A Brief History of Cheese
Did you know cheese is older than even writing?
Did you know cheese is older than even writing?
From the Ica-Chincha people of the central coast of Peru, this grave marker would have been placed next to or inside a tomb. It may even have helped support the tomb's roof. Crowned with a two-pronged headdress the post was treated just like real human remains. Ica-Chincha painted their dead with a red cinnabar pigment, and you can just see traces of red on this grave marker's face too. Circa 1000 to 1470 CE, during the Ica-Chincha's Late Intermediate period.
From ancient history and the earliest written records, to modern day.
Have you ever wondered why, until the Italian Renaissance, European painters liked to paint baby Jesus as a mini-adult? Complete with facial wrinkles and an angry squint. It turns out they were not just really, really bad at depicting babies; instead, this had a specific religious meaning. Most babies getting painted were baby Jesus. The Catholic Church and Medieval artists thought Jesus was a homunculus, which literally means "little man." In other words, they thought Jesus was born perfectly formed -- that Jesus' body was exactly the same since birth -- and as he grew up, all Jesus did was grow. Must have been nice to not go through puberty! Baby Jesus as a homunculus fell out of fashion when wealthy individuals, instead of the church, began commissioning paintings.
Twenty wooden sculptures, each standing about 27 inches tall, have been discovered in rectangular niches in an adobe wall at the site of Chan Chan, named after the Chan Chan culture which flourished there in northern Peru. Some of the human figures carry staffs and shields. And archaeologists estimate the figurines are about 800 years old. That date makes the figures older than the Chan Chan culture, whose site they were found at. Very interesting!
Richard...threw himself once more into the fray. By midday both he and one of the stallions were splattered in blood, and it appeared as though an entire quiver of arrows was lodged in his armor and shield. As the battle wore on, fewer and fewer of Saladin’s men dared challenge the seemingly invincible Melech Ric. For one emir, however, the prospect of felling the English king proved too tempting, and he spurred his battle horse forward. With one mighty swing of his sword Richard sliced the foolish man in two, taking off not only his head but also his right shoulder and arm. At this horrific sight Saladin’s troops began to retreat, even as Richard rode up and down their lines, goading any man to face him. When Saladin’s son motioned to answer the challenge, his father abruptly ordered him to stay put, clearly not wishing to add a dead heir to the day’s woes. When no one else stepped forward, some sources claim Richard called for food and, in full view of the enemy, sat down to eat. Seeing that his men would not budge, a despondent Saladin once again withdrew to Yazur.
What are the “seven seas” that Medieval writers loved to mention?
The birthplace of plant domestication in the Americas. The first New World country to gain independence from the Spanish Empire. The eleventh-largest country in the world, by population. Like the United States, Russia, and China, this is a country that any informed citizen should have at least a basic knowledge about.
One of Arizona’s most famous landmarks is a pair of 900-year-old limestone cliff dwellings, whose sudden abandonment centuries ago has proven to be an enduring mystery. Incorrectly called "Montezuma's Castle" and "Castle A," they were abandoned about 600 years ago, after 300 years of occupation. It was long thought that the castles were burned as part of some sort of closing ritual, then voluntarily abandoned. Recent research disagrees. Instead, new analyses suggest the castles' last days were violent ones.
The buildings were charred, and carbon dating of both the char and design analysis of pottery remains, reveal the buildings were occupied right up until they burned between the years 1375 and 1395. Perhaps more persuasively, the remains of four people had been excavated from Castle A in the 1930s. Previously, it was thought they had been dead and buried long before the buildings burned. But a closer examination of previous research done on those remains revealed that the dead had sustained trauma before their deaths, as evidenced by cut marks on their bones, burn marks, and fractures in three of the four skulls. And one of the skulls showed evidence of having been burned at the same time, or shortly after, it was violently attacked. All in all, the new analyses suggest the castles were attacked and burned, and subsequently abandoned. This new viewpoint is corroborated by Native American oral histories of the site’s collapse, which were incorporated into the new research.
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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