Hello all! I always feel awkward and strange posting in these "Introductory" threads in forums, as I never know just what to say, but, I figure, it's the best way to hit the ground running so it's always worth a shot.
I'm a History and Politics student in University College Dublin, a choice of subjects I've found actually link hand in hand quite comfortably with one another - politics is what writes the history books, and politics in of itself is decided by what is IN the history books. There's that old adage that those who don't understand the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them and, I guess it's safe to say looking at the state of world politics today, never was a truer word spoken.
I can't really remember what got me interested in history to this degree, all I really know is that it started to get serious with the videogame "Medieval II Total War" that I was hooked on a few years back. I was constantly nagged by a question at the back of my mind as I viewed the in-game map, mainly, "What is a country calling itself the Holy Roman Empire doing in the middle of Germany, and why does it exist as late as the 1100s?" So I took my questions to the Google machine, whereupon I stumbled onto the Wikipedia article for the Holy Roman Empire itself and, from there, started reading up on Medieval history in general. From there Classical and Modern history were only a few mouse-clicks away (you can't understand Medieval history without understanding Classical, as all of Europe's Medieval kingdoms looked to the Roman Empire for legitimacy, and Medieval History is the epic prelude to the Renaissance and the rise of the European empires that dominated the 18th and 19th Centuries. It really is the fulcrum upon which all of European - and eventually, world - history has turned).
History has become, in the past few years, something of an obsession for me - my bookshelf is crammed with tomes on the Battle of Agincourt or life of Charlemagne; my writing (I try my hand at writing crappy stories from time to time...nothing to brag about, I haven't written anything that's managed to please me in a couple of years now) is almost always set in some German principality and features a succession crisis over the Imperial crown; I'm not comfortable watching a movie/TV show or playing a videogame in a historical setting without, afterwards, researching the events in question to see how much of it was accurate; and, lying in bed some nights, my girlfriend will throw out random history questions for me to answer in some spectacularly boring and over-detailed monologue ("What was the War of the Roses?" "Who was worse, Hitler or Stalin?" "Who were the good guys in the Irish Civil War?" <<< This last question would probably have started a few fights had it been asked in a pub. Small mercies.)
Overall, then, my obsession with history is probably borderline on the unhealthy, but, it's all in good fun - which is what brought me to this forum. I'm not really sure what I will glean from my tenure here but, bottom line, I'm hoping to have some fun and learn some new things
That's the one thing about history; just when you thought you understood something you hear something completely new and have a whole new topic to explore on that subject.
As a final point of interest, I just wanna' say that I'm not interested in the World Wars, especially the Second. They've been done to death by every movie, documentary, book and school course (and I've gone to school in Ireland, Hungary and England). European - and world - history was SO much more interesting before 1914. That's what I'm interested in...I feel almost like a hipster, "World War 2? Puh-LEASE, that's like, so totally MAINSTREAM. It's all about the Anglo-Russian War of 1807!" But, the way I see it, this is a big forum, and everyone has their own interests and likes and dislikes - another history-loving buddy of mine can rattle off all of England's major noble houses during the Tudor Dynasty, but turns up her nose at anything prior to Henry VIII's coronation. And my focus, on this forum, will most likely be anything and everything but the World Wars.
Anyways...as I said, I hope to have a bit of fun here and get started posting for real real soon