Geneticists investigating the ancient domestication of cats happened to find that ancient cats had stripes -- but no spots. A specific gene is responsible for spotted fur, and it is absent in ancient cats. How fur patterns relate to when cats began to live with humans, I do not know. Anyways, the researchers' findings were confirmed by Egyptian murals, which only show striped cats. The gene causing blotched or spotted coats only began to appear in Europe during the Middle Ages.

The mosaic above comes from the House of the Faun, in Pompeii, during the early Roman Empire. Roman cats, which were descended from Egyptian cats, were striped too.

Source: National Geographic History, November/December 2017. "Finicky Felines Take Their Time with Domestication." Pp. 4 - 5

"Fear is stronger than arms."

Aeschylus, circa 467 BCE.

He was a playwrite, known as the “Father of Tragedy.” His plays are the earliest tragedies that we have the text for. Though unfortunately only seven of Aeschylus’ plays survived, of an estimated seventy to ninety plays he wrote.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Fiji was settled in three waves of immigration between 1230 BCE-860 BCE by early Polynesian peoples. Cannibalism came soon after: estimates say that cannibalism on Fiji started around 400 BCE. In fact, Ratu Udre Udre, a Fijian war chief, is the most prolific cannibal in history. He is reported to have eaten between 872 and 999 people!

How Ancient Queens Put Their Names In The History Books

Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were built by women! The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were planted by Queen Semiramis, of Assyria, and the Masoleum of Halicarnassus was built by Queen Artemisia, of Caria.

The Bodhi Tree

In Bihar, India is the spot where the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, found enlightenment after 49 years of meditation. He was sitting under a tree when it happened. So the tree became famous, and was named the Bodhi Tree or "Enlightenment Tree." The ancient Mauryan Emperor Ashoka I (304 to 232 BCE) converted to Buddhism, and regularly paid homage to the tree. So much so, that legend says his jealous wife tried to "kill" the Bodhi Tree by stabbing it with thorns. The tree survived, and a shrine was eventually built near its base.

Of course, the original Bodhi Tree eventually did die -- Gautama lived more than 2,000 years ago -- and Buddhist tradition says that the current Bodhi Tree is a direct descendant of the original. Emperor Ashoka's daughter apparently took a branch from the original, and planted it, and that branch is today's Bodhi Tree.

Times Were Different Then

Archers at the original Olympic Games in ancient Greece used tethered doves as their targets. Yes, live doves.

The Republic of Rome's Bill of Rights: The Twelve Tables

Tradition tells us that the code which was to govern Roman life was composed by a commission, first of ten and then of twelve men, in 451-450 BCE. It was then ratified by the Centuriate Assembly in 449 BCE. The laws were engraved on twelve tablets -- hence the title -- which were attached to the a speaking platform (rostra) which sat before the Roman Senate in the forum. By putting the twelve tables in the middle of what was the main public square, the Romans made their foundational laws accessible to all. Anyone who could read could know the law.

Some of my favorite gems from the twelve tables include:

  •  If the defendant attempts evasion or takes flight the plaintiff shall lay hand on him. (The accuser got to chase down the accused, and kidnap them to force them to court???)
  • A notably deformed child shall be killed immediately.
  • Women, even though they are of full age, because of their levity of mind shall be under guardianship ... except vestal virgins, who … shall be free from guardianship ...
  •  If anyone sings or composes an incantation that can cause dishonor or disgrace to another ... he shall suffer a capital penalty
  • Expenses of a funeral shall be limited to three mourners wearing veils and one mourner wearing an inexpensive purple tunic and ten flutists . ...
  • ... A myrrh-spiced drink ... shall not be poured on a dead person. (This is randomly specific.)

You can read all of the surviving Twelve Tables at The Avalon Project

The word "stadium" comes from the Greek word "stadion" for the measurement equal to the length of a footrace. A stadion was about 600 feet, or 182 meters. Footraces were extremely popular in ancient Greece, and was one of the major events of the ancient Olympics.

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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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