The Depth of Nature

Nile Crocodiles dig the deepest (known) burrows, going up to 39 feet (12 meters) below the earth. The deepest plant roots belong to the Shepherd's tree in Africa's Kalahari Desert, which can reach 223 feet (68 meters) deep.

The fossa is the largest carnivorous mammal on Madagascar. These animals look like a mix between a cat, dog, and a mongoose, and they can reach 6 feet in length. Fossa are an excellent example of the unique animal life that has developed on Madagascar due to its long isolation from other continents and its range of biomes.

Religious Pluralism Has Ancient Roots

The Persian emperors, starting with the first emperor (ever) Cyrus, were willing and able to show reverence to local gods and participate in the religious rites necessary to solidify and maintain their rule in conquered territory. Cyrus showed deference and continued the royal rituals of Babylon's supreme god Marduk after he conquered the city in 539 BCE. Cyrus wanted his continuance of Babylonian religious rituals to be widely known and published his deference to Marduk on the famous Cyrus Cylinder. His son Cambyses publicly worshiped the Egyptian gods Apis and Re. Even the emperor who attacked Greece multiple times, Xerxes, ordered sacrifices and deference to the Greek gods after conquering various Greek cities.

None of this should be interpreted to mean that the emperors personally believed in and revered these gods. Rather, religious pluralism was good government policy!

Corn is a New World crop that was unknown throughout the rest of the world until Columbus accidentally connected Europe with the Americas. But the native words for corn did not become universal: many cultures have names for corn that reference other nation. In some African languages, the word for corn means “Egyptian grain”; in Egypt, corn is called “Syrian” or "Turkish grain”; in France, it is “Indian wheat”; and in India, corn is referred to as “wheat from Mecca.”

Ancient Greek Askos

An askos is a vessel for holding oil. You can see the little golden protrusion from the neck, which is to hold the wick. This particular one has been carved from solid agate, with gold mountings. Egypt's Ptolemaic Dynasty, 100s - 1st century BCE.

The Sauropods, a dinosaur clade, were the tallest animals that ever lived. Some were more than twice the height of a giraffe. (They also include some of the largest animals to have ever lived on land.)

CT Scan Helps Re-Create Pharaoh's Final Moments

A computed tomography (CT) scan of the skull of Seqenenre Taa II, who ruled southern Egypt between 1558 and 1553 BCE, has detected additional wounds suffered by the pharaoh. An engraving discovered in Thebes records that both Seqenenre Taa II and his son, Kamose, were killed in battle against the Hyksos. They were invaders who conquered and occupied northern Egypt. The new CT scan revealed a nearly three-inch-long cut in the mummy’s forehead and cuts around the eyes and cheeks that may have been made with an ax. A stab wound at the base of his skull may have been inflicted with a spear. Fractures on the right side of the skull may have been inflicted with a dagger and a blunt object, such as an ax handle. These newly discovered wounds were filled in with embalming material.

It is unlikely that Seqenenre Taa II was hastily mummified on the battlefield, as has previously been thought, because the work done to repair the skull suggests care and consideration. Not a quick job. The recent CT scan also did not show any defensive wounds on the forearms. This is important because it increases the liklihood that Seqenenre Taa II was not killed directly in battle, but was captured, bound, and then executed.

Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius

A masterful portrait, it clearly captures him as both leader and philosopher, using the artistic signals of the time. His drooping eyes and far-off gaze indicate a contemplative man. Yet his smooth, softly modeled flesh and mass of hair make clear this is a man of high importance.

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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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