Papias the Lombard wrote the first fully recognizable dictionary in the 1040s. It was monolingual, defining Latin words in Latin.

What’s A King To A Caesar?

From 27 BCE to 1946 CE, someone, somewhere in Europe has had a title “Caesar.” The czar of Russia, the kaiser of Germany...many, many European titles were just local derivatives of “Caesar.”

The last Caesar was Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria, who was removed from office in 1946 by the Soviets. He’s still alive, too!

Where Did Numbers Come From?

Our earliest numbers were actually...letters. Confusing, right? Thank goodness for the Indians and their common-sense answer of creating a whole separate set of symbols for numbers.

Uxmal: Pyramid of the Magician

"Legend tells that this temple-pyramid was built by a powerful dwarf magician, who was hatched from an egg by his sorceress mother. Under a threat by an Uxmal king he was ordered to build this temple within a fortnight, or else lose his life."

Hans Li, The Ancient Ones, p. 82

Although Ryōan-ji, in Japan, has temples built as far back as the 1000s CE, the garden at Ryōan-ji was thought to have been built between 1450 and 1473. Which makes this rectangle of land one of the oldest gardens in the world. A World Heritage site, the garden at Ryōan-ji is considered to be one of the defining surviving examples of a form of Japanese Zen temple garden design called kare-sansui or ‘dry landscape’.

Pre-Incan Human Sacrifices Found in Peru

At the site of Huaca de la Cruz, which is located in the Pomac Forest Historic Sanctuary in northern Peru, nine men’s skeletons have been found.  The grave has the hallmarks of human sacrifice. Only men, all between 25 and 30 years old, and buried all together. Nearby is the tomb of an elite Sican, perhaps the person the sacrifices were intended for? Both the sacrificed men’s grave and the elite grave are surrounded by ceramics, and ceremonial knives.

The graves date to around 1,000 years ago, to the Sican culture which predated the Inca on the Peruvian coast. At its peak between 900 and 1100 CE, the Middle Sican had a clear social hierarchy, cities centered on imposing mounds, skilled metallurgists, intricate irrigation techniques, and apparently a taste for human sacrifice.

Amazing Finds Tell Us More About How The Ancient Calusa Fed Themselves

Rare 1,000-year-old Calusa Indian artifacts, including pieces of wood, rope, and fishing net, were retrieved from a waterlogged midden located along the ancient shoreline in Florida in spring 2017. The Calusa are known to have been a complex culture, relying on shallow-water fishing in elaborate “farms” rather than agriculture or hunting. The fishing net found recently was most likely made of cabbage palm fiber, formed into ropes and tied into a pattern. Some of the knots even survive! They allowed researchers to deduce that the net was originally a grid, with squares about an inch wide. And some tied-on clamshell weights, for making the net heavy in the water, were amazingly still attached.

The midden also contained the uncooked seeds of gourd-like squash which has not been identfied. Researchers speculate could be the remains of gourds used to help the fishing net float?

Unfortunately, modern archaeologists are having to unearth (pun!) everything about the Calusa, right down to the gourds they might have grown, because no Calusa remain to tell us about themselves. They had largely disappeared by the mid-1700s, ravaged by European diseases and slaving raids by tribes who were allied to the English province of Carolina. The few remaining were evacuated to Cuba in 1763, when Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain.

Constantinople, Not Byzantium

The term “Byzantine Empire” came into common use during the 1700s and 1800s. It would never have been heard, let alone embraced, by the people who once lived in it. To them, Byzantium was still the Roman Empire, which had merely moved its seat of power from Rome to a new eastern capital in Constantinople. Though largely Greek-speaking and Christian, the Byzantines called themselves “Romaioi,” or Romans. They used Roman law, played Roman games like chariot racing, and enjoyed Roman festivals. While Byzantium evolved a distinctive, Greek-influenced identity as the centuries passed, the Romaioi continued to cherish their Roman roots until the end. When he conquered Constantinople in 1453, the Turkish leader Mehmed II even took the emperor's title as “Caesar of Rome.”

A Lion By Any Other Name

Ibn Khalawayh (a Persian scholar of Arabic and the Koran) noticed that the Arabs had a thing for the lion. He wrote: in all the speech of the Arabs and all the books of Arabic philology put together, there are no names for the lion besides what I have written for you, number roughly five hundred names and epithets." A selected list includes:

  • The Crusher
  • The Domineering
  • Who Snaps the Neck of His Prey
  • Whose Eyes Are Bloodshot
  • The Scowler
  • Who Crushes What He Devours
  • Whose Food Has Bones in It
  • The Eating Machine
  • The Bone Splitter
  • Whose Prey Is Turned Inside Out
  • Who Goes Straight For The Head
  • Who Looks for Trouble in the Night
  • The Wayfarer

The first temple in the world made out of granite is the Brihadeeswarar Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. The sacred heart of the temple, the towering shikhara ("mountain peak") is made from a single 80-ton piece of granite. Amazingly, the temple was built in just eight years! Rajaraja Chola I, emperor of the Chola Empire, ordered Brihadeeswarar built in 1002 CE to fulfil a command that came in a dream. It was finished by 1010 CE. Which means Brihadeeswarar Temple recently had it's 1000th birthday

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    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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