In Latin, what we call “doggy style” was called "coitus more ferarum," which roughly translates to “sexual intercourse in the manner of wild beasts.” In the Kama Sutra, it is known as the “cow position.”

Birds of a Feather

A new study, looking at macaw skeletons found at three prehistoric pueblo sites in New Mexico, USA, suggests that Native Americans in this arid area imported the birds from less-arid places. The bird remains which were examined date from between 300 CE and 1450 CE. The majority were tropical macaws -- definitely not native to New Mexico! There is also no evidence of macaw breeding save at one site. Put together, the evidence points to importing the birds.

In addition, there was widespread scarring along the surface of their bones, showing that humans removed their feathers. And many of the macaws' skeletons showed malnourishment, likely from being kept inside and fed a largely corn diet. Which, counter-intuitively, suggests the Pueblans were caring for them extremely well, for their society. Basically? The macaws were being imported, kept in captivity, and systematically harvested for their bright and colorful feathers.

Athenian Agora Excavations: an Interactive Guide

The city of Athens flourished in the 400s and 300s BCE, setting the course for modern European civilization and eventually for democracy's re-emergence. Even when her power waned, Athens remained the cultural and educational center of the Mediterranean until the 500s CE. And the agora, or marketplace, was the center of city life throughout this time. In it was built beautiful and functional public buildings, first by proud city citizens, then as gifts from Greek kings and eventually Roman emperors.
Since the 1930s, modern excavations have been underway to study where the agora once stood. And they have an excellent website, with an interactive map of what has been recovered and discovered, so far, of the ancient Athenian agora. 

An Animated History of Ukraine

Really, really good history! Since I know next to nothing about Ukraine's national history, I particularly appreciated the accessibility -- the vlogger assumed we had been born yesterday, and it worked.

The Violent Legend of Tea

In both Chinese and Japanese tradition, the discovery of tea is credited to the Indian sage Bodhidharma (aka Daruma), the founder of Zen Buddhism. Bodhidharma, travelling to spread the word of his new doctrine, founded the Shaolin temple in southern China (or the Shorinji Temple to the Japanese). There he meditated while sitting facing a wall. For nine years. At the end of that period Bodhidarma's legs had withered away and he was just on the verge of reaching enlightenment, but then he fell asleep. He missed being enlightened -- all because he could not keep his eyes open. Enraged at missing the last, ultimate step, he ripped off his own eyelids and threw them to the ground. From them grew the first tea bush.

Just to recap: peaceful Buddhist almost reaches enlightenment, but cannot control his own body and falls asleep at the wrong moment, causing the "peaceful" sage to rip off his own eyelids and invent tea.

Liu Chuyu was the first-born daughter of Emperor Xiaowu and his empress, during the Liu Song dynasty. Never heard of it? Neither had I. Lasting just 60 years in the 400s CE, it was one of the four southern kingdoms which succeeded the Eastern Jin Empire. While it was going, the Liu Song dynasty ruled most of southern China, but a string of incompetent or tyrannical emperors led to internal instability and the dynasty's quick downfall. Luckily for her, Liu Chuyu was born during a relatively stable period. Her father became Emperor Xiaowu by force, but his reign was more or less stable, and he died of natural causes when she was 17 or 18. The transition of power was bloodless and his son, Liu Chuyu's younger brother, followed Emperor Xiaowu upon the throne.   Before he died, her father married her to He Ji, son of a prominent official. Liu Chuyu doesn't seem to have been so happy about this. History records that when her brother left the palace she would often go to see him. One of those visits, Liu Chuyu said to him "While our genders are different, we are born of the same father. However, you have more than 10,000 women in your palaces, and I only have one husband, and this is unfair." In response, her younger brother selected 30 young handsome men for her to keep. (Doesn't it sound weird when put like that?) Liu Chuyu ... enjoyed... them for a year before her brother was assassinated. Her uncle took the throne, denounced Liu Chuyu for her immorality, and ordered her to commit suicide. No more male harems for princesses.

What Were The Ancient Japanese Eating?

Millet was replaced by rice as the main staple food from around 300 BCE. So there's the main source of carbohydrates. Seafood was preferred to meat, both for its abundance and because Buddhism, introduced in the 500s CE, largely prohibited the killing of animals and birds. So there's the main source of protein. Agriculture (nogaku) in ancient Japan, as it remains today, was largely focused on cereal and vegetable production, with meat only being produced in relatively limited quantities. Vegetables, seafood, and rice made up most of the ancient Japanese diet as they do today.

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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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