Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Sargon of Akkad

Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great "the Great King" was a Semitic Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 24th and 23rd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, he was originally referred to as Sargon I until records of an Assyrian king also named Sargon (now usually referred to as Sargon I) were unearthed.

Sargon's vast empire is thought to have included large parts of Mesopotamia, and included parts of modern-day Iran, Asia Minor and Syria. He is often regarded as the first in recorded history to create a centrally ruled empire and a professional army.
After coming to power, Sargon killed the king of Kish, and attacked Uruk. He captured Uruk and dismantled its famous walls. The defenders fled the city.

Sumerian forces fought two pitched battles against the Akkadians and were routed. Sargon pursued his enemies to Ur before moving eastwards to Lagash, to the Persian Gulf, and then to Umma.

Uruk was renowned for its walls which were first built 4,700 years ago by the Sumerian King Gilgamesh, hero of the epic named after him.
Sargon died around 2215 BC. Sargon of Akkad was regarded as a model by Mesopotamian kings for two millennia after his death. The Assyrian and Babylonian kings who based their empires in Mesopotamia saw themselves as the heirs of Sargon's empire. Akkadian influence was seen through trade throughout much of the known world from Eastern Europe to Northern Africa to India.

Akkadian customs – language, religion, art, architecture – were the standard for almost two millennia until the Greeks and Persians established their own mighty empires.



Saturday, 25 June 2016

Infamous Guns at Auction

Two guns once owned by Bonnie and Clyde sold for over half a million dollars. Clyde Barrow's 1911 Colt .45-caliber automatic sold for $240,000. Bonnie Parker's .38-caliber Detective Special that she had taped to her thigh when she was killed in a hail of gunfire in 1934 sold for $264,000 to the same bidder.

An online bidder paid $130,000 for a .45-caliber Tommy gun and $80,000 for an 1897 12-gauge shotgun that were seized from one of the duo's hideouts in Missouri in 1933. Lawmen seized the weapons on April 13, 1933 after a bloody raid on an apartment in Joplin where the Barrow Gang were holed up. Two lawmen were killed while the gang escaped.


Al Capone’s Colt .25 semi-automatic pistol sold for over $ 16,000 in 2012.
His Colt .38 revolver sold for $110,000 at a Christie's 2011 auction in London.

John Dillinger's derringer, a miniature pistol that was found in the outlaw's sock when he was arrested in 1934 sold for $45,000.

The wooden gun Dillinger famously used to escape from the Crown Point, Indiana jail sold for $ 19,000.

A purse pistol Jesse James gave his wife, Zee, to commemorate the birth of their daughter sold for $20,000.

On October 5, 1892 five members of the Dalton Gang rode into the small town of Coffeyville, Kansas. After a failed bank robbery, the ensuing firefight killed four townspeople and four members of the Dalton Gang.

$ 50,000.
Hitler received this pistol as a gift on his 50th birthday from Carl Walther. It sold in 1987 for $114,000

The 44.-caliber Smith & Wesson that killed Jesse James: $350,000
This Colt Single Action Army .45 revolver is believed to have belonged to Jesse James. In 2013 Texas-based Heritage Auctions attempted to auction it with a starting bid of $400,000.
The gun that Lee Harvey Oswald used to assassinate President John F. Kennedy is a Mannlicher-Carcano bolt-action 6.5mm caliber Italian surplus military rifle. He bought it through a mail-order company for $12.78.



Friday, 24 June 2016

The Burgess Shale Formation

The Burgess Shale Formation is located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. It is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils.

At 508 million years (Middle Cambrian) old, it is one of the earliest fossil beds containing soft-part imprints.
Burgess Shale contains the best record we have of Cambrian animal fossils. It reveals creatures originating from the Cambrian explosion, an evolutionary burst of animal origins dating 545 to 525 million years ago.
During this period, life was restricted to the world's oceans. The land was barren, uninhabited, and subject to mudslides which periodically rolled into the seas and buried marine organisms.

At Burgess, sediment was deposited in a deep-water basin adjacent to an enormous algal reef with a vertical escarpment several hundred meters high.

The Burgess Shale fossils have been called the world’s most significant fossil discovery because of their great age, their diversity and the detail of their preservation.






Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Imperial Crown Jewels of Iran

The Imperial crown jewels of Iran include elaborate crowns and decorative thrones, thirty tiaras, a dozen bejeweled swords and shields, a vast number of unset precious gems, and numerous other objects cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems.
The Imperial crown jewels of Iran are said to be the largest set of displayed jewels in the world in state ownership in one location.

The collection is housed at The Treasury of National Jewels, known as the Jewellery Museum. It is situated inside the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran.
The majority of the items in the collection were acquired by the Safavid dynasty, which ruled Iran from 1502 to 1736 AD. Afghans invaded Iran in 1719 and sacked the capital of Isfahan and took the Iranian crown jewels as plunder.

Nader Shah Afshar successfully drove the Afghans from Iran in 1729. In 1738, the Shah launched his own campaign against the Afghan homeland.
The victorious Nader Shah returned to Iran with what remained of the plundered crown jewels as well as several other precious objects now found in the Iranian Treasury.
These included heavily jewel-encrusted thrones and numerous diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Four of the most prominent acquisitions from this conquest were the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds, the Peacock Throne, and the Samarian Spinel.

When the Iranian revolution toppled the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, it was feared that in the chaos the Iranian crown jewels had been stolen or sold. Although some smaller items were stolen and smuggled across Iran's borders, the bulk of the collection remained intact.

The revolutionary government under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani re-opened the permanent exhibition of the Iranian crown jewels to the public in the 1990s. They remain on public display.


The Kiani Crown was the traditional coronation crown.

Empress Farah Coronation Crown

The imperial crown of the Pahlavi dynasty. It has 3380 diamonds (1144 carats).

Gem encrusted pitcher

The Imperial Xiran Empress Necklace