman? Well, he asks, “In the American Civil War, both capitals were so near each other, how did the war go so long without either capital being taken?”
Well, Frenchman, that’s a great question and one with a complicated answer. First off, Lincoln deployed on of the government’s biggest secret, the “Electro-Shield” developed by Benjamin Franklin. When Lee’s army tried to bombard DC from Arlington, but the Electro-Shield stopped all incoming artillery shells. The South was powerless to penetrate the Shield.
Now, the Confederate capital of Richmond had a different defense. As we know, Richmond is situated on a hill by a river. Very defensible, but not enough to defend against the armies of the North. With their aristocratic tradition of sorcerer plantation owners they managed to form a barricade of stone golems from the hill and water elementals from the river. The supernatural defenses couldn’t move out of their places, but presented too lethal a blockade to the North.
So, Frenchie, I hope that answers your question. The two armies just had to go around each others’ capitals and led to a long, protracted war.
Ok, next question.
This letter…e-mail, is from a woman in Florida. Flowered. Funny name for a place. Well, she writes, “What benefits did Peter the Great do for Russia? Were the stories of his traveling in disguise true?”
This happens to be a subject I know a great deal about. Well, I’ll start with the last question first. Yes, he did travel throughout Europe in disguise. He had to. As an undead revenant he had to hide his hideous nature as he traveled the world searching out arcane secrets. Not only did he search for ancient spells to prolong his life, but he also searched for the magic machinery that will add strength to his armies and increase food production. He had drained the life out of too many of his peasants and needed more efficiency in the farm work. With the secrets he bought, stole and killed for, he was able to bring Russia to the big boy table of European politics. His armies of undead driven steam mechs marched across the steppes of Russia.
Now, a Mr. Sykes from Virginia asked “What if Hannibal of Carthage defeated Rome during the Second Punic Wars?”
Nice question! I love me some “what ifs.” Now, as we know, Rome’s victory in the Second Punic War made them the super power in the western Mediterranean. It was their start as the hegemon of Europe. But what if their invasion of Carthage had failed? It had been a gamble. Carthegenian armies were rampaging around Spain and Italy and yet Rome launched a surprise invasion of Carthage. The gamble paid off and Rome razed Carthage and salted the earth to prevent anything growing there.
Romans were vindictive jerks.
But if they lost, things would be different. Carthage would dictate terms to Rome and hold them under their economic thumb. Rome would never develop as a super power. The Greek states would continue in their internecine wars and eventually be swallowed by their powerful Persian neighbors. Carthage would control North Africa and possibly Spain as well. This new eastern Mediterranean state would control trade in the area and possibly have served as a bulwark against the rise of the Islamic Empire. The German tribes would overrun Europe without the civilizing influences of Rome and the Dark Ages would have been far longer and far darker. We’d have the eastern Persians and the western Carthagenians in a duel power struggle with a dark and barbaric Europe playing little part.
History would have been much different. The Mongol invaders probably wouldn’t have bothered Europe in favor of the richer targets in Persia and North Africa. The language of learning would be Persian or Carthagenian and Europeans would send their best and brightest to the southern universities.
Now, a Joyce from South Carolina writes: “What was the cause and outcome of the Fourth Crusade.”
Excellent question. I’m sure Zach wants to write about this some more, but I’ll steal his thunder.
The Fourth Crusade as it is in the history books, was a bunch of French knights…what’s with French people today? These French knights wanted to go on a Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. But they had no money. So they went to the Venetians to work out a deal for transportation. The Venetians said, “Sure, we’ll take you there, but you have to do some thing for us first.” And they procedded to use the Crusaders to take cities they wanted. Then they found their way to Constantinople, Venice’s chief rival. The situation there was weak and the Venetian doge, Dandalo saw an opportunity. He convinced the Crusaders to attack Constantinople. They proceeded to attack the largest Christian city in the world all for money and power.
That’s what the history books say.
But the truth is far different.
The Venetians knew what know one else did, that Constantinople had been taken over by steam powered robots invented by Archimedes. His creations went on to become self aware. They learned to mimic humans and gained power in Constantinople. They took over the government, military and were poised to launch a marine invasion of Europe. An army of killer automatons were being prepared and if the Venetians could attack before the army was activated they could save Christendom.
The problem was, the Venetians didn’t have the forces to attack the massive fortifications of Constantinople. Then the poor Crusaders came along and they saw their answer. Yes, they used the Crusaders, but it was for a most necessary cause. The Venetian/robot war was over quickly and the Byzantine Empire was temporarily split between the victors.
We all owe a debt to the Venetians for stopping this mechanical menace.
But now you know the truth.
So, if you have any other questions, shoot me an epistle and I’ll answer you with the cold hard truth that others are afraid to tell.