“Non vi Sed Arte” is Latin for “Not by Strength, by Guile”. It is the motto on the “coat of arms” of Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, the first Earl Beatty (1884-1927). It was also used by a couple of different military units. For example it was the unofficial motto of the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army during WWII.
I always liked the saying. But my take on the slogan has changed as I have gotten older. When I was younger, not being the strongest of guys and having perhaps an excessive opinion of my intellect, I liked the idea of success due to mind over body. But as I grew older this “take” on the slogan not only grew to lose its appeal, but I began to feel a negative reaction to the slogan. Why be proud of a lack of strength or determination? And most dictionaries define guile as a treacherous cunning or skillful deceit. Did I really want to use that as some kind of guide or brag about my character? Continue reading ‘Non Vi Sed Arte’ – What does it mean to me?
I’ve always been fascinated in Scottish and Irish history. Exploring the time period this Irish skeleton was believed to be from, I became interested in the Battle of Clontarf, a large battle that brought an end to the reign of Ireland’s first High King. Read the Short Story
“We do not know or seek what our fate will be. We ask only this, that if die we must, that we die as men would die, without complaining, without pleading and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believed was right.” — Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, CO 3rd battalion, 506th PIR.
Memorial Day and such is all well and good. But sometimes we need to remember specific days, so that we don’t forget… So we don’t forget the tragic consequences of our human darkness, our imperfection and evil. And so we don’t forget our human light, the self-sacrifice and bravery of those who helped bring us out of the dark, becoming casualties in the process. Continue reading Into the Jaws of Death – 6/6/1944
Beethoven composed a short (15 minutes long) orchestral work called “Wellington’s Victory” or “The Battle of Vitoria” (Op. 91) in 1813. Wellington’s Victory is now often compared to another famous “battle piece”, namely Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, as both call for the use of a large “percussion battery” including muskets and artillery, and by opposite “sides” of the orchestra playing the national themes of the opposing armies.
Like a lot of Beethoven’s work it has been called a hodgepodge of styles and an “atrocious potboiler”. I of course love it! You can listen to it here (with full muskets and cannons, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the Herbert Von Karajan,) and judge for yourself.
As mentioned in my previous post Future History Lesson, a passing quote in the science-fiction novel “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein piqued my interest on two events in real history: ‘Horatius at the Bridge‘ and ‘The Death of the Bon Homme Richard‘. What I discovered in both cases I found so rich in story, that I had to explore them further. Below is what I discovered about Haratius. The surprising story of Bonhomme Richard can be found in Part 3 (coming soon).
Horatius at the Bridge
When first digging I could not find a specific work with this title, but there was a lot of information to be found on the person and the event. I eventually discovered that “Horatius at the Bridge” was the title of some editions of the narrative poem “Horatius“ by the Victorian Era historian Baron Thomas Abington Macaulay which was published in his book “Lays of Ancient Rome“ in 1842. It was very popular in England at the time, memorized and recited avidly, and taught in schools. Even close to a hundred years later Winston Churchill recalled memorizing it. You can download a free public domain digital ebook of the entire “Lays of Ancient Rome” via Project Gutenberg, available in multiple file formats. Continue reading Horatius at the Bridge
First, I’ve been a big fan of Heinlein for awhile, but strangely had never read this novel which many regard so highly. I had seen the crappy movie supposedly based on it, but let me say that movie really holds no similarities to the novel except for some characters’ and alien species’ names. Worse the movie turns some of the deeper but controversial aspects of the novel on their head, and turns the entire story into a farce. For example Heinlein’s novel portrays a democratic society in which suffrage is earned by a term of government service – in the case of the main characters this happened to be military service. The movie version portrays a fascist society where the only road to citizenship was through the military — kind of like non-citizen inhabitants of the early to mid Roman empire who could earn citizenship only after serving 25 years in the Roman legions.
I’m getting off the topic, which isn’t so much about the future the novel portrays, but about detailing some things I learned from a “future history lesson” today’s reading inspired me to take. Continue reading Future History Lesson