This is a good day for it…long weekend…dog days of summer and all that.
U.S. Navy sailor resting on deck of USS Olympia, c. 1899. Photograph by Francis B. Johnston.
He is “taking a caulk” which was sailor slang since the 17th century for snatching what today would be called a power nap. Deck seams or caulks ran fore and aft, the same alignment sailors aspired to attain within their hammocks or upon some out-of-the-way deck. Had to be careful about that latter choice in hotter climates, however- softened pitch stained the well-known pattern of deck seams onto old Jack’s clothes, proclaiming to all he’d been napping.
Identify the Aircraft
This one might be more of a challenge, so the answer is at the bottom of this blog.
De Administrando Imperio was a handbook written in Greek by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII in the 10th century to help his son and heir with domestic policy. It is one of the first Byzantine accounts of contact between their empire and the Vikings.
Chapter Nine of that book discusses the Rus, Scandanavians who had settled in what is modern Russia, who arrived by river each year to sell slaves. They weren’t technically Vikings because they didn’t come to raid. They could be considered Vikings when they took slaves from whatever source. Presumably, the slaves had not come willingly.
It contains little judgment of the outside cultures, seen in other accounts such as when Ibn Fadlan called the Rus’ “the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures” and noted their disgusting habits of washing their faces in dirty water or having sex with their slave-girls in public.
The book provided a straightforward account of trade and the route the traders took across the Dnieper River. Perhaps it’s. because the Rus’ arrived to trade rather than the Byzantines ascending the Dnieper to trade — implying that the Byzantines were superior.
Rus’ traveled in monoxyla, simple boats made from hollowed out trees or carved from flat-bottomed pieces of wood, from Russia to Constantinople. They arrive, the text tells us, when spring came and the ice melted, in their boats down the Dnieper River, a great river which begins in Russia and flows through modern-day Belarus and Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea. These foreigners entered Constantine’s territory regularly to trade, increasing the likelihood of an accurate account: frequent contact allows for more chances to observe practices and customs. The chapter describes the geography around the Dnieper River, and trading of monoxyla where the Rus’ cut and carve the wood for the simple ship, and then sail it downriver where those who wish to buy a new ship will take salvageable materials from their old one and fit out the new vessel.
The Rus’ men then traveled over a series of rapids, picking up the ship with their hands and carrying it (portage) over the worst of the terrain with their other trade goods inside. The account doesn’t explain what they may have traded other than slaves, focusing on the ordeal of the boats themselves. The men divide, with some disembarking to the banks of the river to lighten the load, some who strip off their clothes and get into the water to feel for rocks, and guide the remaining men in the stern of the vessel, who use long poles to navigate across the rocks.
Through three barrages, they repeat this process and then transport their ship overland by either dragging it or carrying it on their shoulders for some six miles, watching out for their mortal enemies, the Pechenegs, all the while.
The text tells us they frequently engage in skirmishes with the Pechenegs going to and from their trading destination, and must always be vigilant. Eventually, the Rus’ stop at an island, St. Gregory, where they cast lots and make offerings of whatever they have, including sacrificing cocks (chickens). Sailing to another island called St. Aitherios, they rest for several days and reequip their boats with tackle, sails, masts, and rudders, and then continue home or on to other trading posts on the river.
The chapter is consistent with what is known historically about this period and corroborated by other sources. The names of the Dnieper rapids are given in Slavonic and Norse, supporting Ibn Fadlan’s account that these were Scandinavian people. P.H. Sawyer notes, “[The names are] in the languages of both the Slavs and the Rus’, and several of the latter forms are certainly Scandinavian.”
The presence of Varangian traders on the island described in the chapter was further verified following the discovery of the Berezan’ Runestone in 1905, inscribed with runes saying, “[Gráni] made this sarcophagus for Karl, his partner.” The word “partner” in the inscription, félagi, is often used for business partners or comrades-in-arms, so it would fit that these men were traders or shipowners together, and one lost his life along the route.
The Arabic source Murij adh-dhahah by Al-Mas’udi, written around the year 950, also confirms Russians in this area, calling them “masters of the Black Sea,” and noting that when they trade, “the Russians brought their vessels into this (the Caspian) sea, (from the Black Sea).” Now, we know that the area of the Dnieper River was traversable, and other accounts confirm the presence of Varangian or culturally Norse traders upon it.
The account of De Administrando Imperio shows that the Vikings sailed all the way to Byzantium by including the names of various waterways and lakes along the way. The first step to proving that contact between two remote areas took place is proving that it is possible to travel between them. Accounts of trade between Byzantium and the Rus’ were preserved in several later medieval chronicles, noting that typical trade goods included furs, honey, wax, walrus ivory, high-grade weapons, and the slaves which De Administrando Imperio mentions.
Of course, when you’re the proximate cause of death of the heroes, you might want to get it over with as quickly as possible so you could get back to the business of screwing up the country.
It was the sixteenth “planetary body” discovered. Psyche is a large asteroid discovered by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis, working in Naples, on 17 March 1852 and named after the Greek mythological figure Psyche.
Psyche is a giant metal asteroid with an average diameter of about 140 miles (226 kilometers) – about one-sixteenth the diameter of Earth’s Moon or about the distance between Los Angeles and San Diego. Unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, scientists think the M-type (metallic) asteroid 16 Psyche is comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel similar to Earth’s core.
Some speculate that it may be the first candidate for asteroid mining, though iron and nickel are common enough metals on Earth. There is also the possibility of rare metals that may be present. Asteroid mining, shooting the metal back to earth, and parking it in orbit, could lead to more cost-effective space-based construction.
Answer to Identify the Aircraft