This Day in History
The Battle of Waterloo took place on the 18th of June, 1815, and marked the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s career, bringing a peace to Europe that lasted for more than forty years. The battle itself is well documented elsewhere and far too complex to write about in a blog post, but there is an interesting offshoot I would like to share.
In September of 1815, the Duke of Wellington wrote to the government, recommending that a medal be issued to each soldier present during the campaign and subsequent battles, of which there were three (Quatra Bras, Ligny and Waterloo). The medal was eventually issued in 1816/17, and each survivor was credited with extra service and pay, giving them two years of added seniority. In addition, the medal was also awarded to the next-of-kin of those that died in the campaign, a first for this type of thing.
Later on, the government would issue a General Service Medal that would award soldiers for their experience prior to Waterloo, but that particular award was not issued until 1848. This means that the Waterloo Medal is the first British medal to be awarded to all soldiers present during a battle. It was also the first medal to include the recipient’s name, rank and regiment, which were inscribed around the edge, a technique that is still in use today (although the regiment is not always applicable).
While researching things for my latest book, Flames, I stumbled across an article about something called an Enteledont, a prehistoric creature that ranged the earth for several million years. It is sometimes called a hell pig or terminator pig, but the truth is it isn't a pig at all, rather it is more closely related to whales and hippos.
I found their physical description to be quite interesting, for these creatures reached nearly seven feet tall at the shoulders, with bulky bodies and cloven hooves. They also had extremely powerful jaw muscles within a mouth that could open more than ninety degrees at the jawline. Thankfully, they died out many years before humanity evolved, but it is interesting to wonder how they might be seen if they were still in existence.
For comparison's sake, these enteledonts may have weighed as much as 900 kilograms or more, remarkable considering that a draft horse weighs in around 850 kg. Whether or not these creatures were carnivores or not is up for debate. They have canines, but also flat, crushing molars, leading experts to believe they were, in fact, Omnivores. Scars on bones would indicate they fought each other as well, leading one to the possible conclusion that they were solitary. Of course, we are looking at all this evidence through the mantle of time, and bones and fossils can only provide so much information.
Still, it is a fascinating idea and one that I have decided to adapt for use in my own story.
To find out more about these fascinating creatures, simply search for 'Enteledont', or, if you prefer, look for 'hell pig or terminator pig'. There's even a video of one, prepared for the BBC documentary series 'Walking with Beasts'.
Until next time, Happy reading!
Paul Bennett, Writer of Epic Fantasy Adventures.