The Plantagenets: Edward I

Edward “Long Cross” Coinage, 1272-1327 MEDEDWARDIBOX Edward’s reign almost ended before in began. In 1264, an upstart group of barons captured him and his father, Henry III. For over a year, the king and the prince languished in prison while Simon de Montfort, the head of the rebellion, ruled the country. Then Prince Edward escaped. He gathered up an army of loyalists and marched on the usurpers, defeating and kiling Montfort at the Battle of Evesham, and restoring the Crown to his father.  Continue reading

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In the Name of God: When Islam and Christianity Clashed

This remarkable collection is a numismatic history of eight pivotal Holy Wars between the Muslims and the Christians.


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Herod Dynasty: The First Villains of the Gospels

With the exception of Judas of Iscariot, no figure in the Christian Gospels is as antithetical to the teachings of Jesus as King Herod. “Herod” is not just one person; the Bible uses the name interchangeably to indicate any of the kings who ruled the Holy Land from 40 BC to 92 AD. The Herods were all Roman client kings—Herod I was installed in Judaea by his friend Mark Antony—and their supporters, known in the Bible as the Herodians, were loyal to Rome above all. The first mention of them in the Gospels is Mark 3:6: “Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”


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Remembering D-Day

If December 7, 1941, is a day that lives in infamy, then June 6, 1944 is the glorious opposite: D-Day, the date of the invasion of Normandy, the turning point in the Second World War. It is impossible to overstate the scope of the decisive battle that marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe. The landing involved some 5,000 ships, 11,000 planes, and 150,000 men, and comprised the largest and most complex air-, sea-, and land operation ever attempted, before or since.


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Zimbabwe Hyperinflation

When naysayers warn of the perils of inflation, what they’re really talking about is hyperinflation, a condition defined by economist Steve H. Hanke as “a rate of inflation per month that exceeds 50 percent.” This is a chaotic period of economic upheaval, when fixed incomes become worthless, when wheelbarrows are required to transport paper money to the market for simple transactions, when restaurants write menu prices in pencil because they change every hour. Think Germany in 1923, Greece in 1944, Hungary after World War II, or Yugoslavia in 1994.

The most recent example of hyperinflation occurred in Zimbabwe in 2008. At its worst measurable moment, the rate of inflation doubled every 24 hours—meaning Monday’s wages were worth half as much on Tuesday, a quarter as much Wednesday, and were effectively worthless in a week. Needless to say, this wreaked havoc on the economy, devastating the people of that country for years. Banknotes of unusually high denominations were issued.


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