Can You Guess Why This Photograph Was Taken?

That rubble used to be their home. The photograph was taken in Nagoya, Japan in 1946.

1956 was a bad year for the Mona Lisa. It was attacked twice, first with acid that damaged the lower part of the painting, then by a thrown rock, which removed a speck of pigment near the left elbow. The painting was repaired after both, and is as you can see -- captivating as ever.

Rongo Rongo: The Mystery Script of Easter Island

Easter Island was first visited by Spanish explorers in the 1770s. There they encountered the indigenous Easter Islanders, or the Rapa Nui. They had been living on Easter Island since at least the 1200s CE, and possibly since the 300s CE.

Sometime between 1650 CE and 1860 CE, the Rapa Nui developed a type of picture writing called “rongo rongo” or “to recite.” There is great debate about whether they independently invented writing. Or whether the Spanish gave them the idea of symbols to represent sounds. Unfortunately, by the 1860s the Rapa Nui had forgotten how to read the script. Today it remains undeciphered.

Spiritual Sustenance

Almonds and pistachios are the only nuts mentioned in the 5 books of the Hebrew bible. Peanuts may be mentioned too, but they are legumes, not nuts.

Every Egyptian Temple Reflected The Way Their World Was Born

The ancient Egyptians believed that at first there was nothing but water. Then a mound appeared from the water. This creation myth reflects their yearly Nile flood, when the river's waters covered the land, and then life-giving silt emerged as the waters receded.

Each temple they built represented that primordial mound of creation. In temple architecture, that mound was represented by a gradual rise in ground level between the entrance and the innermost shrine. Every temple also had a sacred lake, like the one above at Karnak, and each temple was surrounded by an undulating mudbrick wall. Because of course something as minor as a wall need to have a meaning, it is thought that the undulating wall represents the primordial ocean that the mound of creation rose from.

"She did it the hard way."

epitaph on Bette Davis' tombstone. She was an American actress on stage, television, and film who is perhaps best remembered for being willing to play unsympathetic, sardonic characters. She was also a hard worker with a perfectionist steak.

Sparta's Strange System Of Dual Kingship

The ancient Greek city-state of Sparta always had two kings ruling at the same time. This diarchy (as opposed to monarchy), is not unique to Sparta. It has always been rare in history, though. How Sparta ended up with a dual kingship is shrouded in mystery. Some theorize that the diarchy originated in a compromise, probably made by two or more tribal leaders sometime during Sparta’s inception, or maybe later, around 1000 to 900 BCE.

The Spartans told themselves a different story. Each of the two kings belonged to a different dynasty, the Agiad and the Eurypontid. but claimed descent from the same ancestor. According to Spartan mythology, the ancestor of the two kings was Heracles (Hercules), but in a more folk-based version of events, it was King Aristodemus. The story goes that King Aristodemus had twin boys right before his death. People could not tell which one was the eldest, so that easy system for naming the king was gone. The people decided to consult the Oracle at Delphi. She instructed them to crown both brothers and regard both as their kings. This account was, most likely, an invention, but was generally accepted by Spartans.

At The Equator, You Can Tell Time Differently

Kenya and Uganda both lie on the equator, so the sun rises around 6 a.m. and sets around 6 p.m. throughout the year. Given such a reliable natural timekeeper, it is customary to tell time by counting hours of light or hours of darkness. So, 7 a.m. is called 1 o’clock (saa moja, or one hour of light), and 11 a.m. is called 5 o’clock (saa tano) (moja means 1 and tano 5 in Swahili). Similarly, 7 p.m. is called 1 o’clock (one hour of darkness), and 11 p.m. is 5 o’clock. Unfortunately this way of telling time is becoming less common, as all clocks are western-style.

Ancient King's Tomb Is Being Opened To The Public In Turkey

The monumental tomb of King Hektamonos was discovered in 2010, as part of an archaeological dig in Turkey. King Hektamonos once reigned over Caria in western Anatolia, as a satrap for the Persian Achaemenid Empire. He was both a political appointee and a local power, establishing the hereditary dynasty of the Hecatomnids. So when he died in 377 BCE, King Hektamonos was buried in style.

Unfortunately, his tomb was robbed at some point, so the find was not pristine. Almost all the artifacts had been looted and sold on the black market. Still, the tomb is a marvel. A giant sarcophagus, decorated with life-like sculptures. Beautiful murals showing how Hektamonos handled the issues of the day. Marble walls and marble columns. His tomb is a pioneering example of the classical mausoleum. It was the predecessor of the more famous Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. And recently, a golden crown was identified as coming from King Hektamonos' tomb -- and it is being repatriated to Turkey!

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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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