Sunday, 29 January 2023

Amazing historical artifacts

Broadsword of Oliver Cromwell. Made in England c. 1650. This is one of the finest surviving swords of a type favored during the English Civil War (1642-51). The association with English statesman Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) is consistent with the inscription and heraldic arms of England and Ireland on the blade, and with outstanding quality.
Monomachus Crown. The crown is engraved Byzantine goldwork, decorated with cloisonné enamel. King Constantine Monomachus ruled the Byzantine kingdom from 1042 to 1055 with his wife Zoe and her sister Theodora. It was made in Constantinople in 1042. It was found in 1860 by a farmer. The objects passed to the local nobility, who sold it in four transactions to the Hungarian National Museum between 1861 and 1870.
A Surviving Crate from the Boston Tea Party – The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, Boston.

The Boston Tea Party was the spark in the powder keg for the American War of Independence. The rebelling colonials climbed aboard a ship carrying England’s most valuable commodity – tea, and threw it overboard in an act of open defiance. Two crates survived.

The other side of the blade depicts the pharaoh tormenting one of his enemies as a symbol for sovereign power.
The Axe of Pharoah Ahmes – The Egyptian Museum, Cairo. This gold ceremonial axe was found among the treasures in the Tomb of Ahmes. It is funerary object that was not used in the life of the pharaoh. One of the sides of the blade is adorned with Nekhbet, vulture goddess and the guardian of Upper and Lower Egypt, and other deities who protect the pharaoh.
Corinthian Helmet and Skull from the Battle of Marathon 490 BCE – Royal Ontario Museum, Canada. A pivotal moment in Ancient Greek history, the battle of Marathon saw a smaller Greek force, mainly made up of Athenian troops, defeat an invading Persian army.

A fierce and bloody battle, with numerous casualties, it appears that this helmet (with skull inside) belonged to a Greek hoplite who died during the fighting. The story of the man who ran back to Athens with the news of the victory became synonymous with the long distance running event in the Olympics.
The Bullet that killed Lincoln – National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, USA.

On April 14, 1865, five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Virginia, an actor named John Wilkes Booth achieved historical immortality by firing the shot that claimed the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Roman Iron Slave Collar 400 CE – The Museo Nazionale alle Terme di Diocleziano, Rome Italy. The inscription on the collar reads – “I have run away; hold me. When you have returned me to my master, Zoninus, you will receive a solidus"

Blood Stained Cloak of Archduke Franz Ferdinand – Austrian Military Museum, Vienna. The murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand plunged the world into the first World War.

Staffordshire Hoard Roman helmet recreated

Many fragments found in the famous Staffordshire Hoard come from the helmet which experts spent 18 months reconstructing. Thousands of 1,300 years old fragments were studied in a bid to rebuild the original helmet.
A third of the pieces were found to belong to an ornate Anglo-Saxon helmet, one of four found.
He unearthed the £3.2 million ancient gold and silver haul in the summer of 2009.It was almost a decade ago when one man and his metal detector uncovered the world's largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork. Terry Herbert struck the treasure of several lifetimes near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Egyptian Book of the Dead

A heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth, by Anubis. The ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result. If his heart equals exactly the weight of the feather, one is allowed to pass into the afterlife. If not, he is eaten by the waiting Ammit.
The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BC. The original Egyptian name for the text is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day.

The loose collection of texts consist of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person's journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife. It was written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years. The Book of the Dead first developed in Thebes towards the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period, around 1700 BCE and were exclusively for the use of the Pharaoh.
The Book of the Dead is made up of a number of individual texts and their illustrations. Some 192 spells are known, though no single manuscript contains them all. They served a range of purposes. Some are intended to give the deceased mystical knowledge in the afterlife, or perhaps to identify them with the gods. Others are incantations to ensure the different elements of the dead person's being were preserved and reunited, and to give the deceased control over the world around him. Still others protect the deceased from hostile forces, or guide him through the underworld past obstacles. Two spells also deal with the judgement of the deceased in the Weighing of the Heart ritual.
The heart was regarded as the aspect of being which included intelligence and memory.
The texts and images of the Book of the Dead were magical as well as religious. Mummification served to preserve and transform the physical body into sah, an idealized form with divine aspects.
The ka, or life-force, remained in the tomb with the dead body, and required sustenance from offerings of food, water and incense.
The path to the afterlife as laid out in the Book of the Dead was difficult. The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and mounds guarded by supernatural creatures. These creatures had to be pacified by reciting the appropriate spells. If all the obstacles of the Duat could be negotiated, the deceased would be judged in the 'Weighing of the Heart' ritual.

Rome sewer work reveals Hercules

The Appia Antica Park announced on Facebook that the area “has reserved a great surprise for us: a life-size marble statue which, due to the presence of the club and the lion’s coat covering its head, we can certainly identify as a figure representing Hercules”. The discovery was made during repair work on some sewer pipes that had collapsed, causing landslides. The excavations reached a depth of 20 metres and, as often happens in Rome, were carried out with archaeologists present. The statue dates to roughly between 27 BC and 220 AD. Crews were excavating the area to repair a sewer pipe that had collapsed under a park in Rome.
The statue was found along the Appian Way, an ancient road that runs from Rome to the southeastern region of Italy. The road was critical to Rome’s conquest of Southern Italy.

A separate dig alongside the Appian Way, also known as Regina viarum, or queen of the roads, revealed other finds, including a first-century marble head of a man, ceramic fragments, coins and jewelry. However, archaeologists were unable to find what they were looking for - the start of the Appian Way.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Golden Boy mummy chock full of gold

The so-called "Golden Boy" mummy has revealed a hidden trove of 49 amulets, many of which were made of gold. The young mummy earned its nickname because of his dazzling display of wealth, which included a gilded head mask. The Golden Boy was originally unearthed in 1916 at a cemetery in southern Egypt and has been stored in the basement of The Egyptian Museum in Cairo ever since. Researchers think he was about 14 or 15 years old when he died because his wisdom teeth had not yet emerged. Researchers found amulets, comprised of 21 different shapes and sizes, were strategically placed on or inside his body.
A golden heart scarab was placed inside the thoracic cavity and a golden tongue inside the mouth. The amulets served important roles in the afterlife. The teenage mummy's tongue was capped in gold to enable him to speak and his sandals were to enable him to walk out of the tomb.
The heart scarab silenced the heart on judgement day so not to bear witness against the deceased. A heart scarab was placed inside the torso cavity during mummification to substitute for the heart if the body was ever deprived of this important organ. The Ptolemaic dynasty lasted for 275 years, from 305 to 30 BC.
Embalmers placed amulets during mummification to vitalize the dead body.

Scylla and Charybdis

Being between Scylla and Charybdis is an idiom derived from Greek mythology, meaning having to choose between two evils. Between a rock and a hard place is similar. Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the mainland. Scylla was a six-headed sea monster on the Italian side and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily.
Avoiding Charybdis meant passing close to Scylla and vice versa.

According to Homer, Odysseus was forced to choose which monster to confront; he opted to pass by Scylla and lose only a few sailors, rather than risk the loss of his entire ship in the whirlpool.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

DNA reveals fate of the mysterious Canaanites

When the pharaohs ruled Egypt and the ancient Greeks built their first cities, a mysterious people called the Canaanites dominated the Near East. Biblically, Canaanites are identified in Genesis as descendants of Canaan, a son of Ham and grandson of Noah. Their god Baal was worshipped in many ancient Middle Eastern communities, especially among the Canaanites, who considered him one of the most important gods in their pantheon.
Around 4000 years ago, they built great cities, yet they left no surviving written records, leaving researchers to piece together their history. One of those sources is the Bible’s Old Testament, which suggests a grisly end for many Canaanites: After the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, God ordered them to destroy Canaan and its people. Ancient DNA recovered from five Canaanite skeletons suggests that they survived to contribute their genes to millions of people living today. The new samples come from Sidon, a coastal city in Lebanon.
Scientists found that the present-day Lebanese population is largely descended from the ancient Canaanites, inheriting more than 90% of their genes from this ancient source.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Amazing Ancients

IONIA. Ephesus. AR Tetradrachm (15.22 gms), ca. 390-325. NGC EF, Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5. $2,200. Ephesus was an Ionian settlement at the mouth of the Cayster River. It rivaled and finally surpassed Miletos as the chief sea port and emporium of the trade of the Maeander valley. The city was most famous in ancient times for its sanctuary of the Ephesian Artemis. According to legend, the temple burned down on the night of the birth of Alexander the Great, into whose control the city passed in 334 B.C. The bee was the heraldic badge of the city. The stag was also closely associated with the goddess.
EUBOEA, Eretria. Circa 500-465 BC. AR Stater. Cow with head turned to the back right, scratching face with raised right hoof; E below; standing upon a groundline / Octopus within shallow incuse square Very rare.
BRUTTIUM, Rhegion. Circa 356-351 BC. AR Tetradrachm. Head of Apollo left, with long hair, wearing laurel wreath; [P]HΓINOΣ upward to right / Facing lion’s head. Superb EF, faint golden toning around devices. From the Collection of Sheik Saud al-Thani. (hammer $130,000 in 2008)
Aegina, Stater ca. 445-431, AR 12.29 g. Turtle seen from above. Rev. Large skew pattern. SNG Delepierre 1837. Mitchiner 304. Rare and in superb condition. Exceptionally well struck in high relief and complete, lightly toned and good extremely fine. $10,000