The Celtic Chieftainess Who Impressed The Romans (Before Boudicca)

Chiomara was the wife of Ortiagon, a chieftain of the Galatians, a group of Greco-Gauls who had settled in Asia Minor. Unfortunately for them Asia Minor was now neighbors with the Roman Empire. And the Roman Empire had a history of gobbling up their neighbors. According to the ancient (Roman) sources, Chiomara was captured by the Romans in 189 BCE after consul Gnaeus Manlius Vulso’s army defeated the Galatians. The ancient historians are clear that Chiomara did not fight in the battle, but was captured along with other Galatian women and slaves.

After her capture, she was raped by a centurion. The centurion then demanded a ransom from Chiomara’s husband Ortiagon. Chiomara, who had been captured with her slave, was allowed to dispatch her slave with the demand for ransom. Ortiagon sent two Galatians to deliver the ransom. At some point when the centurion was releasing Chiomara to the Galatians, he turned his back, either counting the gold or embracing her. Chiomara quickly gave the Galatians a signal to kill the centurion. She then wrapped the Roman’s head in her robe and delivered it to her husband, saying “Only one man alive should have me.” She was brave, resourceful, a survivor. Chiomara was so impressive that her enemies wrote about her -- which is why we know her name today.

The Unlucky Once-Heir of Emperor Augustus

Emperor Augustus had one living child, a daughter, and she had one living son, Agrippa Postumus. (The name "postumus" means he was born after his father had died.) Agrippa was once considered a potential heir for Emperor Augustus. Historians believe that although Augustus adopted his grandson in 4 CE, Agrippa was supposed to only be his family heir, not his political heir. Tiberius, Emperor Augustus' second wife's son by her previous marriage, was intended to become the next emperor.

But something went wrong for Agrippa Postumus. The reason has not come down in history. But in 6 CE, Agrippa was banished from Rome and effectively un-adopted. On August 19th, 14 CE, Emperor Augustus died. On August 20th, 14 CE, Agrippa Postumus was killed by his own guards. Tiberius publicly disavowed the killing, saying it was Emperor Augustus' orders that Agrippa Postumus not survive. We do not know who actually ordered the assassination. But we do know that a living, male, blood descendent of the first emperor was a huge threat to the next emperor.

On June 14, 1825, the Brazilian province of Cisplatina illegally formed a provisional government. On August 25, 1825, Cisplatina’s newly-elected assembly voted to secede from Brazil. This started the Cisplatine War, which ended with the Treat of Montevideo in 1828. The rebellious province of Cisplatina was now the independent nation of Uruguay.

A Re-Imagining of Prehistoric Imagination

From 14,000 to 10,000 years ago, as the last Ice Age ended and the glaciers retreated, the natural world changed very rapidly around our human ancestors. Tundras were becoming grasslands and forests. Cold-climate animals, like the reindeer herds humans had come to rely upon for food, were retreating north with the ice. Our human ancestors had to adapt. This transitional period in northwest Europe is called the Azilian, and archaeologists distinguish it by rapid changes in tool types and art. The preceding Magdalenian was renowned for its murals. This is when Lascaux and Altamira were painted. The Azilians who followed are known mainly for the small pebbles they painted with red spots and abstract geometric designs. The Azilian, traditionally, was seen as a major rupture from the artistic tradition of the Magdalenian that came before.

But a recent find it challenging this archaeological tradition. Recent re-discovery and re-analyses of old archaeological finds in Brittany and elsewhere suggest the Azilians also engraved tablets, in a manner very similar to the Magdalenians. The stone slabs depict horses and other animals, attempting realism with fine details like nostrils and coat textures. The artistry of these new finds suggest greater continuity of artistic traditions from the Ice Age than had previously been theorized, at least in some corners of western Europe.

The End of the Paris Occupation

On the 19th of August, 1944, German tanks roared down the Champs-Elysees and the first clashes began between the occupying German forces and French Resistance fighters. In the two months since D-Day, the combined British and American forces had slowly but steadily advanced. Everything had fallen before them, and now, it was time to take Paris. Hitler's orders were clear: if the enemy attacked Paris, it "must not fall into the enemy's hand except lying in complete debris." In other words, the Germans were ordered to hold Paris or destroy it.

We all know Paris was not destroyed. At 3:30 pm on August 25th, the German governor Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered. von Choltitz later wrote that he thought Hitler was insane and so he deliberately disobeyed Hitler's orders. It now appears more likely that he was persuaded by the municipal council chairman Pierre Taittinger, but whatever the reason, Paris was liberated with no further bloodshed or destruction.

A Well-Described Mystery

Ball lightning is a well-known phenomenon. That is, it has been seen and described consistently by many people in many places, since the ancient Greeks. But after thousands of years, scientists still do not understand what causes ball lightning!

Ancient Egyptians Tortured Suspected Criminals To Get Confessions

And they thought this was the good way to get truthful confessions. So they were honest about the torture, and recorded exactly how officials tortured suspects when questioning them. For instance, during the 16th year of the rule of Ramses IX (~1100 BCE), a well-organized network of tomb thieves were uncovered in Thebes. The thefts were from prominent government officials and even royal tombs. During the resulting interrogations, the accused were beaten with a stick and their hands and feet were twisted.

According to the records, the torture worked! They confessed to breaking into tombs, including a royal burial, and stealing precious objects. When the tombs in question were examined, several had indeed been disturbed, confirming the confessions.

Around the world today, there are roughly 440 living languages which are descended from Indo-European. More than 300 belong to the Indo-Iraninan branch which includes Urdu, Bengali, and Romani. That diversity is a hint of where the mother tongue came from: probably closer to India than to Europe. Although the area between India and Europe is large, so that's not too definitive.

First Denisovan Skull Fragments Found

Two fragments of a Denisovan skull have been found at the famous Denisova Cave! Mitochondrial DNA extracted from the surprisingly thick pieces of braincase was used to confirm that they belonged to a Denisovan. These are the first known remains of a Denisovan skull. Its exciting for multiple reasons. It allows us to guesstimate how large their brains were, compare their evolution to the Homo family tree, and perhaps help understand why they no longer exist today.

A reconstruction of the skull was compared to 112 modern Homo sapiens skulls, and 30 stone-age Homo skulls including Homo sapiens and Neanderthals and interestingly, the Denisovan skull did not quite fit in with any previously-known Homo species' skulls. More will be known as further analyses are carried out and, hopefully, additional Denisovan remains are found!

The father of cheerleading is usually considered to be Joseph Campbell. He organized the first true university "yell team" for the University Minnesota's football team for a November 2, 1898 football game. It was all-male. Women only started joining cheerleading teams in the 1920s. Today, over 90% of American cheerleaders are female.

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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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