Thursday, 23 March 2017
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
|In October, 1812, Napoleon’s troops were leaving Moscow. Five weeks before that, they had been looting not only the citizens’ private houses but also the Kremlin and Moscow’s churches.|
The French even removed the gilded cross from the Russian capital’s famous Ivan the Great Bell Tower. When leaving Moscow, each of Napoleon’s soldiers was loaded with stolen valuables.
|October 25th 1812 became the first day of Napoleon troops’ genuine retreat. Over 14,000 mounted cavalry, nearly 90,000 boot-borne troops and some 12,000 non-combatant and ill soldiers passed through the Kaluga Gate - a total of 116,000 people and 569 hardware items.|
|Bonaparte ordered his troops to blow up the Kremlin in revenge for the three unsuccessful offers of peace to Russian Emperor Alexander I. As a result, several Kremlin towers were ruined, as well as some of its walls, the Arsenal’s building, the Assumption Belfry and the Filaret Annex next to the Ivan the Great Bell Tower.|
The transportation of the emperor’s loot required 200 horse-drawn wagons. Napoleon had two wagon trains: the so-called “golden train,” carrying valuables looted from the Kremlin; and the iron train, full of ancient weaponry. As they retreated, Napoleon's exhausted army was forced to abandon their spoils.
Historians believe the valuables were thrown into one of the lakes west of the Smolensk Region.
|Over the years there have been many attempts to find the abandoned loot.|
The lakes around Smolensk in particular is among the most popular destination for seekers of the lost Napoleonic hoard.
|Archaeologists excavated a mass grave in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2015. The jumbled bones, haphazardly oriented, were punctuated with finds of shoes and clothing. Buttons revealed the identity of the dead: over 40 different regiments were represented, all from Napoleon’s Grande Armée.|
Archaeologists had found the final resting place of over three thousand men who perished during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812.
|About 675,000 men of Napoleon's Grand Army set out for Moscow to conquer Russia in June 1812.|
By the time of the retreat from Moscow, the army, which had swelled to 900,000, was reduced to 100,000.
|When the retreating troops finally reached Vilnius in Lithuania, Napoleon's Grand Army was not so grand: they had been reduced to about 50,000 vermin-bitten, diseased, cold, and starving men.|
|As the European soldiers died of starvation, disease and the cold, locals burned the bodies. But the stench was so great that the locals started burying them en masse, using trenches the soldiers had dug on their way to Russia as graves.|
In 2007 one of Napoleon's swords was sold for more than US$6.4 million. The sword, used in battle some 200 years ago, is believed to be the last of Napoleon's blades in private hands.
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
|An old piano, made by Broadwood & Sons in London in 1906 contained far more than the new owners bargained for ... a hoard of gold coins dating from 1847 to 1915.|
|The oldest coin in the hoard dates back to 1847, and bears the face of Queen Victoria. The hoard's true value is unknown but is described as a 'life-changing sum of money’.|
Monday, 20 March 2017
|The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, announced a four-month temporary export bar on the figure, which dates from c2400BC and is considered the finest example of its kind anywhere in the world and of “outstanding aesthetic importance”. Arts Council England said the ban would be extended for a year until March 2016 “if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the statue is made”.|
The Sekhemka statue is a tomb model of a high official, wearing a short kilt and tight-fitting wig, surrounded by his wife, son and seven offering-bearers. He holds a papyrus on his knees on which are inscribed a list of offerings designed to serve the needs of the dead, including beer and cakes.
Saturday, 18 March 2017
|Archaeologists have discovered 66 fragments and statues of Sekhmet believed to have been warding off evil from Amenhotep III’s temple. Amenhotep III’s reign, between 1386 to 1349 BC, is regarded as the peak of Egypt’s prosperity, power and splendour.|
A toppled black granite statue of Amenhotep III was also found at the site.
|Sekhmet, often called “the powerful one” is the daughter of Egyptian sun god Ra and was believed to ward off evil and ill health. Her influence was powerful on the Egyptians. Some statues depict her standing and holding the symbol of life – a sceptre made of papyrus.|
Friday, 17 March 2017
Thursday, 16 March 2017
|Some have suggested that the Monster of Troy resembles a Plesiosaur, a Mesozoic marine reptile. Plesiosaurs are amoung the largest marine apex predators in the fossil record.|