"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them."

Tiberius, Roman Emperor (14 CE to 37 CE). It was rephrased by the Sicilian mafia in the 1800s as "You have to skim the cream off the milk without breaking the bottle" -- the mafia took what they needed, without harming their source of income.

Morocco Used To Be European?

Morocco -- and indeed, all of northern Africa -- used to be considered part of the European cultural world. The region, then called Mauretania, was colonized by Phoenicians, then Phoenicia's descendent Carthage. After the Punic Wars there were a number of independent kingdoms in the region. They were weak, and the later ones were client-kings for Rome. Mauretania was eventually officially annexed by the Roman Empire in 46 CE and made a province. The region was conquered by the Vandals in the 400s CE, along with Spain. The whole time, Mauretania and its Berber tribes were considered the very edge of European culture, but European nonetheless.

It was the Arabic Empire that changed the cultural makeup of Morocco. The region was conquered by Muslim Arabs around 685 CE and incorporated into the new Umayyad Caliphate, ruled from Damascus. Its native Berber tribes slowly converted to Islam. Ever since, the country has been considered part of the wider Middle East sphere.

A Few Fun Facts About Tilapia

Tilapia has been farm-raised as far back as ancient Egyptian times. Tilapia are ideal for farming because they reproduce quickly, eat pretty much anything, don't mind overcrowding, and can live in any type of water. However, "tilapia" isn't just a species of fish -- it is a genus, and there's over 100 species in it!

The genus name itself is from the Tswana word "tlhapi" or "fish," which was Latinized to "thiape." (Tswana is the national and majority language of Botswana.)

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.

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!

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

This arch and the attached façade are the only remains of the once-great metropolis of Ctesiphon. Perched on the banks of the Tigris River, for eight hundred years, Ctesiphon reigned as the capital of first the Parthian and then the Sassanian Empire. But the city quickly declined after the Arabic conquests in the mid-600s CE, and was completely abandoned by the 700s. As new empires rose and fell, and the world moved on, Ctesiphon slowly crumbled into the desert.

Immortality Through Death

Publius Ostorius, a gladiator at Pompeii, was famous for surviving 51 fights. Or should it be "is famous"? After all, we still know his name and his deed today.

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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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