The Saffron Goddess

This is a restored Minoan fresco, from the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotini on the Greek island of Santorini. The settlement was destroyed in the Theran eruption sometime in the 1500s BCE and buried in volcanic ash, which preserved the remains of fine frescoes as well as many everyday objects.

This Dagger Has A Near-Impossible Sheath

Seriously, how do you put this dagger away without scrapping the edges, wearing down the sharpness each time? Despite its impractical sheath, this is a truly beautiful piece of art. Bali, Indonesia, early 1700s. Made with iron-nickel alloy, silver, gold, and wood.

Huge Cache Of 1700s-Era Rockets Found In India

More than a 1,000 were discovered, unexploded, from an abandoned well at a fort in the Karnataka state in southern India. They ranged in size from 12 to 14 inches long. And they were all filled with potassium nitrate, charcoal, and magnesium powder. From their make and their contents, archaeologists identified the rockets as Mysore rockets, the first iron-cased rockets to be used successfully in military combat.

The rockets are believed to have belonged to the Muslim warrior king Tipu Sultan, who ruled over Karnataka’s Shivamogga district at the time. He was also a resolute opponent of the British East India Company. He fought four wars against the British company, ultimately dying in the fourth.

The "sea swing" apparently used to exist? This 1910s photograph is from Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, so it was actually a swing in a Great Lake (Erie). Still, pretty cool.

Weird But Wonderful

This weird, kind of amazing glass fish thingy just has to be shared. According to the Walters Art Museum, it dates to the Baroque period in Italy. At the base, "dolphins with entwined tails support the fish, while the wavy patterns on the base represent flowing water." The Milanese family of Sarachi was particularly famous for vessels in the shape of fishes. So they think the Sarachis made this one, probably around 1590 to 1600.

The Thai Royal Court Had A Treatise on Elephants

This particular one was made around 1824, one of a group of manuscripts created during the first years of the Bangkok dynasty, illustrating a traditional court treatise describing elephants. An official at the Thai court was responsible for the Department of Elephants, which maintained royal elephants, mostly albinos, as well as commissioning treatises.

The treatise begins with a series of divine elephants. Mainly based on Hindu mythology, the treatise describes their divine attributes. The next portion of the manuscript illustrates and describes a large variety of natural elephants. The typology system is complex and appears to be based on Indian manuscripts on elephants.

Archaeologists Very Excited to Discover Ugly, Late-Roman Statues in Israel

The two statues' discovery, in late 2018, is important for understanding late Roman period style. It's a particularly difficult style to study, as no two statues from this time period resemble each other. One appears to be a man with a beard. Both are made of local limestone and have distinctive hair and clothing features. Researchers think they are intended to look like a deceased person, like similar statues, which were usually placed in or near burial caves.

New Aztec Ballcourt Discovered In Mexico City

A ball court and its associated temple, dating to the 1400s, was recently discovered under Mexico City. The Aztec temple was devoted to a wind god named Ehecatl, and it included a ceremonial Mesoamerican ball court. The sport predates the Aztecs. It has been played in Mesoamerica since at least 1600 BCE, but the newcomer Aztecs clearly adopted it as their own. And not just as a fun pastime, but as a religious ritual. Researchers also recovered 32 neck vertebrae at the site, indicating that losing players lost their heads, a present for the gods.  

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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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