All Hail The Butterfly God

A Zapotec figural ceramic of the Butterfly God found at Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico. 200 - 600 CE.

Bronze statue of Guan Yu, a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. After he died in 220 CE his deeds entered popular folklore. Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty (581–618 CE) and also became considered a bodhisattva. Today he is god of war, loyalty, and righteousness. This bronze statue dates to the Ming Dynasty, 1400s - 1500s CE.


"How could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest?"

This supposed quote is a Chinese idiom. It means that when a group suffers, all individuals belonging to that group will also suffer.

The idiom has a rather sad origin story. When the scholar-official Kong Rong spoke ill of the warlord Cao Cao in 208 CE, he was arrested and later executed on such charges as, among others, "plotting a rebellion", "slandering the imperial court" and "disrespecting court protocol." Kong Rong had two children. When they heard their father had been arrested, others urged them to escape, but they answered "How could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest?" They were not wrong; Kong Rong's entire family was executed on Cao Cao's orders.

The Brief Gallic Empire

Between 260 and 274 CE, a series of generals ruled over the Gallic Empire. What about the Roman Empire, you are thinking? The Gallic Empire was a breakaway state that controlled the former (and future) Roman provinces of Germania, Gaul, Britannia, and for a time Hispania. It had five emperors in 14 years, printed it own coins, elected two consuls each year, and likely even had its own senate.

The Gallic Empire was a symptom of the Crisis of the 3rd Century, when Roman power was seriously challenged and breakaway states including the Gallic Empire and the Palmyrene Empires sprung up. Both were reconquered by the militarily capable Roman emperor Aurelian in 273 and 274, but the crisis did not really end until Diocletian took the purple in 284 CE.

Ancient Kingdom's Lost City, Re-Discovered

Archaeologists have recently rediscovered remains of a trading and religious center of Aksum. Aksum, a kingdom principally located in today's Ethiopia, thrived from the 1st to 8th centuries CE, and was the state which saw the region converted to Christianity. It traded with the Roman Empire and India, minted its own coins, and took over the declining kingdom of Kush which had long rivaled ancient Egypt. The newly found city lay between the capital (also called Aksum) and the Red Sea.

The city has been renamed Beta Samati, which means "house of audience" in the local Tigrinya language. It was discovered in 2011, hiding more than 10 feet below the surface, in Ethiopia's Yeha region. The remains are already changing what we think we know about Aksum. It had previously been believed that societies in the region collapsed in the period before the rise of the Aksum Kingdom. But Beta Samati continued through the period of supposed abandonment just fine, functioning as a major connection on trade routes linking the Mediterranean and other cities which would end up under Aksum control.

The Sasanian Empire (224 CE – 651 CE), which was a contemporary of the Roman and later Byzantine Empires, was once a great power. And like other great powers it built great walls to mark and control its borders. These included the Wall of the Arabs (in the southwest), Walls of Derbent (in the northwest at the Caspian Mountains) and Great Wall of Gorgan (in the northeast). Remains of the Sasanian border walls still exist, particularly in Derbent where they are a UNESCO world heritage site.

A Long, Long Wall Found in Iran

A poorly preserved stone wall stretching southward 71 miles from the Bamu Mountains have been identified in western Iran. Yes, you read that right: a 71-mile-long wall. Similar structures have been found in northern and northeastern Iran. Pottery found along the structure, known to locals as the “Gawri Wall,” has been dated to between the 300s BCE and the 500s CE. The archaeological examination also found that there may have been turrets or buildings placed along the wall, which was made with local materials such as cobbles and boulders fixed with gypsum mortar. Archaeologists estimate the wall may have stood about 10 feet tall and 13 feet wide. But why was it built? Based on the location and the length, Gawri Wall may have been built as a border wall by the Parthians or the Sassanians. But because it is so poorly preserved, whether it actually functioned to keep things out, or was more symbolic, is unknown.

New Nazca Line Figure of a Person

Discovered with AI via collaboration with IBM Japan and Yamagata University. It has been dated to between 100 BCE and 300 CE. This is one of 143 new geoglyphs that the researchers found!

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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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