|Bolshevik forces marching on the Red Square|
Thursday, November 24, 2016
History Documentary: The Russian Revolution and the foundation of USSR; Full Documentary: The Bolsheviks, history of the Russian Revolution
The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the eventual rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time). In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a communist state.
The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), then capital of Russia. In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament or Duma assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in Nicholas' abdication. The Soviets (workers' councils), which were led by more radical socialist factions, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias. The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War (1914–18), which left much of the Russian Army in a state of mutiny.
A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and the political left. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies, protests and many strikes. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions campaigned for stopping the conflict. The Bolsheviks turned workers militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army) over which they exerted substantial control.
In the October Revolution (November in the Gregorian calendar), the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the workers' Soviets overthrew the Provisional Government in Petrograd and established the Russian SFSR, eventually shifting the capital to Moscow in 1918. The Bolsheviks appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and seized control of the countryside, establishing the Cheka to quash dissent. To end Russia’s participation in the First World War, the Bolshevik leaders signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918.
Soon after, civil war erupted among the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), the "Whites" (counter-revolutionaries), independence movements and non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there was also a visible movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.Credits: Wikipedia
Saturday, November 19, 2016
The Shaolin Monastery (Chinese: 少林寺; pinyin: Shàolín sì), also known as the Shaolin Temple, is a Chan ("Zen") Buddhist temple in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, China. Dating back 1,500 years when founded by Fang Lu-Hao, Shaolin Temple is the main temple of the Shaolin school of Buddhism to this day.
Shaolin Monastery and its Pagoda Forest were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 as part of the "Historic Monuments of Dengfeng”.
The name refers to the forests of Shaoshi (少室; Shǎo Shì) mountain, one of the seven peaks of Song mountains. The first Shaolin Monastery abbot was Batuo (also called Fotuo or Buddhabhadra), a dhyāna master who came to China from India or from Greco-Buddhist Central Asia in 464 AD to spread Buddhist teachings.
According to the Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks (645 AD) by Daoxuan, Shaolin Monastery was built on the north side of Shaoshi, the central peak of Mount Song, one of the Sacred Mountains of China, by Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei dynasty in 477 AD, to accommodate the India master beside the capital Luoyang city. Yang Xuanzhi, in the Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547 AD), and Li Xian, in the Ming Yitongzhi (1461), concur with Daoxuan's location and attribution. The Jiaqing Chongxiu Yitongzhi (1843) specifies that this monastery, located in the province of Henan, was built in the 20th year of the Taihe era of the Northern Wei dynasty, that is, the monastery was built in 495 AD.
The Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty was a supporter of Shaolin Temple, and he wrote the calligraphic inscriptions that still hang over the Heavenly King Hall and the Buddha Hall today.
Traditionally Bodhidharma is credited as founder of the martial arts at the Shaolin Temple. However, martial arts historians have shown this legend stems from a 17th-century qigong manual known as the Yijin Jing.
The authenticity of the Yi Jin Jing has been discredited by some historians including Tang Hao, Xu Zhen and Ryuchi Matsuda. This argument is summarized by modern historian Lin Boyuan in his Zhongguo wushu shi:
As for the "Yi Jin Jing" (Muscle Change Classic), a spurious text attributed to Bodhidharma and included in the legend of his transmitting martial arts at the temple, it was written in the Ming dynasty, in 1624, by the Daoist priest Zining of Mt. Tiantai, and falsely attributed to Bodhidharma. Forged prefaces, attributed to the Tang general Li Jing and the Southern Song general Niu Gao were written. They say that, after Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at Shaolin temple, he left behind an iron chest; when the monks opened this chest they found the two books "Xi Sui Jing" (Marrow Washing Classic) and "Yi Jin Jing" within. The first book was taken by his disciple Huike, and disappeared; as for the second, "the monks selfishly coveted it, practicing the skills therein, falling into heterodox ways, and losing the correct purpose of cultivating the Real. The Shaolin monks have made some fame for themselves through their fighting skill; this is all due to having obtained this manuscript". Based on this, Bodhidharma was claimed to be the ancestor of Shaolin martial arts. This manuscript is full of errors, absurdities and fantastic claims; it cannot be taken as a legitimate source.
The oldest available copy was published in 1827. The composition of the text itself has been dated to 1624. Even then, the association of Bodhidharma with martial arts only became widespread as a result of the 1904–1907 serialization of the novel The Travels of Lao Ts'an in Illustrated Fiction Magazine:
One of the most recently invented and familiar of the Shaolin historical narratives is a story that claims that the Indian monk Bodhidharma, the supposed founder of Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism, introduced boxing into the monastery as a form of exercise around a.d. 525. This story first appeared in a popular novel, The Travels of Lao T’san, published as a series in a literary magazine in 1907. This story was quickly picked up by others and spread rapidly through publication in a popular contemporary boxing manual, Secrets of Shaolin Boxing Methods, and the first Chinese physical culture history published in 1919. As a result, it has enjoyed vast oral circulation and is one of the most “sacred” of the narratives shared within Chinese and Chinese-derived martial arts. That this story is clearly a twentieth-century invention is confirmed by writings going back at least 250 years earlier, which mention both Bodhidharma and martial arts but make no connection between the two.
Other scholars see an earlier connection between Da Mo and the Shaolin Monastery. Scholars generally accept the historicity of Da Mo (Bodhidharma) who arrived in China around 480. Da Mo (Bodhidharma) and his disciples are said to have lived a spot about a mile from the Shaolin Temple that is now a small nunnery. In the 6th century, around 547, The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries says Da Mo visited the area near Mount Song. In 645 The Continuation of the Biographies of Eminent Monks describes him as being active in the Mount Song region. Around 710 Da Mo is identified specifically with the Shaolin Temple (Precious Record of Dharma's Transmission or Chuanfa Baoji) and writes of his sitting facing a wall in meditation for many years. It also speaks of Huikes many trials in his efforts to receive instruction from Da Mo. In the 11th century a (1004) work embellishes Da Mo legends with great detail. A stele inscription at the Shaolin Monastery dated 728 reveals Da Mo residing on Mount Song. Another stele in 798 speaks of Huike seeking instruction from Da Mo. Another engraving dated 1209 depicts the barefoot saint holding a shoe according to the ancient legend of Da Mo. A plethora of 13th- and 14th-century steles feature Da Mo in Various roles. One 13th-century image shows him riding a fragile stalk across the Yangtze River. In 1125 a special temple was constructed in his honor at the Shaolin Monastery.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
History Documentary: Martin Luther and the Reformation; Documentary: History of Protestant Reformation
History Documentary: Martin Luther and the Reformation; Documentary: History of Protestant Reformation.
|Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses placed in doubt and repudiated several of the Roman Catholic practices.|
The Protestant Reformation, often referred to simply as the Reformation (from Latin reformatio, lit. "restoration, renewal") was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th century Europe.
Although there had been significant earlier attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church before Luther – such as those of Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, and John Wycliffe – Martin Luther is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five Theses. Luther began by criticizing the selling of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the gospel. The Protestant position, however, would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as sola scriptura and sola fide. The core motivation behind these changes was theological, though many other factors played a part, including the rise of nationalism, the Western Schism that eroded faith in the Papacy, the perceived corruption of the Roman Curia, the impact of humanism, and the new learning of the Renaissance that questioned much traditional thought.
The initial movement within Germany diversified, and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther. The spread of Gutenberg's printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. The largest groups were the Lutherans and Calvinists. Lutheran churches were founded mostly in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia, while the Reformed ones were founded in Switzerland, Hungary, France, the Netherlands and Scotland. The new movement influenced the Church of England decisively after 1547 under Edward VI and Elizabeth I, although the Church of England had been made independent under Henry VIII in the early 1530s for political rather than religious reasons.
There were also reformation movements throughout continental Europe known as the Radical Reformation, which gave rise to the Anabaptist, Moravian and other Pietistic movements. Radical Reformers, besides forming communities outside state sanction, often employed more extreme doctrinal change, such as the rejection of the tenets of the late antique councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon.
The Roman Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent. Much work in battling Protestantism was done by the well-organised new order of the Jesuits. In general, Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, came under the influence of Protestantism. Southern Europe remained Roman Catholic, while Central Europe was a site of a fierce conflict, culminating in the Thirty Years' War, which left it devastated.
Friday, November 4, 2016
History Documentary: Last of the Tsars - Николай II Nikolay Vtoroy: Nicholas II & Alexandra. Documentary: the lives of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia
History Documentary: Last of the Tsars - Nicholas II & Alexandra. Documentary: the lives of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia.
|Tsar Nicholas II, in a British uniform 1909|
Nicholas II or Nikolai II (Russian: Николай II Nikolay Vtoroy; 18 May [O.S. 6 May] 1868 – 17 July 1918) was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. Due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Revolution, the execution of political opponents and his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War, he was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody by his political enemies.
Russia suffered a decisive defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, which saw the annihilation of the Russian Baltic Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima, loss of Russian influence over Manchuria and Korea, and the Japanese annexation of South Sakhalin. The Anglo-Russian Entente, designed to counter German attempts to gain influence in the Middle East, ended the Great Game between Russia and the United Kingdom.
As head of state, Nicholas approved the Russian mobilization on 31 July 1914, which led to Germany declaring war on Russia on the following day. It is estimated that around 3.3 million Russians were killed in World War I. The Imperial Army's severe losses and the High Command's incompetent management of the war efforts, along with the lack of food and other supplies on the Home Front, were the leading causes of the fall of the Romanov dynasty.
Following the February Revolution of 1917 Nicholas abdicated on behalf of himself and his son, and he and his family were imprisoned. In the spring of 1918, Nicholas was handed over to the local Ural Soviet; with the approval of Lenin, Nicholas and his family were eventually executed by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16–17 July 1918. The recovered remains of the Imperial Family were finally re-interred in St. Petersburg in 1998.