A Very Good Sheep

The Mughal tradition of making portraits of strange or favorite animals was initiated by the fourth Mughal emperor, Jahangir (ruled 1605-1627) and was continued by both later Mughals and Rajput patrons. This study of a ram is from the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (ruled 1628-1658), who you may know for building the Taj Mahal.

These Engagement Rings Know How To Bring The Drama

Although it can make two separate rings, they can also be conjoined, and worn as one ring. When separated, one can see the secret message on the inside of each ring. On the diamond ring is “QUOD DEUS CONIUNXIT.” On the ruby ring is “HOMO NON SEPARET.” Translated from Latin, it means "Whom God has joined together, let no man tear asunder."

Such conjoined rings, called gimmel rings, were popular in the 1600s in Europe. This particular example is from 1631 in Germany. Traditionally, the members of a newly betrothed couple would receive one hoop each. At the wedding ceremony, the two rings would be joined.

Heatwave in Ireland Reveals Prehistoric Stone Monument

Thanks to the low rainfall, the outline of this prehistoric stone circle, or henge, was shown in how the crops grew.

Here’s how it works. Moisture lodges in archaeological features a little more than in plain soil. So when a drought hits, the plants directly above the archaeological features get a little more water than the plants not over an archaeological feature.

A drone flying over privately-owned fields is credited with the discovery.

The World's Oldest Library Finds Hidden Treasures

The library at Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest continually operating library in the world. In the earlier days of books, the parchment they were written on was extremely valuable -- sometimes more valuable than the words written on them. So when someone wanted to copy down a new book, rather than purchase or make a new parchment, they scrapped the words off an older book and wrote the new book instead. Such texts are called "palimpsests." Saint Catherine's has at least 160 plaimpsests. The manuscripts bear faint scratches and flecks of ink beneath more recent writing, the only hint of the treasures they hid.

In an unlikely collaboration between an Orthodox wing of the Christian faith and cutting-edge science, a small group of international researchers are using specialized imaging techniques that photograph the parchments with different colors of light from multiple angles. This technology allows the researchers to read the original texts for the first time since they were wiped away.

And what they found are truly treasures. They found new poems -- or rather, very old poems -- and early religious texts and some rare-language texts doubling the known vocabulary of languages that have not been used for more than 1,000 years. Perhaps most valuable, though, are the entirely new words, in long-forgotten languages. It will take religious, medieval, and linguistic scholars years to sift through all the finds!

Humans Are Just Embryos, By Star Standards

According astronomical standards, a star that was formed 2 million years ago is considered to still be in its youth.

The earliest known thimbles, made of bronze, were found at Pompeii and Herculaneum. That means thimbles have been around since at least 79 CE.

A Philosophical Comment on Snakes

According to the poet, traveler, and politician Usama ibn Munqidh, who lived in the 1100s CE, "One of the wonders of the human heart is that a man may face certain death and embark on every danger without his heart quailing from it, and yet he may take fright from something that even boys and women do not fear." ibn Munqidh then told the story of a battle hero his father knew, who "would run out fleeing" if he saw a snake, "saying to his wife, 'The snake's all your's!' And she would have to get up to kill it."

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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