Located on Peru’s northwest coast, Pañamarca was one of many ceremonial centers sacred to the Moche people. It is home to some of the best-preserved murals from the Moche, dating to the 500s to 900s CE. After early archaeological work in the 1950s, which documented some impressive murals, the site was quietly forgotten until an archaeologist and art historian decided to examine it again in 2010, and see what art might still remain. They didn't expect much. But not only were a number of the previously-documented murals still in good condition, many more had been missed by the earlier archaeologists, left in situ and intact. “We were soon looking at things that no one had seen since A.D. 780, when parts of the site were deliberately buried,” said lead researcher Dr. lisa Trever.

This particular mural was one of their new discoveries. Based on evidence from Moche ceramics, it is believed to depict the mythical hero Ai-Apaec fighting a Strombus monster whose shell is adorned with a two-headed serpent.

Ancient Maya practiced 'total war' well before climate stress

It's thought that widespread destruction of Maya cities only began when droughts threatened food supplies. A surprising find at the bottom of a Guatemalan lake is helping to upend that theory. Read the full article about the lakebed find at National Geographic

An interesting summary of the linguistic history of the Iberian Peninsula! Although this is not entirely accurate -- Mozarabic speakers would say they spoke “Ladino,” for instance, and there were no linguistic census in 1000 CE to check exactly where the borders between languages and dialects were.

Unidentified 500-Year-Old Shipwreck Has Turned Up Perfectly Intact on Bottom of The Baltic Sea

Laying on the muddy floor of the frigid inland Baltic Sea, scientists have found an almost perfectly preserved and intact Renaissance-era shipwreck, undisturbed for hundreds of years. What is really exciting is its state of preservation: it is the oldest well-preserved ship ever found in the Baltic. Its wooden frame, tender boat, and even wooden decorations were saved by the cold, low-oxygen waters of the deep sea.

The Accidental Widow

Oda Tokuhime, the daughter of Oda Nobunaga, married Tokugawa Ieyasu's five-year-old son Nobuyasu in 1563, when she herself was just five years old. The marriage, though for political advantage, became a happy one. The was just one problem: Tokuhime's mother-in-law.

Lady Tsukiyama was so jealous and quarrelsome that, reportedly, even her husband had difficulty dealing with her. And Tokugawa was a major daimyo who controlled large swathes of Japan due to his close alliance with Nobunaga! But the poor man couldn't control his wife. Among other things, Lady Tsukiyama made a retainer's daughter Nobuyasu's concubine because Tokuhime had produced no sons by age 20 -- although their two daughters would suggest that Tokuhime was certainly fertile, and there was plenty of time to have more children.

At some point, Tokuhime decided she could not live with Tsukiyama anymore. She wrote an anonymous letter to her father, the very powerful Oda Nobunaga, and accused Lady Tsukiyama of treason. Tokugawa Ieyasu imprisoned his wife as a result, then to protect his alliance with Nobunaga, had her executed. But what would Nobuyasu, Tokuhime's husband, do? Everyone was very concerned that he would seek an honorable revenge against Oda Nobunaga for the death of his mother. So Ieyasu ordered Nobuyasu to commit suicide by seppuku: his own son killed himself, to protect his father's most important alliance. Tokuhime accidentally got rid of her husband while she was trying to get rid of her mother-in-law. Tokuhime lived another 50 years and never remarried.

The Legend of Switzerland's Peace Soup

In 1529, it looked like Switzerland would fall into war between its Protestant and Catholics. Similar religious wars, both small and large, were raging across Europe.

Switzerland's cantons were divided by religion. To the north was the Protestant-favouring canton of Zürich, led by Martin Luther-like reformer Ulrich Zwingli, a parish overseer who was spreading reform. To the south was Zug and the allied Catholic cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy, who felt their rural union should remain aligned with the Vatican and Rome. In June of 1529 diplomacy failed and the Zürich soldiers marched south to fight.

When the armies met, negotiations between the leadership continued. Meanwhile the soldiers in both armies were hungry, and Zürich had plenty of bread and salt, while Zug had a surplus of milk from its farms. They pooled their resources to make a simple soup of milk and bread. The men who ate together would not fight against each other, and no fighting would happen that year. And the legend of the miltschuppe was born. Even today, politicians in Switzerland share miltschuppe to (symbolically) help resolve disagreements.

Rare Ottoman Ivory Dagger Handle, circa 1500s

It is delicately carved in relief with arabesque designs of interlacing foliage.

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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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