Thursday, 28 February 2019

Top Macedonian Artifacts

The Golden Larnax
A larnax is a small closed coffin, box or "ash-chest" used as a container for human remains. A 4th century BC example found at Vergina in Macedonia is made of solid gold. The tomb where it was found is thought to have belonged to King Philip II of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great.
The cremated bones of Alexander IV, the posthumous son of Alexander the Great who was murdered, along with his mother, Roxane, by Alexander's former general Cassander in 311/310 B.C.

The ashes had been placed in a silver hydria, crowned by a golden wreath. They were found in 1978 at Vergina.
The Derveni Krater is a volute krater, discovered in 1962 in a tomb at Derveni, not far from Thessaloniki. Weighing 40 kg, it is made of an alloy of bronze and tin. It is dated to the late 4th century BC, and was probably made in Athens. Large metalwork vessels are extremely rare survivals and the Derveni Krater is the finest known.
Alexander the Great Bust. Due to its original inscription, the figure can be definitely identified as Alexander the Great. The work is a copy of a work from 330 BC attributed to Lysippos.
Philippeioi, later called Alexanders were the gold coins used in the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia. First issued at some point between 355 and 347 BCE, the coins featured a portrait of the Greek deity Apollo, and on the reverse, an illustration of a biga, a Greek chariot drawn by two horses. They had the value of one gold stater each. The majority of the coins were struck by Alexander the Great and were known as "alexanders".
The Alexander Mosaic, dating from 100 BC, is a Roman floor mosaic originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. It depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. The mosaic is believed to be a copy of an early 3rd-century BC Hellenistic painting.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Denisova Cave

Researchers didn’t have high hopes when they examined some 700 shards of bone. The fossils were from Denisova Cave — a site in southern Siberia where, in 2010, scientists had discovered a previously unknown group of ancient humans. Researchers called them Denisovans.

In June 2015 a 2-centimetre sliver of bone tested positive for hominin collagen. Last year it was found the bone belonged to a woman who lived around 100,000 years ago. Her mother was a Neanderthal and father a Denisovan.
Other hominin bone fragments were found in Denisova Cave, and now efforts are extending the search for Denisovans across the continent, where traces of their DNA are found in many modern human populations. Scientists hope to find more complete Denisovan remains.

The DNA found suggests that Denisovans and Neanderthals are both descended from an ancestral population that diverged from that of modern humans in the past 800,000 years.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019


To ancient Greeks, Nemesis is the goddess who enacts retribution for evil deeds, undeserved good fortune, and against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods). Her name was derived from the Greek words nemêsis and nemô, meaning "dispenser of dues." A purveyor of justice, Nemesis was often depicted with a sword and scales. She is a winged goddess often wielding a whip or a dagger.

Her Roman counterpart was Invidia, the goddess of jealousy and vengeance. Nemesis brought much sorrow to mortals.

Justice (Dike, on the left) and Divine Vengeance (Nemesis) are pursuing the murderer. Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, 1808
Happiness and unhappiness were measured out by her, care being taken that happiness was not too frequent or excessive. If this happened, Nemesis could bring about losses and suffering. She was an avenging agent and punishing power of fate, who, sooner or later, overtakes the reckless sinner.

Narcissus was a popular choice among elite Romans seeking to decorate their homes.

Monday, 25 February 2019

The 3,245-year-old rope that sealed King Tut's tomb

More than 3,000 years ago someone sealed one of a series of nested shrines protecting the final resting place of the young pharoah Tutankhamun with an intricate combination of knots and sealed with clay. There it remained, fully intact for more than 32 centuries, until until Feb. 16, 1923, when Howard Carter breached the seal and explored the riches of the inner burial shrines for the first time.

The rope binding the fifth shrine door to Tut's final rest place benefited from the extremely arid environment of the desert region and the low levels of oxygen of the sealed tomb. Bacteria can break things down as long as they have oxygen. The rope was likely made from the stem of the papyrus plant. It has great longevity in arid conditions thanks to its composition of highly rot-resistant cellulose.
An analyst thought it would be easy to undo the half hitches and the spiral wrap, but one would not be able to undo the rope between the handles without breaking the seal. Howard Carter cut the rope. Had he not the seal would still be intact to this day.
See ----->Gold of Tutankhamun

Sunday, 24 February 2019


A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. Most were slaves, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death. The origin of gladiatorial combat is thought to be the 3rd century BC, and thereafter it rapidly became an essential feature of social life in the Roman world.

Its popularity led to ever more lavish and costly games. The games lasted for nearly a thousand years, peaking between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The games declined during the early 5th century after the adoption of Christianity.

The average age of those killed in the arena was around 28. Few gladiators survived more than ten matches.
The person who presided over the games was called the editor. He could be the emperor, a senator, or other political figure and made the final decision about the fate of the gladiators in the arena.

To make sure the loser wasn’t pretending to be dead, an attendant dressed as Mercury would touch him with a hot iron wand. If they were still alive, another attendant, dressed as Charon, would hit him with a mallet.
If a gladiator repeatedly survived the arena and lived long enough to retire, they were given a symbolic wooden training sword, or rudis, as a token of their freedom.

Even when they had won their freedom, the lucrative life of the gladiator still appealed: rudiarii were gladiators who had won their freedom but chose to remain fighting in the arena.

Gladius, an early ancient Roman sword
There were many types of gladiators and each had different weapons. It was usual to pair off combatants with widely different, but more or less equivalent, equipment. Studies have shown that gladiators fought to strict rules and barefooted. During combat musicians performed and altered tempo to match that of the combat.
From left, a disarmed and surrendering retiarius and his secutor opponent, a thraex and murmillo, a hoplhus and murmillo (who is signalling his surrender), and the referee.

Roman Gladiator Dagger

Four-pointed dagger

Roman soldiers were taught to deploy the gladius horizontally, piercing the enemy's ribs and penetrating vital organs.

Roman iron gladiator trident.

Gladiator Arm Guard

Greaves (leg protectors) and dagger discovered at Pompeii's gladiator barracks.

Pair of bronze greaves from the Gladiators' Barracks in Pompeii.

Helmet of a murmillo.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Magic Amulets

The Eye of Horus, also known as wadjet, wedjat or udjat, is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power, and good health.

The Eye of Horus is similar to the Eye of Ra, which belongs to a different god, but represents many of the same concepts.
In ancient Mesopotamia, Pazuzu was the king of the demons of the wind, brother of Humbaba and son of the god Hanbi. He also represented the southwestern wind, the bearer of storms and drought. Although Pazuzu is considered to be an evil spirit, he drives and frightens away other evil spirits, thus protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes.
A popular god in Indian mythology, Kuber rules over money and the material. Kuber is well fed, dwarf-like, and often carries a bag of gold. His domain is a garden of perfect happiness, where all may be obtained without exertion or struggle.
The Hand of Fatima (Hand of Miriam) is an ancient talisman that symbolizes feminine power. Originating from the Hebrew word hamesh, literally meaning five, the hand is worn as a defense against negative energy, deflecting the gaze of the evil eye away from the wearer. Believed to channel the forces of good, the Hand of Fatima promotes healing and fosters miracles.