"You philosophers are lucky men. You write on paper and paper is patient. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings."

Catherine the Great of Russia (lived 1729-1796, ruled 1762-1796).

A Stunning Soviet Map of NYC

The USSR military had extremely accurate maps of almost the entire world. This is their 1982 map of New York City, with Lower Manhattan in the upper right-hand corner, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the mid-left side. The map even includes the dimensions, and building materials, of the bridges.

This is the "Tamil Bell," a bronze bell found in New Zealand in approximately 1836. It was being used as a pot to boil potatoes by Māori women near Whangarei. It has an inscription running around the rim in Old Tamil. Translated, it says "Muhayideen Baksh’s ship’s bell." Some argue that it is proof that Indians (from India) had contact with Polynesians before Europeans. But others argue it is evidence of widespread Polynesian trading networks, or it was simply discarded by a visiting Portuguese ship, as the Portuguese had trade relationships with, and colonies in, India.

Chupícuaro Female Figure

The distinctive Chupícuaro style was recovered from a site covered by a reservoir in 1948 to supply water for Mexico City, where later salvage operations found a number of Chupícuaro style artifacts. The Chupícuaro region is northwest of Mexico City, about a four hour drive. It had longstanding cultural and trade connections with the Valley of Mexico beginning as early as 200 BCE, indicated by similarities in ceramic figural art traditions from both regions.

This ceramic female figure is a beautiful example of Chupícuaro mortuary figures dating to between 300 BCE and 100 CE. Burials of members of the Chupícuaro elite typically included a large number of female figures. Their worldview linked death with fertility, as a central precept of the Mesoamerican ideology of death, transformation, and regeneration. Death was not the end, but part of the cycle. This sculpture's striking body paint is typical of Chupícuaro figures. Her short pants (or possibly body painting) feature a combined vertical and horizontal patterning that suggests a highly developed weaving tradition. Sadly, actual examples of the region's weaving have sadly has not survived.

DNA Identifies Modern Czech Men As Descendants of Medieval Noblemen

The large Czech town of Uherské Hradište is believed to have been a center of the Holy Moravian Empire, which was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavic. The empire was notable for ushering in Christianity in the region after the arrival of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in 863; the Holy Moravian Empire's use of the Glagolitic alphabet invented by those saints also birthed the first ever Slavic literary culture.

Uherské Hradište itself boasted a large church and baptistery and was inhabited by dukes, noblemen, craftsmen, tradesmen, farmers, and probably slaves. A team of researchers have recently conducted a study comparing samples of DNA obtained from 75 men buried in high-status graves between the 800s and 1200s CE with 340 living men, whose last names appeared in historic registry records. In other words, the living men's last names suggest their families have been in the area of Uherské Hradište for quite a while.

Y-chromosome markers identified 18 men, out of the 340, who are descended from Great Moravian noblemen. The researchers were surprised by such a large number. It seems small, yes, until you consider that East Moravia used to border Hungary. As a liminal space between Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire it was affected by many wars, from the Thirty Years' War to World War II.

Pathologic mandibular prognathism, or "Habsburg jaw" is a deformity where the lower jaw outgrows the upper jaw. In other words the person has a big chin. It most famously appeared in the Habsburg family, but it exists in the bloodlines of many other royal families of Europe, perhaps first appearing in Vlad the Impaler!


"Any trooper who is not dead by thirty is a coward, and I don't expect to exceed that length of time."

French cavalry general Antoine de Lasalle to his hussars. de Lasalle was an officer during the Revolutionary and Napoleonice wars who distinguished himself at Austerlitz, Eylau, and Stettin, and who saved Marat's life at Heilsberg. Nicknamed "The Hussar General" he had a reputation as a daring adventurer. He was shot and killed, riding at the head of his men, at the Battle of Wagram in 1809. de Lasalle was thirty-three years old.

Not Sure What This Octopus’ Expression Is

While mostly an octopus, each of its legs ends in a catfish head, and it also has two claw-like feet. Meaning it has ten legs total? I think?

This Moche frontlet would have been worn on a headdress, to scare all who saw the wearer. Circa 300 - 600 CE.

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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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