Crimean War Images

What excellent timing: after our discussion of the Crimean War yesterday, this morning BibliOdyssey has pictures and maps. It’s worth noting that the Crimean War was a little too early for photography to be used extensively (though they were used, which was new), which is why lithographs were necessary. PK also has links to this short history of the war. Also, I forgot to mention, this was the war in which the Charge Of the Light Brigade took place, inspiring one of the most famous poems of the 19th century.

New Scholarship on the Enlightenment

Fascinating review of Jonathan Israel’s new scholarship on the European Enlightenment, in particular the influence of philosopher Baruch Spinoza by Robert Leventhal.

In particular, note the definition of the “Radical Enlightenment”:

1) philosophical reason as the criterion of what is true;
2) rejection of supernatural agency (divine providence);
3) equality of all mankind (racial and sexual equality);
4) secular universalism in ethics anchored in equality and stressing equity, justice, and charity;
5) comprehensive toleration and freedom of thought;
6) personal liberty of lifestyle between consenting adults, safeguarding the dignity and freedom of the unmarried and homosexuals;
7) freedom of expression, political criticism, and the press in the public sphere; and
8.) democratic republicanism.

While Leventhal praises Israel’s defense of Spinoza’s influence, he also says that

One can reasonably advocate all of the values and moral precepts Israel attributes to the Radical Enlightenment on pragmatic grounds and not be a metaphysical monist. In other words, we do not need to believe in Spinoza’s metaphysics to believe in democracy, freedom of expression, social justice, equality, fairness, and tolerance. We can, but do not need to, align historical truth with progressive values. We can, but are not required to, adopt a naturalist vision of science and philosophy to be thoughtful and moral citizens.


“A subject peasantry; widespread use of the service tenement (i.e. the fief) instead of a salary, which was out of the question; the supremacy of a class of specialized warriors; ties of obedience and protection which bind man to man and, within the warrior class, assume the distinctive form called vassalage; fragmentation of authority-leading inevitably to disorder; and, in the midst of all this, the survival of other forms of association, family and State, of which the latter, during the second feudal age, was to acquire renewed strength.” — Marc Bloch, La Societe’ feodale. cited in Brown, “Tyranny of a Construct”

“a body of institutions creating and regulating the obligations of obedience and service-mainly military service-on the part of a free man (the vassal) towards another free man (the lord), and the obligations of protection and maintenance on the part of the lord with regard to his vassal. The obligation of maintenance had usually as one of its effects the grant by the lord to his vassal of a unit of real property known as a fief.” — F.L. Ganshof, Feudalism, cited in Brown, “Tyranny of a Construct”

“in political terms, feudalism is marked by a fragmentation of political authority, private possession of public rights, and a ruling class composed (at least originally) of military leaders and their followers.” — Joseph Strayer, “The Tokugawa Period and Japanese Feudalism,” cited in Brown, “Tyranny of a Construct”

feudalism The social organization created by exchanging grants of land or fiefs in return for formal oaths of allegience and promises of loyal service; typical of Zhou dynasty and European Middle Ages; greater lord provided protection and aid to lesser lords in return for military service.” (Stearns, et al., G-5)

“On the whole, European feudalism inhibited the development of strong central states, but it also gradually reduced purely local warfare. … kings could use feudalism to build their own power.” (Stearns, et al., 334)