France in Color, 1890 to 1900

Click through the image gallery to see spectacular postcards of France created using the Photochrom process. Though a time-consuming and delicate endeavor, the Photochrom process resulted in color images that were especially amazing in the early days of color photography.

Ancient Mesopotamian Musical Facts

Sumerians made drums with animal skins and fashioned wind instruments from horns and bones. They also played string instruments, and a Sumerian lyre is the oldest example ever found from this family of instruments. Perhaps even more exciting for the music nerds out there, recent discoveries have revealed they used the oldest known system of musical notation based around a seven-note scale. This came two-thousand years before the Ancient Greeks developed the eight-note musical scale that is the foundation of Western music today.

This may be a female shaman. This fragment of an earthenware vessel inscribed with a possible drawing of a woman shaman wearing a bird costume was uncovered in western Japan at Shimizukaze, a site dating to the middle of the Yayoi Period, around 100 BCE. Nineteen other earthen vessels inscribed with human figures with outstretched arms have been unearthed across Japan, but this is the first to appear to have breasts. Her eyes, nose, mouth, and one arm with five fingers are also visible on the fragment, which measures just 5 inches by 6.5 inches.

One Russian cult from the early 1800s called the Skoptsy was .... weird. It thought that sex was a sin in all circumstances, even within marriage, and lust was a sin as well. They encouraged their followers to remove any body parts that may lead them to lust. Men would castrate themselves, and women would have mastectomies. Somehow it gathered an estimated million followers before the founder Kondraty Selivanov was arrested by Tsar Paul I and the cult fell apart.

Well-done video showing where in the ancient world the Chinese historians were describing, and examples of what they were (probably) describing. It's rather amusing what the Chinese thought were important: being able to breath fire and juggle 10 balls, relay sheds for postal stations, and many, many types of cloth.

The Oldest Ruler In The World

This is the cubit rod (aka ruler) of Maya, "treasurer of king Tutankhamun." He also served under Tutankamun's two successors, Ay and Horemheb. The cubit rod was an important part of being a treasurer because the Egyptian government was built on land management, and taxes were mainly agricultural products. To know how much to tax, you had to know how to measure the field, and the unit of measurement was the cubit. This rod measures the royal cubit of seven palm-lengths (52.3 cm) and the common cubit of 6 palm-lengths. There are also a number of gradations shown including "digits," palm-lengths, and fractions of digits from halves to sixteenths. Just in case Maya needed to measure really small distances.

A Horrible Version of the Bible Was Created to Discourage Slaves from Seeking Freedom

In 1807, three years after the Haitian Revolution, someone decided to edit the Bible that was provided to Caribbean slaves to omit any inducements to rebel. The result was Select Parts of the Holy Bible, for the Use of the Negro Slaves in the British West-India Islands, a heavily redacted version.

It that includes Joseph’s enslavement in Egypt but omits Moses leading the Israelites to freedom. Also cut were Galatians 3:28 (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”) and the Book of Revelation, which tells of a new world in which evil will be punished. But they retained Ephesians 6:5: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.”

If you are curious, it can be read online thanks to Google Books. There are only three known exiting copies.

Nearly 100 Amphorae Have Been Recovered From an Ancient Roman Shipwreck

Archaeologists have recovered a rare and tantalising treasure just 160 feet offshore from Mallorca in Spain. Not gold or jewels, but 93 jug-like terracotta vessels called amphorae from a Roman ship that sank 1,700 years ago.

The amphorae are still intact and some are even sealed. So there is a pretty good chance that their contents survived the millennia. The amphorae are currently undergoing desalinization in a lab, to make sure that the salt doesn’t crystallize, breaking the amphorae and destroying their contents. But once that’s finished there will be some exciting news in the archaeology world!

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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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