A New Sphinx Discovered In Flooded Ancient Temple

When draining the flooded temple of Kom Ombo, near the southern Egyptian city of Aswan, archaeologists were surprised (and delighted) to find a previously-unknown sphinx statue. Hewn from the surrounding rock, it sits 28 cm (11 in) wide and 38 cm (14 in) tall. Small but mighty! It probably dates back to the Greco-Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 305 BCE to 30 BCE, because two reliefs of King Ptolemy V, similarly carved from sandstone, were also recently found at the temple.

Where Oghuz Lives

Oghuz is a sub-branch of the Turkish language family. Approximately 110 million people speak an Oghuz language, and they are broadly able to understand each other. The fun thing about looking at Oghuz languages' distribution: it maps out, very clearly, the historical migration of Turks from Central Asia to the Anatolian peninsula.

What Is This?

It is a Japanese incense burner! Dating to the 1800s, the bug is made of iron and gold, with a silver-lined inside.

The Immortality of Hathor

Hathor was one of the most commonly worshiped goddesses in ancient Egypt. She was primarily a mother goddess, and was often considered the mother of the pharaoh. But she had other aspects, too: she helped women to conceive, she helped mothers survive childbirth, she welcomed the deceased into the Afterlife, she was even "Mistress of Foreign Lands" meaning that as soon as an ancient Egyptian left their homeland, they were in Hathor's territory. Did I mention Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and sexual love, too? Really, with so much influence over so much of ancient Egyptian life, it is no surprise that Hathor was one of the most long-lived deities.

As early as the Fourth Dynasty (2613 - 2494 BCE), there is written and archaeological evidence of temples dedicated to Hathor. She was also revered in the New Kingdom, and Hatshepsut (1473 - 1458 BCE) dedicated a small shrine in her mortuary temple to Hathor. She remained popular even when Greek pharaohs ruled Egypt. The great temple at Dendera was built in her honor under the Ptolemies.

Why Is Nepal's Flag Not Like Other Flags?

The flag of Nepal is in the shape of two pennants, one sewn on top of the other. They symbolize the Rana dynasty's two branches, which ruled the country from 1846 to 1951. In the 1800s, the two red pennants were joined to represent the nation of Nepal, and in 1962 the conjoined form was officially adopted by Nepal's constitutional government. To the Nepalese today, the flag symbolizes the country's two religions -- Hinduism and Buddhism -- living side by side.

Pennants like Nepal's flag used to be common for regional flags in Asia. But the rectangular flag, common in European countries, eventually took hold around the world, replacing regional symbols of allegiance.

Once-Censored Photos of the WWII Japanese Internment Camps Are Finally Revealed

In 1942, Dorothea Lange was hired by the US government to document the Japanese internment. When military officials reviewed her photographs, they censored them. None were released. Thankfully, the photographs were deposited in the National Archives, but not destroyed. In 2006 the photographs were finally made public.

Seattle's Segregation: It's All About The Mortgage

"Redlining" is when a bank refuses to give a mortgage, or a government refuses to back a mortgage, to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk. In the United States, this term came to be in the Great Depression when the US government took over responsibility of backing mortgages -- but only in areas deemed sufficiently low-risk. In practice, "sufficiently low-risk" meant mostly-white or all-white neighborhoods.

Redlining was a tool of racial segregation and separation. If a family cannot purchase a home than that family cannot acquire capital on that capital to the next generation. The family's money is spent on rent, the value of which disappears to the landlord, instead of a mortgage, the value of which stays with the family. Redlining hurts families for multiple generations.

Here is the map that delineated where mortgages would be given in Seattle, in Washington state.

The Moon Star Flag: How Turkey’s Flag Came To Be

The Turkish national flag is mostly red, with a white star and a crescent in the center. Ottoman Sultan Selim III formalized the look in 1793, but the flag is actually much older.

The crescent-and-star combination has been used in Turkey since Hellenistic times (400s to 100 BCE). It likely came from ancient Mesopotamian iconocraphy. Ancient depictions of the symbol always show the crescent with horns pointing upward and with the star placed inside the crescent, for reasons that have been lost to time. When it came to Turkey, they gave it their own meanings. For Byzantium the moon symbolized Diana, also known as Artemis, the patron goddess of the city.

In 1453, when the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the flag remained unchanged. With time, it became not just Istanbul’s flag but the Ottoman flag, with its design formalized in 1793 and its status as national flag formalized in 1844. Turks affectionately call the flag "ay yildiz" -- the "moon star" flag.

Many nations that were once part of Ottoman Empire adopted the star-and-crescent when they gained independence, including Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. In the 1900s the symbol became associated with not just the Ottomans, but with Islam in general, and many states that were never part of the Ottoman Empire adopted it too, including Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Maldives. Pretty amazing that an ancient Mesopotamian symbol is flown around the world today.

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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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