THE LEGENDS OF HISTORY: An Educational Multi- Media Historical Art exhibit exploring the history of War and Civilization in the Western World through an outline of history in word paintings and visual art. 
Spanning the Centuries from Ancient Sparta to The Atomic Age:

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A Gallery of New Paintings, Drawings and Pictures of History in Digital Mixed media, Contemporary Acrylics, Colored Pencils and Oil Paintings in the style of classic illustrators!

Newly Revised and Expanded for 2013 with New Art & Articles

      

War and Civilization: The Legends of History Art Gallery

Gorgeous Poster Size Reprints of Johnson's Artworks are Now Available!

NEW REPRINTS!   LICENSES    CUSTOM BOOK COVERS    ORIGINAL ART    ART INSTRUCTION   ART BOOKS

PART ONE 1500 B.C. -1500 A.D.     

    PART TWO 1500 A.D. - 2011 A.D.

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An Illustrated History  of War &Civilization in the West

" Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." ~Satayana

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The Ancient Greeks

   In the beginning men wandered lawless in the wilderness following herds and harvesting wild plants. When man began to keep animals and cultivate crops he created settlements. Tribal disputes were resolved by ceremonial conflict until the Greeks invented the decisive and deadly engagements we know today as war.

 

 

Greek Hoplite Warriors

   In the faint light before the dawn of history we see the Greeks as one of these wandering tribes. In these early days of history the Greeks differed vastly from the other two great civilized systems on the Nile and the two rivers of Mesopotamia. 

  Persian King Darius was displeased with Greek settlements in Asia and attacked Greece directly in 490 B.C. A great naval force fashioned to carry horses and entire armies was long and carefully prepared to subdue all of Greece, beginning with Athens. 

   The Athenians hoped to delay battle until elite reinforcements from Sparta should join them, but the landing of the invasion force at Marathon being reinforced by Persian sympathizers nerved them to attack first. The two pronged attack was designed to lure the Athenian army away from Athens. The Greeks advanced their phalanx (a wall of shields & spears) slowly until they came within range of the Persian archers, when they broke into a run. The arrows were ineffective at close range compared to the Greek spears. Soon they retreated, but the Greeks ran them down them from behind and killed them and war as we know it was born. After Pheidippides made his famous run from  Marathon to Athens he cried out the news; "Rejoice! we conquer!' and died from exhaustion.

    So Greece, united for a while by fear, gained her first victory over Persia. According to Herodotus the Persians lost 6,400 men, the Athenians only 192. The decisive victory gave Athenians confidence in the future of their city and their civilization. Darius received the news of this and of unrest in Egypt and died while planning his response.  Xerxes, his son and heir quickly dealt with Egypt and then set out to re-invade Greece.

 

And now... War and Civilization: The Legends of History

"Return with your shield or on it" was every Spartan Mother's wartime farewell to her son.

 

Not even a Spartan Mother could forgive cowardice...

... the heavy shield made flight impossible ...

 

The Defender of Freedom

 

The 300 Spartans

 

THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE

     Legendary in the annals of history are the Spartan Warriors of Ancient Greece. Fearless defenders of liberty, they followed a strict military way of life. In 480 B.C. three hundred of them under King Leonidas stood alone at the end against the enormous Persian army under the tyrannical King Xerxes who was sweeping southward into Greece. The 300 Spartans fought to the death against these impossible odds in the narrow mountain pass at Thermopylae (Gates of Fire ).

 The Persians took shocking casualties. Their narrow lines of wicker shields and short javelins were no match for the highly disciplined Spartan lines with their large bronze shields and long spears who slaughtered the Sea of Persians wave after wave.

        It was only after a betrayal of a secret path and the 700 Greek allies were ordered home to warn Greece that the 300 Spartans were finally overcome. Although the Spartans contributed little to the artistic and intellectual development of Greece, without them, ironically, Democracy and Freedom would have been wiped out in their infancy...

 

The Battle of Thermopylae0

 

 

Helen of Troy Helen and Paris

  

Earlier Spartan legends: Helen of Troy ( circa 1194 B.C. ) was often called "the face that launched a thousand ships" and "the most beautiful woman who ever lived". The Trojan War resulted when Paris, the prince of Troy carried her off during the reign of her husband the Spartan King Menelaus. Here Helen has just seen the sea lights of her husband's enormous amphibious invasion fleet on the horizon. To recover Helen, the Acheans under Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus lay ferocious siege to Troy to no avail for ten years until Hector was killed by Achilles and he by Paris. At last a wooden horse was contrived. Odysseus had masterminded a strategy to break the stalemate...The Trojan Horse...

 

 

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   In whose hollow interior many elite Achaean Warriors hid themselves... Leaving Their Giant Gift outside the city and withdrawing their army and fleet to Tenedos, feigning to have raised the siege. The Trojans conveyed the wooden horse into the city. Later that night the Greeks stole out and opened the gates, and Troy was taken. The Spartan King Menelaus recovered Helen and  forgave her. She was thought for ages to be merely a part of mythology - partly because of lack of evidence and partly because of the colorful portrayal of Olympian pagan religion as a reality in Homer's  immortal Epic Poem "The Iliad" -  prejudiced the scientific and academic communities - until archaeologists excavated Troy.

 

Now, it is one of the Legends of History as well...  

Herodotus and Thucydides, like ancient pagan writers generally, accepted the Trojan War as historical, but criticized what they politely called "epic statements" in detail. Traditional genealogies, collated by Hecataeus of Miletus and others like Hellanicus of Mytilene, enabled   Eratosthenes to date the fall of Troy to 1194 B.C. This is consistent with  the Roman scholar Pliny the elder and Egyptian records from Rameses' time as well. For all the glorious accomplishments in the development of science civilization art and culture we give the Greeks homage to this day but they were far from perfect and institutionalized human slavery.

 

Egypt and Babylon :  The Cradle of Civilization...

 

  The ancient city of Babylon ( today's Iraq ) ruled the world in it's day just as Rome did in hers. 

Called "The Cradle of Civilization" it was the birthplace of our modern courts and justice system based upon the legendary "Code of Hammurabi" and boasted as it's showpiece one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; The Hanging Gardens of Babylon built by Legendary King Nebucadnezzar ( 605-562 B.C.) for his wife. 

Built by The Pharaoh Cheops, ( 2900-2877 B.C.) The Great Pyramids are the costliest monuments any man has ever built to himself, and outside of the cruel and long-term use of conquered people such as the Hebrews as slaves, the details of their engineering and construction methods remain a mystery to this day.

An evil of civilization just as terrible as war, every ancient civilization including the Persians, Babylonians, and even the HEBREWS themselves used slavery. (Exodus 21:20)

"Ancient Metropolis"  (left) 2010 digital media. The ancient world was amazing even compared to our modern cities. 

 

The Influence of the Hebrew Religion

 

The Israelite religion's influence on western civilization is immeasurable in its greatness. The ancient Biblical teachings laid a very large part of the foundation of Western Civilization and still greatly influence our modern laws. The Ten Commandments revolutionized concepts of human rights and personal responsibility. Before them there was no real law but the sword and the lash with only rare exceptions like the Code of Hammurabi. They are, simply put: 1. Have no other gods. 2. Have no idols. 3. Honor God's name. 4. Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. 5. Honor your parents.  6. Do not murder.7. Do not commit adultery. 8. Do not steal. 9. Do not perjure yourself. 10. Do not  desire ownership of other people's things.

   "Only if you have some knowledge of the human sacrifices, the vicious temple rites, the degrading superstitions and customs that were practiced... can you realize how much the modern world owes to the Hebrew prophets, whose monotheism and moral teachings entered into Christianity and Islam."

~ C. J. H. Hayes & P. T. Moon "Ancient and Medieval history"1929.

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The Seven Wonders of the World

             

Early great western civilizations included the Egyptians and Babylonians with their legendary Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  In the distant past, people struggled to build civilizations. Gathering together to form cities, they pooled their knowledge to advance their technology. To mark their achievements, they left behind glorious monuments that set magnificent standards for us today.

Alexander the Great

 

Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) conquered what was then the known world. "When Alexander saw the breadth of his kingdom he wept, for there were no more new worlds to conquer." Although he built the city of Alexandria with it's legendary lighthouse, he was not a great builder or statesman like other notables of history. The real creator of this Legend of History is his father, Phillip of Macedonia. Just as a great playwright does not bask in the limelight, but the actors, so it was with Phillip and his son Alexander the Great. Phillip conceived and planned everything, building the army and beginning the Persian expedition before his death. For a time the whole world, from the Adriatic to the Indus, was under one ruler; realizing the dreams of his father.  He and 90 of his generals and friends married Persian brides. This was called the marriage of Europe and Asia. At 31, he had been in possession of the Persian empire for six years and wore the robes and tiara of a Persian monarch. He broke with Greek tradition by shaving his face, becoming notoriously violent, vain, and egotistical in his last days. His career marks an epoch in human history and he remains a controversial figure to this day. World Governing Empires of the West: After the Babylonians, the Medeo-Persians, and the Greeks ( under Alexander) came the Romans.

The Religion of the GREEKS and ROMANS 

                

The Roman religion, like many  elements of Roman society and high culture were adopted from the Greeks. The Greeks and Romans believed in a race of powerful gigantic gods who resembled people and meddled in human affairs. There were many Classical gods, gods of the sun and sea and war, the underworld and just about everything else. Their names were invoked in times of conflict and presided over war, nature, animals, healing and fertility. They were venerated and entreated in prayer for the fertility of crops and livestock. Many gods and goddesses were associated with animal totems, such as birds, bears, deer, snakes, wolves and many others. "Athene, goddess of wisdom and justice" (below left) is also the protector of the acropolis. Athena was described as a young woman wearing a helmet or crown and holding a shield. Her Symbols or Attributes included the Owl, signifying watchfulness and wisdom and a shield showing the serpent-haired Gorgon Medusa. She was said to be rational, intelligent, a powerful defender in war but also a potent peacemaker. Athena was said to have sprung forth from the forehead of her father Zeus (Jupiter) King of the gods. Above right is her uncle Neptune or Poseidon, god of the sea and Aphrodite or Venus, his daughter, the goddess of love.

                    

The pantheon was filled with gods and monsters warriors, mothers and virgins...

*****

      CAESAR AND CHRIST

A World in Transition... the Birth of Imperial Rome

     For nearly a thousand years Rome was the most powerful, politically important, wealthiest, and largest city in the Western world.  Rome’s early history is clouded by fabulous myths and legends. (ca. 753 B.C.) The Roman Kingdom gave way to the Roman Republic which was governed by a Senate (ca. 510 B.C.) and is to this day a model for many of the world's greatest governments. Rome's professional army was arguably the finest the world had ever seen and is still imitated in many ways by our modern armies. The Roman Empire held dominance over most of Europe and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of over a million citizens and held the institution of slavery dear to their hearts. The North African Carthaginians were their principal rivals in their early history but were completely wiped out down to the last babe in arms by the Roman Army bringing an end to The Punic Wars. (264-146 B.C.) Some historians refer to this genocidal use of  force against helpless civilians as a "Carthaginian Peace".

 

Gaius Julius Caesar ( 100-44 B.C.) General & Dictator of Rome,  was born in Rome on July 13, 100 BC to Gaius Julius Caesar & Aurelia. He was the only son & had two sisters, both named Julia, called respectively Julia Minor & Julia Major . Romans, like Cicero spelled his name: "CAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR"

    Contrary to popular myths Caesar did not come from a very rich or influential family.  Caesar's father died at Pisa while on military duty in 85/84 BC. At this time little Julius is tutored by Alexandrian educated grammarian and rhetorican Marcus Antonius Gnipho.

     In 77 BC Caesar enters politics in the conventional way, as a lawyer. In 74 BC, using treasure he captured from pirates, Caesar raised an army and defeated Mithridates VI, who had invaded Roman territory. After this service he returned to study at Rhodes. In Rome Caesar is elected Military Tribune by the people. In 61 BC Caesar served as  governor in Spain. In 59 BC Julius Caesar at 40 entered office as Consul of the republic of Rome. Caesar now solidified his alliance with Pompey by marrying his daughter Julia to him persuading Pompey to give him legions for her. Caesar had achieved much by age 42, doing more than many men twice his age. He understood that his times required more than just political and oratory skill to attain his goals.

 The conquest and eventual assimilation of Gaul secured more money and a considerable military reputation for him. Also the map and history of Europe would be forever changed.

 It began Romanic & Germanic differences in culture & nationalism that existed between Gaul (France) & Germania (Germany) for 2039 years leading to countless wars & atrocities. The Celtic Warriors were a ferocious adversaries, madly fond of war, but we must not glorify Caesar's Gallic conquest too much, the Roman policy was bordering on genocide! Gaul was starved & pillaged to bare soil during the long siege.  We must add to Caesar's epitaph that he was one of history's greatest killers. In 48 BC King Ptolemy XIII of Egypt assassinated Pompey & presented his head to Caesar. Infuriated, the Roman Consul Gaius Julius Caesar arrived with 4000 men at Alexandria Egypt and took over. In 44 BC On the day of an ancient festival, Caesar sat on his gilded chair, dressed in a purple robe like the old kings of Rome had worn & a golden wreath. Its  clear Caesar was comfortable appearing in Public as Dictator Perpetuus, the next best thing to being king. His relationship with Cleopatra, queen of Egypt did not help. He was assassinated on the Ides of march by the Senators in the Senate chambers. The reasons for his assassination are debated over to this very day. Caesar later also claimed to be descendant of Rome's fourth King Ancus Marcius and the Goddess Venus.

 

  Cleopatra, ( 69-30 B.C.) descended from Ptolomey, one of Alexander the Great's generals, she was heralded as the greatest of all beauties and is arguably the most legendary femme fatale in all the annals of history in competition with the beauteous Helen of Troy. At the age of seventeen, she became Queen of Egypt ruling jointly with her younger brother Ptolomey V by marriage, according to the ancient Egyptian custom of the Pharaohs.

   After he betrayed her and stripped her of all power and authority, she withdrew to Syria, and prepared to recover her rights by force of arms. Her opportunity came when Julius Caesar followed Pompey into Egypt. The personal fascinations of Cleopatra induced Caesar to undertake a war on her behalf, in which Ptolomey lost his life. She regained her throne through a marriage to her younger brother whom she rid herself of with poison. She lived openly as Caesar's mistress until his assassination in Rome. Their association had been terribly unpopular, and she became aware of her unpopularity and returned to Egypt.

     Subsequently Cleopatra became ally and mistress to Mark Antony (Antonius ). Enter Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian ( 63 B.C.- 14 A.D.) who was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He declared war on the star crossed lovers and defeated them at Actium. After a secret conference, she accepted the victor's proposal that she  poison Antony, her lover, and "for Egypt" she set out to seduce this newest Roman Commander, Octavian...

  She lured Antony to a mausoleum where he committed suicide himself in the mistaken idea she had already done so. Octavian refused to yield to the charms of Cleopatra, who, according to tradition, put an end to her own life by applying an asp to her bosom. Octavian went on to realize their unfulfilled ambitions and became Caesar Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome and founder of the Imperial Roman Government. 

 

THE "PAX ROMANA" (27 BC to 180 AD)

   Augustus Caesar brought about the "Pax Romana" or "Roman Peace"; history's longest period without a war. That's what the history books say, but is it the truth? It was a peaceful 200-odd years for a few insulated Roman aristocrats, but these so-called "continuous years of peace" came at the price of freedom and were imposed by Roman armies and weapons of war. One would need their own definitions of war and peace to call the Jewish Revolt (66-73 A.D.) with at least a million dead and the subsequent Jewish wars (115-117 & 132-135 A.D.) times of peace. The Civil Wars fought in the Year of the Four Emperors.(69 A.D.) and a massive Roman army led by Quintus Petillius Cerialis was sent to put down a German revolt (Revolt of the Batavi) that same year all disprove this claim, but the evidence is overwhelming- (Cerialis also took part in the 60-61 A.D. war led by Queen Boudica of the Iceni in Britain.) 1st Century Roman Wars:  * Roman-Parthian Wars (ongoing)* Roman conquest of Britain (43 AD.)* First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 AD.) * Roman Civil War of 68-69 AD 2nd Century: * Roman-Parthian Wars (ongoing)* First Dacian War (101-102 AD.)* Second Dacian War (105-106 AD.)* Kitos War (115-117 AD.)* Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135 AD.)* Marcomannic Wars (166-180 AD.) The legendary "Pax Romana" was actually littered with wars, uprisings and the systematic persecution and genocide of Christians for 300 years under 10 Emperors. 

   The Rape of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D. (right) during the time of Emperor Nero was a response to Judean anti-Roman sentiments that were pushed to the breaking point by Emperor Caligula, who in the year 39 A.D. declared himself to be a deity and ordered his statue to be set up at every temple in the Roman Empire. Only the Judeans DARED refuse this command; they would not defile God's holy temple with a statue of pagan Rome's latest new deity. Caligula's act radicalized even moderate Judeans whose religion was largely governed by Ten Commandments believed by them to have been given by GOD to Moses their chief prophet, which included "having no other gods before me" and "not worshipping any craven images or likenesses" Death by execution was the penalty for refusal. Tensions led to the Jewish Revolt. During the war, Jerusalem was besieged and starved. Extant reports say those who escaped starvation and even cannibalism in the city during the siege were crucified by the encircling armies.  When the city was finally burned and ransacked the blood ran six inches deep through the streets. When people refer to the 2000-year span of Jewish homelessness and exile, it dates from the failure of this revolt and the destruction of the Temple. The temple was then transported to Rome along with its sacred treasures and used to build the great coliseum where later the Christians were to be thrown to lions and crucified while being burned alive- among other elaborate and spectacular tortures for public entertainment.

 Note: After the destruction of the Temple Hebrewism could no longer be practiced and its followers were forced to choose between Judaism and Christianity. "The return from Babylon at the end of the 2nd century and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism."

~ Rabbi Stephen F. Wise, Chief Rabbi of the United States

     The Ancient Romans couldn't understand the stubbornness of the Hebrews with their belief in only one invisible almighty all knowing GOD. Rome saw herself as tolerant for allowing the worship of other gods in their empire (as long as they honored Rome's also) and they could not grasp the impossibility of bowing to Caesar (or any man) as god to this culture and that demanding such an  unfaithful act from Hebrews (or later Christians for that matter) under penalty of death for refusal was actually a monstrous act of religious intolerance.

In these times like any other,  there was no innocence, only degrees of guilt

      Throughout the history of War and Civilization there have been many outright lies, exaggerations, omissions and cover-ups but it is clear that no race, religion or culture is blameless when it comes to brutality and mass-murder. The same Jews who had been the victims of Roman brutality and intolerance were merciless and bloodthirsty and even more gruesome in their violence when they had the upper hand ~  The great British Historian, Edward Gibbon, quoting extant Roman history wrote about a horrific 2nd century Jewish attempt at genocide that is rarely mentioned: The Kitos War broke out in 115A.D. and was a second Jewish war of rebellion, with diasporic Jews revolting in Cyrenaica, Egypt, and Cyprus. In Cyrene (today’s Shahhat, Libya), Jewish rebels destroyed many temples, including those to Isis, Hecate, Apollo, Artemis, and Jupiter, as well as destroying civil structures that were symbolic of Rome, and exterminated the Greek and Roman populations with genocidal intent. "In Cyrene they massacred 220,000 Greeks; in Cyprus, 240,000; in Egypt a very great multitude. Many of these unhappy victims were sawn asunder, according to a precedent to which David had given the sanction of his example. The victorious Jews devoured the flesh, licked up the blood and twisted the entrails like a girdle round their bodies. Bishop Synesius, a native of Cyrene in the beginning of the fifth century, speaks of the devastations wrought by the Jews: “By this outbreak Libya was depopulated to such an extent that a few years later new colonies had to be established there. ~ Sources include: The Jewish Encyclopedia; “Cyrene”, "Do Regno," p. 2 Eusebius, "Chronicle" (from the Armenian, in the 14th year of Hadrian) Dion Cassius, l. lxviii. [c. 32] p.1Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap 16.  

 

But the Roman Empire was about to have a bigger challenge than Judean Nationalism...

The Coming of Christianity

"This mischievous superstition has found its way all the way to Rome!" ~ Tacitus

No other religion or philosophy has had more influence on Western Civilization than Christianity. Christian beliefs spread like wildfire and turned the Roman world upside down and are still controversial today. Christians came from all nations, peoples and tongues by faith in Jesus Christ, even many citizens of Rome. The Early Christians believed in the authority and reliability of their sacred writings, now called the Bible, which is broken up into two sections: THE OLD TESTAMENT is an account of a nation. THE NEW TESTAMENT is an account of a "man". They believed THE NATION was founded and nurtured of god to bring the man into the world. Christians believe GOD HIMSELF became a man to give mankind a tangible concrete definite idea of what kind of personality to think of when we think of God. This radical new religion taught that Jesus not only came to redeem mankind but to reveal the true nature of God: patient, loving and forgiving. 

The Resurrection of Christ 34 A.D.

       The early church boldly taught that his appearance on Earth is the central event of human history! The Old Testament sets the stage for it and the New Testament describes it. AS A MAN, history tells us Jesus lived the most strangely beautiful life ever recorded. He was said to be the kindest, tenderest, gentlest, most patient, most sympathetic man that ever lived.  He loved people.  He hated to see people in trouble.  He loved to forgive.  He loved to help.  He wrought marvelous miracles to heal and rescue and  feed hungry people. While relieving the suffering he often forgot to take food for himself.  Multitudes, weary, pain-ridden, and heartsick came to him, and found healing and relief. Thousands of eye witnesses testified that they saw him perform miracles, signs and wonders.  After his triumphal entry to Jerusalem and being hailed by frenzied crowds as their long-awaited Messiah, the religious establishment in Judea was furious with his independence, authoritative proclamations and "excessive tolerance". Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after being crucified by the Romans under Jewish Sanhedrin*  pressure for being hailed as the "King of the Jews". (*supreme court) The life of Christ is so well documented it cannot be removed from history without having to remove notables like Caesar and Alexander as well, but the stubborn accounts of his resurrection from the dead still upset secular historians and other non-Christians.

 The most famous Roman execution in history, Jesus of Nazareth, was only one of three thousand Jews crucified by the Romans  in Jerusalem that year alone. They were nailing Jews to the walls of the city because there were not enough scaffolds to satisfy the Romans lust for blood. (34 A.D.) Even so, there was nothing routine about it. The Roman governor Pontius Pilate tried to spare him and had guards placed outside the tomb because of rumors of his imminent resurrection. These rumors turned into eyewitness reports and later into a religion that believed he would return and judge the world.

 

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  Will Durant, the eminent 20th century secular humanist historian was as upset by these resurrection accounts as any non-believer has ever been but still wrote:  

"... if we challenge the historicity of Jesus Christ, then Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and other legends of history would fade into myth, there is so much less evidence of their existence."

A Christian Rome?

After 300 years of Systematic Persecution of the Christians failed to get the same genocidal result as in Carthage, they decided to take a new approach. If they could not stamp them out - why not just take control of the church and re-make it in the spirit of Rome? Following Constantine's Edict of Tolerance (313 A.D.) the Roman Empire created the Roman Catholic (or universal) Church , declared it a death penalty not to join (319 A.D.) and then immediately sent the same Roman Legions to invade North Africa and slaughter the North African Christians for daring to want to remain independent from their rule.

    Jesus taught to "Love your Enemies" and "Do good to them that hate you"- the word "Christian" means like Christ

- I know of nothing more unlike Christ than this.

*****

The LEGENDS of HISTORY: Act Two

Possibly the Biggest lie in history was that Rome fell. I contend that Rome never truly fell. The economic capitol of Rome shifted east for a while to avoid the Visigoths. She merely traded her eagles for crosses and went right on with her conquering and murdering ways now doing so in the name of the GOD of LOVE. The knowledge and technology of the ancient world was lost as the west sank into the Dark Ages.

The Muslim Conquest

In the Seventh Century A.D. Mohammedanism swept the Eastern World like a tidal wave, and blotted out Christianity in Southwest Asia and North Africa; The Euphrates and Nile Valleys, the Eastern and Southern borders of the Mediterranean Sea; Lands of the Bible Story: lands in which the Bible originated and grew; lands in which God's revelation of Himself was nurtured and brought to completion: lands in which God formed and trained the nation Israel, for two thousand years to pave the way for the coming of Christ; lands hallowed forever as the scene of Christ's Life and Death and Resurrection and his redemptive work for mankind; lands which were the cradle of Christianity, and which were for 600 years Christian; the original Christian world; in these lands by one fell blow of the Mohammedan sword, Christianity was blotted out and Mohammedanism was established. These lands have been Mohammedan ever since.

        Mohammed, A.D. 570-632 (peace be upon him) who in Mecca, Arabia announced that he had been called as The Prophet of God was also highly active as a reformer, legislator, merchant, philosopher and military general. He taught that that the Ancient Israelite and Christian prophets were inspired by the same ONE true GOD of Abraham, but that (in the middle ages) religious authorities became corrupted and strayed from the original faith into the worship of idols and materialism and this made an independent reform movement necessary. Mohammed (peace be upon him) further taught that he was the restorer of the uncorrupted monotheistic faith of Adam Noah, Moses, Jesus and other Prophets.

       He set out at the head of an army to propagate his religion by the sword. The whole of Arabia was quickly conquered. Mohammedan armies under successive leaders swept on in their wave of conquest, Syria (A.D.634), Jerusalem, (A.D.637)Egypt, (638) Persia, (A.D. 640) and North Africa (A.D. 639).Asian and African Christianity thus swept away, Mohammedans moved on to Europe. Spain soon fell in A.D. 711. Then they headed into France, where at Tours, Their army was met and defeated. (A.D. 732) by Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne. That was one of the decisive battles of the ages. Except for that victory, Christianity might have been entirely exterminated from the Earth. The Arabians ruled the Mohammedan world for 400 years (A.D. 630-1058) when a vast horde of Turks took over.

The Dome of the Rock was erected between 688-691 A.D. and is directly on top of the Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem. It is held sacred because of the belief that the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) ascended to heaven from this site which is also considered to be the site where Abraham had built an altar on which he prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. In the Middle Ages, Christians and Muslims both believed the dome to be the biblical Temple of Solomon. The Knights Templar made their headquarters there during the Crusades and later patterned their churches after its design.

The Turks were said to be especially cruel and intolerant and their barbarous treatment of Christians in Palestine led to The Crusades with almost 300 years of intermittent war in which European Christians tried to regain the holy land.

 

The Discovery of the New World

 Leif Erikson discovered America. Christopher Columbus was NOT the first European to discover the New World! This commonly held belief is dead wrong and another widely taught untruth about the legends of history. Columbus didn't even reach the New World until 1492, nearly 500 years after Leif Erikson's landfall in the Americas in A.D. 1001.

Leif Erikson, was the European who FIRST discovered the New World.

    Leif Erikson, (ca. A.D. 971-1015)  Norse mariner and adventurer, was a Viking who came from a long line of explorers and adventurers. Leif's great-great-great uncle, Nadod, discovered Iceland (ca. A.D.861), and Leif's father discovered Greenland (ca. A.D. 970-980). He was born in Iceland, the son of Eric the Red. He is said to have brought Christianity to Greenland. 

    Leif's voyage to the New World was planned and careful in all things. He set sail in 995, passed Markland (Labrador), and reached Newfoundland, where his men decided to winter. They cut timber, built lodgings and hunted. Their tasks were eased by the fact that there were no natives in the area. On one hunting and exploring expedition, one Tyrker, who had lived in warmer climates, returned with grapes. Consequently the men began to cut vines and harvest grapes in addition to gathering timber which was scarce in Greenland. Because of the find, he named the area Vinland. Sailing back home he also salvaged a ship rich with Norwegian trade goods. Because of his highly prosperous voyage, he was awarded the nickname "Lucky".

     The Scandinavians dominated the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and the northern Atlantic in the tenth century. As ‘Vikings’ they had raided along the coasts and sailed up rivers far inland. As ‘Norsemen’ they settled the conquered areas. The Swedes built a trade network along the Eastern European waterways and were locally called the Rus.

 

The CRUSADES to free the HOLY LAND

 

    The Crusades ( 1095 - 1291 A.D.) were the culminating act of the medieval drama, and perhaps the most picturesque event in the history of Europe and the Near East. For 200 years, Palestine was again dominated by Christians through the Crusaders, who, urged by Pope Urban II, came from Europe to reclaim the Holy Land from the infidels.     

     In July 1099, after over a month of siege, the knights of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem, massacring most of the city's non-Christian inhabitants. Besieged in their synagogues, the Jews defended their quarter, only to be burnt alive or sold as slaves. In the decades that followed, the Crusaders exerted their power over Palestine with treaties and military victories.   

     The Crusaders opened up trade routes from Europe and so Christian pilgrimages became very popular while many whole communities of Jews returned to their ancestral homeland. Saladin's Muslim army drove the Crusaders out in 1118 and  Jews were again accorded a certain measure of freedom, including the right to live in Jerusalem. Although the Crusaders regained a foothold after Saladin's death in 1193, their presence was limited to a network of fortified castles. Crusader authority in the Land ended after a final defeat at the hands of the Moslems. The failure of the Crusades caused doubt about righteousness of the policies of the Roman Church and even to its claims of its divine origin and exclusivity.

 

THE EIGHT CRUSADES

  

  The First Crusade: (A.D. 1096-1099) Alexus Comnenus requested mercenaries to defend Constantinople but received 12,000 commoners intent on liberating Jerusalem instead. The European nobility marched on Jerusalem. The Second Crusade: (A.D. 1147-1149) Preached originally by Bernard of Clairvaux with only a few Greek islands taken. The Third Crusade: (A.D. 1189-1192) Led by Frederick Barbarosa, Richard I of England and Philip II of France. Resulted in a truce which gave Christians access to Jerusalem and all the Holy Sites. The Fourth Crusade: (A.D. 1202-1204) Instead of marching on Jerusalem, the crusade took Constantinople and the city remained in Latin hands until 1261. The Albigensian Crusade: (A.D. 1208) Preaching by Pope Innocent III sent forces against the Albigensian heretics in southern France. The Children's Crusade: (A.D. 1212) Preached by Stephan of Vendome and Nicholas of Koln. The force that reached Marseilles was captured and sold into slavery; the other turned back. The Fifth Crusade: (A.D. 1218-1221) An assault on Egypt. The Sixth Crusade: (A.D. 1228-1229) Led by Frederick II the Holy Roman Emperor, who negotiated a treaty leading to Christian control of several important holy sites, including Jerusalem. Jerusalem was retaken by Muslim mercenaries in 1244. The Seventh Crusade: (A.D. 1248-1254) Led by King Louis IX of France (Saint Louis). He captured the Egyptian city of Damietta, but was taken captive himself in the battle of Cairo. and later ransomed. The Eighth Crusade: (A.D. 1270) An unsuccessful assault on Tunis.

THE INQUISITION

     The Inquisition took it's earliest form around 1023 A.D. to deal with various kinds of heresies and made the Age of Faith complete. Persecution of Jews, Muslims, Pagans and any form of independent Christianity was especially relentless during these centuries. Dante - 'The Divine Comedy' ( 1318 A.D.) with his 'Inferno' - a terrifying vision of Hell - was the most influential writer and philosopher of the times. The Roman Church's unspeakable crimes committed in the name of GOD during this era are among the most horrific abuses of power in all the legends of history.    The Medieval Romans felt any criticism of the Catholic Church was an attack on GOD himself; the contumacious heretic could only be viewed as an agent of Satan, sent to undo the work of Christ; and any man or government that tolerated heresy was serving Lucifer.

 

    El Cid Campeador (Eng. The 'Lord Champion' ca.1040-1099) He was the foremost man of the historical period of Spain and the greatest warrior of the long struggle between Christian and Muslim. Born Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar to a Castillian Noble family, he is the favorite hero of Spain and the most preeminent figure in her literature. The Cid was a diplomat, a great military leader and a soldier of fortune. Rodrigo began his career around 1057and fought against the Moorish stronghold of Saragossa in the service of Sancho II. In the spring of 1063 he served in the battle of Graus where legends say El Cid killed the enemy's champion knight in single combat and received the honorific title of Campeador.

King Sancho II continued to expand his territory, conquering both Moorish and Christian cities and was assassinated in 1072 and his enemy Alfonso VI seized the vacant throne as King of León and Castile. According to the epic of El Cid, [Poema del Cid ca.1250-1300] the Castilian nobility led by the Cid and a dozen "oath-helpers" forced Alfonso to swear on holy relics he was not responsible. His list of victories and heroic deeds was extensive. In the Battle of Cabra (1079), El Cid heroically rallied his troops and turned the battle into a rout but his unauthorized expedition into Granada outraged King Alfonso, and May 8, 1080, El Cid was sent into exile, due to the jealousy of the King other nobles of his popularity, citing as their reason he had skimmed some of the tribute money.

El Cid held both Christian and Muslim military and political Alliances.

     Exile only added to El Cid’s riches, popularity, fame and power. In 1081 as a mercenary he offered his services to the Moorish king of the northeast city of Saragossa and served both him and his heir, and was awarded almost royal authority.  He commanded a combined Christian and Muslim army and was well loved for his brainstorming sessions as well as his success on the battlefield and conquered Valencia - the richest prize to be recovered from the Moors where he ruled in Alphonso’s name until his death. The Cid of romance is not the historical rebel, the consorter with infidels and the enemies of Spain, but the paragon of knightly virtue, patriotic duty and the flower of all Christian Grace, the "King Arthur of Spain", even his warhorse Babieca was legendary and had fables and songs all his own. [from the Chronica General composed by Alphonse X in 1284]

 

      

Joan of Arc  (1412-1431) was a mystic who lived a very public life during the Middle Ages, her high profile political presence and her visions and voices made her one of the most controversial people of her times but she has emerged a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic Saint. She was condemned in spite of her unflagging faithfulness as a Christian and was burned alive at the stake on trumped up charges of being a heretic by the Roman Church, although it cannot be said that The University of Paris, one time favorite of the Popes, and the most influential educational institution since Aristotle, had nothing to do with the martyrdom of Joan of Arc.

       Of course It was a death penalty for over a thousand years to be caught reading a Bible in vernacular or without a priest. Jesus Christ's blistering rebuke of the Harlot Church and commands for GOD's  faithful to leave it in The Holy Bible, the Book of Revelation - chapters 2, 3, and especially Chapter 18 were covered up with deadly force. Ancient Roman taxation evolved into tithes and the Church's greed led to the Protestant Reformation (1517- 64 A.D.) which brought sweeping reforms to all the Christian Churches.

Note: Only around the turn of the 21st century did the Pope help overcome this medieval stigma by publicly denouncing and apologizing for these centuries of  murderous atrocities and embracing Christ's fundamental teachings of forgiveness, tolerance, and love. John Paul II has brought renewed honor to the Papacy by providing real spiritual leadership to the Modern Catholic Church and working tirelessly for peace throughout the world.  

 

THE COMING OF GUNPOWDER

 

    Since ancient times, the fortified city was the standard defense... until the coming of gunpowder. The advent of the cannon changed that forever. A few cannon balls could take down most castle walls in mere minutes. History's consensus is that gunpowder was created in China, but some suggest that gunpowder might have first been used by the Arabs, who displayed knowledge of gunpowder some time after 1240, but before 1280, by which time Hassan al-Rammah had recored recipes for gunpowder, instructions for the purification of saltpeter, and descriptions of gunpowder incendiaries in Arabic. By the 16th century, India was manufacturing a diverse variety of firearms; large guns in particular, The Indian war rockets were formidable weapons before such rockets were used in Europe.

     The earliest evidence of a gun in Europe was a  picture of a gun dated at 1326 A.D.. At first even Christian authorities denounced gunpowder weapons, calling them blasphemous and part of the 'Black Arts'. By the mid-14th century, even the army of the Pope would be armed with artillery and gunpowder weapons. From the 16 to 18 hundreds development in gunpowder technology were primarily in Europe. Advances in metallurgy led to portable weapons and development of hand-held firearms like muskets. Musketeers and musket-wielding infantrymen were despised  by traditional Knights in armor knowing they heralded their downfall. The gunpowder army was here to stay and warfare would never be the same.

A Royal Musketeer was proficient with sword as well as firearm.

 

Following the Dark Ages came the Renaissance, Reformation, Rousseau and Revolution! In Italy under the Borges we had warfare, terror, bloodshed...  and that produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland we had five hundred years of peace and brotherly love... and what did that produce?  The Cuckoo Clock.

 

END of PART ONE

 

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CONTINUES WITH PART TWO:

From the Rebirth of Learning to Warfare in the Digital Age.

NEWLY EXPANDED AND REVISED FOR 2013 WITH NEW ART  NEW SECTIONS AND NEW ARTICLES

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Bibliography/ Acknowledgements

"It is best not to use only one source or only modern sources for researching history unless you know the bias of the author. The prejudices of the authors above are easily sorted out by reading their differing accounts of the fall of Jerusalem when Titus came in and destroyed the temple. ( 70 A.D. ) Once you know the bias of the author, his work is a more solid contribution to your research. For example, H. G. Welles was openly anti-Semetic, Will Durant was openly anti-Christian, Eusibius was a Christian minister, Bishop of Cesarea, and Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman Pagan, Flavius Josephus was both Jewish and a Roman Citizen and they all tailored history to fit their belief systems." ~H. D. Johnson   

Some key sources for THE LEGENDS OF HISTORY and recommended reading:

THE HISTORIES by HERODOTUS aka the father of history ( 9 vols. 557 B.C.- 479 B.C. )

THE ANNALS OF TACITUS   ( 2 vols. extant Roman history AD 56 – AD 117)

CASSIUS DIO ROMAN HISTORIES ( HISTORIA ROMANA0 ( 80 VOLS. written in the 3rd century)

THE OUTLINE OF HISTORY   by    H. G. WELLES   Doubleday   (2 vols. written in the 19th century)

THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION   by   WILL & ARIEL DURANT  Simon & Schuster    (11 vols. 1935-75)

THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY  OF EUSEBIUS PAMPHILUS Baker book house    (written in the 4th century)

THE WORKS OF FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS - THE WARS OF THE JEWS, ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS, etc. (4 vols. 75-94 AD)

EDWARD GIBBON, THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, (3 vols. 1776-1789)

ELIZABETH DONNAN, DOCUMENTS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE HISTORY OF THE SLAVE TRADE IN AMERICA  (4 vols. 1930-35)

THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM  edited by MARK KRAMER translated by JONATHAN MURPHY (Harvard University Press 1999)

THE JEWISH VIRTUAL LIBRARY - (~ www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org ~ the most comprehensive online Jewish encyclopedia in the world)

THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (12 vols. 1905)

THE JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARCHAEOLOGY (Vol. 178 #10, Nov. 6, 2010)

THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO by ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN  Harper & Row 1973 ( 3 vols. 1918-1956)

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 Thank you for visiting "The Legends of History" multi- media educational art gallery...

 With a background in traditional media including oils, pastels and colored pencils, Howard David Johnson embraces leading edge digital media in the creation of his depictions of fantasy, folklore, mythology, legend, religion, and heroic history.

The Art Gallery Links of Contemporary American Illustrator & Photographer Howard David Johnson

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Who is Artist and Photographer Howard David Johnson?

 

 In David's invitation to the Florence Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition, (a partner in the United Nations' Dialog among Nations), UN Secretary General Kofi Anon wrote:

 "Artists have a special role to play in the global struggle for peace. At their best, artists speak not only to people; they speak for them. Art is a weapon against ignorance and hatred and an agent of public awareness... Art opens new doors for learning, understanding, and peace among nations."

Howard David Johnson is a visual artist with a background in the natural sciences and history.  After a lifetime of drawing and painting, David works in a wide variety of mixed media ranging from oil on canvas to digital media.  David's Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London in 1996, ( 3 years before he got his first computer ) as well as numerous American ones since, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. David's realistic illustrations have made appearances in every major bookstore and game shop chain in America as well as magazines and educational texts around the world. 

     Some of his more prestigious clients have included the National Geographic Society, the University of Texas, the University of Cambridge in England, Paramount Studios, Universal Studios, PBS TV, The History Channel, Enslow Educational Publishers, Adobe Photoshop, Auto FX,  Doubleday, the History Book of the Month Club, & J Walter Thompson Advertising, just to name a few. 

A portrait of the artist in his painting studio as he is today.  Photo by his son Erich F. Johnson.

Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield (Danish Cover)

Working in a variety of media David offers his customers a variety of options and more than three decades of experience. As a realistic illustrator he has not only used the computer but has been involved in the development and marketing of software for Adobe Photoshop. Digital art, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, & also Oil Paintings can also be commissioned for select projects. 

  Licenses to print his existing work are available at surprisingly affordable prices. Oil Paintings, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, & Digital art can also be commissioned for select projects - Click on commission new art below... Working in a variety of traditional & cutting edge digital media he offers his customers a variety of options & more than thirty years of experience. As a commercial illustrator HDJ has not only used the computer but has been involved in the development of imaging software. He delivers the rights to these custom made copyright free illustrations & old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire. On existing works license offers start as low as $99.

 

This Art Gallery has been honored by more than 25,000,000 Unique Visitors

from the Four Corners of the Earth:

My Friends from around the world thus far :

 

England,   Canada,   Scotland,   Wales,   Ireland,   Germany,   France,   Monaco,   Andorra,   Italy,   The Vatican City State,  Greece,  Macedonia,  Cyprus,  Turkey,  Belgium,  Denmark,  The Faroe Islands,  Greenland,  Yugoslavia, Macedonia,  Croatia,  The Czech Republic,  Bosnia,  Herzegovina,  Slovakia,  Slovenia,  Luxembourg,  Latvia,  Estonia, Hungary,  Bulgaria,  Lithuania,  Poland,  Austria,  Romania,  Spain,  The Russian Federation,   Ukraine,   Kazakhstan, Moldova,  Malta,  Iceland,  Finland,  Norway,  Netherlands,  Switzerland,  Liechtenstein,  Sweden,  Portugal,  Albania, Armenia, Georgia,  Azerbaijan,  Belarus,  Kazakhstan,  Gibraltar,  Israel,  Palestinian Territories,   Egypt,   Libya,  Mali, Algeria,  Niger,  Saudi Arabia,  Oman,  The United Arab Emirates,  Kuwait,  Bahrain,  Qatar,  Yemen,  Iraq,  Iran,  Jordan, Syria,   Lebanon,   Morocco,   Ethiopia,   Eritrea,   Liberia,   The Republic of Congo,   Rwanda,   Kenya,  Angola,  Ghana, The Ivory Coast,   Zambia,   Zimbabwe,   Sudan,  Nigeria,  Namibia,  Uganda,   Kenya,  Eritrea,  Tanzania,  Botswana, Malawi,  Senegal,  Djibouti,  Cameroon,  Chad,  Gambia,  Mozambique,  Swaziland,  Lesotho,  South Africa,  Seychelles,   Viet Nam, Japan,  South Korea,  China,  Hong Kong,  Macau,  Mongolia,  Mauritius,  Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia,  Laos,   Myanmar,  Macau,  Malaysia,  Taiwan,  Nuie,  New Zealand,  Fiji,  Cook Islands,  New Caledonia,  Vanuatu,  American Samoa,  Australia,  Micronesia,  Polynesia,  Papua New Guinea,  The Heard and McDonald Islands,  The Philippines, Guam, Palau,  Cocos Island,  The Kingdom of Tonga,  Malaysia,   Brunei Darussalem,  India,   Pakistan,   Afghanistan, Bhutan,  Bangladesh,  Sri Lanka,  Chagos Islands,  The Republic of Maldives,  Turkmenistan,  Kyrgyzstan,  Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan,   Nepal,  Indonesia,  Chile,  Argentina,  Uruguay,  Paraguay,  Brazil,  Peru,   Aruba,  Venezuela,  Bolivia, Suriname,  Guyana,  Aruba,  The Dominican Republic,  Guatemala,  Costa Rica,  Colombia,  Trinidad and Tobago,   Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,  The Virgin Islands,  Saint Lucia,   The Netherlands Antilles,  Panama,  Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Grenada, Ecuador,  Belize,   Nicaragua,   El Salvador,   Bermuda,  Cuba,  Jamaica,  Dominica,  Haiti,  Puerto Rico,  Cayman Islands,   Anguilla,    The Bahamas,   Honduras,   Mexico,    Madagascar, Central African Republic,   Gabon,   San Marino,  Saint Kitts & Nevis Anguilla,   Azerbaidjan,   Burkina Faso,   Equatorial Guinea,   Mauritania,   Burundi,  

and my home, The Great Free State of Texas (USA)...

 

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Bonus Section:

Personal Opinion Essays on History and Art by the artist.

HOW DO WE SORT OUT HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY?

A Legends of History essay by the artist

 

   As a professional Illustrator I am called upon to illustrate Legends of History and Mythology, Fact and Fantasy, the Sacred and the Profane. In as much as I have endeavored to sort them out accordingly, it has become one of the more fascinating challenges I have ever faced. As I am ever mentioning, the advances of science are constantly giving us a clearer view of the past even causing Mythology to become History as in the case of the Trojan Wars, the legendary Helen of Troy, and the Trojan Horse. 

 The archaeological excavations of Troy may prove the existence of the city of Troy and the Trojan War. They in no way make The Iliad a history book however, because of the un-provable spiritual and religious occurrences in the narrative. 

This sorting out of myth and legend from history is no less difficult today because of their intertwining influences on one another.

        Did you know the real life Robin Hood ( before the legend was Christianized ) actually fought the ancient Romans during the reign of Emperor Claudius and was really a Celtic Warrior named Caracticus? Consider 20th century American President Theodore Roosevelt. He lives in history because of his heroic charge up San Juan hill with his legendary roughriders. When this story was printed in William Randolph Hearst's newspapers it catapulted him to fame and ushered him into the White House as a glorious American War Hero. Everyone has seen the paintings and statues of Teddy Roosevelt and his roughriders dressed in khaki, mounted on horseback and charging fearlessly forward waving their swords. In reality, it was a group of Heroic African American Buffalo Soldiers who took San Juan Hill in spite of their heavy casualties. They did not wear khaki. They were not mounted on horseback, but were foot soldiers in the same dark blue uniforms of the U.S. cavalry as worn during the Indian Wars. Roosevelt's group actually took a nearby Hill against light resistance but Hearst said that would not sell newspapers so he created an American Myth. So as we see, here is something taught to children in schools as history is just not true at all, but yet, this myth shaped the true history of the world in  the 20th century and beyond.

            If Teddy Roosevelt had not been elected president, neither would his nephew, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who provided very real and crucial leadership during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Neither would Theodore Roosevelt have built the Panama Canal or established the conservation of our natural resources. So here we see Modern Myth not only influencing, but creating History. In reality, I perceive Theodore Roosevelt was a much greater president than history gives him credit for. Although it is true his kindness created the "Teddy Bear", he really was also fit and trim, vigorous and active, and a very tough president in his foreign policies. He was instrumental in America's emergence as a world power. It is also true that he came from the upper upper class - old money in New York with a background of great wealth and limitless luxury and chose to be an outdoorsman, a cowboy, and soldier. When he was given office, he embraced the concept of being a good Shepherd , of seeking justice for all Americans - for this he was called a" traitor to his class".

         Actually, he is the savior of his class. In my estimation, it is President Theodore Roosevelt who is most responsible for the end of the then imminent threat of communist revolution or takeover in America. Throughout the early 20th century Socialist Revolutions were sweeping across the globe. Conditions for the workers in America were appalling. Child Labor, dangerous working conditions, ungodly long hours, degradation, and shockingly low pay. When Karl Marx wrote his "Communist Manifesto" he never dreamed of an affluent MIDDLE class. A middle class that is comfortable and savoring, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not going to rise up in murderous anger and "Storm the Bastile". What Global Communism could not contend with was America's happy and prosperous middle class. Theodore Roosevelt practically invented America's affluent middle class and eliminated the threat of Communist revolution in America.  Although he was well loved, he was also hated and caught tremendous heat from the wealthy elite for sharing a small portion of their wealth with the common man. He saved them from a Second American Revolution by customizing capitalism to a kinder, gentler form than the horrors of the late 19th century. Like General Winfield Scott, who won The American Civil War before it started, he defeated his foes with an idea. If the Robber Barons had had their way, their greed could well have caused America to fall to communism. Today, we have a new generation of robber barons but no Teddy to stand up for the little guys. I feel the true history about American President Theodore Roosevelt is more amazing than the myth, but they are interwoven and inseparable, without the one, we would not have the other. He was both a glorious and a tragic figure. As a leader and as a man I believe he is badly underestimated. It was only when his beloved son, nicknamed "Quinnykins" died fighting in World War One that he finally saw through all the myths and glamour to see the awful truth about war face on. He never got over his guilt for glorifying war to his son. We could all learn a lot from his experiences.

        War costs money...trillions of dollars. War takes human lives...millions of them! War makes children old, breaks parent's hearts, kills morale. War destroys cities, art treasures, civilization! The first world war alone cost thirty million lives and 4 trillion dollars when adjusted to the buying power of modern U.S. dollars. With the money at the time we could have built a three bedroom two bath house furnished with fine hardwood furniture on five acres of quality land for every family in The United States, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and Russia. There would have been enough left to build and stock a first class library and a proper university in every town of 20,000 people or more. Out of the balance we could pay the salaries for life of 125,000 teachers and 125,000 nurses. The remaining balance could have bought 1919 Belgium and France and everything in them.

           I see History as an endless waltz. Three beats over and over. War, Peace, and Revolution. Three beats over and over in an endless cycle of death, destruction, and regeneration. An Endless Waltz... and those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to dance this deadly waltz and pay this Frightful price for War. As modern technology such as jet aircraft and thermonuclear missiles make the world smaller & more dangerous everyday, tolerating each other's racial, social, & religious differences & living together in peace has now become key to the continued survival of mankind through the 21st century...

~H D Johnson 2003

 

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Thank you for visiting Howard David Johnson's The Legends of History art gallery...

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Essay One:

Realistic Art: THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME...

(A Brief essay dealing with attitudes toward Traditional Realistic Paintings, Pastels, Colored Pencils and Art Numérica )

"Painting, in art, the action of laying colour on a surface, or the representation of objects by this means. Considered one of the fine arts"

~Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

"Painting. noun. 1.) The act or employment of laying on colors or paints. 2.) The art of forming figures or objects in colors on canvas or any other surface, or the art of representing to the eye by means of figures and colors any object; the work of an illustrator or painter. 3.) A picture; a likeness or resemblance in shape or colors. 4.) Colors laid on. 5.) Delineation that raises a vivid image in the mind; as in word painting.

~ Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

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Soft Pastels, Acrylics, and Colored Pencils combined

    

    Snobbism in the arts is nothing new. Some people will tell you that oils are the only valid medium for realistic paintings. That Colored Pencil, Digital, and other Realistic Painting and Drawing Media are not valid  for "real" art. Young artists, Don't let them bother you. Their forerunners used to condemn Pastels before they gained acceptance and called them "crayons" when Johann Alexander Thiele (1685-1752) invented them.  Mercilessly disrespectful art critics of the time could not stop the Experimentalists no matter how viciously they attacked and derided them. "Crayon-painting" as it was called in England was practiced early on by persecuted pioneers in Switzerland and many other nations. What a debt we owe to these master artists who refused to knuckle under to the pressure of those short-sighted critics during those historic and experimental times. It took until 1870 with the founding of the "Societe` Des Pastellistes" in France that respect came  at last to these heroic & immortal visual artists.

        In England the liberation of the Pastellists from slight regard and undeserved disrespect came with the first exhibition of "The Pastel Society" at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1880. Pastel Painters like Mary Cassat and others from America and other nations forever silenced  the snobs with their masterworks and gained recognition at long last for Thiele's invention as a valid art medium. I am persuaded that history will repeat itself.  Like Pastels, I believe these wonderful new colored pencils and even Digital Realistic Art Media will one day receive the recognition they deserve as powerful mediums of artistic expression just as pastel paintings did. What is your definition of art? Have you thought about it?

Mine is: "anything that makes you feel or think."

     Consider dancing... it can be a little skip in the step or rise to the level of the incomparable Russian Ballet. Did you know that just the materials alone for a single oil painting cost up to a thousand dollars these days? Did you know that they are toxic? Even paying the artist less than minimum wage no one but the super rich can afford them anymore. Something's got to give. Realistic paintings in oil have been highly prized for centuries and the appeal and following of realistic art is undiminished to this day. Oil paintings featuring Abstract Art and Realistic Art are generally the most treasured form of all the visual art media and with good reason. But snobbish art critics  favoring abstract art have declared  that realistic paintings, or illustrations are not art for a century. With so many representationalist  paintings by so many immortal master artists hanging in the Louvre, the Hermitage, and the British Museum and others I think the disrespect for realistic illustrators that dominated the 20th century is academically ridiculous as well as vain and intolerant, insisting theirs is the only valid opinion. What is your definition of Art? I believe almost any form of human expression can be raised to the level of "high art" especially  visual art and Realistic illustration...

      By my own definition of art, which is: "anything that makes you feel or think" most abstract paintings are not "real art"to me personally, because abstract paintings usually neither make me feel or think,  generally focusing obsessively on technique and avoiding any coherent content. I usually draw a complete blank mentally and emotionally when I look at them. In 1979 the Houston Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a triptych of 3 giant paintings they paid fifty thousand dollars for-  three blank white canvasses entitled "untitled". Then there was "The incredible new artistic Genius" with an I.Q. of 62 ...Congo the chimpanzee with his gala New York art exhibition...an elaborate prank played on the Snobbish American Art critics about a generation ago by research scientists in the field of primatology. Imagine how upset they were when he created one of his "ingenious masterpieces" right before their eyes.

( My Source for this is the Time Life Science Library volume entitled "The Primates". )

      Art education has been almost completely removed from American Schools as a result of generations of this kind of  fabulous nonsense contributing to America's cultural illiteracy crisis. Now, the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other notables are being removed from school libraries.  After generations of this, most American college graduates today cannot name even one living visual artist, abstract or realistic.

There is no way that mandating more math, requiring more reading, or scheduling more science will replace what we have lost as a culture.    

What is your definition of Art?

~HDJ

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Note: Abstract Paintings by Congo the Chimpanzee outsold Warhol and Renoir by over 25,000 dollars in June 2005 at a London art auction. Born in 1954, Congo created more than 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of two and four. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis. There is no precedent for this kind of sale.

But how does this new Digital Art media fit in with formal definitions of Art?

 

       Art ( noun ) [ Middle English, from Old French, from Latin ars (stem art-). ] 1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. 2. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty; specifically, the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium. 3. The product of these activities; human works of beauty, collectively. 4. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value. 5. Any field or category of art, such as painting, music, ballet, or literature. 6. A non-scientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts. 7. a. A system of principles and methods employed in the performances of a set of activities: the art of building. b. A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: pursuing the baker's art. 8. A specific skill in adept performance, conceived as requiring the exercise of intuitive faculties that cannot be learned solely by study: the art of writing letters. 9. a. Usually plural.  Artful devices; stratagems; tricks. b. Artfulness; contrivance; cunning. 10. In printing: Illustrative material as distinguished from text.

~ The American Heritage College Dictionary of the English Language

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