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Vallabhi

Vallabhi is an ancient city located in the Saurashtra peninsula of Gujarat, near Bhavnagar in western India. It is known as Vallabhipura, was the capital of the ancient Gurjar Maitraka Dynasty. Legend states; the Maitrakas ruled the peninsula and parts of southern Rajasthan from Vallabhi from the fifth to the eighth centuries. They are descendants of General Bhatarka, a military governor of the Saurashtra peninsula at the time of Gupta ruler Skandagupta; the first two Maitraka rulers and Dharasena I, only used the title of Senapati. The third ruler, declared himself Maharaja. King Guhasena came after him. Unlike his predecessors, the king stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata alongside his name, a term that denotes nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords, he was succeeded by his son Dharasena II. The next ruler was his son, Siladitya-I Dharmaditya, described by a Chinese scholar and traveller Xuanzang as a "monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion".

Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I. During the time of Kharagraha I, a virdi copperplate grant was found from 616 CE that shows that his territories included Ujjain. During the reign of the next ruler, his son Dharasena III, north Gujarat was assimilated into the kingdom. Dharasena II was succeeded by another son of Baladitya, he married the daughter of Harshavardhana and their son Dharasena IV assumed the imperial titles of Paramabhattaraka Mahrajadhiraja Parameshvara Chakravartin and Sanskrit poet Bhatti was his court poet. The next powerful ruler of this dynasty was Siladitya III. After him, Siladitya V ruled, it is suspected that during his reign, there was an Arab Invasion; the last known ruler of the dynasty was Siladitya VII. The Maitrakas retained local autonomy, they regained independence after Harsha's death. The rule of the Maitrakas is believed to have ended during the second or third quarter of the eighth century when the Arabs invaded. Vallabhi was a noted center of the Jains.

It was here that the Vallabhi councils of the Jains produced the religious canon in writing under the leadership of the all Jain Acharya Shraman Devardhigani along with other 500 Jain Acharyas. The idols of representing each of them is present in the basement of the Jain temple. However, when the Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited Vallabhi during the second quarter of 7th century, he found its ruler to be a Buddhist follower; when Yijing, another Chinese traveller, visited Vallabhi in the last quarter of 7th century, he found the city as a great centre of learning Jainism along with Buddhism. Gunamati and Sthiramati are stated to be two famous Buddhist scholars of Vallabhi at the middle of seventh century. Religious inscriptions are known from Valhabi, which were dedicated to the Brahmans as well as the Buddhist and Jains; the Indologist Sylvain Lévi wrote an article entitled "Les donations religieuses des rois de Valhabi". The numerals used in the Valhabi inscriptions and on their coins, dated to circa 600CE, are mentioned as an intermediary step in the evolution of Hindu-Arabic numerals.

Vala State Valabhi University

Battle of Ichkeria

The Battle of Ichkeria was the attempt by General Grabbe to take Imam Shamil's capital at Dargo during the Murid War. It failed because of the difficulty of moving a large force through the forest. After his defeat at Akhulgo in 1839 Shamil established a new headquarters at Dargo in a forested valley in Chechnya about 33 kilometres south of the Russian lines; the region was called Ichkeria. In late 1841 Count Grabbe visited Saint Petersburg and persuaded Nicholas I to give him command of the forces on the Left Flank and northern Dagestan, that is, the area north and east of Dargo. From at least 21 March 1842 Shamil and most of his men were fighting at Kazi-Kumukh about 115 kilometres southeast of Dargo. Grabbe decided to attack Shamil's capital in his absence. Grabbe's intention was to march south to Dargo, destroy it, move south over the mountain and take Andi and Gumbet, he had 24 guns. The size of his force worked against him. To carry his supplies he needed a large number of 3,000 horses; because of the poor roads, or trails, through the forest the baggage train strung out over several versts and it took half his force to guard it on both sides.

With several battalions for front and rear guard, the various parts of the line could not protect each other. In addition to the hills and rivers the mountaineers began to build barricades and set ambushes. On 30 May, Grabbe left Gerzel 33 kilometres north of Dargo, he went south along the left bank of the Aksay River, the same route as Vorontsov’s retreat in 1845. That day he made only 7 vests against no resistance; that night it rained making the road worse. On the second day they made 12 versts in 15 hours, they were forced to camp for the night on a waterless plain. On the third day they made only 6 versts; the enemy had increased to something under 2,000, the roads were more difficult, barricades more frequent, the troops had been short of water for two days, there were several hundred wounded and confusion increased hourly. On the night of the third day Grabbe saw that further advance was impossible and gave orders to retreat along the same road; the retreat was worse than the advance. It necessitated the abandonment, or, where possible, the destruction of everything that would slow their movements.

The retreat became assumed the appearance of a rout. On 4 June they arrived back in Gerzel, having lost 66 officers, 1700 men, one field gun and nearly all their provisions and stores; when Shamil heard of Grabbe’s movement he abandoned his unprofitable campaign and hurried back to Chechnya. When he arrived the fighting was over; the impact of Grabbe's failure was greater because he had faced only the local levies of two Naibs – Shu ‘ayb and Ullubey. A month Grabbe made an unsuccessful raid against Igali on the Andi Koysu. After this he was released from command at his own request. Grabbe's return was witnessed by the Minister of War; this contributed to Nicolas' decision to forbid all major raids into the interior, a policy that did not work well. For the second attempt to take Dargo see Battle of Dargo. J. F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus,1908 and OCR reprint

The Iceman Returneth

The Iceman Returneth is a humorous adventure for the dystopian science fiction role-playing game Paranoia. The Troubleshooters are tasked with taking a bag full of Communist propaganda to the trash. While on their way, they hear a loud explosion. Upon investigating, they discover a cyrogenic box from which emerges one of the Complex's original programmers, Clem; the Troubleshooters are arrested and charged with causing the explosion and being in possession of Communist propaganda. They are sentenced to by executed live on the Alpha Team Show, they are rescued by Clem, accompany him to Des Moines to gather the resources needed to reboot the Computer. When the Troubleshooters follow Clem's instructions, The Computer crashes permanently; this programming error was called in Paranoia adventures "The MegaWhoops". Subsequent adventures took place in the era known as "PostMegaWhoops." The Iceman Returneth was written by Sam Shirley, with a cover by Bret Blevins, illustrations by Valerie Valusek, was first published by West End Games in 1989 as a 40-page book.

In 2010, a new edition of this adventure by Allen Varney, The Iceman Returneth Again, appeared in the three-adventure anthology None of This is My Fault published by Mongoose Publishing for their reboot of the Paranoia franchise. In the introduction, Varney calls the "MegaWhoops" plotline of the original adventure "massively controversial", saying that it "heralded the impending wipe-out of Paranoia’s viability as a continuing game line." In the March-April 1990 edition of Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer, Leo Eric Shepherd liked this scenario, saying, "The adventure is well-written and quite humorous, the illustrations, though a departure from the stark Paranoia norm, are well-done. The players get exposed to a bewildering variety of life-threatening events, sure to confuse the cleverest player."In a 2010 article about adapting various role-playing adventures to the Doctor Who Role-Playing Game, Nick Seidler suggested The Iceman Returneth would be a good candidate for this, noting, "Played by itself the game is a bit of a comedy, importing it to Doctor Who, a GM can keep it a comedy or make it high drama."

Pieter van Aelst III

Pieter van Aelst or Pieter van Aelst III was a Flemish tapestry weaver whose workshop commenced by his grandfather was one of the leading weavers of Flanders in the first half of the 16th century. He was born around 1495 in Brussels as the son of Pieter van Edingen van Aelst (also referred to as, his father and grandfather were both tapestry weavers. Pieter was trained there, he became the purveyor of tapestries to the Spanish king Charles V, the ruler of Flanders. This was upon the death of Pieter’s grandfather Pieter van Aelst I. In 1509 he was mentioned as a restorer of the collection of tapestries of Margaret of Austria, the governor of the Habsburg Netherlands. In 1517 he was paid for tapestries of David and John the Baptist made for the English king Henry VIII. A tapestry after Raphael’s Bearing of the Cross produced by the van Aelst workshop in 1520 played an important role in the introduction of the Italian Renaissance style in Flanders; the tapestry, part of a series of tapestries, referred to as the Raphael tapestries helped the van Aelst workshop gain important commissions.

In 1520 Pope Leo X commissioned a series of 20 tapestries of Children’s Games and Medici Symbols from van Aelst. The contract required the background of the tapestries to be filled with gold; the price of the gold accounted for 14,000 ducats in the total price of 17,600 ducats payable for the series. The series of Children’s Games depicted winged spirits with attributes and emblems representing the emblems of the House of Medici and the Pope himself. In 1547 and 1548 he was still listed as a tapestry maker for the court of Charles V. Around 1550 van Aelst was commissioned by the Polish king Sigismund II Augustus to make a large and lavish work consisting of 18 tapestries representing various episodes in the book of Genesis; these works were made in collaboration with six other Brussels workshops. As in 1560 his workshop was sold by his heirs to the prominent Brussels weaver Willem de Pannemaker, it is that he died not long before; the mark'pva' of his workshop appears on four tapestry series, which were made in collaboration with others: on five of eight History of Noah tapestries, on seven of 10 History of Abraham tapestries, after designs from the circle Bernard van Orley, on two of eight History of Odysseus tapestries and on three of six History of Moses tapestries.

Ortiz, A.. Resplendence of the Spanish monarchy: Renaissance tapestries and armor from the Patrimonio Nacional. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Westland School (Los Angeles)

Westland School is a progressive, private, nonsectarian elementary day school located in the Bel Air community of Los Angeles, serving students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The school is located on Mulholland Drive across from the Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Westland is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges through 2016; when Westland opened in 1949 it was the first progressive school on the West Coast, operating under the educational philosophy of John Dewey. One of the founders was child psychologist Marie H. Briehl. Students were encouraged to explore their subjects hands-on and were taken on numerous field trips to learn about the world firsthand. Many of the early students were the children of writers and actors under the "Hollywood blacklist", including Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Polonsky, Ring Lardner, Jr; the school opened with 13 students in a couple of rented rooms. It expanded in 1957 and moved to its current location in 1965, becoming the first school to locate in what has now developed into a major "institutional corridor" in the area of the Sepulveda Pass.

Today the school has about 130 students and an annual tuition of around $31,000. The students are divided into "groups" rather than grades, which may include children of varying ages; the archives of the Westland School reside at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge. Official website GreatSchools Aerial Photograph from Google Maps

Bevil Skelton

Bevil Skelton was a British foreign envoy and diplomat. Descended from the Skeltons of Armthwaite Castle, Bevil Skelton began his career as a colonel in the British Army rising to the position of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal English Regiment in France from 1672 to 1674. Secretary to King Charles II, Skelton spent many years roving between German courts in his capacity as envoy. In March 1685 he became ambassador at the Hague, but it was not, by all account, a successful posting, he quickly'rendered himself the contempt of the Hollanders.'In October 1686 he was appointed envoy-extraordinary to France. It was the hope of James to make an ally of France against the Dutch, who he feared would aid William of Orange if he attempted to usurp James's crown. Louis XIV, was well aware of the English King's intention, declared that, was an attempt by England made to poison France against the Dutch,'he would act as if his own crown was attacked.' James was forced to publicly deny the charge of insincerity towards Holland, hastened to find a scapegoat – Skelton became that man.

Recalled to England, Skelton was imprisoned in the Tower - a mere token gesture, as he was released soon after and made Lieutenant of the Tower on 26 November 1688. The Glorious Revolution, only a few weeks shortly deprived him of this office, he followed James into exile and continued to be one of his leading diplomats, becoming envoy to the court at Versailles and comptroller of the royal household at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Due to his long-standing Royalist connections, Skelton became a significant hate figure for Williamite supporters after the Revolution, the subsequent Whig demonisation of him has tended to colour history's view of the man. Gilbert Burnet condemned him as "a weak and passionate man, who neither understands the conduct of affairs, nor can govern his tongue with any sort of temper. Skelton was married twice, his portrait from life was engraved by M. van Sommeren in 1678