Методические указания и контольные работы по английскому языку для студентов-заочников 1 курса исторического факультета Выпуск 4 - страница 6

A match is a consumable tool for lighting a fire under controlled circumstances on demand. Matches are readily available, being sold in tobacconists and other shops. Matches are rarely sold singly; they are sold in multiples, packaged in match boxes or matchbooks. A match is typically a wooden stick (usually sold in match boxes) or stiff paper stick (usually sold in matchbooks) coated at one end (the match head) with a material often containing the element phosphorus, which will ignite from the heat of friction if rubbed ("struck") against a suitable surface. There are two main types of matches: safety matches, which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface; and strike-anywhere matches, for which any sufficiently rough surface can be used.

The first "friction match" was invented by English chemist John Walker in 1827. Early work had been done by Robert Boyle in the 1680s with phosphorus and sulfur, but his efforts had not produced useful results. Walker discovered a mixture of antimony (III) sulfide, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch could be ignited by striking against any rough surface. Walker called the matches congreves, but the process was patented by Samuel Jones and the matches were sold as lucifers. The early matches had a number of problems - the flame was unsteady and the initial reaction was disconcertingly violent; additionally, the odor produced by the burning match was unpleasant. It is described as a firework odor. Despite these problems, the new matches were responsible for a marked increase in the number of smokers. Lucifers reportedly could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks at a considerable distance.

In 1830, Frenchman Charles Sauria added white phosphorus to remove the odor. These new matches had to be kept in an airtight box but were popular. Unfortunately, those involved in the manufacture of the new matches were afflicted with phossy-jaw and other bone disorders, and there was enough white phosphorus in one pack to kill a person. There was a vociferous campaign to ban these matches once the dangers became known.

The noiseless match was invented in 1836 by the Hungarian János Irinyi, who was a student of chemistry. The early matches, including the Noiseless match, were dangerous to both the users and the people making them. This was due to the use of white phosphorus. The search for a replacement for white phosphorus led to what was known as the safety match. However, this term is now confusing as it covers both the modern safety match and the modern strike anywhere match.

Both of these types of matches were more expensive to make than white phosphorus-based matches, and customers continued to buy white-phosphorus based matches. Laws prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in matches generally had to be passed before these safer types of matches came into widespread usage.

The safety match was invented in 1844 by the Swede Gustaf Erik Pasch and was improved by John Edvard Lundström a decade later. Their safety is due to the separation of the combustible ingredients between the match head and a special striking surface, and the replacement of white phosphorus with red phosphorus. The striking surface is composed of powdered glass and red phosphorus, and the match head is composed of antimony (III) sulfide and potassium chlorate. The act of striking converts some of the red phosphorus to white by friction heat. The small amount of white phosphorus then ignites, and this starts the combustion of the match head.

^ Pirates of the Mediterranean

Before Pirates of the Caribbean, pirates patrolling the ancient waters of the Mediterranean took full advantage of the powerful trade routes of Greece, Egypt, and Rome. As soon as sea faring vessels made their way through the waters of the Mediterranean on newly established routes for trade and travel, the wealth and prosperity of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Phoenicians began to blossom. With valuable goods, especially precious metals, being traded back and forth between kingdoms on a regular basis, the high seas were fertile grounds for pirates looking for control of these powerful trade routes.

One of the earliest indications of ancient piracy comes from an inscription on an Egyptian clay tablet from the 14th century B.C., detailing how pirates often attacked the waters off the coast of Egypt. Other evidence shows that pirates were not only renegades working solo or in gangs, but they were also wealthy individuals looking for a piece of the prosperous trade pie. In addition, pirates took the form of tyrannical rulers. Take the case of Polycrates. This tyrant seized the Greek island of Samos around 540 B.C. He was an oppressive and greedy despot, and was known to have used ships from Samos' own fleet in order to plunder other ships in the surrounding waters.

Ancient pirates didn't leave their dirty work in the Mediterranean waters, however. In addition to attacking and stealing from merchant ships, they were also known to attack cities with vulnerable ports as well. This sort of piracy and pillaging would continue well into Roman times, coming have a great affect on commerce in the Republic.

One might think that piracy would not be tolerated by such a powerhouse as Rome, especially with its powerful naval fleet and large port at Ostia. However, piracy was often not only endured, but it was even quietly encouraged by some unsavory Senators who appreciated the steady supply of slaves that came from plundered ships and ports. In addition, the highly profitable grain industry was in a constant state of upheaval thanks to the pirates, thus raising prices in Rome, and padding the noble pockets.

As a result of Rome's complacency where pirates were concerned, (that, and having overthrown the powerful kingdom of Carthage, annihilating their strong fleet of ships that fiercely protected the North African waters from pirates), piracy ran amok. Since Rome was less than willing to protect or support its provinces from pirates, the weaker cities around the Mediterranean were often forced to ally with pirate gangs, paying them tribute in exchange for keeping their cities and ports intact. This helped keep the pirates in business, allowing them to grow more powerful, sort of like a pirate mafia controlling their areas or "turf".

^ Viking Weapons and Warfare

The Vikings are known as great warriors. This reputation is based on what we known about their weapons and battle tactics – as Barry Ager explains. The Vikings were daring masters of the sea. Their swift wooden long ships, equipped with both sails and oars, enabled them to mount piratical raids on the coastal monasteries and settlements of the British Isles, Western Europe and beyond. The shallow draught of these ships meant that they were able to reach far inland by river and stream, striking and moving on before local forces could muster.

Well preserved remains of Viking ships, like those found at Oseberg and Gokstad in Norway and Skuldelev in Denmark, show they were clinker-built of overlapping planks and measured between about 17.5m and 36m in length. They were steered not by a rudder, but by a single oar mounted on the starboard side. A few late examples are said to have had iron-clad bows and sterns. An average speed of 10 to 11 knots could have been achieved, or perhaps rather more in short bursts. Crews of 25 to 60 men would have been common, seated on benches on open decks, although the largest ships could have carried as many as 100 or more. Packhorses and provisions would also be included if needed.

Fearsome figureheads would be raised at stem and stern as a sign of warlike intent, underlined by rows of shields mounted along the sides for defense or show. These could be removed while at sea. Raids in single ships were quite frequent and, before around 850, fleets rarely comprised more than 100 ships. Much larger fleets of 200 and upwards were recorded later, but it is difficult to know how accurate the reports were.

Actual sea-battles were rare, and even then were fought close to shore. Ships were roped together in lines to face an enemy fleet and showers of arrows and missiles would have been exchanged. Each side then resorted to hand-to-hand fighting as they attempted to board their opponents' ships. The warriors in the prow were specially selected for this task. The aim was not to destroy enemy craft, but to capture them if possible, as they represented a considerable investment in time, resources and labor.

The Viking Age saw major changes in the economy of Scandinavia. At the beginning of the Viking Age, few people in Scandinavia had any knowledge of coinage. Some foreign coins entered the region as a result of trading contacts both with Western Europe and the Islamic world to the east. However, except in major trading centers such as Hedeby and Ribe, in Denmark, the idea of coinage as such was unfamiliar. Coins were valued only for their weight in silver or gold, and circulated alongside many other forms of precious metal.

This is what is known as a bullion economy, in which the weight and the purity of the precious metal are what is important, not what form the metal takes. Far and away the most common metal in the economy was silver, although gold was also used. Silver circulated in the form of bars, or ingots, as well as in the form of jewellery and ornaments. Large pieces of jewellery were often chopped up into smaller pieces known as 'hack-silver' to make up the exact weight of silver required. Imported coins and fragments of coins were also used for the same purpose. Traders carried small scales which could measure weight very accurately, so it was possible to have a very precise system of trade and exchange even without a regular coinage.

Precious metals were also a symbol of wealth and power. Like many peoples throughout history, the Vikings demonstrated their wealth and status by wearing beautiful jewellery, or by having expensively ornamented weapons, which were their equivalents of the Armani suit or the Rolex watch of today. In many cases, imported coins were melted down as the raw material for arm-rings, neck-rings or brooches. In other cases, coins were even mounted as jewellery. The show of wealth was more important than the idea of a coin-based economy.

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