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Ants in the Sun

A novel by Jefferson P. Webb

A Viking nobleman seeks to find a renewed sense of purpose and honor after a disastrous raiding campaign. spending time with an old hermit that will not reveal his name,but nevertheless is clearly a former Viking warrior of great renown, Angus Ovarssen takes up the challenge of service as a Varangian Guard officer in the Christian Byzantine Empire. Once again he engages in brutal warfare and sees the horrors of Dark Age warfare.

Ants in the Sun is filled with excitement, bold and daring adventure, passionate love and romance, personal growth, and the horrors of Dark Age combat. This is a must read for readers desiring a book not only filled with action, but a book that is deeply riveting and brings to life the human nature and character of the people of the time period in which it is set.

Do you see those things scurrying along the ground?We are nothing more than those. Like ants in the sun we go about the land. We maintain our own kind and fight others. We gather food and create offspring. There is nothing before this life and nothing after it. We are ants in the sun…”

Bjorni
– Ants in the Sun

Charles “The Hammer” Martel: Defender of Christianity

By: Jefferson P. Webb

Although Charles Martel ( d. 741)is one of the most noted heroes in Christianity when studying one of the many violent encounters between Christian and Muslim forces, Charles “The Hammer” Martel was no marionette of the Church. He was quite an independent and practical thinker as a military leader and as a politician.

Charles’ military abilities were already well know when he was confronted with perhaps his greatest military threat, a large invasion of Muslim Moors into Frankish
territory. The Muslim invasion would reach its climax as Muslim forces under the command of Abd ar-Raham2 faced off in a pitched battle against Charles’ Christian forces at the Battle of Tours in October of 732.3 In the period building up to this battle through its outcome, Charles would prove himself a wise and knowledgeable leader. One of the greatest assets to a successful military leader is to have good knowledge of the enemy and this is something that Charles possessed. While Charles was already on campaign in a region along the Danube, the Duke of Aquitaine who had already seen defeat against the Moors found and warned Charles of the situation.4 Though Charles was urged fervently to move immediately against the Muslim forces, his knowledge of the Muslim Armies’ habits played key in Charles’ plan of dealing with the invasion.

Continue reading “Charles “The Hammer” Martel: Defender of Christianity”

Roman Consul Gaius Marius and the Marian Reforms

Although Consul Gaius Marius (157-86 BCE)1 of Ancient Rome is known as one of the most controversial players on the stage of Ancient Roman history, he is likewise perhaps the greatest contributor to the increased battlefield proficiency that became what people today think of when we think of the powerful Roman Army. In fact, in many ways Marius set the standard by which most future successful military forces were to operate on at the tactical and logistical levels.

The Marian Reforms played a pivotal
role in the future of the Roman military, economy, political and social cores of Roman society. While his Reforms took care of some problems, a whole new problem took hold. That problem came when
during the Jugurthan War in Numidia, Gaius Marius raised the first Roman volunteer army in 107 BCE.2 The army was made up of mostly poor, landless, and or unemployed men. He trained them and then defeated an enemy that had been fighting well against the Roman Army.Not only did this make Marius a hero because he defeated the enemy with his volunteer army, he managed to relieve a
great portion of Rome’s economic problem of rampant unemployment by accepting men for service that were previously not allowed into the Roman armed forces due to societal status. Ironically, some of these men had once been lower class land owners who farmed, and while away on military service their homes had been confiscated and sold off by the wealthier classes of Roman citizenry. Once they had served, but
now homeless, landless, and unemployed, without Marius they no longer were qualified for service. Marius changed that by allowing them into service in spite of their societal position. Continue reading “Roman Consul Gaius Marius and the Marian Reforms”

Martial Arts Progression: Technical Skills vs. Proper Conduct

By: Jefferson P. Webb

Here is the scenario. You see a fellow martial artist within your school displaying what appears, and may very well be a natural skill and ability to quickly pick up on and employ the style that they are being taught. They do very well on the drills/katas. Perhaps this person managed to reach his or her third belt rank (or third chevron in the New Ulster Fighting System) and has started competing. This
person seems ready to take their next test, but the instructor does not appear to be giving the time of day for it. It may cause you to ask the question, “Why are they not getting to test as of yet?” For sure if you have thought about it, the person not being allowed to test has surely asked themselves the question, “Why can’t I test yet?”

 There could be any number of reasons why the instructor is holding off on testing
the student. The first thing that a student must do is a self-evaluation to determine whether or not there is something that he or she is missing. More than likely the student will always look at the actual drills/katas or technique and style that they are using in attempting to determine why they have not been allowed to test. While
this is a legitimate area in which one should conduct a self-evaluation,  there are several other areas that are very basic in which the student may have some deficits that could cause them to slow or even halt in progression through the ranks of his or her art of choice. One thing to also consider  is that most often than not,
the instructor will call to your attention the areas of your techniques and execution of the various moves that you need to improve on. So, what could be the issue if not techniques and execution on moves? Here are some things to consider and give some thought towards in answering this question. Continue reading “Martial Arts Progression: Technical Skills vs. Proper Conduct”

The Battle of Liegnitz: Duke Henry and the Mongol Invasion

By Jefferson P. Webb

Although people typically conjure up
mental images of battles fought in the deserts and cities of the
Middle East during the Crusades when names such as, Templars,
Hospitallers, or Teutonic Knights come into conversation, but these
monastic knights saw combat actions in a number of other places to
include Europe. Furthermore, Crusades were not only fought in the
Middle East, but also in Eastern Europe in an effort to expand the
influence of the Church for Christianity and to convert pagan
peoples.1 While these knightly orders saw action against a
number of pagans and non-Catholic Christians, these knightly orders
along with secular knights, noblemen and the common soldier faced one
of the world’s best disciplined military forces in history. That
force was the invading Mongol army under the leadership of Batu Kahn. Continue reading “The Battle of Liegnitz: Duke Henry and the Mongol Invasion”

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