Simple Modern Homes and Plans

As a building designer, I love tinkering around with floorplans and layouts; it is a lot of fun for me. I have decided to share some of my work below. Many of these house designs have been used by my clients in the past.

This Ludenio Home is fit for a lot measuring 15 meters by 10 meters, or 150 square meters. Its two-tone external wall colors are a fantastic combination of maroon and light yellow.

On the ground floor are:

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Water closet

The upstairs boasts:

  • Two bedrooms with one shared bathroom
  • One master bedroom with a master bathroom
  • Balcony for relaxation

The ground floor area is 53 square meters and the first floor is 60 square meters.

This countryside-style house was designed for one of my clients. The floor plan is the same as my Bacolod Bricks House and includes a 75-centimeter cultured stone finish on the exterior wall and wood siding. It makes a perfect match for your countryside lifestyle.

This is my latest design for Filipino overseas workers, as many of my friends here are OFW. Recently, I’ve been receiving many emails from them requesting me to make a design for their future homes. Here is one of my favorites. The Sun Flower is nice and elegant, with a two-toned light yellow external wall. Yellow is a color of happiness, much like a sunflower.

I’m sure you would be happy to live in this house, as it has many great features:

  • Spacious master bedroom (6 meters by 4 meters)
  • Two bedrooms (3 meters by 3 meters)
  • Two bathrooms
  • Dining room (3 meters by 2.8 meters)
  • Elevated kitchen (3 meters by 3 meters)
  • Living area (6 meters by 5 meters)
  • Entryway (1.5 meters by 2 meters)

I named this house Bacolod Bricks after the nickname of the friend who asked me to design it for him. The total floor area is 95 square meters, suitable for a five-person family. It features a shingled roof and brick tile external wall finish, which acts as an insulator of heat and fire, saving heating and cooling costs.

More details:

  • Two bedrooms (3 meters by 3 meters)
  • Master bedroom (4 meters by 4 meters)
  • Bathrooms: one master and one common
  • Kitchen (3 meters by 3 meters)
  • Dining room (4 meters by 3.5 meters) with a small bar
  • Living room (4 meters by 4 meters)
  • Entrance (2 meters by 1.5 meters)
  • Garage
  • Minimum lot area: 150 square meters

Rough Finish Cost: PHP 700,000.00 (USD15,000.00)

Elegant Finish Cost: PHP 1,500,000.00 (32,000.00)

This two-story house looks bigger than it is; the total area for the ground floor is 100 square meters with a total of 200 square meters for the whole house. It is suitable for a square lot of 15 by 15 meters. It features a spiral staircase and an elevated kitchen and dining room.

More details:

  • Four bedrooms
  • Master bedroom (4 meters by 4 meters)
  • Two bedrooms measuring 3 meters by 3 meters and one bedroom at 2.5 meters by 3 meters.
  • Bathrooms: one master and two commons.
  • Kitchen (3 meters by 3 meters)
  • Dining room (4 meters by 3.5 meters) with a small bar
  • Living room (4 meters by 4 meters)
  • Entrance (2 meters by 1.5 meters)
  • Garage
  • Minimum lot area: at least 15 meters by 15 or 300 square meters

Rough finish cost: PHP 850,000.00 (USD18,000.00)

Elegant finish cost: PHP 2,500,000.00 (52,000.00)

This is a one-story home with a master bedroom and two bedrooms, same as the Jay Marasigan house design. It looks big, but the living area floor is only 118 square meters, which is still affordable. It has a spacious living and dining area and a U-shaped kitchen.

More details:

  • Total floor area: 118 square meters
  • Three bedrooms (2 at 3 by 3 meters, and one at 2.5 by 3 meters)
  • Master bedroom (3.6 meters by 3.6 meters)
  • One master bathroom and one common bathroom
  • Kitchen (3 meters by 4 meters)
  • Dining room (4 meters by 3.5 meters) with a small bar
  • Living room (4 meters by 4 meters)
  • Entrance (4 meters by 1.5 meters)
  • Garage
  • Minimum lot area: at least 15 meters by 15 meters or 300 square meters

Rough finish cost: PHP 750,000.00 (USD15,600.00)

Elegant finish cost: PHP 1,800,000.00 (37,500.00)

Here’s my Modern House. It’s for those who have a 12 by 12 meter lot and wish to construct a modern house on a budget. Small and low cost, it has an only 80 square meter ground floor so you can save some space for a front yard.

More details:

  • Total floor area 180 square meters

  • Three bedrooms, two measuring at 3 by 3 meters
  • Master bedroom (3.5 meters by 3 meters)
  • One master bathroom and one common bathroom
  • Kitchen (3 meters by 4 meters)
  • Dining room (4 meters by 3.5 meters)
  • Living room (4 meters by 4 meters)
  • Porch (4 meters by 3 meters)
  • Garage
  • Minimum lot area: at least 15 meters by 15 meters or 300 square meters

Rough finish cost: PHP 750,000.00 (USD15,600.00)

Elegant finish cost: PHP 1,800,000.00 (37,500.00)

This house is elevated one meter above ground level so that you can have an overlook in your front yard from the deck. Nice, classic Asian-style house.

This house is only 5 by 8 meters because the client’s lot dimension was only 6 by 10 meters, which is a typical narrow lot for low-cost housing. It has:

  • Two bedrooms (3 meters by 2.5 meters)
  • Living area (2.5 meters by 3 meters)
  • Kitchen and dining area (2.5 meters by 3 meters)
  • One bathroom (2 by 2 meters)

This is not just a low-cost house, but a special low-cost house with a taste of luxury.

This house is one of my favorites. Suitable for a highland area overlooking the sea, city, or mountains. It has a spiral staircase in front that goes all the way up to the terrace.

I designed this house to can fit into a lot measuring 15 by 12 meters, as you can see from the floor plan. Other features:

  • Master bedroom (4 meters by 3.5 meters)
  • Master bathroom
  • Two bedrooms (3 meters by 3 meters)
  • One common toilet
  • Living area (4.7 meters by 4 meters)
  • Combined kitchen and dining area (5 meters by 3.5 meters).
  • 2.5-meter front yard for your parking area

This is a new design: I call it Modern House II. It’s two stories with enormous windows for a wide surrounding view and exterior light. This window glass also traps heat inside to keep your space warm during the winter.

Top 80 Irish Slang Words: The Gift of the Gab

Arriving in Ireland, you may be forgiven for thinking you have been hoodwinked, cajoled, led up the garden path, or just plain misinformed as to the language widely spoken here. Since before time us Irish have managed to invent our very own slang words and phrases to unleash on all unfamiliar with the lingo! Here, I have highlighted the most commonly heard words, their meanings, and provided examples of how they are used in everyday speech. Have fun: you will be talking like a seasoned pro in no time!

Don’t forget to test your slang street cred and your gift of the gab ability, by taking my small quiz at the end!

OK… Lets get started alphabetically.

Actually it does exist although rare! Legend says that if you find one each leaf has a meaning.

  • The first is for Faith.
  • The second is for Hope.
  • The third is for Love.
  • The fourth is for Luck.

Immunization History: Smallpox, Edward Jenner, and Mary Montagu

Smallpox is a historically devastating disease that has probably been eliminated in nature. The virus that causes the disease still exists in laboratories, however. The last case of smallpox produced by natural causes (as far as we know) was diagnosed on October 26th, 1977. A young man in Somalia developed the disease. Happily, he survived. In 1979, the World Health Organization declared that smallpox had been eradicated.

A chilling reminder that smallpox could appear again occurred in 1978 when a lab accident in England released the virus. One person died from the resulting infection, which was limited to a small number of people. Today the virus officially exists in just two laboratories—one in the United States and the other in Russia—and is kept under secure conditions.

The smallpox virus hasn’t been destroyed, despite the potential dangers of its existence. Scientists want to have access to the virus so that they can study it and create a new vaccine if this is necessary. Hopefully no more infections will occur, but the possibility exists.

There are two species of the smallpox virus. In the past, Variola major was the most common species in nature and caused the most serious form of the disease. The death rate from the infection was 30% to 35%. Variola minor was less common and caused a milder form of the disease. The death rate from an infection by this species was only 1%.

The first symptoms of smallpox appear ten to fourteen days after the initial infection. The person experiences a general feeling of being unwell and may also experience a backache, fever, a severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or delirium. In addition, the virus causes fluid-filled pustules to appear on the skin. After about eight days the pustules develop crusts and begin to fall off. Most survivors of smallpox are left with scars on their skin. They may also suffer from complications such as blindness and arthritis.

Variolation is the process of infecting someone with a mild form of smallpox in order to give them immunity to a serious form of the disease. The name of the process comes from Variola, the scientific name of the smallpox virus.

In its original meaning, vaccination meant infection by materiał from pustules found on a cow. The Latin word for cow is “vacca”, and the word “vaccinus” means “of the cow”. These terms gave vaccination its name. The virus transferred from the cow pustules in the first vaccinations may have been the cowpox virus. This is a relative of the smallpox virus but causes a much milder disease. The cowpox virus stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that also fight the smallpox one, giving the person immunity.

Today it’s uncertain whether the transferred virus in Edward Jenner’s experiments was the cowpox virus or the very similar vaccinia one. The vaccinia virus produces a mild disease and gives immunity to smallpox. It’s used in the modern smallpox vaccine. Its origin is unknown. It may have developed from the cowpox virus, but the moment in history when this happened is unknown.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was born in 1689. Her father was Evelyn Pierrepont, 5th Earl and 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull. Her mother, Lady Mary Fielding, was a relative of the novelist and playright Henry Fielding. Mary grew up with a great love of reading and writing as well as a belief in women’s rights.

In 1712, Mary married Edward Wortley Montagu. She had a reputation for beauty and wit and was a popular visitor at the royal court. In December 1715, she became infected with the smallpox virus. This left her with a severely scarred face. Her brother had already died from smallpox in 1713, so Mary was very familiar with the disease.

In 1716, Mary’s husband became the ambassador to Turkey. Mary and her son (born 1713) accompanied Montagu on his journey to Turkey. Mary quickly began to explore her new home and was the first European woman to visit many of the areas that she investigated. She learned to speak some Turkish and studied the local culture with interest and respect. Her enthusiastic and careful observations of the lives of Turkish women were recorded in a series of letters. The letters were published and established her reputation as a great travel writer and observer.

Mary was very impressed with the way in which Turkish women protected their children from smallpox, a process which she called engrafting. The women took pus from a blister of someone with a mild form of the disease and then injected it into their children with a large needle. The children became sick, but not seriously so. When they recovered they were resistant to smallpox. Mary was so excited by the process that she had her son immunized in the same way.

In 1718, Mary gave birth to a daughter. She returned to England later that year. Smallpox was a common infection at that time and was one of the leading causes of death from infection. Mary asked Charles Maitland, an English doctor who she had met in Turkey, to immunize her daughter by engrafting. Reluctantly, he did so. The process was successful.

Mary began a campaign to promote the use of variolation in England. She publicized the inoculations and the health of her children extensively. Members of the aristocracy became interested in the new procedure and some of them had their children variolated.

Mary obtained a powerful ally in the form of Caroline, Princess of Wales. The princess combined her efforts with Mary’s in an attempt to test variolation on condemned prisoners, who were promised a pardon if they agreed to the test. The women achieved their goal and the prisoners became immune to smallpox. Variolation was then tested on orphan children and was found to be successful. In an amazing show of confidence, King George l allowed Dr. Maitland to variolate two of his grandchildren, who were the children of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The variolation was once again successful, as it was in many people who received the treatment.

Dr. Edward Jenner spent most of his life practicing medicine in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. As a child he had received a variolation treatment at school, which had been a very unpleasant experience. The children went through a harsh preparation period before they were variolated. Jenner wanted to find a better way of preventing smallpox.

Jenner noticed that dairy maids and other people who regularly milked cows seemed to be immune to smallpox. He realized that people who had caught cowpox from the cows didn’t get smallpox. Jenner’s observations and deduction had been made by other people before him, and other people had transferred pus from cow pustules to humans to confer immunity to smallpox. It’s unknown if Jenner had heard of the previous discoveries. He wanted to scientifically prove that a cowpox infection could prevent smallpox.

To prove his hypothesis, Jenner performed an experiment which would never be allowed today. James Phipps was the eight-year-old son of a poor laborer who sometimes worked for Jenner. The doctor injected the boy with pus obtained from a cow pustule. Once the boy had recovered from the resulting infection, Jenner infected him with pus from smallpox blisters. Even after repeated tests, the boy didn’t develop smallpox. By infecting James with the cow virus, Jenner had given him a vaccination against smallpox.

Jenner wrote a paper describing his research and tried to get it published by the Royal Society, a highly respected organization of scientists which still exists today. The society told him that more proof was needed. The thought that people would need to be injected with material from a cow in order to prevent smallpox was very unsettling for many people. The Society was almost certainly worried about the public’s response. Jenner repeated his experiment with many more children. None of them developed smallpox. Jenner’s research was finally published by the Royal Society.

Many people reacted to Jenner’s publication in outrage. Clergymen said that the injection of pus from a sick cow was a repulsive idea. A popular cartoon of the time (shown above) depicted people changing into cows as they received a vaccination. Nevertheless, the huge advantage of preventing smallpox in a safer and more effective way than variolation eventually overcame people’s objections. Today Edward Jenner is known as the Father of Immunology. Immunology is the study of the immune system.

Routine smallpox vaccinations are no longer required. In the United States, they were stopped in 1972. People who do research with the virus are still advised to get a vaccination, however. Military personnel, health care workers, and aid workers may also receive the vaccination.

The remaining viruses are maintained in two labs under highly secure conditions which have been approved by WHO (World Health Organization). There have been occasional rumors of hidden virus stocks kept in other labs. This seems to be true, at least in the case of forgotten cultures. One such culture was found in a National Institutes of Health facility in 2014.

There are two concerns relating to the continued existence of smallpox viruses: they could accidentally “escape” from a laboratory and they could be used as a biological weapon. Many countries maintain large stocks of smallpox vaccine and have created emergency plans to deal with any disease outbreak. Hopefully these plans will never have to be put into action.

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature has extracts from the Turkish Embassy Letters by Mary Montagu, including one about engrafting.
  • The CDC has a web page about smallpox.
  • The Nature website describes the hidden and forgotten stock of the smallpox virus.

Human Language: Nature Vs. Nurture

Language is a necessity to all humankind. We use language to interview for jobs, write resumes, gossip about our neighbor, discipline your children. Every day we use language countless times.

Many people debate over how language is developed. Is it formed naturally or created through nurture? If a colony of infants was formed, no words were spoken to them, and only their basic needs were cared for them, would they create their own language, would they communicate through body language or gestures, or would they not communicate at all?

Clearly, language in humans is not all nature for there are a wide variety of languages, gestures, and other forms of communication. But there are some things that are universal. For instance, most languages have some sort of syntax that must be followed. To truly understand whether language is mostly nature or nurture, one must learn about existing theories, understand language word placement, and look at how others in the animal kingdom communicate.

Most would agree that the one thing that separates us from other animals is the fact that humans have language. Those who disagree point out that animals do communicate with one another. Although one must ask, how much is their language truly considered language? Although animals do have the basic ability to communicate, humans are capable of communicating beyond through logic and complex thought. Humans have complex conversations with an infinite amount of symbols and sentences to express their needs. There are also specific rules regarding human language that proves how complex speaking truly is.

Howard Gardner shows in his text, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences: that there are four basic principles that are seen in human language.

  1. People use language to influence those around them, such as when a child asks someone to hand them a toy or a boss asks his employee to finish a report by the end of the day. Language is used to induce action among others.
  2. Language is used as a memory tool. Humans have the cognitive ability to use language to remember things such as the alphabet, Then they use that knowledge to put things into alphabetical order. Many people also have memorized the names of the month in this same way. Language in humans is stored to be used for memory purposes.
  3. Language expresses ideas to one another. Unlike other animals, people are able to have complex conversations about religion or politics and be able to back up ideas using language or be able to teach children about manners by using words not just by demonstration.
  4. Language can be used to discuss language. For instance, in this article, but even more common when a child asks, “Mama, what does the word hope mean?” This type of speech is metalinguistic analysis.

Gardner, like the famous linguist Noam Chomsky, believe that language has had some sort of linguistic evolution. They believe that the first humans had very limited capabilities of speech, but over time people have learned how to speak more complexly and communicate to the level of thinking we have reached today.

Although many people question the linguistic evolution idea and believe that humans have always had the capability. Regardless, from the beginning, the human brain was hard-wired to be able to think complex thoughts, speak an intricate infinite number of sentences, etc. This theory is a belief that human brains are wired very differently than animals. Although it is clear from either standpoint that a person’s brain is wired differently, the difference stands in how much is a genetic predisposition to speaking and physical capability of speech. Would other animals speak as a person does, if only they had the physical capability? Why are there so many different languages? Are the different sounds used, due to the need within that society?

Noam Chomsky in the linguistic world is like the Einstein of physics or the Michael Jordan of Basketball. Chomsky was one of the first to believe that human brains are pre-wired for language. Even as infants, they have a pre-wired idea of how language works. This idea goes back to Darwinism. Noam Chomsky actually calls this innate ability as the “language faculty.”

Those who do not agree with Chomsky believe that infants have a set cognitive ability. As they grow and develop they learn and are shaped by their environment. Those around them speak, and they learn the rules and meaning of those sounds and symbols that make up speech. In the beginning example of the group of infants, they believe those children would not grow to have a language where they can communicate with one another. Chomsky’s belief is that they would develop a language that all the babies could understand.

Chomsky also believes that all people understand the same language ambiguities in the same way. That all understand things naturally the same way. For instance, if someone to say, “I have a black car,” regardless of what language was being spoken, the listener would know that black referred to the outside of the car, not the interior. Even if the inside was grey and the outside is black, one would still say “I have a black car.”

Another thing that is common in all languages is how all will have words that mean, “good,” “wide,” and “deep.” Some languages will have words that mean the opposite, such as, “bad,” “narrow,” and “shallow,” whereas others will only use the negative form of these words, “not good,” “not wide,” and “not deep.” None will use the opposite of the negation word. For instance, it is never proper to say, “not bad,” and have it translate perfectly to good from one language to the next. Even when Americans say, that’s not bad, it usually means, it’s not good either. Not narrow also would not mean wide and so on.

They have done extensive studies on the fact that there are certain parts of the brain that causes one to naturally pick up speech. For instance, everyone knows without being taught where adjectives go, where the noun goes, where the verb goes. For instance, if I were to say, “The big cat eats meat.” It makes sense, whereas, “meat cat eats big the,” does not. In most languages, there is a natural flow of the words that allow it to make sense. Looking at English, there is a part in the brain that even orders a different kind of adjectives in a certain order; for instance, we all say, “the big red balloon.” No one says, “the red big balloon.” There is something in the brain that causes only one order of the words to make sense.

Since few will make these simple mistakes when speaking, it is believed that there is a generative grammar, a part of the brain that is automatically predisposed to know certain grammar rules and innately follow them. Also, everyone knows that the article (a, the) goes before the noun not after. The most basic sentence in English would be subject, verb, direct object. By switching the subject and the direct object you are changing the meaning of the sentence. For example, “The dog ate the hot dog,” or “The hot dog ate the dog,” are two very different sentences with two very different meanings, but the same words!

How are we different from animals? Is the reason a dog cannot talk, because they do not have the vocal tract, or is it solely the cognitive ability? A parrot has the capability to talk, but not the intellect. They are able to acquire the ability to speak like humans, but they are unable to switch the word Susie from Polly. For instance, if a parrot knew how to say, “Polly wants a cracker,” it will not know to say “Susie,” just because its name is Susie. Or to say seeds instead of a cracker. It will only know to say, “Polly wants a cracker.”

Even looking at animals that are more similar to humans, such as monkeys. Monkeys are able to communicate, but not completely the same as a person. They can say many things through sign language, but they have intellectual limitations. Like they are unable to fully understand syntax, they are able to make some new sentences, but not with the same complexity that humans can.

There is so much that goes into language acquisition. It takes both nature and nurture for a human to be able to use language. There will always be a debate on which is more important in the acquisition of such a complex ability.

  • Exploring the Mind,, Duke University: Durnham, North Carolina, 1997.
  • Syntax – Wikipedia,, 2010.

How to Describe Yourself: 180 Words for Your Positive Qualities

Learning how to describe yourself accurately is something we usually have to put some effort into. This seems to be especially true in most western cultures, where being honest about our skills, qualities, and attributes can be confused with being arrogant, “blowing your own trumpet,” and being excessively self-indulgent.

If we do learn to describe ourselves, we can become being our own confidence guru and simply acknowledge and appreciate our own positive qualities.

Ready? Scroll down for list of 180 adjectives to help you describe yourself.

If you’ve already been interviewed for a job, you know the question: What would you say is your best quality? It can be an uncomfortable question to answer, especially since you’re already nervous about the interview. What do they want to hear?

The good news is that it’s possible to be completely honest. Because we can all identify with 90% of these adjectives in some situation or other, I suggest picking 10 to 15 words that describe you most of the time, regardless of the situation. It might be helpful to think about who are you when you are on your own, doing your own thing. There will be very few other people who will identify the exact same combination, because we’re all different.

Once you’ve come up with a few words, think of situations from your life that demonstrate that quality.

From my experience delivering training programs and seminars about building confidence and self-esteem, people get very quiet when they’re are asked to describe five of their best qualities. “I don’t know” is the most common response.

Conversely, we’re all pretty good at listing our faults and failings. It’s as if people don’t dare to ask the question, “What’s good about me?”

If this describes you, then it’s even more important for you to do this exercise. Words are powerful! If you come up with a list of your best traits, even if it feels awkward to do so, you’ll start believing them! This confidence will help you out in both your career and your personal life.

What would you say if you were asked, “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Not sure? You might even wonder why employers even ask such a weird question. The objective with a question like this is to see how a person responds when they’re thrown off base a little. It’s also a way to force an applicant to reflect on how they’ve grown or want to grow.

The key to answering this question successfully is to show that you’ve reflected on your personality and have identified ways to improve.

Come up with a few words that you think describe your negative traits. Here are a few examples:

  • controlling
  • rude
  • shy

Ok, now with a little thinking and reflection these traits could provide insights into your best qualities. For example, a controlling person might have a hard time asking for help. Have you ever wished you’d accepted an offer of help from a friend or co-worker? Are you aware of the benefits of not always being in charge? If so, you’re looking for opportunities to let go and work with others for better results.

Rudeness can easily be re-framed as bluntness and honesty. But you may feel that you can be a bit too honest at times. Describe a situation when you said something that may have been true, but that you wished you’d kept to yourself. Then explain that you’re working on making your feedback more constructive.

There’s nothing wrong with shyness, but you may feel that it holds you back from participating fully. Maybe there have been times when you wished you’d been more assertive. Explain that you’re working on speaking up more and overcome your fear of offending others.

So, how did you get on? How does it feel to identify your positive qualities? Good, I hope!

You may have undertaken this exercise because your teacher asked you to. Perhaps you’re about to interview for a job or are making an online profile. In any case, here are some “next steps” to make the best use of the list you’ve made:

  • Look over your list of adjectives. Say them out loud to yourself with “I am . . .” before each one.
  • If you are interviewing for a job, look back at the job description and circle all the adjectives and phrases on your list that best relate to the position. Pick two or three words that relate to both you and to the job.
  • Be prepared to give examples of specific times when you’ve demonstrated the adjectives that you’ve chosen. For example, if you tell the interviewer that you’re “reliable,” describe projects you have completed on deadline or times when an employer or teacher have commented that they can count on you.
  • If you’re applying to a school or university, read over the school’s website and look for clues about the kind of student they are looking for. All schools want students that are “hard-working,” “inquisitive,” and “persistent.” Show them your unique qualities. Are you particularly creative and imaginative? Are you exceptionally focused and determined? Do you have a big heart for social justice? Toot your own horn!

How the Ottoman Empire Entered WWI—Prelude to the Gallipoli Campaign

The Ottoman Empire had been in decline since about 1699, when a treaty to end what was primarily a regional war saw the Turks give up Hungary and Transylvania to Austria. Over the years, repeated wars with both Austria and Russia had significantly weakened the Ottoman Empire, stretched its forces and drained the Sultan’s coffers.

Hostilities continued through the 18th century, and into the 19th century. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 was aimed at ending Turkish rule in the Balkan states. The ensuing Treaty of San Stefano and the subsequent Congress of Berlin had the European Great Powers at the table, and though the Ottomans remained a European power, Austria-Hungary was favored over the Russians. And the Balkan states that had long been part of the Ottoman Empire became the powder kegs that started WWI.

When Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, Turkey was not allied with any of the European powers. History had left Turkey isolated, and her detractors were just waiting to carve up the spoils; all of the European powers had ambitions in the region.

But the ‘Young Turks’ as they were known, led by Enver Bey, were on a course to return the country to glory. Their long-standing hatred of Russia, suspicions regarding Germany’s true intentions and resentment of Britain for snubs both real and perceived, meant that Turkey sat on the sidelines as WWI got underway, unable to choose which power to cast their chips for. Among the Turkish leaders, there was a great divide about which power would prove to be the best suitor. Their hands would ultimately be forced.

Turkey had a significant asset to offer the winning suitor, and that was simply her geographic location. The narrow strait at the bottom of the Black Sea was the only route available to Russia year-round, as all other Russian ports were ice-locked during the winter months. From the Black Sea, ships could steam through the Dardanelles and into the Mediterranean.

Britain, in its haughty Imperial way, had snubbed Turkey once too often. A request by the Turks in 1911 for a formal alliance had been squashed by none other than Winston Churchill. This snub would turn out to have dire consequences for the Allies. Germany was eager to cut Russia off at the knees, and pushed the Turks to decide. Britain provided the final impetus by seizing two battleships that were being built in Britain for Turkey, with the excuse being that Britain needed the ships for her own use due to the looming war in Europe.

On August 4th, at the very dawn of WWI, a wireless message was received by German Admiral Wilhelm Souchon in the Mediterranean. It read:

“Alliance with Turkey concluded August 3. Proceed at once to Constantinople.”

On August 3rd, 1914 Turkey signed a formal alliance with Germany. Britain seizing the battleships she was building for Turkey—ships the Turks had paid a huge sum of money for—was the final straw, and no further insults by Britain would be tolerated in Constantinople. The ink on the alliance agreement was barely dry before Germany started trying to compel the Turks to declare war on Russia, but Turkey preferred to see which way the war would go—at least for a bit—before making a formal declaration of war on her centuries-old enemy.

Britain and France, meanwhile, were both focused on protecting the transport ships carrying French colonial troops to Europe. Crucial to the success of the war plans drawn up by the Allies was the safe arrival of these 80,000 men in Europe. The British and French navies had a massive presence in the Mediterranean at the time, made up of battleships, cruisers and destroyers.

Though attacking the French transport ships was clearly something the Germans would have otherwise been focused on, there was a greater prize at stake—the Dardanelles. Germany at the time had the second largest naval fleet in the world after Britain, yet she had only two ships in the entire Mediterranean. With war looming, the two German cruisers, Goeben and Breslau, began a dangerous game of cat and mouse with British vessels as both sides awaited news regarding the state of war.

Churchill ordered Admiral Archibald Milne to keep the two German ships in sight. But German Admiral Souchon was wily and managed to avoid detection by the British for long periods of time, making trouble as he went. In one such incident on August 4th, his ships harassed the Algerian coast while flying the Russian flag.

On August 2nd, the British Navy was advised that the Goeben had been spotted in Taranto, Italy. But they could not yet fire on the German ships, as war had not yet been formally declared against Germany. Admiral Souchon attempted to put as much distance between his ships and the British as possible. Three British ships were trying to keep up the chase, but the Brits were loosing the race.

By the time war was formally declared against Germany, the British Navy had lost sight of their prey. The British Admiralty was convinced the two German cruisers would make for Malta in an attempt to escape. Hampering Britain’s ability to catch the cruisers and recoal her own ships was an order received by Admiral Milne in the Mediterranean to respect Italy’s neutrality. Admiral Milne was also convinced that the German cruisers would head westward, so when the six-mile limit imposed by Italy’s neutrality prevented him from entering the Straits of Messina, he set up ships to guard both the western end of the Strait as well as the eastern end, which was the exit to the eastern Mediterranean. He was convinced the cruisers were at Messina, and that they would come out at the western end.

He was wrong.

The Turkish War Minister had initially provided permission to the German Ambassador for the two German cruisers to enter the Dardanelles. But the Turkish counsel and the Grand Vizier insisted that, publicly at least, Turkey needed to maintain her neutrality, so permission was withdrawn. That led to the above message being transmitted to Admiral Soechen, advising him not to head for Turkey.

The second message Soechen had received while in Messina advised him that Austria could not provide him with any assistance, and basically left it up to him to decide what to do. Admiral Soechen knew he would never reach Gibraltar, so he decided to ignore Tirpitz’s first message and head to Constantinople anyway, hoping to force the Turks to declare war on Russia.

The German cruisers raced toward Turkey through the eastern end of the Strait of Messina. Only the Gloucester, a British light cruiser under the command of Captain Kelly, and no match for the guns on the Goeben, was there to meet them. With Britain and Germany now formally at war, the Gloucester needed help, as she could not risk engaging the cruisers on her own. Help was anchored off the mouth of the Adriatic in the form of four British armored cruisers and eight destroyers commanded by Rear Admiral Troubridge that were also no match for the Goeben.

The entrance to the Dardanelles had been mined, and the Goeben and Breslau would need an escort from Turkey to get through the mine field. Would Turkey dare to publicly escort the ships to Constantinople?

Under extreme pressure from the Germans, the Turkish War Minister relented, and a Turkish destroyer was sent to escort the two cruisers through the dangerous waters.

Allied governments were aghast as news spread of the presence of the German cruisers. Turkey was still desperately trying to maintain public neutrality in hopes of securing greater enticements from the Allies, and messages were flying back and forth among all parties. Russia was willing to pay a steep price by renouncing any intent on having Constantinople for herself. France too was willing to strike a bargain with Turkey to keep them neutral. But Britain would not bargain with them, and Churchill proposed to send ships through the Dardanelles to torpedo the German cruisers. But he was overruled by Lord Kitchener, who maintained that Turkey would have to make the first move.

And move they did, though not by their own hand. In a brilliant bit of PR, the Turks had informed world leaders via their Ambassadors that the German cruisers had been purchased by Turkey to replace the two confiscated by the British. Turkish flags were hoisted on the ships, and Turkish officers and seamen joined the ranks. Britain was content that a threat had been removed from the Mediterranean.

But the Germans were growing increasingly tired of the Turks refusal to declare war on Russia. After Germany’s pullback after the Battle of Marne in September, and Russia’s gains against Austria-Hungary, Germany started looking at Turkey as being more and more of a useful ally.

On October 28th, 1914 the German/Turkish cruisers with their German Commander on the bridge, sailed into the Black Sea and fired on the Russian ports of Odessa, Novorossiysk and Sevastopol. On November 2nd, Russia declared war on Turkey, followed on the 5th by the other members of the Entente, Britain and France.

The stage was now set for Gallipoli.

Reflecting on what happened when Germany forced Turkey into WWI, Churchill later wrote that the Goeben had caused “more slaughter, more misery, and more ruin than has ever before been borne within the compass of a ship.”

How African Americans Lost Their Gettysburg Address

As spring slipped into summer in the year 1863, the peaceful little town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was home to a well established African American community. Indeed, blacks had lived in the Gettysburg area since before the founding of the town. When Alexander Dobbin, a Presbyterian minister, built a house in the area in 1776, the work of construction was done by his two slaves. These servants are generally believed to be the first black residents of the future town. Ironically, when the Dobbin house, built by slaves, was inherited by Alexander’s son Matthew, he turned it into a major station on the Underground Railroad.

According to the borough’s official history, Gettysburg was named after Samuel Gettys, who built a tavern in the area in 1762. When Samuel’s son, James, founded the borough in 1786, his slave, Sidney O’Brien, became the first black resident of the borough. Eventually, O’Brien was freed by Gettys and given a house in the town. Her descendants live in the Gettysburg area to this day.

Another early African American Gettysburg resident of note was Clem Johnson. Like many of the black inhabitants of the town prior to the Civil War, Johnson had been a slave in Maryland. Unlike many of his fellow ex-slaves in the area, Johnson was not a runaway. He had the good fortune to have a master who was willing to set him free. The Adams County Historical Society in Gettysburg still has the document that effected his manumission in 1831. It bears the signature of a man who had achieved fame in his own right by penning a certain poem most Americans know very well.

Whereas I, Francis Scott Key of the District of Columbia, being the owner of a certain man of colour called Clem Johnson, now in Gettysburg in the State of Pennsylvania, and being desirous for divers good causes and considerations to emancipate the said Clem Johnson and having agreed with him to leave him in the State of Pennsylvania and free to continue there, or to go wherever he may please, now therefore in consideration of five dollars to me in hand paid and for other good causes and considerations I hereby do manumit and set free the said Clem Johnson aged about forty five years, forthwith and hereby release and discharge the said Clem Johnson from all services to me my heirs exers and admrs. – F.S. Key

Francis Scott Key was, of course, the author of the poem that became the national anthem of the United States.

By 1860, there were 186 African Americans among Gettysburg’s 2400 inhabitants. They were an integral part of the community, working in a wide range of occupations, such as brick maker, clergyman, blacksmith, janitor and cook. One, Owen Robinson, owned his own restaurant where he sold oysters in winter and ice cream in summer. He was also the sexton of the town’s Presbyterian church.

Another well known resident was a 24 year old wife and mother. Her name was Mag Palm, but she was better known by the nickname “Maggie Bluecoat” because of the sky-blue officer’s uniform coat she wore when performing her duties as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. She became so notorious for this activity that she was targeted by slave-catchers, who tried to kidnap her and sell her south into slavery. Mag, a physically powerful woman, effected her escape not so much by her own hands as by her own mouth – when one of her attackers made the mistake of allowing his thumb to come too close to her mouth, she bit it off. And her screams as she struggled caught the attention of a neighbor who came to her assistance and beat off the would-be kidnappers with his crutch.

Although African Americans in Gettysburg were far less economically prosperous than the whites they lived among, they formed a strong and stable community that gave them great hope for their future in the town.

Then something terrible happened – a devastating event that almost destroyed Gettysburg’s African American community, and from which it never fully recovered. Robert E. Lee came to town. And he brought with him about 75,000 of his closest friends, men who were proud to call themselves the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Lee was conducting his second major invasion of Northern territory, with the hope of drawing the Union’s Army of the Potomac into a battle in which it would be effectively destroyed, thereby possibly ending the war. Gettysburg had the misfortune to become the site of that conflict more by accident than by design. It was simply the place where the two armies happened to first meet one another in an encounter that grew into a three-day battle of gigantic proportions.

Of course, with two great armies literally fighting in its streets, the impact on all elements of the Gettysburg community could not fail to be enormous. However, the African American portion of the community had to contend with an additional burden that white citizens were not subjected to. As the Army of Northern Virginia swept into Pennsylvania, they brought with them an official mandate that would subject every black person they found to the same kind of slave-catching attack that Maggie Bluecoat had suffered.

Although General Lee had issued orders to his army that the property of white citizens was to be respected during his invasion of the North, there was a quite different policy toward African Americans. According to David Smith in his essay “Race and Retaliation” in Virginia’s Civil War by Peter Wallenstein:

“In March 1863 policy was developed in Richmond and reinforced in a circular from Lee’s headquarters. Lists were to be compiled of fugitives ‘arrested’ by the army, and the slaves sent to special depots near Richmond.”

This policy allowed the soldiers and officers of Lee’s army to see themselves as authorized to capture and “arrest” every black person they could catch, and send such individuals back to Richmond as fugitive slaves. The result was that in every locale through which the Army of Northern Virginia passed as it progressed toward Gettysburg, African Americans were hunted down, chained, and sent south into slavery. Men, women, and children; escaped former slaves and blacks who had been born free – all were gathered indiscriminately into the slave-catcher’s net.

Charles Hartman, a resident of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, a town located about 25 miles southwest of Gettysburg, described what he witnessed when the Confederates began searching for blacks in the town:

“One of the exciting features of the day was the scouring of the fields about town and searching of houses for Negroes. These poor creatures, those of them who had not fled upon the approach of the foe, concealed in wheat fields around the town. Cavalrymen rode in search of them and many of them were caught after a desperate chase and being fired at.”

In her 1888 memoir What a Girl Saw and Heard at Gettysburg, Tillie Pierce Alleman recalled the scenes she had witnessed as Gettysburg’s African American population fled the approaching Confederates:

“We had often heard that the rebels were about to make a raid… On these occasions it was also amusing to behold the conduct of the colored people of the town. Gettysburg had a goodly number of them. They regarded the rebels as having an especial hatred toward them, and they believed that if they fell into their hands, annihilation was sure. These folks mostly lived in the southwestern part of town, and their flight was invariably down Breckinridge Street and Baltimore Street, and toward the woods on and around Culp’s Hill. I can see them yet; men and women with bundles as large as old-fashioned feather ticks slung across their backs, almost bearing them to the ground. Children also, carrying their bundles, and striving in vain to keep up with their seniors. The greatest consternation was depicted on all their countenances as they hurried along; crowding, and running against each other in their confusion; children stumbling, falling and crying. Mothers, anxious for their offspring, would stop for a moment to hurry them up, saying: For’ de lod’s sake, you chillen, cum right long quick! If dem rebs dun katch you dey tear you all up.”

Some captured African Americans suffered a fate even worse then enslavement at the hands of their kidnappers. In his “Race and Retaliation” article, David Smith reports on the grisly discovery made by one Northern unit in the aftermath of the Gettysburg battle:

“While pursuing Lee’s army after Gettysburg, Union Lt. Chester Leach of the 2ndVermont reported finding a black man who had been tortured, mutilated, and murdered by Southern troops. The Vermont troops heard that he had refused to cross the Potomac with the retreating Confederate army.”

The slave-raiders were not, however, always successful in their attempts to carry their captives away. Confederate General Albert Jenkins had been ordered to capture all freed slaves living in the Chambersburg, Mercersburg and Greencastle areas and to transport them south for re-enslavement. On June 16 his train of wagons containing more than thirty captured women and children arrived at Greencastle, guarded by four soldiers. Courageous residents of the town, determined to not allow what they considered an outrage to proceed unchallenged, actually attacked the guards, locked them in the town jail, and freed the captives. When Jenkins heard what had happened, he demanded $50,000 from the town as compensation for his lost “property.” When the town leaders refused his demand, Jenkins threatened to return after a few hours and burn the town to the ground. Fourteen of the captured black women offered to give themselves up to Jenkins in order to save the town, but the Greencastle residents wouldn’t hear of it. As it happened, Jenkins never returned to carry out his threat.

Diaries, letters and official reports of officers all document the practice of hunting and capturing blacks as being widespread and officially sanctioned throughout every command of Lee’s army. Although there is no evidence that Lee personally authorized these kidnappings, there is no way they could have been carried out at the level they were without his knowledge and at least tacit consent. We do know that official complicity in such operations went at least as high as General James Longstreet, the most senior of Lee’s corps commanders. In his July 1 order instructing General Pickett to move his corps to Gettysburg, Longstreet directs that, “the captured contrabands had better be brought along with you for further disposition.” (“Contraband” was a term applied to slaves who escaped into Union lines).

Although accurate numbers cannot now be known, it is estimated that somewhere around one thousand African Americans were kidnapped and enslaved during the course of the Gettysburg campaign.

Of course, the effect of this practice on the African Americans of every community through which the Army of Northern Virginia passed on its way to Gettysburg was devastating. In Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, for example, the black community of 1800 people simply disappeared, having either fled or been captured. A South Carolina soldier, in a letter home written from Chambersburg, commented, “It is strange to see no negros.”

A similar dispersal of the African American community happened around Gettysburg as the Southern army approached. Some residents were captured and sent south. Others fled as refugees to Harrisburg or Philadelphia. Only a comparative few ever returned to their former homes. Of the 186 African Americans who were living in the Gettysburg area in 1860, only 64 were found living there in the fall of 1863, after the invasion and retreat of the Confederates. For those who did not return, it can truly be said that the greatest consequence of Robert E. Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania was that many of the African American citizens of Gettysburg lost and never regained their Gettysburg address.

How Abraham Lincoln Fired General John C. Fremont

One of the more extraordinary episodes in the American Civil War took place when President Abraham Lincoln decided to relieve Major General John C. Fremont of his command. The president knew that Fremont would do everything he could, short of outright mutiny, to avoid being replaced. So Lincoln took extraordinary precautions to insure that the order relieving Fremont would get through to him.

John Charles Fremont (1813-1890) was one of the most romantic and colorful characters of the Civil War era. In the decades before the war he had gained nationwide fame by leading exploratory expeditions to the American far west. Often accompanied by celebrated frontiersman Kit Carson, Fremont led five expeditions between 1842 and 1853, surveying and mapping routes through what is now the Midwest and on to Oregon and California. He is commonly given credit for naming what became a great Midwestern state. In his report to the Secretary of War on his expeditions, he listed the most prominent river in that area by its Native American name, “Nebraska.” The Secretary later applied that name to the entire territory.

Fremont’s published accounts and maps were a crucial resource for settlers during their westward migration. His explorations seized such a hold on the popular imagination that he became known as the “Pathfinder.”

That fame, along with his credentials as a committed anti-slavery advocate, put him in position to become the first Republican candidate for President in 1856. Although he lost to Democrat James Buchanan, scoring a very respectable 114 electoral votes to Buchanan’s 174, Fremont retained an excellent reputation based on his pioneering exploits. When the Civil War broke out, President Lincoln appointed the Pathfinder a Major General and Commander of the Department of the West, based in St. Louis, Missouri.

But however great Fremont may have been as an explorer, it soon became clear that he was in over his head as a general. Under his leadership, the Department of the West was an administrative shambles and a hotbed of corruption, though Fremont himself was never personally implicated. He proved ineffective as a military leader, failing to rid Missouri of Confederate forces. Plus, he implemented public policies in his department that gained him powerful enemies both in Missouri and in Washington.

Perhaps worst of all, Fremont seemed stubbornly blind to the political realities with which President Lincoln had to contend.

An ardent abolitionist, Fremont issued a proclamation in August of 1861 freeing the slaves of all owners in Missouri who refused to swear allegiance to the Union. With little apparent regard for the national political implications of such an action, he issued his proclamation totally on his own, without even notifying the president of his intention.

Fearful that premature emancipation would drive slave-holding border states like Missouri and Kentucky into the embrace of the Confederacy, President Lincoln asked Fremont to quietly rescind his order. Fremont refused, thus requiring Lincoln to publicly overrule him. That, in turn, subjected the president to extensive criticism in the press and from the more radical members of his own party who were demanding immediate abolition.

Fremont’s intransigence in the face of a direct request from his Commander in Chief cost the president sorely needed political support. That, along with his demonstrated administrative and military inadequacy, was the last straw for Lincoln. By late October 1861, less than four months after appointing him, the president was ready to relieve Fremont of his command.

Fremont knew what was coming. Sensing the severity of Lincoln’s displeasure with him, he sent his wife to Washington to plead his case with the president. Jessie Benton Fremont was the daughter of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, and could be expected to swing some weight in Washington. President Lincoln, however, was entirely unmoved by her imperious manner. Sensing that the president’s mind was already made up and would not change, she informed her husband that, in effect, his fate was sealed. Lincoln was going to relieve him of his command.

Fremont, however, had no intention of taking his fate lying down. Although he had been born in the South (in Savannah, Georgia), he was a loyal, and in many ways highly commendable American patriot. To actually defy a presidential order relieving him of command was never an option for him.

On the other hand, an order that was not received need not be obeyed. Fremont had accumulated at his headquarters aides and bodyguards numbering literally in the hundreds. In them he saw his opportunity to remain in command. He would simply lock down security at his headquarters so tightly that no officer from Washington would be able to get through to deliver any order replacing him.

But President Lincoln knew his man. Somehow he sensed what Fremont’s strategy would be. He had orders prepared relieving Fremont and appointing General David Hunter to succeed him in command, but didn’t send those orders through normal military channels. Instead, he forwarded them, accompanied by the following letter, to General Samuel R. Curtis in St. Louis, who would be charged with overseeing the transfer of power from Fremont to his replacement.

DEAR SIR: On receipt of this, with the accompanying enclosures, you will take safe, certain, and suitable measures to have the inclosure addressed to Major-General Fremont delivered to him with all reasonable despatch, subject to these conditions only, that if, when General Fremont shall be reached by the messenger,–yourself or any one sent by you,–he shall then have, in personal command, fought and won a battle, or shall then be in the immediate presence of the enemy in expectation of a battle, it is not to be delivered but held for further orders.

To me, this is one of the more remarkable letters in American presidential history. In it Lincoln lets General Curtis know, without explicitly saying so, that Fremont could be expected to try to shield himself from ever getting the order to relinquish his command. So, Curtis would need to take the extraordinary step of employing some “safe, certain, and suitable measures” to insure that the orders got through.

Delivery of Lincoln’s letter to Curtis, with the accompanying orders relieving General Fremont, was entrusted to Leonard Swett, an Illinois attorney who was a long-time personal friend of the president’s. When he arrived in St. Louis, Swett sat down with General Curtis to discuss their next step in getting Lincoln’s orders into the hands of Fremont and his designated replacement, General Hunter.

A complicating factor was the fact that news of the president’s intention to replace Fremont had been leaked to the press, and had appeared in New York newspapers. Thus it was probable that Fremont would be on the lookout for any messenger from Lincoln attempting to deliver such orders to him. If that was the case, it was unlikely that Swett himself would be allowed to come through Fremont’s lines. Instead, it was necessary to find someone not known to be connected to the president, but who could claim legitimate business that would take him to Fremont’s headquarters.

Swett and General Curtis decided to send two different messengers, in the hope that at least one of them would get through. They chose Captain Ezekiel Boyden, and another man whom Swett listed in a letter describing the incident as Captain McKinney (possibly Thomas J. McKenny).

Recognizing that any unknown officer might have difficulty getting through Fremont’s self-protective cordon, Captain McKinney disguised himself as a country farmer. After being questioned and denied entrance at least twice, he was finally admitted to the headquarters area and managed to deliver the order to Fremont relieving him of his command.

Irate at receiving the dreaded order, Fremont angrily slammed his fist on the table and demanded of McKinney, “Sir, how did you get through my lines?” McKinney, his mission successfully completed, cheerfully explained his ruse. His explanation didn’t seem to comfort the newly unemployed general.

But Fremont wasn’t ready to give up yet. The president’s instruction was that if Fremont was on the brink of a battle with the enemy, he was not to be relieved. So, Fremont called his division commanders together (with the exception of General Hunter, the man chosen to replace him), to get their troops arrayed for battle. But there was one slight problem. There were no Confederate soldiers anywhere near Fremont’s headquarters. Getting that battle started was going to take time.

As it turned out, there was no time. Captain Boyden had managed to get through to General Hunter with the order for him to take over Fremont’s command. Hunter arrived to do just that while Fremont was trying to find a way to bring on the battle he needed to retain command. With no battle in sight, he had no choice but to turn over the command to General Hunter.

This was not, however, the end of John Fremont’s military career. Mindful that the Pathfinder was still very popular with the abolitionist wing of the Republican party, President Lincoln appointed him in March 1862 as commander of the newly created Mountain Department in Western Virginia. But after he failed to trap and defeat a force under Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, the president reassigned Fremont and his army, moving them from being an independent command to being one of several corps in the Army of Virginia under General John Pope. Since Pope had been Fremont’s subordinate in Missouri, and Fremont still outranked him, Fremont refused the assignment. He was never offered another command.

Fremont’s final hurrah during the war might be seen as an attempt at revenge against Abraham Lincoln. In May 1864 Fremont was nominated by a radical faction of the Republican Party to replace Lincoln as the party’s candidate in the presidential election to be held that November. Like most things Fremont attempted during the war, this too failed. It became obvious that he could never gain enough support to supersede Lincoln, and he eventually withdrew his candidacy.

Once the war was over, Fremont was able to regain a measure of his old prominence. Having previously been elected governor of California in 1850, he served as territorial governor of Arizona from 1878 to 1881. He died in 1890, honored as a retired Major General of the United States Army, and as one of the great Americans of the 19th century.

Hephaestus, Archetype of the Craftsman, Loner, Inventor

Hephaestus symbolizes a person whose attributes are not valued in a patriarchal society, so he has a rough time achieving success. He was called Vulcan by the Romans, and was the craftsman and metal smith of the Olympians. There are two stories regarding the origins of Hephaestus. Since Zeus gave birth to Athena by himself, Hera wanted to get even, so she gave birth to Hephaestus as his sole parent.

Unfortunately, he was born with a clubfoot, and this humiliated Hera. She rejected the child as her son and threw him from the top of Mount Olympus. In the other version, Zeus was angry with young Hephaestus for siding with Hera in a family argument, and hurled him from the top of Mount Olympus, crippling Hephaestus as he fell to the ground on the island of Lemnos. This outcast son was rescued by two sea nymphs, Thetis and Eurynome, and they nurtured and raised him for nine years. Hephaestus adored his two adopted mothers, and learned to be a fine craftsman while in their care, making them all kinds of beautiful jewelry

Hephaestus was portrayed as a burly, muscular man, with a thick neck and hairy chest. His clubfoot caused a pronounced limp or rolling gait, making him the target of mockery from the other, perfect Olympians. He was the least happy and blessed of the gods since he had a deformity, was unsure of his parentage, and was unlucky in love.

But Hephaestus was a creative and artistic genius, also the only god who ever worked! He once created a beautiful, golden throne for Hera. She was thrilled to receive it. But the gift was a well thought out trap, and when Hera sat down, she was tied to the throne by invisible bonds, and it began to levitate in the air. Hephaestus wanted to humiliate her since she would not tell him the truth about his birth.

In other versions, he demanded the right to marry Aphrodite or Athena before he would let Hera off the throne. Nobody except Hephaestus could release Hera, and he left her suspended in air to return to the sea, where he lived with his adoptive Mothers. Ares came down to try to retrieve him, but Hephaestus got rid of him by throwing fire at him. Finally, Dionysus, the god of Wine and Ecstasy, succeeded in getting Hephaestus drunk for the first time, and dragged his brother back to Mount Olympus by draping his drunken body over a donkey.

Hephaestus is also credited with creating Pandora as an instrument of Zeus’s revenge. In Hesiod’s Theogony, humanity was made up of only men, and Zeus did not give them any fire. So Prometheus stole a spark of fire and gave it to them. Zeus parried by asking Hephaestus to create a woman as beautiful as any of the immortal goddesses, to bring misery and confusion to men. She was dressed in elegant clothes, taught to be deceitful and shameless, given lots of sex appeal, and given a box to open. This well known “box” is the one which released suffering, evil and disease into the world.

Hephaestus was able to take out much of his anger and frustration by building and making beautiful objects in his forge below the Earth. He built palaces for the Olympians, created Zeus’ thunderbolts and scepter, and built Apollo’s golden chariot, so he could use it to travel through the sky. Hephaestus generously made arrows for Apollo and Artemis, a sickle for Demeter, weapons for Athena, armor for Achilles, and a necklace for Harmonia to wear to her wedding. Hephaestus made himself golden maid servants who looked like real, beautiful women. They could wait on him, speak to him, and do anything he ordered with skill.

Hephaestus was the husband of Aphrodite, although she had affairs with both gods and other men. He suspected that she conducted her liaisons while he was working at the forge, and set up an elaborate trap to catch her in the act. Hephaestus draped invisible nets across the posts of their marriage bed by suspending them from the rafters on the ceiling.

He summoned the other gods to witness her infidelity, but when she was caught in bed with another lover, they laughed at the sight instead of sympathizing with Hephaestus. He also fell in love with Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, and in a passionate moment, tried to make love to her. She pushed him away as he tried to impregnate her, and his semen fell to the Earth and instead fertilized Gaia—Mother Earth. The real life child that resulted from this episode was Erichthonius, founder of the royal house of Athens, and was raised by Athena.

In a culture that values heroic, intellectual, powerful people who have lofty values, or a “sky god culture”, a god like Hephaestus was devalued and oppressed. His archetype was not understood, and so he was rejected when he was thrown out of Olympus.

But Hephaestus was an “earthy” person, who exhibited passionate feelings, good instincts, liked both women and men, and liked to use his body. When he had to interact with the other Olympians, they treated him cruelly, and were unsympathetic to him, even when they saw how Aphrodite disrespected their marriage. But when Hephaestus was at work at his forge and in his own element, his skillful use of fire made him a master craftsman and he could transform raw materials into beautiful objects.

His life work emerged out of the volcanic fire of the forge, work that redeemed and expressed this wounded creator. When this archetype is present, expressiveness and beauty which would otherwise remain buried inside can be let out through work which gives form to these creative aspects of the self. The archetype of Hephaestus is a part of a man or a woman who deeply feels what he or she cannot articulate, so the person gives form to something and creates a thing of beauty.

The Hephaestus archetype predisposes a person to not talk about feelings, but to keep them bottled up inside. He prefers to go off on his own and work in solitude. Then he can either sublimate his feelings or express them through his work. The forge is wherever he does the work of transforming what he feels so deeply into something outside himself. Many artist’s or writer’s studios are merely places where people go to be alone.

Unconsummated love, an unobtainable lover or unrequited love can fuel the fire of the forge when Hephaestus is an active archetype. The fire of the forge is the unexpressed passion that inspires the creativity. Hephaestus’ physical deformity cannot be separated from the emotional wounding caused by his parents. He became the god of the forge as a result of his crippling and rejection. His work was a means to evolve and heal his emotional wounds. Hephaestus is the archetype of the crippled craftsman or wounded creator, whose creativity is inseparable from his emotional wounds.

This is a craftsman very much like a wounded healer whose goal to heal comes from him or herself being so wounded, and his wound heals as he begins to heal others. He can’t be beautiful, so he creates beauty, his foot didn’t work right, so he made creations that worked perfectly. Through his work, Hephaestus and those like him can see themselves intact and well functioning, and through this reflection flows self-respect and the respect and esteem of others.

So the wounds that motivate the work are healed in this way. When the Hephaestus archetype is the major one in a person, he may follow the pattern of the crippled craftsman. But this can only happen if he is lucky enough to have received nurturing and the medium to develop skills that let him express his creativity. Hephaestus found this when his two foster mothers saved him.

A man like Hephaestus seeks a partnership with a woman like Aphrodite because he is drawn to beauty and love, which he is denied, yet still wants to have. The deep passions he has can be stirred by a beautiful woman like Aphrodite in her intensity and sensuality. She can inspire his creative work and set his feelings afire.

Athena fostered the child whom Hephaestus fathered, and represents the intellect that knows how to get things done. Her wisdom is strategic, much like a weaver who must plan ahead to make a design, or a general who must make battle plans. The union of a Hephaestus and Athena within a man’s psyche enables him to understand how to get people out in the world to notice his work. The task of fostering her husband’s artwork or finding ways to make money from it can be aided by such a woman if Hephaestus does not have these qualities in himself.

In order to cultivate this creative and loner archetype, one must withdraw from the world for awhile and get absorbed making something with the hands, something that expresses and transforms feelings that have been pent up for too long. It is sometimes wise to try to get extraverted children to develop introversion because they can’t always depend on others to entertain them all the time. Parents can express the importance of quiet times, building with blocks and clay, and encouraging other creative projects. It is vital to convey there is value in time spent quietly, even if in parallel, quiet activities with the parents.

A Hephaestus man is an intensely focused and introverted person. It’s hard for others to know what is going on inside him, and it’s hard for him to directly express his feelings. He can be an emotional cripple, smoldering volcano, or a highly productive creative man. If as a young man he has discovered ways to be creative and has had his talent nurtured by craftsmen or parents who recognized his potential, he may enter a whole new world.

He can find a niche in a city arts school, and then express himself and become friends with others. Now is the time for him to seek his “real” parentage, as sometimes we don’t feel we belong in the family we have, and seek out others that understand us. What saves a rejected Hephaestus from serious depression is hard, physical work. He may discover relief while working on his car, or finding another absorbing craft. Rewarding work helps him grow and using creativity and psychological energy helps control his anger.

Hephaestus was the only god who worked. His forge was his studio, lab, or workshop. No man is as absorbed and dedicated to his work as a Hephaestus man who has found his life work. They can be in any field: doctors who have the stamina to work a 24 hour shift at the hospital, heart surgeons who do operations that take 20 hours. Anyone who could make the life like Pandora and the golden maid servants is a highly developed artisan.

Such men are inwardly intense, with few social or political skills, he receives recognition that is meaningful to him only because of work. Apollo was the brother who had the ability to wend his way through the medical hierarchy, but the intensity of Hephaestus, with his skill and passion, is what brings the expression of the operation to its fullness. Painters, architects, and metal sculptors are all examples of meaningful careers for creative and passionate people.

The Hephaestus man knows he needs to fulfill his life’s work, but he isn’t only looking for a job. His work must challenge him, and give him pleasure whenever he completes something he made. Many Hephaestus men do go through life depressed, and they first must find work they love, and if they do not have the opportunity to develop those skills, the corporate world will not be satisfying. He works best as a loner, motivated because his work speaks for itself.

Women are very important to a Hephaestus man. Significant people in his life may often have been women, his mother, teachers, gallery owners, or bosses. He has true admiration for women, especially if they are intelligent, assertive, and beautiful. If a woman understands his depth and sensitivity, she can be a major influence in his life. Even if the relationship is a short one, it will live on forever in his mind. This man does work that comes from the inner depths of his life, and he draws images from the collective unconscious of humanity.

Hephaestus is not the frat boy kind of guy. He is repelled by superficial camaraderie, and feels he is nothing like that. Relationships with men who are together for business reasons don’t work for him either. He loathes cocktail parties and has no idea what to say. He often has issues with authority figures, or anyone who tries to shape him into a mold that does not fit him. Hephaestus men are not motivated by outer demands to conform or live up to other people’s standards. He is very inner directed, and if he feels he is being judged, this will evoke anger, which he will then bottle up.

Life is the same as myth in the Hephaestus/Dionysus friend department. Only another intense outsider who makes an effort to understand Hephaestus can succeed, as drinking together is usually a bonding experience between men. Plus a Dionysus man appreciates beauty and understands pain, and is not afraid to show his feelings. So these two archetypes can build a friendship. A more extraverted Dionysus type can articulate, emote, or act out the emotions that Hephaestus hides.

As far as sexuality, Hephaestus is monogamous and faithful, and expects his partner to be as well. However, women in his life may feel neglected by his devotion to his work, and seek out other men for companionship. He makes love and it is a deep and sensual experience for him, but he may not be able to communicate this with his partner. But she is the source of his inner inspiration, and he does really treasure her.

He doesn’t always realize that an Aphrodite woman is drawn to his intensity and fascinated by his creativity. But when she has other lovers, he feels too betrayed by her. He will sublimate his sexual fire into his work and can go through long periods of celibacy, even in a relationship. As far as marriage, his well being in the outer world, as well as his private one, may depend on whom he marries. Traditionally, relationships are something the wife takes care of. She invites friends over, plans vacations, and keeps in touch with the relatives. She may also be the one who has established and maintains his work world and schedules. He is so wrapped up in his work in solitude he needs someone to be his agent. There are three examples of Hephaestus marriages.

With Hephaestus and Aphrodite, she was drawn to his intensity, he drawn to her beauty. They both had an “in the moment” kind of intensity. But he withdrew and took the relationship to an “inner” level, and she could not. Unless she channeled her own energies into work, she would not manage to stay faithful to him. If she had some of a Hera archetype in her, she may have had an affair while he was working to hold onto the marriage.

Athena had the clearest mind of all the Olympian goddesses. She could assess situations very well, and favored successful men. Hephaestus men appreciate a woman who can manage finances and do what he needs to help him succeed, and will view this type of woman as very mysterious. Andrew and Betsy Wyeth had this type of union. She was his business manager when his secret obsession of painting Helga was revealed. Betsy did not moan about how he betrayed her with his model. She was proud of the fact that the paintings were worth a cool ten million dollars!

When Hephaestus created Pandora, he resolved the problem of household chores too, since the golden maiden did all that sort of thing. Plus she spoke, used her limbs, had intelligence, and was trained in handwork. When an older Hephaestus marries a young woman who is receptive and compliant, he can mold her into whatever kind of wife he wants to have. Hephaestus often falls in love with the image of the woman he has created in his mind, assuming incorrectly that this is what she is. But with his tendency of intensity and monogamy, and yearning for intimacy, his mistake of thinking she is the person he has built up in his mind may make the marriage end in disaster.

Hephaestus men do not make good fathers. Children may find him very distant and brooding, as he will be irritated when they interrupt his work. He has anger and control issues. If he has daughters, he may expect them to be like his invented golden maid servants. He is really too much of an individual and too introverted to help his children move forward in the world.

A Hephaestus man needs to know himself and be able to look at his personality objectively. If there were traumatic or abusive situations in his life, psychotherapy is necessary. He needs catharsis, plus the empathy and perspective of another person. Hephaestus feels deeply and has strong reactions to others who affect him emotionally. He may feel like something happened one way, when it really happened another way and he misinterpreted it. Objectivity is important so he knows the reality of each situation he encounters.

If he stays in school through college, that means he developed some communications skills from Hermes. He will have needed more objectivity, which comes from Apollo. Strategic thinking comes from Athena. Hephaestus may even have ambition, which comes from Zeus. So he can call on any of these other archetypes and even may have some of them anyway. He must be sure that even if his work is very absorbing, he must make time for people in his life, and space for other facets of his own self. He needs to be more than just Hephaestus in order to grow.

Hephaestus was chosen as a husband by Aphrodite; he did not vie for her or court her. This was a gift from the goddess of Love and Beauty, she chose him because of his love for and ability to make beautiful things. Then however functional his invention is, it is married to beauty and love, manifested in shape, balance and material. To remain faithful and to have his work grow, he must honor the union. When his work comes through this Hephaestus/Aphrodite union, he feels touched by divinity when he creates.

Ultimately, Hephaestus needs to find and develop attitudes in himself which support and validate him and what he is doing. As he works at developing his creative talents, the promise in the myth of Hephaestus is that he will overcome adversity, handicaps, and any humiliations, and be respected for his works of beauty and precision.

Shinoda, Jean Bolen 1989 Gods In Everyman A New Psychology of Men’s Lives and Loves Harper & Row, NY Part 1 Gods in Everyman pgs. 3-16 Hephaestus, God of the Forge pgs. 131-160

Campbell, Joseph 1964 Occidental Mythology The Masks of God Penguin Books NY Hephaestus pg. 23, 151-154

Henry Box Brown: The Slave Who Mailed Himself to Freedom

Early on the morning of March 24, 1849, a box was delivered to 107 North Fifth Street in Philadelphia. These were the offices of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Several members of that organization had gathered that Saturday morning, anxiously awaiting the arrival of this package that had been shipped the day before from Richmond, Virginia.

When the box had been brought in, and the doors of the room locked so that there would be no untimely interruptions, one of the waiting men did something strange. Leaning over the box, he tapped on it and quietly asked, “Is all right within?” Even more strangely, a voice replied from inside the box, “All right.”

Within a few minutes the box was opened, and its contents revealed. He was an African American man in his early thirties by the name of Henry Brown. And he had just succeeded in escaping from slavery by shipping himself as freight to this city in the free state of Pennsylvania. In honor of this very creative but extremely dangerous feat, he would forever after be known as Henry “Box” Brown.

He had a mesmerizing story to tell.

Henry Brown was born in 1815 or 1816 in Louisa County, Virginia. His first owner was former Richmond mayor, John Barret. As a slaveholder, Barret was atypical. He treated his slaves much better than was the norm, so much so that Brown described him in his autobiography as “uncommonly kind,” adding wryly that “even a slaveholder may be kind.”

When Barret lay dying, he sent for Brown and his mother. They came, as Brown says, “with beating hearts and highly elated feelings.” Because of the kind treatment his family had always received from their master, and especially in light of the fact that Barret’s son Charles, impressed with the evils of slavery, had at one time emancipated about 40 of his slaves, Henry fully expected Barret to announce that he was setting the Brown family free. Instead, Barret simply told Henry that he would now belong to his son William, and urged him to be obedient to his new owner.

Barret probably felt he had done all he could for Henry, short of freeing him. He extracted a promise from William that he would treat Henry kindly, and never have him whipped. William was faithful to that promise. Henry was sure that there were many times when only William’s insistent instructions to the overseer that he be treated well saved him from the lash.

What Barret did not consider, as it seemed slaveholders almost never did, was that in dividing his slaves as an inheritance among his sons, he was ripping apart a family. Members of the Brown family were given to each of the four Barret sons. Even though Henry’s mother and sister joined him as part of William’s inheritance, they were ultimately separated by Henry being sent to work in a tobacco factory in Richmond. He was then about 15 years of age.

In 1836, as he entered his twenties, Henry fell in love with a young woman named Nancy. She was the slave of a Mr. Leigh, a bank clerk. Since slave marriages required the masters’ permission, Henry went to his own master and to Mr. Leigh to ask not only that he and Nancy be allowed to marry, but also for assurances that they would not be sold away from one another. Mr. Leigh was particularly strong in his commitment. Henry recalled that “He promised faithfully that he would not sell her, and pretended to entertain an extreme horror of separating families.” Secure in that promise, Henry and his bride were able to set up housekeeping together. But true to what Henry had come to expect from slaveholders, it was not more than a year after their marriage that Mr. Leigh broke his promise and sold Nancy.

This sale, and another that eventually followed, were to owners who lived in Richmond, and Henry and Nancy were able to maintain their family despite these upheavals. They had three children together, and were expecting their fourth when the long feared blow finally struck them.

On that day in 1848, Henry left home as usual to go to his work. His autobiography recounts the horrific news that was soon brought to him: “I had not been many hours at my work, when I was informed that my wife and children were taken from their home, sent to the auction mart and sold, and then lay in prison ready to start away the next day for North Carolina with the man who had purchased them. I cannot express, in language, what were my feelings on this occasion.”

Henry’s family became part of a group of 350 slaves purchased by a slave-trading Methodist minister. Although he tried in every way he could to find a means of getting his family back, nothing worked. When he pleaded with his master for help, the man would say nothing more than, “you can get another wife.” Henry was finally reduced to watching from the street as his wife and children, along with the other slaves, were herded into wagons for their journey to an auction block in North Carolina, and out of his life forever. He never saw them again.

With the loss of his family, Henry became determined to escape the hopeless oppression of slavery. He was a man of faith, a member of the First African Baptist Church where he sang in the choir. He was also a man of prayer. As he recalled, it was while he was fervently praying concerning his plight “when the idea suddenly flashed across my mind of shutting myself up in a box, and getting myself conveyed as dry goods to a free state.” Henry was convinced that it was God Himself who inserted that thought into his mind. He immediately went to work to put his plan into action.

He secured the help of a free black man and fellow choir member by the name of James Caesar Anthony Smith. He also solicited the aid of Samuel Smith (no relation to James), a white storekeeper with whom he had done business. Although Samuel Smith had been a slave owner, Henry was convinced of his integrity and believed he could trust him to help. Henry offered him half of his savings of $166 (he actually gave him $86), and Smith agreed to participate in the escape effort. It was Samuel Smith who contacted an acquaintance, Philadelphia abolitionist James Miller McKim, and arranged for him to receive the shipment.

Henry hired a carpenter to construct the box, which was 3 ft long, 2 ft wide, 2.5 ft deep, and lined with a coarse woolen cloth. It had just three small air holes where his face would be to allow him to breathe. A sign was attached that read “This Side Up With Care,” since for a human being to be kept in a head-down orientation for any length of time is extremely dangerous. Once inside the box, Henry would be entirely unable to shift his position.

Early in the morning of Friday, March 23, 1849, Henry climbed into the box. He carried nothing with him but a small bladder of water and a few crackers. The two Smiths nailed the box shut and lashed it with straps, then conveyed it to the facility of the Adams Express Company, about a mile away.

True to the traditions maintained by freight handlers to this day, the “This Side Up With Care” sign was totally ignored. Henry recalled, “I had no sooner arrived at the office than I was turned heels up, while some person nailed something on the end of the box. I was then put upon a wagon and driven off to the depot with my head down, and I had no sooner arrived at the depot, than the man who drove the wagon tumbled me roughly into the baggage car, where, however, I happened to fall on my right side.”

There were several times during the trip when Henry was left in an upside down position. One particular time almost killed him: “I felt my eyes swelling as if they would burst from their sockets; and the veins on my temples were dreadfully distended with pressure of blood upon my head. In this position I attempted to lift my hand to my face but I had no power to move it; I felt a cold sweat coming over me which seemed to be a warning that death was about to terminate my earthly miseries.” Just in time, two men looking for a place to sit turned the box right side up to make it a comfortable seat, and Henry was saved.

Henry had to endure 27 hours in his cramped and stifling hot enclosure before arriving at the Anti-Slavery Society’s offices on that notable Saturday morning. It’s no wonder that when the box was opened and he tried to stand, he lost consciousness. But Henry was dauntless. As soon as he was brought back to consciousness, he carried out the plan he had made for celebrating his safe arrival. Like Neil Armstrong when he stepped for the first time on the surface of the moon, Henry had prepared what he would say when he stepped for the first time into freedom. As he put it,

I had risen as it were from the dead; I felt much more than I could readily express; but as the kindness of Almighty God had been so conspicuously shown in my deliverance, I burst forth into the following hymn of thanksgiving…

He then went on to sing his own version of Psalm 40, “I waited patiently, I waited patiently for the Lord, for the Lord; And he inclined unto me, and heard my calling.” From then on, in the hundreds of times Henry would tell his story, this psalm was always part of his presentation.

Henry Brown’s parcel-post escape from slavery was, of course, an exciting and compelling story. At first, the Anti-Slavery society tried to keep it from getting out so that others could use the same method. But keeping that kind of secret was impossible. In its edition of April 12, 1849, less than a month after Henry arrived in Philadelphia, the Courier newspaper of Burlington, Vermont published a somewhat garbled version of the story. Other papers soon picked it up.

With the story of his escape no longer a secret, abolitionists knew that Henry Box Brown could be a potent ally in their cause. He soon began speaking to abolitionist meetings, and became a very effective advocate for the elimination of American slavery. It turned out that the creativity Henry displayed in devising his means of escape was no fluke. In 1849 he hired artists and craftsmen to produce a panorama that as it was unrolled revealed 49 scenes from his life as a slave. It was called Henry “Box” Brown’s Mirror of Slavery, and it was a powerful illustration in his anti-slavery talks. He also published, with Charles Stearns, his autobiography called Narrative of Henry Box Brown, Who Escaped from Slavery, Enclosed in a Box 3 Feet Long and 2 Wide. Written from a Statement of Facts Made by Himself. With Remarks Upon the Remedy for Slavery.

With all his success and fame, Henry “Box” Brown was still legally a slave. When the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in August, 1850, it was no longer safe for him to remain in a country where any slave catcher had a legal right to grab him and carry him back into slavery. So, in October of that year he sailed for England. He remained there, traveling throughout the United Kingdom presenting his panorama, until 1875, when he returned to the United States. He had remarried in England, and brought his new wife and daughter with him.

At that point, ten years after the close of the Civil War, the anti-slavery crusade was moot. So, Henry and his family made their living performing together an act called, “the African Prince’s Drawing-Room Entertainment” in which Henry appeared as “Prof. H. Box Brown.” Their last known performance was reported by a newspaper in Brantford, Ontario on February 26, 1889. Nothing is known of what happened to Henry and his family after that time. The date and place of his death are unknown.

Other attempts to use Henry’s method of escaping slavery were made. In fact, the two Smiths who had helped him, James and Samuel, were both caught aiding other fugitives and put on trial. James was acquitted, and moved North. Samuel, however, was convicted and served about seven years in prison for his commitment to freedom for slaves.

The ordeal that Henry “Box” Brown endured in order to be delivered out of slavery was not unique. Many others braved terrors as severe in their own quest for freedom. Although the publicity surrounding his means of escape precluded it being used, as premier abolitionist Frederick Douglass had hoped, by “a thousand Box Browns per annum,” the story of Henry “Box” Brown provided something beyond just one successful method for escaping slavery. It provided inspiration and hope to thousands, both black and white, that with the help of God, good can indeed triumph over evil. And that hope still lives today.

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