Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Short Stories of Science and Invention

TITLE :  Ancient Battleground
A Radio Talk by Charles F. Kettering :

During the War, Metz appeared frequently in the reports from the battlefronts - the Allied armies had it under siege. The history of Metz is interesting because it is so typical of many other European cities. Our country is comparatively young and it is difficult for us to appreciate that this city had already been a battle­ground for 1500 years before Amer­ica was discovered.

Roman    It all started as a matter of geog­raphy. Over 2,000 years ago, an ancient tribe of Gauls decided to settle at a likely looking spot on the Moselle River. The surrounding country was fer­tile and the town prospered and grew. We first hear of it in Julius Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars when he captured it in about the year 55 B.C. They called the place Mediomatrica which was later shortened to Metz. The Ro­mans, as was the custom, built forts around the city and installed an aqueduct to supply water.

    For several hundred years the town grew until in the 5th century it was plundered by Attila's Huns. Then for centuries Metz became a battleground for warring peoples - ­the French to the south and the Germans to the north. For 1500 years this city has been torn between two civilizations and, as a conse­quence, has literally armed itself to the teeth with forts and other de­fenses to protect itself from attack either north or south.

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