Its A Brass Rooster!

Made by the Edo, of Nigeria, it dates to the 1700s. Not much to say history-wise. Just think it is cool.

The Oldest Bridge in the World

The ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, in southern Iraq, is one of the earliest known cities of the world. At least five thousand years old, Girsu became the capital of the Lagash kingdom, a sacred metropolis devoted to the Sumerian heroic god Ningirsu. And Girsu continued to be the kingdom's religious center after political power had shifted to the city of Lagash.     It was at Girsu that evidence of Sumerian civilization was first discovered. Thousands of cuneiform tablets with records of economic, administrative and commercial matters of the city showed that this was not just a cluster of building but an advanced civilization in its own right.     The Bridge of Girsu was first discovered in the 1920s. At that time it was variously interpreted as a temple, dam and water regulator. It was only recently that the structure was identified as a bridge over an ancient waterway. At 4,000 years old, that makes it the oldest bridge in the world. Since the excavation nearly a century ago, the bridge has remained open and exposed to the elements, with no effort made at conservation or plans to manage the site. Fortunately, since it has been recognized as a bridge, there has been more interest in preserving and protecting the site. Recently, an announcement was made that the bridge would be restored as part of ongoing archaeological efforts.

The First Chinese Globe Was Crafted By ... Jesuits?

  This is the earliest surviving Chinese globe, and dates from the early 1600s. It was not made by the Chinese, but by two European missionaries, Father Nicolo Longobardi and Manuel Dias – they actually signed the globe using Chinese versions of their names, Yang Ma-no and Long Hua-min. Both men introduced important Western geographical ideas into China, and the globe helped them to do this. The globe is inscribed with a number of complicated geographical and astronomical concepts. These include an explanation of the theories of latitude and longitude, and a description of the way eclipses of the sun and moon prove that the world is round.     The Chinese already had a long and esteemed map-making tradition. One inscription on the globe pays tribute to this by referring to terrestrial magnetism – the magnetic force that pulls a compass needle to the north. Chinese scientists were aware of this force about forty years before it was understood in Europe. Chinese maps traditionally showed China at the center of the world. They called China "the middle kingdom" for a reason. Far-away continents and countries were generally unknown, or downplayed. This globe does not downplay China, but simply puts it in context with other continents and countries.

From Arabic to Iranian: How A Medieval Physician Changed How Medicine Was Taught

Ismā‘īl ibn Ḥasan Jurjānī (1042–1136 CE), known popularly as Hakim Jurjānī, was one of the most famous Iranian physicians in the 1100s. Since the time of the Arabic conquests, Iranians wrote scientific books in Arabic. It was the lingua franca of the educated and the elite. Jurjānī's medical encyclopedia, Zakhīrah-i Khvārazm’Shāhī ("The Treasure of Khvarazm’Shah") was the first major medical book in post-Islamic Iran written in Persian. Although the alphabet was Arabic.

Jurjānī's textbook soon became a primary resource for Iranian physicians, used for many centuries. It had ten parts, similar to Ibn Sina's earlier "The Canon of Medicine," and was often written with illustrations. The above illustration shows a skeleton as a medieval Iranian physician would have learned it.

A Crown Fit For A King

This special crown, known as the Kiani Crown, is the traditional coronation crown during the Qajar dynasty of Iran (1796 – 1925). It is made from red velvet and literally thousands of jewels. We are talking 1,800 pearls, 1,800 rubies and spinels, and 300 emeralds. Plus an uncounted number of diamonds. All in all, a very impressive crown, which was designed to leave no doubt as to who the new ruler was.     Check out the portrait of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar in the image gallery. The second shah of Iran helped demonstrate his authority by wearing the Kiani Crown in one of his official portraits. Today it is owned by the Iranian government, as one of the crown jewels of Iran.

How To Distinguish An Empress Dowager

This pair of ornaments and headdress were likely once worn by the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), the effective ruler of China during the later years of the Qing Dynasty. Click through the image gallery to see all three.

All three are exquisite. They show how Chinese decoration and symbolism were used to express rank. The myriad of pearls and gemstones mark that the wearer is one of the highest ranking women in Chinese society, while the phoenixes emerging from the surface represent the empress dowager specifically. Put together, a Chinese person in the early 1900s would have known immediately who the wearer was, and how important they were.

Expert Claims To Have Uncovered Leonardo Da Vinci’s First Work

  "The Archangel Gabriel," a painted glazed tile, was signed and dated by an artist believed to be the 18-year-old Da Vinci. If this new find is authenticated, it would be Da Vinci's first painted work.

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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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