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This Day in Ancient History ~ iii nonas octobres

iii nonas octobres mundus patet – the mundus was a ritual pit which had a sort of vaulted cover on it. Three times a year the Romans removed this cover (August 24, Oct. 5 and November 8) at which time the gates of the underworld were considered to be opened and the manes (spirits of […]

Repititiationes ~ 10/04/15

Saving the Villa of the Mysteries #ancient #history — (@LatinDiscussion) October 4, 2015 In praise of the British School at Rome. — The Classics Library (@stephenjenkin) October 4, 2015 @DorothyKing I was trying to see if the panel in the wall behind (in the painting) was it… I don't think so — rogueclassicist […]

Crowds wait 10 hours to spend minutes with “China’s Mona Lisa”

Along the River During the Qingming Festival is a 12th century painted handscroll by Song Dynasty artist Zhang Zeduan (1085–1145) which is widely considered the greatest painting in China. Some scholars have dubbed it “China’s Mona Lisa,” because of its immense cultural hold, but artistically it has nothing in common with Renaissance portraiture. The almost [...]

Just having missed a “Nathaniel Parker Willis, of the Shenandoah”

In my pursuit of the “Shenandoah Literari” of the nineteenth century, I encounter some unusual twists and turns in the history of the Valley. One family’s “brush” with the area’s history, for example, presents an interesting “what if”. Now, I’m not really a fan of “what ifs” in regard to history, but I do find […]

Historians Discuss Charleston and Its Impact on Civil War Memory

David Blight recently convened a panel at Yale University to discuss the impact of the Charleston shootings on our Civil War memory. It takes a…

Lecture on James DeWolf in Newport, 8 Oct.

On Thursday, 8 October, the Newport Historical Society will host a talk on “James DeWolf and the Rhode Island Slave Trade” by author Cynthia Mestad Johnson. DeWolf (1764-1837) was a teen-aged sailor on privateers toward the end of the Revolutionary War. Show More Summary

Michigan soybean farmer digs up mammoth bones

Soybean farmer Jim Bristle was digging in a field in Lima Township, 10 miles southwest of Ann Arbor, Michigan, when he came across what he thought was an old bent fencepost. It was not a fencepost. It was a mammoth bone. When he realized it was a bone very much larger than any cow’s, Bristle [...]

“Thread, Wool and Silk” at Old South

Old South Meeting House is hosting a series of events this fall on costume and textile-making, and what they say about the economy, social class, politics, and other matters. Friday, 9 October, 12:15-1:00 P.M.Lady in the Blue Dress...and...Show More Summary

Between the Past and Present

My good friend, John Hennessy, has a way of encapsulating in just a few sentences what typically takes me months to articulate on this blog.…

Mummification more widespread in Bronze Age Britain

A new study by the University of Sheffield has found new evidence that mummification may have been more widespread in Bronze Age Britain than previously realized. The damp climate is not conducive to the preservation of soft tissues, so unless a body was preserved in an aerobic environment like a peat bog, trying to figure [...]

Nazi Photos Documenting Heaps of Everyday Objects Looted From Jewish Households

The images below come from a group of photos assembled after World War II by an art historian who was working for the Allies to restore looted Jewish art to its owners. The album, which was kept in the German Federal Archives in Koblenz,...Show More Summary

The Latest Update on Parker’s Revenge, 3 Oct.

On Saturday, 3 October, archeologist Meg Watters will speak at the Concord public library on “Parker’s Revenge Revealed: Notes from the Field.”This is the latest public update about the re-exploration of part of Battle Road in west Lexington where Capt. Show More Summary

3 Civil War cannons raised from Pee Dee River

A team of archaeologists from the University of South Carolina have raised three Civil War cannons from the Pee Dee River in Mars Bluff, South Carolina. The cannons were the armament of the Confederate gunboat CSS Pee Dee which launched in January of 1865 and was deliberately scuttled by her crew just a month later [...]

The Imprint of Madison’s Hand

A couple of years ago, I attended a seminar at the Massachusetts Historical Society on a paper by Prof. Mary Sarah Bilder of Boston College Law School. She had been studying James Madison’s record of the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787. Show More Summary

St. Paul’s Episcopal and the Limits of Public History

This week Ashley Luskey added her voice to the discussion about the public display of Confederate iconography. Ashley focuses specifically on the debate within Richmond’s…

Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?

“I cannot say when I first heard of my Indian blood, but as a boy I heard it spoken of in a general way,” Charles Phelps, a resident of Winston-Salem in North Carolina, told a federal census taker near the beginning of the 20 th century. Show More Summary

Plaster casts of Pompeii given first CAT scans

CAT scans on 30 of the recently restored plaster casts of people killed in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. have found that Pompeiians had far better teeth than their modern counterparts. The scans showed the victims’ teeth were in excellent condition (the orthodontist who analyzed the scans called their teeth “perfect”) without a [...]

Leonidas Part VI: Leonidas the Soldier

No, this is not about Thermopylae. This is about Leonidas’ entire military career. First and foremost, Leonidas was one of the few Spartan kings, who was a professional military man. Unlike the Spartan kings before and almost all the...Show More Summary

A Bizarrely Complicated Late-19th-Century Flat-Earth Map

This map, published by South Dakotan Orlando Ferguson in 1893, offers a unique vision of the earth as a concave field, with a round convex area in the middle. Surrounded by Bible passages arguing against the idea of a spherical earth,...Show More Summary

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