Friday, 30 June 2017

New discovery at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey - Skull Cult

Göbekli Tepe was first discovered in 1996. An ancient site in southern Turkey, archaeologists believe it was built around 12,000 years ago, possibly as some kind of a holy site.
Archaeologists use “skull cult” to describe prehistoric peoples who venerated skulls to the point of worship, indicated most frequently by modified skulls. Archaeologists recently found three such skulls at Göbekli Tepe, each bearing incisions along the sagittal axes of the head, or lengthwise down the center between one’s ears.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Etruscan Gold


Ear-stud decorated with a rosette surrounded by concentric bands. Gold with vitreous glass paste insets, 530–480 BC.
The Etruscan civilization dominated the north of what is now Italy from about 700 B.C.E. until about 300 B.C.E. It is known that they had a language not related to that of the Italic tribes. Etruscan kings ruled in Rome and other Italian city states and had extensive trade routes by land and sea. Their arts flourished, most notably their outstanding goldsmithing.
The Etruscans took great pleasure in wearing ostentatious gold jewellery. Etruscan metalworkers produced many fine items not only in gold, but also in bronze and silver. The gold jewellery was often ornamented with filigree (fine wire) and granulation (tiny gold granules) formed into patterns. This latter technique has been mimicked in recent times but modern goldsmiths have never achieved the powder-fine granules of the Etruscan metalworkers.
Etruscan goldsmiths learned the basic technique of granulation from the Phoenicians, but all agree that the Etruscans took this technique to new heights of excellence and delicacy through extreme miniaturization. Granulation refers to the side by side application of tiny beads of gold. Twisted, or "corded" gold wirework was also applied to jewels in the Etruscan style.

To this day, modern jewelers have been unable to duplicate the skill and precision of these ancient craftsmen.
Around 550 BC, engraved gems were reaching Etruria from the Greek world. Soon afterwards Etruscans started to engrave semi-precious stones like carnelian. Gem carving reached its apex in Etruria during the Classical period (480-300 BC), but did not continue long into the third century BC.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Battle of Marathon

The battle of Marathon is one of history's most famous military engagements and one of the earliest recorded battles. In 490 BC a Persian armada of 600 ships disgorged a force of 20,000 on Greek soil just north of Athens. Their mission was to crush the Greek states. Athens mobilized 10,000 hoplite warriors. The two armies met on the Plain of Marathon 26 miles north of Athens.
Greek general Miltiades made a passionate plea for boldness and convinced his fellow generals to attack the Persians. Miltiades ordered the Greek hoplites to form a line equal in length to that of the Persians. Then - in an act that his enemy believed to be madness - he ordered his Greek warriors to attack the Persian line at a dead run. In the ensuing melee, the middle of the Greek line gave way, but the flanks were able to engulf and slaughter the trapped Persians. An estimated 6,400 Persians were slaughtered while only 192 Greeks were killed.

The remaining Persians escaped on their ships and made an attempt to attack what they thought was an undefended Athens. However, the Greek warriors made a forced march back to Athens and arrived in time to thwart the Persians.
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 (soldier) 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.

Rare Roman horse race mosaic found in Cyprus

Scenes from a chariot race are depicted in a rare Roman mosaic found in rural Cyprus. Dating from the 4th Century AD, it lies in Akaki, a village not far from Nicosia. Only nine similar mosaics - showing a hippodrome race - have been found at ancient Roman sites. The ornate 26-metre-long (85ft) mosaic was probably part of a wealthy man's villa.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dog from 3rd century Rome discovered during Subway Excavations

Fires were common in ancient Rome, where narrow streets were densely packed with wooden structures, cooking was done over open flames, and effective fire-fighting was non-existent. Archaeologists recently unearthed the charred remains of a building that was destroyed in one of the city’s conflagrations.

Buried within the ruins: the skeleton of a 1,800-year-old dog. The find appears to date to the reign of Septimius Severus, a despotic emperor who ruled from 193 to 211 A.D.
Some 40,000 artifacts have been found during the decade-long project to improve Rome’s subway network.

Monday, 26 June 2017

‘Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas’

It was a world where feathers were more valuable than gold. Fifteen hundred years ago, Peru’s Nasca culture knotted thousands of imported tropical feathers to strings, layering them thickly to create a garment of great power. The rarest feathers, including the iridescent green feathers of the quetzal, were reserved for the Aztec emperor himself.

The unprecedented exhibition features more than 300 works from 53 lenders in 12 countries.
The MET exhibition follows a specific historical and geographical path. It traces the development of gold-working in the Americas from its origins around 1000 BC in the Andes, to its expansion northward into Central America, and finally to Mexico, where gold-working comes into its own only after 1000 AD.
Jade plaque showing a seated king and palace attendant, 600–800 AD
‘Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas’ is at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, from 16 September–28 January 2018.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Caligula Coins

In 2014 a Caligula coin appeared on 'Pawn Stars'. The coin was a silver denarius that was struck in the last 24 days of Caligula's life.

Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots).

Initially he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. when he was 24 years old. For a few brief months he ruled well. His reign quickly degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D.
Caligula was sadistic, cruel and indulged in sexual aberrations that offended Rome and were considered insane. Caligula's power soon led him to believe himself a God. This led him to kill anyone that he thought surpassed him in something.

Declaring himself a deity caused a major backlash in Judea, because Jewish law said that they could only worship their God. His refusal to revoke the decree that the nations worship him caused the revolution in Judea. Caligula's hubris eventually destroyed him. He insulted his Roman military commanders, particularly Cassius Chaerea, who plotted against and murdered him on January 24, 41 at the Palatine Games.

Caligula was tall, with spindly legs and a thin neck. His eyes and temples were sunken and his forehead broad and glowering. His hair was thin and he was bald on top, though he had a hairy body.

During his reign it was a crime punishable by death to look down on him as he passed by, or to mention a goat in his presence.
Ancient accounts of Caligula’s reign focus on his cruelty, his excesses, and his clinical insanity – an unpredictable mixture of fits, anxiety, insomnia and hallucinations.

He often claimed to hold conversations with Jupiter and to sleep with the moon goddess. He was famous for his sadism.
In late 2012 an ancient Gold aureus of emperor Caligula was discovered underwater in the area between Limassol and Larnaca in Cyprus by a local amateur fisherman.

Roman gold went east in payment for spices and silk. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (AD 23/4-79) tells us that, in his day, over 25 million denarii were spent each year on this trade, equivalent to one million gold coins.