Thursday, 30 September 2021

Golden artifacts found on Minoan island dedicated to purple

A storehouse of ancient objects, including precious jewels and gold beads, was uncovered on an island near Crete in 2019. Chrysi, now uninhabited, was once devoted to making a precious purple dye from sea snails. The huge value placed on the rare purple dye supported a flourishing settlement between 3,800 and 3,500 years ago, during the Minoan civilization on Crete. The prosperity of the island settlement is not seen by the remains of its simple buildings, but by the high quality of the artifacts found.
Archaeologists have investigated the settlement on Chrysi since 2008, revealing various discoveries, including the remains of large carved stone tanks near the waterline on the beach. Researchers believe the tanks were used to farm the shellfish — a species of Murex called Hexaplex trunculus. The difficulty of making the dye led to it only being used by the elite, and it became known as "Royal purple." It was also known as "Tyrian purple," after the ancient Phoenican coastal city of Tyre which also produced it.
See ----->https://psjfactoids.blogspot.com/2017/09/tyrian-purple.html

Monday, 27 September 2021

Hoard of Roman gold found in Spain

Divers off the coast of Spain have uncovered a treasure trove of 53 gold coins from the Roman Empire. Luis Lens and César Gimeno were freediving in the Mediterranean Sea while on vacation in Xàbia, Spain. They came across a shiny object that resembled a "10 cent coin." After retrieving the object, they noticed an inscription with an ancient Greek or Roman face. Using the corkscrew of a Swiss Army knife, they discovered another seven coins embedded in a rock crevice. Experts were called and 53 gold coins were found.
The hoard contains; Valentinian I (3 - AD 364 to 375), Valentinian II (7 - AD 375 and 392), Todosio I (15 - AD 379 to 395), Arcadius (17 - AD 383 to 408), Honorius (10 - AD 393 to 423), and an unidentified coin. Experts suppose the coins could have been intentionally hidden to avoid looting barbarians, such as the Alans.
The coins shed light on a historical moment of insecurity with the arrival of barbarians, such as the Suevi, Vandals, and Alans, leading to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Ancient Glass - “Drink That You May Live"


Cameo Glass Skyphos, Roman, c. 25 B.C - 25 C.E
The history of glass-making can be traced back to 3500 BC in Mesopotamia. They may have been producing second-rate copies of glass objects from Egypt, where the craft originated. The earliest known glass objects, of the mid second millennium BC, were beads. Glass products remained a luxury until late Bronze Age civilizations seemingly brought glass-making to a halt.

An exhibit at Yale University Art Gallery presented an array of jewelry, cups, bowls, pitchers, flasks, bottles, cosmetic vials and jars from the ancient world. The title of the exhibit, “Drink That You May Live” was drawn from one of the objects in the exhibit — a line also seen on other Roman drinking vessels of antiquity.
Naturally occurring glass, especially the volcanic glass obsidian, has been used by many Stone Age societies across the globe for sharp cutting tools and was extensively traded. As glassmaking processes grew and changed, glass came to replace silver and gold as the most popular medium for drinking vessels.

By the 1st century AD, glass blowing emerged. Production of raw glass was undertaken with large scale manufacturing, primarily in Alexandria. Glass was a commonly available material in the Roman world.

Inscribed Cup, Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, possibly Syrian, 3rd–4th century A.D. Free-blown glass with gold leaf.

Jar with Sixteen Handles, Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, 4th–5th century A.D. Free-blown glass

A bowl from Hellenistic or Roman society, Eastern Mediterranean, late 2nd century B.C.–early 1st century A.D.
Roman cobalt blue glass amphoriskos

Saturday, 25 September 2021

The mines of Ancient Greece

In 480 BCE, the Persian army defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae and invaded parts of Greece. When all seemed lost, Themistocles proposed an unusual plan: the Greeks should not face the superior Persian soldiers on the battlefield, but instead invest in a fleet. In the naval battle of Salamis, the newly-built ships destroyed the Persian fleet.
Without a navy to support their army, the Persians were forced to retreat. The battle of Salamis was a critical turning point. The ships that won the battle of Salamis were paid for with silver from the mines of Laurion. 20,000 slaves worked to provide the silver for the fleet. Without it victory would have been impossible.
After the defeat of Persia, Sparta and Athens waged a long and taxing war. As the silver mines became exhausted, a backwater territory, Macedonia, thrived and became the new power. The gold mines of Macedonia played a critical role. The largest gold mines in antiquity were operating in Macedonia and Thrace and they supported the rise of Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Ptolemy, son of Lagos

Bust of Ptolemy in the British Museum. Of all the successors of Alexander the Great, the family of Ptolemy, son of Lagos, was the most successful, ruling Egypt for nearly three centuries (305 – 30 BCE). The story of that success begins with a hijacking. When Alexander died in Babylon on 10 June 323 BCE, his corpse, embalmed by a team of Egyptian morticians, was placed in an elaborate cart for travel back to Macedon in northern Greece for burial. Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s boyhood companions and trusted bodyguards. He seized the body and diverted it to Memphis, capital of Egypt, where he had been appointed satrap (governor).

Alexander’s body became a trophy and symbol of legitimacy for Ptolemy’s dynasty.

The dynasty shared just three names – at least seven Cleopatras, four Berenikes and four Arsinoës.
The earliest coins of Ptolemy I followed the pattern of Alexander’s coinage. At an uncertain date (c. 316 – 312), Ptolemy issued a new type of silver tetradrachm bearing a portrait of the deified Alexander wearing an elephant head-dress (symbolizing his conquest of India). On the reverse, the goddess Athena.

Ptolemy had three official wives and numerous liaisons, fathering at least 11 children. In 289 BCE he appointed his son, Ptolemy II as co-ruler. He died in 283 or 282, aged 84, the only one of Alexander’s successors to die peacefully in his own bed.

Marble head found in Forum dig Dionysus

The white marble head unearthed during excavations at the Roman Forum on 24 May 2019 is believed to represent a male deity, most likely Dionysus. Initially it was thought that the head - with its feminine features and thick, wavy hairstyle - represented a female goddess. A band around its head decorated with a "typically Dionysian flower, the corymb, and ivy", proves it to be Dionysus.

The slightly larger-than-life head has been dated from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. He is better known as Bacchus to the Romans.

Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Ancient jewellery - Christies 2017


A pair of Etruscan gold ear studs. C. 530-500 BC. Estimate: $30,000-50,000.
Standout pieces from the Antiquities sale at Christie’s New York.
A Greek gold olive wreath. Late classical period to early hellenistic. Estimate: $250,000-350,000.

A Celtic gold torque. C. late 4th century BC. Estimate: $120,000-180,000.

Eight Sarmatian Gold Phalerae circa 1st century B.C. Est. $ 12,000

3 Celtic gold finger rings. Late 4th century. Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 90,000

Viking gilt silver pendant. 10th century.Estimate USD 8,000 - USD 12,000

Greek Gold Finger Ring, Hellenistic Period, Circa 2nd Century B.C. Est $40,000 - $60,000.

Greek ring, c. 300-330 B.C., of engraved carnelian.

Greek ring, c. 300-390 B.C.

Monday, 20 September 2021

UK Spitalfields skeleton a high ranking Roman woman


The woman's body was first discovered in March 1999 under London's Spitalfields Market.
A noble Roman woman who lived in the fourth century was buried under what is now a market in London. The body was found in a decorated lead coffin that itself was placed inside a stone sarcophagus, indicating she was someone of great wealth and status.
The woman was wrapped in Chinese silk with fine gold thread. Her clothing was found to be purple — a hallmark reserved for Roman elite.
See ----->Tyrian Purple

Sunday, 19 September 2021

King Ptolemy I, C. Cassius Longinus lead ancients


Ptolemy I Soter. 305/4-282 BC. AV Stater. Euhesperides mint. Struck early 290s BC. $52,000.
Ptolemy was pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 305/304 BC to his death. He was the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC. Ptolemy himself wrote an eyewitness history of Alexander's campaigns (now lost). In the second century AD, Ptolemy's history was used by Arrian of Nicomedia for his writings on Alexander, and hence large parts of Ptolemy's history is thought to have survived.

C. Cassius Longinus. Spring 42 BC. AV Aureus. Military mint; M. Aquinus, legate. Diademed head of Libertas right; $50,400.
C. Cassius Longinus was one of the principal conspirators against Julius Caesar. Following the assassination, he moved to the east, where he amassed an army. His prior reputation of military success proved invaluable, and by 43 BC his army boasted nearly twelve legions.
See ---->Gaius Cassius Longinus

Friday, 17 September 2021

Aztec Gold: The History And Science Of Popcorn

Popcorn is a truly ancient snack. Archaeologists have uncovered popcorn kernels that are 4,000 years old. They were so well-preserved, they could still pop. Corn, and specifically popcorn, helped lay the foundations for the Aztec empire. A highly productive crop like corn makes the rise of higher civilizations possible.
The oldest popcorn ever found was discovered in the "Bat Cave" of central New Mexico. It is thought to be about 5,600 years old. Sometimes, conditions can preserve ancient popcorn so perfectly that it still looks fluffy and white when the dust is blown off of it. In a cave in southern Utah, researchers found surprisingly fresh-looking 1,000-year-old popcorn.
Europeans learned about popcorn from Native Americans. When Cortes invaded Mexico, and when Columbus arrived in the West Indies, each saw natives eating popcorn. Native Americans brought a bag of popped corn to the first Thanksgiving.

A common way to eat popcorn at that time was to hold an oiled ear on a stick over the fire, then chew the popped kernels off it.
Natives in the Americas also made a popcorn beer. Some made popcorn soup.
After the Spanish invaded, popcorn spread around the world, and people began learnef how popcorn works. The rock-hard kernel — the thing that makes popcorn impossible to eat raw — is the key. It acts as a pressure cooker with the durable kernel keeping water and starch sealed inside. When a kernel is heated, the starch liquefies and the pressure builds until the seed coat breaks. A popcorn kernel is a seed. Like other seeds, inside it has a tiny plant embryo. The embryo is surrounded by soft, starchy material that would give the embryo energy for growing into a plant. The ideal popcorn kernel contains about 14 percent moisture. If the popcorn is too much drier, it will not pop.