Various writings on historical topics
The BBC compares and contrasts the Suez crisis of 1956 to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.Britain and France allied with Israel to attack Egypt and end Gamal Abdel Nasser's rule of a few years, but the US stopped them.This was the end of Britian's Empire.There are differences too, but the mindset of going to war with deception is common.Here is the article, definitely worth a read.
Several years ago, a Dutch friend told me that some Dutch have funny names.It turns out that this is a story worth telling, possibly repeated in Algeria, with the French playing a part in both.Many Dutch names are of the form:van ("of/from"), de/het/'t ("the"), der ("of the"), van de ("of the/from the"), and in het ("in the") or simply de ("the"). All but the latter denote a place of origin or residence, and the latter an occupation or attribute.
The BBC has an article on how a gem in one of King Tut's necklaces is actually made of natural glass that formed from a meteorite that exploded over the Western Desert.Here is an article on Space.com on the crater, called El Kebira ( الكبيرة "The Big" in Arabic), and here is a satellite photo.
The history of Malta includes several centuries of Arab presence that were very influential in what its heritage today is, including language, and place names.
Dr. George Saliba of Columbia University gave a lecture at Princeton on Islamic science. A few years back, I attended a lecture he gave at the University of Waterloo, and wrote about it. I got his permission to republish some of his articles as well. I later started digging some of what he discussed, and the result was many articles on my site about Leo Africanus, Joseph Barbatus, Elmacinus, Erpenius, Rhazes, Alhazen and Ibn Khaldun.
While al-Hakim appointed several viziers (Katib), none of them lasted more than a few years. The great majority of them were ordered killed by al-Hakim as they fell from favor for any real or perceived transgressions, financial or loyalty.
Most of those viziers were Christians. Some of them served as physicians as well.
An example is Ibn Abdun, who initially was co-vizier, then later sole vizier:
Because of his eccentric and erratic behavior, people must have talked a lot about his orders, his actions, his mental well being and more.
This can be deduced from the repeated orders by al Hakim, instructing the public not to question or discuss his orders.
Al Maqrizi mentions several instances of such orders:
وقرئ سجل بترك الخوض فيما لا يعنى واشتغال كل أحد بمعيشته عن الخوض في أعمال أمير المؤمنين وأوامره
Due to him being unpredictable, eccentric and in a position of power, al-Hakim was much feared by his officials, soldiers and subjects alike.
On several occasions, they would fear his wrath and he would issue declarations of safety for various factions in his service as well as the public.
At one point, he ordered a collection of wood and reeds at the base of a hill. Everyone in his employ was fearful, as well as the general public.
Al-Hakim repeatedly exhibited erratic, eccentric and contradictory behavior. He seemed to have been keen on the morality of his subjects, repeatedly issuing orders for this to be done or that not to be done. This goes as far as micromanaging what is eaten and what is not.
Moreover, he would forbid something then later allow it. He would repeatedly enforce trivial orders he issued.
One of history's most controversial characters is Al Hakim Bi Amr Allah. Seen as God incarnate by some, as an eccentric "mad" ruler by others, and vilianised by yet others.
Al Hakim was a Caliph of the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt, North Africa, Palestine and Syria. Contrary to the majority of their subjects, who were Sunni, the Fatimids were Shia of the Ismaili branch. They engaged in missionary work to spread their sect's belief as wide as possible.