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The Khan’s Drinking Fountain

- April 4, 2019 in airag, alcohol, Art & Illustrations, ayrag, Culture & History, drinking, empire, fermented mare's milk, fountain, kumis, Möngke khan, mongol empire

Of all the things described in William of Rubruck’s account of his travels through 13th-century Asia, perhaps none is so striking as the remarkably ornate fountain he encountered in the Mongol capital which — complete with silver fruit and an angelic automaton — flowed with various alcoholic drinks for the grandson of Genghis Khan and guests. Devon Field explores how this so-called Silver Tree of Karakoum became a potent symbol, not only of the Mongol Empire’s imperial might, but also its downfall.

Mistress of a New World: Early Science Fiction in Europe’s “Age of Discovery”

- October 11, 2018 in Books, early science fiction, empire, imperialism, Literature, proto science fiction, science fiction

Considered by many one of the founding texts of the science fiction genre, The Blazing World — via a dizzy mix of animal-human hybrids, Immaterial Spirits, and burning foes — tells of a woman’s absolute rule as Empress over a parallel planet. Emily Lord Fransee explores what the book and its author Margaret Cavendish (one […]