Fathairybastard posted a comment in which he indicated he, too, hates to teach by making students memorize dates. I've been reading FHB's blog for some time, but only just now saw what he had listed under Occupation -- "Dispenser of wisdom, corrupter of youth." I like that.
It is quite distressing to many gentle souls that history is positively FILLED with violence. Well, at the risk of seeming flip, what the hell IS history but a chronicle of one people, one tribe or clan, one state, doing violence to another? Call it greed, a quest for living room, protection of a way of life or border integrity, defending The Faith -- whichever one is your favorite --or whatever else. If "Everyone could just get along," not offending the neighbors, then history would be a dull topic indeed. Humans are not by nature pacifistic. They are frequently predatory creatures. Even the most ostensibly peaceful agrarian society goes to war occasionally - - Or at least thinks of it.
And, think of man, the tool using animal. A show of hands, please. All who think the earliest human artifacts were agricultural implements. Anyone? Uh, noooo. Sticks with fire hardened tips, jagged oblate stones, flaked flint weapon tips, the bow, the atlatl, and all the other projectile tossers - - All designed to draw blood with less effort and greater efficiency. Any tool useful for hunting is also an anti-personnel implement.
The earliest metal smelting and smithing - - Shall we suggest the first usage was in making hoes and plows? Can you say that with a straight face? I can't. Copper to bronze to iron to steel. The first uses were not for farming. The first large metalworking efforts, organized smithies with forges and bellows and metal pouring were to allow some duke or clan chieftain to efficiently arm his retinue. Bronze will serve pretty well as a material for plowshares and hoes. And about the crudest possible iron will make an ax or cooking pot. But the best, strongest metals that could be produced? These were reserved for swords, knives, and other blades intended to pierce or sever flesh.Yeah, first dibs to the warriors for their weapons. And when metal working expanded a bit, what then? How about bridle bits and stirrups and chariot and wagon fixtures, to transport the warriors on campaign - - Be it ten miles to the next clan's keep, or half across the known world.
Trace history right into the industrial age. Think of the first machinery with truly interchangeable parts. Military muskets, under Eli Whitney's 1798 contract. Previously, there were assembly lines, of a sort, yes. But these consisted mainly of hand fitters laboriously working to make vaguely similar parts fit together.
I guess I could go on for another several pages concerning the history of various types of arms. Heck, more than that, just on firearms. Guess I'll save some of that for times I'm hard put to come up with a topic.
I'll wander off on similar historical reveries from time to time . . . .