The David Ramsey Map Collection announced another increase - over 15,000 new maps have been added. A site to be visited with some caution as it is too easy to spend a few hours on a visit.
German Invasion Plans for England, Wales, and Ireland in WW II). Militargeographische Einzelandgaben uber England. Militargeographische Objektkarten mit Objektbilden 1, The Border, Inhaltsangabe umseitig. Generalstab des Heeres, (Military High Command). Abtellung fur Kriegskrten und Vermessungswesen (IV. Mil.-Geo.), Berlin 1940-1942
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) (Nazi German Supreme Command of the Armed Forces), Berlin
In preparing to invade Britain, the German military preparations included the production in 1940-1942 of a series of military/geographical assessments, showing what might be found by those arriving. This material was also used in a military evaluation of the regions of the British Isles, and considered each from the viewpoint of invasion. The full assessment consists of eleven folders for England and Wales with separate folders for Ireland, London, and the South Coast of England. Each folder contains large scale town plans marked with strategic locations, a book of photographs and a quarter-inch map of the area, each folder titled “Militärgeographisch e Einzelangaben über England” (Maps of England showing features of military significance) and “Militärgeographisch e Objektkarten mit Objektbildern” (Maps of military installations with photographs.” Also there are three thick A5 sized folders containing books and maps: Folder A : England and Wales, on a regional basis with numerous photographs and maps; Folder B : London, photographs and maps; and Folder C : Books of coastal photographs to help with selecting invasion beaches. In addition, there is material on the planned invasion of Ireland - Operation Green (Unternehmen Grün). There are 144 six-inch town maps marked with strategic locations, and almost 1500 black and white photographs. The maps are copies of Ordnance Survey maps, with overprints highlighting sites which the Germans would have considered targets in any invasion. Most maps and books are headed: “Nur für den Dienstgebrauch!” (For Official use only.) We will be placing this collection online in the coming months.
Simpson’s findings are now adding new weight to an idea gaining growing acceptance—that, instead of a sudden, cataclysmic invasion, the arrival of the Vikings in Ireland and Britain began, rather, with small-scale settlements and trade links that connected Ireland with northern European commerce for the first time. And, further, that those trading contacts may have occurred generations before the violent raids described in contemporary texts, works written by monks in isolated monasteries—often the only places where literate people lived—which were especially targeted by Viking raiders for their food and treasures. Scholars are continuing to examine these texts, but are also considering the limitations of using them to understand the historical record. The monks were devastated by the attacks on their homes and institutions, and other contemporaneous events may not have been recorded because there was no one literate available to do so. “Most researchers accept now that the raids were not the first contact, as the old texts suggest,” says Gareth Williams, curator of medieval coinage and a Viking expert at the British Museum. “How did the Vikings know where all those monasteries were? It’s because there was already contact. They were already trading before those raids happened.”
From the second century B.C. onward, the Roman government took an increasingly active approach to monitoring and controlling the grain supply. First, the government began to regulate and subsidize the price, ensuring that grain remained affordable to the masses at all times. By the Augustan period, the emperor was doling out as much as 500 pounds of grain per head to as many as 250,000 households. The emperors realized that the key to Rome’s stability was keeping its population well fed.
Yet, by the first century A.D., Rome could no longer be sustained by Italian harvests alone. It began to exploit its newly annexed fertile provinces, especially North Africa and Egypt, which soon became the largest supplier of Roman grain. It took as many as a thousand ships, constantly sailing, just to support the demand for grain in the city. With large grain ships typically capable of hauling more than 100 tons, and sea transport at least 40 times less expensive than land transport, Rome desperately needed a deepwater port close to home.
At about this same time, Roman engineering was beginning to manifest its unparalleled capabilities. The emperor Claudius concluded that the time was right to build an artificial port within Rome’s environs, one large enough to accommodate the demands of an ever-growing city. Portus was built from scratch, a couple of miles north of Ostia, along a coastal strip on the Mediterranean near the mouth of the Tiber River. It would become the linchpin in a new imperial port system that enabled Rome to be continuously and efficiently supplied for the next 400 years.
The enormous engineering project was begun by Claudius around A.D. 46 and took nearly 20 years to complete. It was the largest public works project of its era. At its center was an artificial basin of nearly 500 acres, dug out of coastal dunes. A short distance from the mouth of this harbor were two extensive moles, or breakwaters, constructed to protect it from the open sea. A small island with a lighthouse stood between the two moles and guided ships as they approached. With a depth of 20 feet, the Claudian basin was large enough, deep enough, and sheltered enough to provide ample anchorage for large seafaring ships heavily laden with as much as 500 tons of cargo.
The absence of standardized ID didn’t help. Although administrative systems began to regulate ID between 1400 and 1600, these systems were usually informal and specific to small subgroups like travelers, criminals or slaves. Before ID cards, people were usually identified on the basis of royal insignia, letters of recommendation, accents, baptismal records, physical marks (e.g. moles), or, in the case of criminals and slaves, punitive scars and metal brands.
But as language standardized and prison replaced other punishments like whipping, these ID methods fell out of favor. And fashion eroded traditional identification even further. Before the 19th century, fashion could usually be counted on to describe class. But as textile weaving mechanized and labor was divided into its simplest parts, clothing ceased to reliably indicate class.
Thus, reputation satiated a need. Reputation, grounded in character, would cut down on con men running amok in the big city.
Since reputation was intangible and subject to change, advice literature abounded on how best to manage it. The moralist William Alcott (second cousin once removed to Louisa May) wrote in 1834, “[T]he impressions which a person’s first appearance make upon the minds of those around him are deep and permanent.” Most of this 1830s advice literature didn’t advise young men on reputation for the sake of good character itself, but as a tool for success, either in career or as social climbers.
Within the cult of sincerity, moralists urged Victorians to manipulate cues like facial expression, fashion, hygiene and motor tics to provide insight into the person’s inner nature. This isn’t so different from today’s personal brand: speech, body type and tastes in things like fashion and music can all be carefully selected to encourage the baring of one’s soul. Taste was then, as now, an index of character—if it was sincere.