Bannockburn and After

King Edward II had infuriated his barons by his refusal to consult with them or take their advice and instead was influenced by his coterie of hangers on such as Gaveston and Despenser. Revolt and open defiance of his rule was spreading throughout the old nobility and was to result in a crushing English defeat at the hands of the Scots.

Taking advantage of the unrest, Robert the Bruce of Scotland had not been idle and was gradually retaking the castles captured and garrisoned by Edward’s father and by 1313 only Stirling castle remained in English hands. The Scots besiegers were led by Edward, the brother of Robert Bruce.


Finding Francesco Gullino, aka Agent 'Piccadilly'

Agent Piccadilly? Francesco Gullino in 2012 A Danish citizen, born in Bra, Italy, on 31 May 1945, Francesco Gullino has long been considered to be the prime suspect in the murder of Georgi Markov in September 1978.

Gullino allegedly also was used as a Bulgarian espionage agent in Denmark. In February 1993, based on information from Bulgarian authorities, the Danish National Commissar, Department G (PET) charged Gullino with “violation of section 107 of the Danish Criminal Code, alternatively section 108 of the same Code.”

Section 107 read,

Any person who, being in the service of any foreign power or organization or for the use of persons engaged in such service, inquires into or gives information on matters which, having regard to Danish state or public interests, should be kept secret, shall, whether or not the information is correct, be guilty of espionage and liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 16 years.

On 5 February 1993, Danish police, two Scotland Yard detectives investigating the murder of Georgi Markov, and one Bulgarian investigator, interrogated Gullino for at least six hours. He was fingerprinted and released from custody without admitting culpability for either espionage or for his involvement in the murder of Georgi Markov.


Crazy Horse

There are times when a famous person's life and exploits are so embroidered by writers and historians that it difficult to get to the true story. Such a man was the Lakota Indian warrior Crazy Horse, who fought so hard to hold back the invasion of European settlers into his people's lands which at the time stretched from Missouri to the Bighorn Mountains of Dakota.


Hugh Glass: Mountain Man

Hugh Glass was born in Pennsylvania to Irish parents in 1783. Little is known of his early life, but various legends tell of him being a sailor, a pirate and an honorary Pawnee Indian.

In 1822, Glass responded to an item in the Missouri Gazette and Public Advisor, placed by General William Ashley, calling for a corps of 100 men to “Ascend the River Missouri” as part of a fur trading venture to find new trapping routes.  He had been living in the western wilderness for some years and was much experienced in hunting and trapping.


Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid Billy the Kid was born William Henry McCarty Jnr on November 23rd 1859 in New York City. He was slim, fair haired, blue eyed, with prominent front teeth and possessed a temper that could veer from charming and polite to angry violence in seconds. Legend has it that he killed 21 men in his short life, but this is certainly exaggerated. His father deserted the family when Billy was nine and his mother Catherine moved with Billy and his brother Joseph to Indianapolis Indiana where she met a William Antrim. The couple and the two boys moved around the country for a few years until they arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico where, in 1873 they married and finally settled down in Silver City. Antrim became involved in prospecting and gambling and spent little time at home and Catherine had to bake pies, wash clothes and take in boarders to support her children.


A Matter of Hatred: The Myth of Hannibal's Oath

Did the young Hannibal swear an oath of hatred? Hannibal’s hatred of Rome is so well known that it has become proverbial and allusions to it abound in literature. How many times have we read that a character was possessed of “a hatred like Hannibal’s” or that “he hated with the intensity of Hannibal”? When hyperbole is sought, as in the description of Captain Ahab’s feelings toward the great white whale, we read that “his hatred was greater than Hannibal’s.” But is there actually any factual basis for this Hannibalic stereotype?