"The life of a good book is far longer than the life of a man. Its author dies, and his generation dies, and his successors are born and die; the world he knew disappears, and new orders which he could not foresee are established on its ruins; law, religion, science, commerce, society, all are transformed into shapes which would astound him; but his book continues to live. Long after he and his epoch are dead, the book speaks with his voice."

Gilbert Highet, on Juvenal. Highet (1906 – 1978) was a Scottish-American classicist, academic, writer, intellectual, critic and literary historian. Juvenal (1st century - 2nd century CE) was a Roman poet who published at least five books of verses. They lived 1,800 years apart, proving the truth of Highet's quote.

Giraffes Were Thought To Be What Now?

The ancient Greeks and Romans thought giraffes were an unnatural offspring of a camel and a leopard. Due to the animal's camel-like shape and leopard-like spots. The camel's Latin name is pretty simple: "camelopardalis." Which is how the camel's scientific name came to be "Giraffa camelopardalis."

How Did Elizabeth I of England Use Art As Propoganda?

This video looks not at her more-famous life-size paintings, but her miniatures. How did she convey big political ideas with small portraits? Because no matter how she was being portrayed, Elizabeth I was always a political actor, and conveyed herself as such.

How Did Church Bell Ringing Become An Art?

Bells have been used in Europe since the early middle ages to call people to church services, mark the hours of the day, and sometimes convey signals or warnings. However "musical" bell ringing did not really begin until the 1500s or 1600s.

The first carillon, the array of bells housed in the tower of a church, was created in Flanders, Belgium, in the 1500s. It was slowly refined over decades until it became a huge musical instrument that just happened to be housed in a giant tower. Each bell could be run precisely as the ringer wished, using a system of levers and pedals. The new musical instrument proved popular, and carillons and their beautiful sound slowly spread across Europe.

How Old Are Sea Turtles?

The earliest known sea turtle fossils are about 120 million years old. That means they just make it into the Cretaceous Period (which began about 145 million years ago). Sea turtles co-existed with tyrannosauruses and triceratops!


"It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own."

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 CE. His nickname is "the Philosopher"

All the Earthquakes in the World (Since 1898)

Each is colored by magnitude. Can you decipher the outlines of the continents? Africa was the hardest, for me

High-Status Celtic Woman's Burial Demonstrates Horses' Importance During Iron Age

The Bettelbühl necropolis, found in southern Germany, probably served a nearby, well-known Iron Age Celtic settlement on the Heuneburg. About 1.5 miles (2.5 km) away from the settlement, the name is a hint as to why the site was chosen as a resting place for the dead: "bettel" means "bad soil." Ironically, six of the seven hills of the necropolis have been flattened over time for agriculture. The necropolis was rediscovered in 2000.

A 2010 archaeological dig uncovered a four-by-five-meter chamber funeral grave, dating to the 500s BCE, the final resting place of a very high-status woman. Two female skeletons were found within, one very richly decorated, the other with only a bronze arm ring. It is still unclear whether it is a companion of the princess/priestess/queen or a later burial. The higher-status woman died somewhere between age 30 and 40. She was accompanied in her journey into the afterlife by a wealth of wonderfully crafted jewelry of gold, bronze, amber, glass and other materials.

She was also buried with an amazing example of horse armor: a beautifully crafted and preserved bronze mask. The image is a reconstruction of the mask, pre-burial. The horse mask is a demonstration of the level of artistic sophistication achieved by Celts during the Iron Age.

Prehistoric Prince Victim of Earliest-Known Political Assassination

In 1877, archaeologists found one of the richest European troves from the Early Bronze Age buried under the Leubinger mound in Germany. Belonging to the Unetice culture, the mound centers around the burial of a man who died around 1940 BCE, nicknamed the "Prince of Helmsdorf." A modern re-examination of his skeleton suggests he may have died by assassination!

In 2002, scientists inspecting the prince's remains “identified injury”, but were unable to present conclusive evidence that he had been murdered. In December 2018 it was announced that new inspection using the latest technology had found three clear injuries. The man was likely stuck more than three times -- these three were just the ones that would mark bones.

The attacker wielded a dagger with a blade of at least 15 centimeters (just under 6 inches). The killer stabbed the prince in the stomach and the spine, and given the penetration of the thrusts, the victim was either pinned against the wall or lying on the floor. These two injuries would have been enough to kill him on their own, because they would have severed arteries, leading to certain death. The prince was also stabbed above and behind the collar bone. It would have split his shoulder blade, seriously injuring his lungs and the important veins in the area. The researchers noted that this was the place Roman gladiators would set their death blow. The prince was attacked deliberately, likely by someone with experience in such things, because each wound was well-placed to kill him.

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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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