22nd March

"In the last analysis, he is as much an end as a beginning"
The Powhattan of the northeastern coastal possessions of the Ouezteca massacre a settlement of the Oueztec that has been stealing water and food from them for several months. The overwhelming response from Ouezteca destroys the Powhattan.
In "Art and Architecture Italy 1600–1750" (1993), Rudolf Wittkower celebrates the genius of German Painter Anton Raphael Mengs.
On this, the anniversary of his birth, we briefly review selected aspects of his amazing talent with fellow Google+ readers Pietro Montevecchio and David Amerland.
Television writer and archivist Peggy Dale Taylor is born in Bryan, Texas. A selection of alternate histories by Robbie TaylorIn addition to her freelance work on several television series, she is best-known for her complete histories of Starsky & Hutch, T.J. Hooker and Star Trek. She is a fixture at many fan conventions around the southwest and is often used as a fan liaison by the television networks.
On this day the celebrated German master painter ANTON RAPHAEL MENGS was born in Ústí nad Labem, a Bohemian city at the confluence of the Bílina and the Elbe Rivers in the present-day Czech Republic.
Because his grand originals are characterized by detail and insight, his position in the history of art is located somewhere between the Baroque and Neoclassical eras.

The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist and two angels (Oil on canvas)

In Wittkower's view he was a precursor, but surely Mengs would argue instead that he was actually the first Neoclassical painter. Indeed, he was a prodigious writer, expounding his own eclectic theory of art which favours the borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and combining them. Google+ reader David Amerland comments that he nurtured a love for Greek design and a deeply held belief that a synthesis of it with other styles was core to his belief of creating perfection. And partly because of this, critics have suggested that his work as a copyist is too sweet and a trifle insipid.

Google+ reader Pietro Montevecchio comments that Mengs' idea, expressed as his first thesis in Gedanken uber die Schônheit und ùber den Geschmack in der Malerei (Zurich - 1762) that "there is an invisible, absolute, divine Perfection in which each form of Nature participates, according to its specific, graduated destiny" and that "good taste is the rational selection of the most beautiful forms of Nature" (we find a similar idea, if I correctly remember, in the first Lessing), is curiously opposite to Gainsborough's skepticism. A skepticism which belongs directly to Hume, who, not by chance, criticized Ancient Greek (and France) for their abuse of rationality. I think we can better understand such contrast by comparing their portraits.

Nevertheless his portraits and self-portraits in pastel and crayon are fine creations that achieved remarkable success in their day. Active in the European capitals of Rome, Madrid and Saxony where he decorated ceiling and fresco works, his incredible talent was fully recognized by the admiring royal families who patronized both him and his twenty children.

The apotheosis of Trajan

And of course his extensive travel greatly encouraged the development of mutual influences with his contemporaries in eighteenth century Europe.


Today's triple post follows the original structure of our weekly collaboration:

Alternate Historian writes about a real event in German History, whilst Dirk writes about a fictionalized event in English Alternate History. We have also included some fun-size Alternate History "Learning Snacks" from Robbie A. Taylor.

Please note that the next full-size International Blogfest will be published on April Fool's Day. Contributions welcome!
World-famous pianist Leonard Marx was born in New York City. Young Leonard started in vaudeville in his youth, but left it for the legitimate concert stage after discovering his natural talent for the piano in his twenties. He never took a lesson, but was considered the greatest musician of his age.

Robbie's Tweets from Alternate History now available on Twitter and his latest e-book "The Tree Of Knowledge (The Chelsea Perkins Trilogy)" on Amazon.
Noted classical scholar Louis L’Amour was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. After struggling in school during his teen years, a teacher introduced L’Amour to the plays of Aeschylus and a lifelong love of Greek and Roman work was born. His popular book, The Origins Of The West, is still used a text in Classics courses taught across the country.

Sir Stanford Cripps of the British government-in-exile meets with Indian terrorist Mohandas Gandhi to recruit his help against the German Underground. Although Gandhi despises the G.U., he is unwilling to assist the British, and the meeting ends without producing a treaty.

American forces smash through Iceland. Constitutionalist President Ralph Shephard warns that Europe will be next in his speech congratulating the soldiers; “Today, Iceland, tomorrow, the world.”

At the height of the White Scare, Comrade President William Foster issues an executive order forcing all federal employees to take a loyalty oath to the Soviet States of America and to the socialist way in general. Although it is a gross violation of federal employees’ civil rights, the nation is in such a panic about capitalist infiltration that few protests are heard.

What if... there wasn't a Stamp Act and similiar taxes in the 1760s to finance the large British army in North America, muses Dirk Puel on the 248th anniversary of the passing of the Stamp Act in Parliament.
It might have been pure ignorance paired with a certain amount of overconfidence that made the British general Jeffrey Amherst act like he had an army of 10.000 behind him when he triggered the Great Indian War, because, actually, Amherst had no army to speak of.

After the end of the Seven Years’ War that brought Great Britain immense territorial gains but had cost a fortune, Lord Bute’s Tory government had decided in 1762 to demote most of the large army still stationed in North America to cut expenses but to severe many officers’ connections with the former Whig government as well. Bute had just survived a beginning political debacle due to a well aimed shot from the Secretary of Treasure Samuel Martin into the chest of the radical journalist John Wilkes during a duel and decided to root out any Whiggish tendencies wherever they might be found.

Besides the political hotbed, the cost of maintaining a large standing army overseas could probably not have been financed without additional taxation of the American colonies, such as a Stamp Act, in brief discussion in 1764 but finally dismissed for various reasons. However, the 2.000 soldiers Amherst had at his disposal were neither enough to much impress the French settlers in Canada who refused to swear their allegiance to King George to move places to their new settlements in Louisiana nor to lend weight or even credibility to the policy the British general pursued on the new Indian frontier.

When various Cherokee and Great Lakes people, mainly the Ottawa chief Pontiac, decided they’d had it with Amherst’s arrogance and bullying and attacked settlements and undermanned British forts, a large portion of the continents English speaking population from Illinois to the Ohio and the Appalachians was fleeing for the East Coast. The war raged on for two years with almost genocidal dimensions on both sides, the Native’s forces more or less openly supported with materiel by France until finally fresh British regiments arriving in Boston and New York were able to at least stop Pontiac from invading the East Coast.

In 1766 The following Treaty of Fort Ticonderoga drove a coach and six horses through the British gains of the Seven Years’ War, in the former French territories of North America and Canada where the rebellion of the Franco-Canadians already had begun. The impotence of King George to protect his American subjects was one of the main reasons for the American Rebellion 10 years later. 


  1. Peggy Dale Taylor...why does that name ring at least one bell, if not a dozen?

  2. William Foster? I don't recognize him.

  3. William Foster, in our timeline, was a leader of the socialist/communist left during the middle of the 20th century. The timeline he's mentioned in here is Communist America, where the comrades are dealing with a cold war with capitalists.