History for the Rest of Us

The Treaty of Paris

The Treaty of Paris brought an end to the American Revolutionary War. Signed September 3, 1783, the United States was represented by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay while David Hartley, a member of the British Parliament represented King George III. The document was signed in Paris at the Hotel d’York (presently 56 Rue Jacob). Great Britian also signed separate agreements with France, Spain, and the Netherlands on the same day. The document consists of Ten Articles, summarized below: Article 1: Acknowledgment that the United States are free sovereign and independent states, and that the British Crown and her heirs relinquish claims to govern, to property, and to territorial rights Article 2: Establishment of the boundaries between the United States and British North America Article 3: Grant of fishing rights, in the Grand Banks (off the coast of Newfoundland) and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to United States fishermen Article 4: Recognition that lawfully contracted debts will be paid to creditors on either side Article 5: Congress of the Confederation will ‘earnestly recommend’ that state legislatures recognize and provide restitution for confiscated lands belonging to Loyalists Article 6: United States will prevent future confiscations of Loyalist properties Article 7: Prisoners of war and property left by the British Army in the United States will be released (including slaves) unmolested Article 8: The United States and Great Britain will both have perpetual access to the Mississippi River Article 9: Territories captured by Americans subsequent to treaty will be returned without compensation Article 10: Ratification of the treaty is to occur within six months from the signing by the contracting parties Full Text of the Treaty of Paris: The Definitive Treaty of Peace 1783 In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity. It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, duke of Brunswick and Lunebourg, arch-treasurer and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire etc., and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have unhappily interrupted...

Sif – Thor’s Golden-Haired Wife

Sif – Thor’s Golden-Haired Wife

Apr 22, 2014

Sif, Thor’s wife, was very vain of a magnificent head of long golden hair which covered her from head to foot like a brilliant veil; and as she too was a symbol of the earth, her hair was said to represent the long grass, or the golden grain covering the Northern harvest fields. Thor was very proud of his wife’s beautiful hair; imagine his dismay, therefore, upon waking one morning, to find her shorn, and as bald and denuded of ornament as the earth when the grain has been garnered, and nothing but the stubble remains! In his anger, Thor sprang to his feet, vowing he would punish the perpetrator of this outrage, whom he immediately and rightly conjectured to be Loki, the arch-plotter, ever on the look-out for some evil deed to perform. Seizing his hammer, Thor went in search of Loki, who attempted to evade the irate god by changing his form. But it was all to no purpose; Thor soon overtook him, and without more ado caught him by the throat, and almost strangled him ere he yielded to his imploring signs and relaxed his powerful grip. When he could draw his breath, Loki begged forgiveness, but all his entreaties were vain, until he promised to procure for Sif a new head of hair, as beautiful as the first, and as luxuriant in growth. “And thence for Sif new tresses I’ll bring Of gold, ere the daylight’s gone, So that she shall liken a field in spring, With its yellow-flowered garment on.” The Dwarfs, Oehlenschläger (Pigott’s tr.). Then Thor consented to let the traitor go; so Loki rapidly crept down into the bowels of the earth, where Svart-alfa-heim was situated, to beg the dwarf Dvalin to fashion not only the precious hair, but a present for Odin and Frey, whose anger he wished to disarm. His request was favourably received and the dwarf fashioned the spear Gungnir, which never failed in its aim, and the ship Skidbladnir, which, always wafted by favourable winds, could sail through the air as well as on the water, and which had this further magic property, that although it could contain the gods and all their...

Shrine of Cloacina – Sacrum Cloacina

Shrine of Cloacina – Sacrum Cloacina

Apr 21, 2014

Shrine of Cloacina or Sacrum Cloacina The Sacrum Cloacina was a shrine to Cloacina, an Etruscan diety who may well have been associated with the small brook that would eventually become the sewer of Rome, the Cloaca Maxima. Cloacina’s name may be a derivation of the Latin verb cloare (to purify or to clean), or the noun cloaca (sewer). For unknown reasons, the goddess would eventually become associated with the Roman goddess Venus and be called Venus Cloacina. The shrine was located in the Roman Forum in front of the Tabernae Novae (new shops and eventual location of the Basilica Aemilia) on the Via Sacra. The foundations of the shrine were discovered directly in front of the Basilica Aemilia in 1899-1901. They stand over the drain that flows under the Basilica, near the point where it drains into the Cloaca Maxima. The remains consist of a round marble base, except on the west side where there is a rectangular projection. It appears that the foundation of the shrine was raised over time, probably as the Basilica encroached on it. Coins minted around 42 BC give a clear visual representation of the shrine. The coins show the legend CLOACIN, with two statues of females standing on a round sacellum (small, uncovered shrine) with a metal balustrade. Each statue has a low pillar with a bird on it. One is holding an object in her hand (possibly a flower) or waving. Tradition ascribes the shrine to Titus Tatius, the Sabine king (8th century BC), during the reign of Romulus though it seems more reasonable that it would have been erected some time during the early history of the Cloaca Maxima (traditionally held to be around 600 BC during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus king of Rome), given its relationship with the sewer. In 449 BC, according to legend a butcher named Verginius emerged from his shop in the Tabernae Novae and stabbed his daughter Verginia in front of the shrine to save her honor from the lecherous attentions of the lustful Appius Claudius. According to the poem below by Plautus (c. 254–184 BC) a Roman playwright, the shrine was a place where you would find braggarts...