What we're about

Tired of boring your friends with the historical analysis of every movie you see or article you read? Well not everyone thinks history is cool...but we do! The idea for this group is to discuss one topic in history every month or two (e.g. the world in 1914, Canadian history, 18th-century Britain, the American frontier, the 1950s). In preparation, you'll be given a list of books you can read (or skim) and movies and videos you can watch to give you background. We can also get together to see history-related movies, including documentaries. Will be cool to learn some new stuff based on the suggestions of different people in the group and just enjoy talking about history and how it relates to our lives/current events/etc.

Upcoming events (4+)


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Warren Beatty and Julie Christie open a frontier bordello, but soon a ruthless business firm wants to take it over.

"Iconoclast" director Robert Altman made this often counter-intuitive 1971 take on the western genre, from a Brian Mackay script based on Edmund Naughton's 1959 novel McCabe. (He called it an "anti-western"!) It was filmed in British Columbia, and the snowy landscapes often have a curiously Canadian look. It features superb work by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and production designer Leon Ericksen, with inspired use of Leonard Cohen songs. But I can well believe that is was a box-office failure at the time: it largely lacks the all too familiar tropes we associate with the western genre.

A watch party for historical movies on Friday nights.


The Phoenicians

Tim Horton Doughnuts

Phoenician civilization emerged in a group of ports along a narrow plain on the eastern Mediterranean shore--principally Byblos, Tyre and Sidon--in the 12th century BC with the Bronze Age collapse that brought down the nearby Hittite Kingdom and even weakened Egypt. These city states developed trade networks across the Mediterranean, even sailing to Britain for tin, and became entrepots for a wide range of goods. (Greek scrolls were written on Egyptian papyrus bought in Byblos, so "biblos" became the Greek word for book!)

Solid historical knowledge about these remarkable people is somewhat limited. The Phoenicians built capable ships from nearby Lebanese cedar and excelled in crafts such as woodworking. (Their name may have originally meant "carpenters.") Their Semitic language was written in an early phonetic alphabet whose descendants include Hebrew, Greek, Roman and Cyrillic. Their wealth allowed them often to buy off nearby empires like Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, and they eventually supplied naval power for the Persian Empire.

Around 800 BC the Phoenicians started building colonies around the Mediterranean in the manner of their Greek city-state rivals. Their presence was particularly prominent and North Africa and southern Spain. The most successful one was Carthage, which came to dominate the western Mediterranean before being defeated by Rome in three wars and destroyed.

For background reading, you can try Mark Woolmer's A Short History of the Phoenicians.

We'll meet at Tim Horton Doughnuts at 550 St. Clair Ave. West.


Online event

Marguerite of Valois (Isabelle Adjani) marries Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil) during France's 16th-century civil wars between Catholics and Huguenots.

Patrice Chereau directed this 1994 costume epic, from a Daniele Thompson script based on the 1845 biographical novel by Alexandre Dumas Sr. I haven't seen it, but it looks like a fancy production.

A watch party for historical movies on Friday nights.


Historical movie watch party

Online event

A watch party for historical movies on Friday nights.


Past events (306)


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