Qur'an Fun Fact!

The Qur'an wasn’t officially formed until 20 years after the death of Muhammad, when all of his revelations were gathered together. When the Qur'an was first printed, the first caliph Abu Bakr gathered a committee to decide on the final form. The committee included Muslims who had memorized the entire Qur'an during the prophet’s lifetime, so they could compare what was collected with what they had memorized.

Messengers For The Mightiest God

Huginn (from Old Norse "thought") and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind") are a pair of ravens that fly over the world of men, and report everything they see to the god Odin. The appear on Viking coinage, brooches, tapestries, and even a helmet! Moral of the story: don't do anything shady if you see a crow nearby.

The Mystery of the Chachapoya Disappearance

As the Incas expanded their empire, they forcibly removed rebellious tribes to maintain a region’s stability. The Chachapoyas of northern Peru, known as the Warriors of the Clouds, were thought to have disappeared after Incan conquest and forcible removal in the 1400s. However, a new genetic and linguistic study has revealed that pockets of the population living there today retain genetic links to ancient Chachapoyas. Contrary to historical accounts, the Chachapoyas were apparently able to survive dispersal and assimilation after the Inca conquest.

How Old Is This Vase?


You may be surprised to learn that this terracotta vase is from the Umayyad or Abbasid Caliphates, between 700 and 900 CE!

Its style is distinctly Islamic in nature, with incised lines and an elegant shape. What I noticed first, though, was the odd glazing which leaves the bottom looking unfinished and looks very modern. Known as “two-thirds” glaze, this is actually typical of early Islamic art.

The Korean Chinese Mongolian Empress

A Korean from a minor aristocratic family became empress of China. And empress to a Mongolian khan -- since the emperor of China at the time was Toghon Temür of the Yuan dynasty. Born in Goryeo, a Korean client kingdom of China, Gi Jao was from a minor noble family. So minor, in fact, that she was sent as a concubine (read: slave) to the emperor of China in 1333, as part of a shipment of tribute sent every three years from Goryeo.

Gi Jao resigned herself to her new life and made the best of it. She caught the emperor's eye, eventually becoming his favorite concubine, and gave birth to a son he made his heir. After much intrigue, Gi Jao became Toghon Temür's secondary wife then his secondary empress. Toghon Temür already had a primary empress.

It is hard to say if Gi Jao was happy in the end. She was eventually promoted to primary empress, but her husband lost China within three years to a native Chinese rebellion, the Ming Dynasty, and died two years after that. Her son succeeded to the emperor's throne, but it was a shadow of the vast empire her husband had ruled, mostly in today's Mongolia. Shortly after Toghon Temür's death Gi Jao disappears from the historical record.

In The Beginning...

According to Māori mythology the world began with a void, Te Kore, which contained nothing and yet had the potential for everything. Darkness or Chaos (Pō) followed Te Kore, then the sky (Rangi) and the earth (Papa).

Medieval Japan Was A Great Place To Be Gay

By the 1300s, Japanese samurai had started taking their proteges as lovers. Usually, this was an older man with a younger boy. It was so common that one samurai said, “A young man without a pledged, elder he-lover is likened to a young girl without a fiance.” But same-age male love was normal, too. A pair of aging male lovers, they said, were like “two old cherry trees still in bloom.”

There May Be A Second Viking Site In Canada

The one you may have heard about, that is pretty widely agreed to be Viking, is L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. But what I didn't know is there is a second potential colony mentioned in the Icelandic saga of Erik the Red.  Intrepid explorer Thorfinn Karlsefn travels to a land called Hóp, where he finds grapes, plentiful supplies of salmon, barrier sandbars and natives who use animal-hide canoes. But not one has ever found Hóp. Unfortunately, the Icelandic sagas were not big on directions.

Now, an archaeologist is speculating that Hóp is in New Brunswick, south of L'Anse aux Meadows. The only area on the Atlantic seaboard that accommodates all the saga criteria is northeastern New Brunswick, the archaeologist argues, and particularly the Miramichi-Chaleur bay area. Northeastern New Brunswick is the northern limit of grapes. It has plentiful salmon, unlike more southern candidates like Maine or Massachusetts. It has barrier sandbars. And hide canoes were used by the Mi’kmaq people in the Miramichi-Chaleur bay area. Some evidence for Hóp's proposed site also comes from L'Anse aux Meadows, where the remains of butternuts and parts of linden trees have been found -- species which are native only to New Brunswick.

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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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