Monday, 31 December 2018

Octavian and the Battle of Actium

Octavian was the son of Julius Caesar's niece. Octavian was only 20 years old when he learned of Caesar's assassination. Caesar had adopted him as his son posthumously, and Octavian returned to Italy to avenge his murder.

He leveraged his association with Caesar to gain power. In 43 BCE, he formed the Second Triumvirate with Marc Antony and Lepidus. They defeated Brutus and Cassius and divided the empire, with Octavian holding most of the West and Antony the East.
Antony grew progressively closer to Cleopatra while Octavian worked to restore Italy. In 33 BC, the Second Triumvirate ended, leaving Antony without any legal authority. Octavian then began a campaign against Antony, declaring war against Cleopatra.
Octavian’s admiral Marcus Agrippa held Antony’s fleet back in the bay of Actium in Greece. On September 2, Antony and Cleopatra managed to escape, leaving the rest of his men to surrender to Octavian.

Antony fled to Alexandria where he and Cleopatra eventually took their own lives in August, 30 BCE; this marked the end of the Roman civil wars.
Rome was officially transformed from a Republic to a Principate in January, 27 BCE. Octavian used “Augustus”.
This coin was minted in Rome, 13-14 AD.Over the next 40 years, Augustus shared his authority with the Senate. It would not be until Augustus’ coinage reform in 23 BCE that the gold aureus would come into standard use. In addition to his reorganization of the state and institutions of Rome, Augustus introduced a formal system of fixed ratios between denominations of coins.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Two Roman statues unearthed near Beit She’an

Two Roman statues were discovered after a Beit She’an resident took a stroll north of the ancient tell. A woman noticed the top of a head of one of the statues while walking around the ancient Biblical site, known in Roman times as Scythopolis. The resident and her husband alerted the authorities, which quickly arrived at the site and uncovered the statues.
Such artifacts are usually placed near or inside burial caves, and are intended to be a likeness of the deceased. They date to the late Roman-early Byzantine period (third to fourth centuries CE).

Similar sculptures have been found in the past near the region of Beit She’an, which sits at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley. Heavy winter rains bring such finds to the surface.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Likho

Likho is an embodiment of evil fate and misfortune in Slavic mythology. A creature with one eye, it is often depicted as an old, skinny woman in black or as an evil male goblin. In ancient times, the likho was believed to be a servant of Death. During pre-Christian times villages would conduct a ritual during times of epidemic and burn an effigy of Likho.

Likho was supposed to come and eat a person. This was used to scare small children. Likho is a noun meaning bad luck in modern Russian.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Ancient Helmets at Christies

A Greek bronze Corinthian Helmet. Archaic Period. Circa 7th Century B.C. $106,250
A Greek Chalcidian Type. $ 40k.
A Greek Illyrian helmet. circa 550-500 B.C. $27,500
A Greek bronze helmet. Corinthian type. Circa 2nd half of 6th century B.C. USD 205k.

Greek hoplite helmet. Macedonian 3rd century BC.
The Chalcidian helmet was an improvement on the earlier Corinthian and Illyrian types. Its lighter design allowed for greater mobility, while its curves around the ears maximized the soldier’s ability to hear. This helmet dates to around 450 and 400 BC.

An extremely rare Roman bronze cavalry parade helmet. Crosby Garrett Helmet. Circa late 1st-2nd century. GBP 2,281,250 in 2010.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Expensive US pennies

The 1914-S Lincoln cent. Over 4 million minted. What makes this coin extremely valuable is condition. $105,800 in 2016.

1944-D Lincoln Penny on a Zinc-Coated Steel Planchet. Over 430 million were struck. $115,000 in 2006.
1909-S VDB Lincoln Penny. $117,500 in 2014.

1872 Indian Head Penny. $126,500 in August 2007.
1877 Indian Head Penny. $149,500 in August 2007.

1914-D Lincoln Penny. $152,750 in 2017. An uncirculated example in its original mint state makes this coin extremely rare.
1864 Indian Head Penny–"L" on Ribbon. $161,000 in 2011.

1943 Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze Alloy. $164,500 in 2013.
1856 Flying Eagle Cent. $172,500 in 2004

1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln Penny. $258,500 in 2014
1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck on Bronze. $282,000 in 2016.

1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny. $373,750 in 2008.
1943-D Lincoln Bronze Cent. $1,700,000 in September 2010. The only known example of a 1943 Lincoln penny struck at the Denver mint on the bronze alloy. All pennies produced in 1943 were to be struck on zinc-plated steel planchets instead of the regular copper alloy.

Some bronze cents from 1942 slipped into the production line. The single example from the Denver mint is unique and very likely the most expensive penny on earth.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Tree of life is dying: Africa's ancient baobab

Africa's ancient trees of life are being killed by climate change. Researches found that nine of the oldest 13 baobab trees and five of the six biggest ones have partially or completely died in the past 12 years. The baobab tree is revered in Africa. Medicinal compounds are extracted from its leaves, while the fruit -rich in vitamin C -- is used for nourishment and the seeds yield oil.

Three trees that were older than 2,000 years have all died in the past decade.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Ashurnasirpal II Relief - $ 31m

Retrieved from Nimrud in modern-day Iraq in the mid-19th century. Standing more than seven feet high, this proud figure was once part of an elaborate decorative scheme that covered the walls of the Northwest Palace at Nimrud, which was constructed some 3,000 years ago.

An Assyrian gypsum relief of a Winged Genius. Reign of Ashurnasirpal II, circa 883-859 BC. 
The Assyrian relief sold for $30,968,750.
'He was the king of kings.'The stone’s surface is covered in ‘Standard Inscription’, a cuneiform incantation that recalls Ashurnasirpal: ‘Fierce monarch, merciless hero, the word of whose mouth destroys mountains and seas…’

Monday, 24 December 2018

Truk Lagoon National Monument

A visual history lesson about World War II lies at the bottom of Truk Lagoon. The lagoon played host to Operation Hailstone on February 16/17, 1944 when American planes launched an aerial attack on anchored ships. Truk Lagoon was a major naval base with an extensive infrastructure for the Japanese Imperial Navy. Because of this, the base had earned the nickname "the Gibraltar of the Pacific."

Truk Lagoon was considered the most formidable of all Japanese strongholds in the Pacific.
Truk was Japan's equivalent of the Americans' Pearl Harbor, it was their largest forward naval base.
The Japanese fleet lost an estimated 10 warships, over 30 supply vessels, 275 aircraft, light cruisers, and destroyers, and an estimated 4,500 military personnel during the two-day strike.
Forewarned by intelligence a week before the US raid, the Japanese had withdrawn their larger warships (heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers) to Palau.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Harnessed horse unearthed in ancient stable near Pompeii

Archaeologists have unearthed the petrified remains of a harnessed horse and saddle in the stable of a villa in Pompeii. It's thought the villa belonged to a high-ranking military officer. The remains of other horses were also found.
The villa's terraces had views of the Bay of Naples and Capri island. The area was previously excavated, during the early 1900s, but later re-buried. It's thought suffocating volcanic ash or boiling vapors killed the horses.