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Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:31 am

Pre-classical Burial Site Unearthed In Southern Coastal Athens
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.co.uk/2012 ... ed-in.html

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Pre-classical era remains of graves and funeral pyres were discovered during excavations on the site where the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre will be built, where the old horse-track stood at the Faliro Delta site in southern coastal Athens.

The findings, including clay funereal jar objects, are dated to the 7th and 6th centuries BC and were found in the area enclosed by Filippou, Evrypidou, Sachtouri Streets and Poseidonos and Syngrou Boulevard. The artifacts were transferred elsewhere and the trenches will be refilled.

The Niarchos complex is designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and will be entirely financed by the foundation, which has calculated its cost at around 566 million euros. It will include new buildings for the National Library and the National Opera House and a 42-acre park, and is expected to be completed by 2015. (AMNA)

Article in Greek :-http://www.archaiologia.gr/blog/2012/11/14/%CF%83%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AC-%CE%B5%CF%85%CF%81%CE%AE%CE%BC%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B1-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B4%CE%AD%CE%BB%CF%84%CE%B1-%CF%86%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%AE%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%85/

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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:36 am

int'l Conference in Naoussa - Discovering the World of Alexander the Great

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The overall picture of the research on Alexander the Great and the impact of his course in the world will be presented at an international scientific congress tiled "Discovering the World of Alexander the Great" which opened Thursday at the Aristotle's School (Ancient Mieza) in Naoussa, organized by the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the Polycentric Museum of Aigai.

The three-day conference, which opened on Thursday is set to wrap up today, while a one-day conference will be held on the Aigai Palace on Sunday (tomorrow) that includes a tour of the site.

The conference aims to inform the international scientific community and wider public on the "Alexander the Great Virtual Museum: From Aigai. to the Acumen (world)", a major and innovative digital project inspired, designed and carried out by the Ephorate with financing from the National Strategic Reference Framework-NERVE (Digital Convergence).

An overall picture of the research on Alexander the Great and the impact of his route will be presented for the first time. Another important aspect of the conference is the presentation of the archaeological surveys conducted in the countries which constituted the Hellenistic world: scientists of international repute and directors of excavations from Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and also from England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Russia and Greece will sum up their surveys and announce the new historical and archaeological data about the cities of Asia Minor, the southern Levant, Egypt of Mesopotamia, Persia, Baktria etc. Furthermore, researchers, historians and museum directors will talk about Alexander the Great's personality and how he influenced history, myth and art.

The network of cities founded by Alexander the Great and his successors, in which older cities were also organically incorporated by combining local and Hellenistic features, became the geographical and cultural space of the Hellenistic era and the first form of universality. At that time, for the first time, a new way of communication and spreading of cultural goods appeared, a new experience of community and relations between people, a way of perceiving space and time as "our world", and living within it as having a common language, an "ecumene".

At the one-day conference, all new archaeological data which came to light during the surveys in the palace of Aigai will be presented. The emblematic building founded by Philip II of Macedon in the second half of the 4th century BC became the architectural, technical, artistic, political and philosophical model of the public building which dominated the Hellenistic, Roman and Medieval world. The ecumenical aspect of the Aigai Palace will be examined at a roundtable discussion. (AMNA)
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.co.uk/2012 ... ering.html
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:43 am

Alexandria: Beacon of Orthodoxy and Hellenism
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.co.uk/2012 ... tolic.html
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The glorious history of the Apostolic Throne of Alexandria, of a duration of two thousand years, has made it a beacon in the field of theology, learning, church affairs and culture, and above all has maintained its high reputation and honour to the glory of the entire Eastern Orthodox Church. From the founding of the Church of Alexandria by Saint Mark the Evangelist down to our own times, the Patriarchate has occupied a sui generis and pioneering position in universal Orthodoxy. The names of many Popes and Archbishops of Alexandria are commemorated in the West as well as the East, since their lives, their work and their teaching have rendered invaluable services and they have served as outstanding leaders of the Church of Christ.

This has been and this remains the mission of our Greek Church and naturally, of the Patriarchate of Alexandria - a sacred and most important mission. There is nothing enclosed or secret about it. It comes out of its own enclosed space and environment and extends into every place. For centuries it has served so many different communities along with the Greek diaspora, the Arabs and the Africans, insofar as local conditions, times and circumstances allow. Thus the Church of Saint Mark has provided the Greek far from his place of origin with manna and water in the wilderness at times which have been difficult and sometimes tragic. This living presence and practical help of the Patriarchate of Alexandria have kept the Greeks firmly and lovingly linked with their origins and have endowed them with pride which teaches that it is only through maintaining their national identity that the Greek nation will live and achieve great things. This mission has been fulfilled only through the self-sacrifice and toil of so many saintly and holy Patriarchs of Alexandria.

Just as the Greeks of Egypt for so many years, and under the most unfavourable circumstances, have felt bound by their historic traditions and have fulfilled their duty to the full, so today they are called upon to stand with awe and awareness before the remaining relics of the ark of history and the renown of their ancestors- which live on and serve to teach and set examples - and to honour them.

The Church of Alexandria, which has always advanced hand-in-hand with the Greek community of Egypt, has never confined its interest to the spiritual benefit of its faithful children, but has been concerned to safeguard down the ages its cultural and historic past. By its work for society, for charities, for the nation, for education, it has set up, especially here in Egypt, monuments of historic worth, dignity and civilizing influence. This achievement through the course of history has remained dynamic and imperishable down to our own times. It continues precisely in order to bear its perpetual witness to a history and presence in a Greek Orthodox patriarchate and a Greek Community which go forward together so that the achievements and the course of renewal of two thousand years may be continued.

Makarios Tillyridis, PhD
Metropolitan of Zimbabwe

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There is no question that, from the time of its building (332-331 BC), on the inspiration of Alexander the Great himself, by the famous architects Donocrates of Rhodes and Cleomenes of Naucratis, the great city of Alexandria became a unique center for the world of the time, with great prestige in intellectual, economic, cultural, commercial and military life. Because of its geographical position, the city of Alexandria also became a centre which linked ancient Egyptian civilization with that of Greece and Rome, and then with that of the Jews, to emerge as a renowned capital which was a meeting-point for the main spiritual and intellectual trends of that time. Its famous libraries and other important centers of letters and the arts, such as its university, were forerunners which were to have positive effects when Christianity subsequently made its appearance.

According to experts, Alexandria in ancient times also held a primary place because of its libraries. As early as the time of Alexander the Great, large numbers of men of letters and other tried and tested experts were summoned to the city in order to create suitable conditions for the valuable manuscripts of ancient Greece. There is not much information about this subject left to us but what is certain, however, is that the successors of Alexander, the Ptolemies, and particularly Ptolemy Lagus, wishing to make Alexandria a centre of civilization, education and the arts, summoned men most renowned for wisdom and arts. It was Ptolemy Lagus - also called Soter - who laid the foundation stone of the Museum library. Reliable sources tell us that Ptolemy Soter founded not only the Museum, but also the Library - the Great Library - of Alexandria. This is believed to have been the richest and largest in the ancient world. Yet another library was set in parallel with this, next to the temple of Serapis. Together they contained all the wealth of the manuscripts of the times, and so could claim the title of universal library.

Tradition tells us that the first Christian church to be built in Egypt was that of the Mother of God, near the habour of Alexandria, on the very spot where the Apostle and Evangelist Saint Mark was martyred. This magnificent church was built at the time when Saint Theonas was Patriarch of Alexandria (282-300). With the spread of Christianity, churches of great beauty - and monasteries - rapidly sprang up in Egypt. It is said that around Alexandria itself there were about a hundred monasteries, fifty at Mariotis (Mariut), and many more in the desert. However, two splendid churches were the special boast of the Patriarchate of Alexandria: the Kaisareion and the Serapeion. The former was built by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, as heröon. It was later, in the time of Constantine the Great, consecrated as a church, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. This was the Great church of Alexandria. The Sarapeion was originally a pegan temple of the Ptolemies, but became the church of Saint John, since it housed the relics of the saint. The Monastery of Saint Sabbas during its long history was used not only as a dwelling-place for monks, but also as a cemetery, a hospital, a school, a hostel, and a public health centre. Above all, however, the Monastery of Saint Sabbas served as a centre for the Patriarchal Throne of Alexandria.

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Alexandria, as the seat of the second most senior Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, continued to be a centre for literature and the Greek Christian arts. This glorious tradition of Alexandrian history has been carried on by the Library of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which for most of the two millennia has radiated its enlightenment to the world. The history of the Patriarchal Library, which always seems like a continuation of the Library of the Ptolemies, today attracts the interest of many researchers and historians, since it houses valuable manuscripts and rare books with an all-embracing orientation.

Among the famous schools of Alexandria, the Catechetical School was always the pride and joy of the Church of Saint Mark. It would be no exaggeration to say that this School was seen not only as the boast of the Church of Alexandria, but as encapsulating the thought and experience of Christianity as a whole. Also of importance was the contribution of the School to the theological thought and practice of Alexandria. Those who taught at this renowned centre of education, influenced by ancient Greek philosophy, proved able to introduce a new tendency in the merging of it with Christianity, and this was the culmination of the success of the work of the Catechetical School. It is a fact of history that the spring of the School was characterized by its quality, sublimity and its revelatory nature.

Difficult times, were, however, in store for the patriarchate. The 7th century was the most terrible in its history. With the Arab conquest, the Patriarchate of Alexandria passed through a vale of tears. Persecution, quarrels between opposing camps, poverty, deprivation, the interruption of life in all its forms were the results. The distress endured by the Patriarchate prevented it from making any progress. Innumerable monasteries and churches were destroyed. Many centres of great historical and religious importance were converted into Muslim mosques and lost for ever to Christianity. Hundreds of bishops and bishoprics were wiped out, Greek Christians were slaughtered in their thousands, manuscripts and monuments of inestimable value disappeared. For eighty- five years the Church of Alexandria remained without a head. But among the ruins and the destruction the flame of faith was never wholly extinguished.

There have been periods of brilliance and glory in the history, spanning nearly two thousand years, of the Patriarchate of Alexandria - times when the city has produced great Fathers of its Church, figures such as Origen, Clement, Pantaenus, Athanasius the Great, Dionysius, Heraclas, and Didymus. Schools of great renown and breadth of Spirit were set up on the inspiration and under the protection of successive Bishops of Alexandria. These holy fathers, their thought clothed in ancient Greek and Christian wisdom, founded centres which replaced the ancient temples of the philosophers and the gods, in order to bring generous enlightenment to the young. Thus they were succeeded by figures who were unrivalled continuators and matchless practitioners of the experience of the brilliant progression of Alexandrian thought and life.

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The constant increase of the Greek ethnic element in the land of the Nile called for the building of a church of some grandeur to meet their religious needs, but also to serve as a meeting- place. Patriarch Ierotheos, a dynamic figure in the Greek world of the 19th century, prompted by distinguished Greeks of Alexandria, decided to undertake the task of the construction of a church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thus, Alexandria acquired yet another monument witnessing to the labours of the patriotic and devout benefactors, who set up a monument worthy of the history and culture of the Greek immigrants. The Greeks of today look with pride upon the determination and greatness of their ancestors who have left them such a glorious heritage. From that time on, the church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos has been the chief pride of the Greeks of Egypt.

The 19th century could be described as the golden age of the Greek presence in Alexandria. The Greeks who began to settle in the city were men of education, chiefly involved in the world of commerce. By their industriousness and unrivalled zeal they succeeded in exalting the name of Greece to heights it deserves to occupy and in carrying through projects which are still an adornment to Egypt and call forth the admiration of the Egyptians and foreigners alike. Wherever they passed they left behind them historic achievements of importance in the fields of culture, agriculture, education... The setting up of educational and cultural institutions and distinguished benefactors such as Georgios Averof helped Alexandria and its Patriarchate to experience days of great glory and repute. It was at that time that other Greek communities were established, the number of charitable institutions increased, the first Greek newspapers circulated, and Greek books - the bibliography is impressive - were published.

It was, the, in the city of Alexandria that the Greeks of Egypt set up schools, hospitals, orphanages, chambers of industry, clubs, sports associations, cultural societies etc. - all this with the help and blessing of the renowned and historic Patriarchate of Alexandria - whose jurisdiction nowadays extends to the whole of Africa. It was only to be expected that there, where the Greeks formulated new and lofty objectives, they should encounter problems and difficulties, which, of course, continue to be the case today. Their spiritual leader is the Patriarch himself.

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From the time of its foundation, the church of Alexandria occupied a leading position among the other Christian Churches, and indeed came to be regarded as holding first place. Thus the renown Thrown of Saint Mark enjoyed many honours. This marriage of the Greek and Christian spirit helped Alexandria to outshine Athens and meant that this period of its great prosperity come to be regarded as the golden age of great and ancient Greece.

Thus the Church of Alexandria from then until the present day has kept alive the fame and a beacon - a latter-day Pharos - visible a great way off for the Orthodox Christians of the African continent of every race and colour.

Today, the Patriarchate of Alexandria is called upon to continue along the path of its history, even if with only a few remaining Greeks and Greek Orthodox Christian Arabs, though with many Orthodox peoples of Africa it must continue to be a factor for progress and improvement.

At present, it must emerge from the ruins again and become a new Pharos for the Greek nation's advance with high-value projects in the educational, apostolic and cultural domain. The new Patriarch of Alexandria is in a position to bring again days of glory and renown. Such renewal will help to raise its prestige and advance its mission in the world of today.

Source: Alexandria: Beacon of Orthodoxy and Hellenism
NOCTOC:- http://noctoc-noctoc.blogspot.co.uk/201 ... y-and.html
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby supporttheunderdog » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:12 am

The destruction of the Library at Alexandria is a tragedy since so much was lost that cannot be replaced.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:22 pm

Plato's "Keep It Real" Philosophy

November 18, 2012

The Ancient Greek thinker Plato, is a philosopher who is today a prototype of modern higher education. Known as the "devine teacher" by contemporaries, he speaks of an ideal society structure and immortality of soul.

The ancient Greeks are the cornerstone of Western philosophy. If you were born in a country in Europe, a country settled by Europeans, or a country at any point ruled by a European power, the essence of Greek philosophy has found its way into your worldview in one way or the other, and that’s a fact. Capitalist or communist, liberal or conservative, Coke or Pepsi, the people who have had the greatest influence on the way we think and how we live in the Western world took their cues at some point from a Greek.

Over 9 times out of 10 this Greek will be Plato or Aristotle of Athens, the city-state which was to philosophy in ancient Greece what Sparta was to kicking b***tt.

"A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men." - Plato

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Plato the Greek was born in 428-429 BC, though Plato was not his real name. In fact, Plato is Greek for “broad” or “flat,” a nom de guerre he gave himself as a wrestler in the Isthmian Games due to his unusually broad shoulders. Really. This makes him first on the list of celebrities with one-word aliases, way before the likes of Prince and Sting. Alas, history had other plans for The Broad, as his failure to qualify for the Olympic Games necessitated an immediate career change.

Plato fell in with a wandering philosopher by the name of Socrates, of whom you may have heard, who encouraged his students to challenge conventional wisdom to the point that he was finally executed in 399 BC for corrupting the youth. This, Plato would say, was a major turning point in his life, and he fled Athens to avoid a similar fate by association. He wound up in Sicily, where he joined an order of Pythagoreans (something along the line of celibate math mystics), whose fixation with numbers would inspire the cosmology Plato would become famous for.

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

Truth with a capital T was abstract and eternal like numbers, which is to say it is immaterial and thus does not experience degeneration, and everything in the world was an expression of this abstract Truth. Plato effectively invented the word “perfection” as it is used today. A beer, for instance, was only a poor imitation of a beer; a mere knockoff of a more perfect beer that he called an ide (the Greek root of “idea”) that existed in the heavens. This is to say that these Ideas are literally up in the sky, among the stars, sun, and moon. In turn, that “more perfect” idea of a beer was a similarly cheap imitation of the even more perfect Idea of “Deliciousness.” Plato’s universe continues this way all the way up, up to the most perfect idea of “Goodness,” which was the common Idea in all things, including humans.

Plato also explains human existence in these terms, as humans are Good beings “fallen” from “the heavens” and trapped in the lowest, most imperfect level of the Universe, which is the world he and you and I and all of us live in. Plato believed that when a human being deduces or learns something they are in fact remembering something they already know by virtue of our eternal, divine nature, which is why we are attracted to certain things in this world; we recognize the Idea of “Goodness” in it from our time in the ether.

"There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands." - Plato
Thus, by denying our Passions with our Courage, which is governed by our Thinking (these three Plato believed to be the three levels of human nature), we could dust off all our Divine knowledge and return to the heavens upon death, avoiding another birth in the material world.

If all of this sounds strangely familiar to you, it ought to. St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther are just some of the Neo-Platonists who borrowed from Plato when developing their worldview and theology. Another influential Neo-Platonist was the philosopher-psychologist Freud, who based his “Id, Ego, Superego” theory on Plato’s “Passion, Courage, Thinking” model.

What made them Neo-Platonists and not just plain old Platonists, you ask? Because they (or their teachers) all learned about Plato from Arab philosophers after the end of the Dark Ages – which, historically speaking, officially began when the early Christian Emperor Justinian closed Plato’s “Academy” in 529 A.D. Ironic, dontcha think?

"Those who intend on becoming great should love neither themselves nor their own things, but only what is just, whether it happens to be done by themselves or others." - Plato
Plato did have a way of overextending himself, however, which led him to apply the idea of the three separate levels of a human being to society in general. In The Republic he outlined a plan for what he believed to be a perfect society, one in which all children would be raised by the state, taught to see it as their only parent, and continuously evaluated and sorted as they grew up.

The weak and not-so-bright kids were allowed to live by their Passion. This group, which Plato called the Mob, were intended for unwitting servitude and strict control and assigned to be farmers and laborers. Distracted with jewelry and other frivolous things, they worked their lives away for the good of the whole society.

The strong and bright kids got to be warriors and live by their Courage. Without worldly possessions to distract them, these warriors would be able to focus on their duty of keeping order in society (they would be the only ones with swords or, say, MP40s). These Warrior-Guardians would be a completely male force. Plato did not have a high opinion of women.

"All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue." - Plato
The sharpest tools in the armory, meanwhile, would be promoted to the highest caste after demonstrating their superior intellectual ability and go on to study… you guessed it…

Philosophy! The Philosophers would live and love together, sharing all their belongings (and themselves) to keep free of corruption, and would be wise governors of a society ruled by pure thoughts.

Finally, from these specially selected philosopher-governors, a single Philosopher King would be chosen to act as the supreme authority over Plato’s fascist, homoerotic dystopia, in which the entire, perfect society was oriented to satisfy the will of the rulers in the way the entire soul should be oriented to satisfy the will of the rational mind.

"Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil." - Plato
This aspiration was more or less the end of Plato’s professional reputation. After failing in two separate stints as court philosopher to implement his Republic in the Kingdom of Syracuse, and ending up in prison both times, Plato retired from public life to the Academy, where he died in 347 BC.

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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:38 pm

Ancient Roman Giant Found—Oldest Complete Skeleton With Gigantism

At six feet, eight inches, he would have towered over his contemporaries.

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The giant's tibia, or shinbone, compared with that of a normal Roman male of the same period.
Photograph by Simona Minozzi, Endocrine Society

Christine Dell'Amore

for National Geographic News

Published November 9, 2012


It's no tall tale—the first complete ancient skeleton of a person with gigantism has been discovered near Rome, a new study says.

At 6 feet, 8 inches (202 centimeters) tall, the man would have been a giant in third-century A.D. Rome, where men averaged about 5 and a half feet (167 centimeters) tall. By contrast, today's tallest man measures 8 feet, 3 inches (251 centimeters).

Finding such skeletons is rare, because gigantism itself is extremely rare, today affecting about three people in a million worldwide. The condition begins in childhood, when a malfunctioning pituitary gland causes abnormal growth.

Two partial skeletons, one from Poland and another from Egypt, have previously been identified as "probable" cases of gigantism, but the Roman specimen is the first clear case from the ancient past, study leader Simona Minozzi, a paleopathologist at Italy's University of Pisa, said by email.

Piecing Together a Giant

The unusual skeleton was found in 1991 during an excavation at a necropolis in Fidenae (map), a territory indirectly managed by Rome.

At the time, the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome, which led the project, noted that the man's tomb was abnormally long. It was only during a later anthropological examination, though, that the bones too were found to be unusual. Shortly thereafter, they were sent to Minozzi's group for further analysis.

To find out if the skeleton had gigantism, the team examined the bones and found evidence of skull damage consistent with a pituitary tumor, which disrupts the pituitary gland, causing it to overproduce human growth hormone.

Other findings—such as disproportionately long limbs and evidence that the bones were still growing even in early adulthood—support the gigantism diagnosis, according to the study, published October 2 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

His early demise—likely between 16 and 20—might also point to gigantism, which is associated with cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems, said Minozzi, who emphasized that the cause of death remains unknown. (Explore an interactive of the human body.)

A Giant of the Stage?

Charlotte Roberts, a bioarchaeologist at the U.K.'s Durham University, said she's "certainly convinced with the diagnosis" of gigantism. But she'd like to know more.

"You can't just study the disease, you have to look at the wider impact of how people functioned in society, and whether they were treated any differently," Roberts said.

Goods buried with a body, for example, can offer hints to the person's role in life and how they were treated in their community.

The Roman giant, though, was found with no funerary artifacts, study leader Minozzi said. And, she added, his burial was typical of the time, suggesting he was included as part of society.

"We know nothing about the role or presence of giants in the Roman world," she said—other than the fact that the second century A.D. emperor Maximinus Thrax was described in literature as a "human mountain."

Minozzi noted, though, that imperial Roman high society "developed a pronounced taste for entertainers with evident physical malformations, such as hunchbacks and dwarfs—so we can assume that even a giant generated enough interest and curiosity."

Long Illnesses

Whatever the Roman giant's lot in life, the information to be gleaned after his death might someday further science.

"Normally a doctor will be looking at a patient with a disease over short term span," Durham University's Roberts said. "We've been able to look at skeletons from archaeological sites that are thousands of years old. You can start to look at trends of how diseases have changed in frequency over time." (See pictures of ancient Egyptian mummies with heart disease.)

If by studying ancient remains "we can teach the living and help them plan for the future," she said, "that's a good thing."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... ence-rome/
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:57 pm

Spartans did not throw deformed babies away: researchers

(AFP) – Dec 10, 2007

ATHENS (AFP) — The Greek myth that ancient Spartans threw their stunted and sickly newborns off a cliff was not corroborated by archaeological digs in the area, researchers said Monday.

After more than five years of analysis of human remains culled from the pit, also called an apothetes, researchers found only the remains of adolescents and adults between the ages of 18 and 35, Athens Faculty of Medicine Anthropologist Theodoros Pitsios said.

"There were still bones in the area, but none from newborns, according to the samples we took from the bottom of the pit" of the foothills of Mount Taygete near present-day Sparta.

"It is probably a myth, the ancient sources of this so-called practice were rare, late and imprecise," he added.

Meant to attest to the militaristic character of the ancient Spartan people, moralistic historian Plutarch in particular spread the legend during first century AD.

According to Pitsios, the bones studied to date came from the fifth and sixth centuries BC and come from 46 men, confirming the assertion from ancient sources that the Spartans threw prisoners, traitors or criminals into the pit.

The discoveries shine light on an episode during the second war between Sparta and Messene, a fortified city state independent of Sparta, when Spartans defeated the Messenian hero Aristomenes and his 50 warriors, who were all thrown into the pit, he added.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hHz ... EozBFUC1sQ
Another Anglo myth laid to rest!
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:59 pm

Pitt-led study debunks millennia-old claims of systematic infant sacrifice in ancient Carthage

Public release date: 17-Feb-2010
Contact: Morgan Kelly
Mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh

Researchers examined 348 burial urns to learn that about a fifth of the children were prenatal at death, indicating that young Carthaginian children were cremated and interred in ceremonial urns regardless of cause of death

PITTSBURGH—A study led by University of Pittsburgh researchers could finally lay to rest the millennia-old conjecture that the ancient empire of Carthage regularly sacrificed its youngest citizens. An examination of the remains of Carthaginian children revealed that most infants perished prenatally or very shortly after birth and were unlikely to have lived long enough to be sacrificed, according to a Feb. 17 report in PLoS ONE.

The findings—based on the first published analysis of the skeletal remains found in Carthaginian burial urns—refute claims from as early as the 3rd century BCE of systematic infant sacrifice at Carthage that remain a subject of debate among biblical scholars and archaeologists, said lead researcher Jeffrey H. Schwartz, a professor of anthropology and history and philosophy of science in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences and president of the World Academy of Art and Science. Schwartz and his colleagues present the more benign interpretation that very young Punic children were cremated and interred in burial urns regardless of how they died.

"Our study emphasizes that historical scientists must consider all evidence when deciphering ancient societal behavior," Schwartz said. "The idea of regular infant sacrifice in Carthage is not based on a study of the cremated remains, but on instances of human sacrifice reported by a few ancient chroniclers, inferred from ambiguous Carthaginian inscriptions, and referenced in the Old Testament. Our results show that some children were sacrificed, but they contradict the conclusion that Carthaginians were a brutal bunch who regularly sacrificed their own children."

Schwartz worked with Frank Houghton of the Veterans Research Foundation of Pittsburgh, Roberto Macchiarelli of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and Luca Bondioli of the National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography in Rome to inspect the remains of children found in Tophets, burial sites peripheral to conventional Carthaginian cemeteries for older children and adults. Tophets housed urns containing the cremated remains of young children and animals, which led to the theory that they were reserved for victims of sacrifice.

Schwartz and his coauthors tested the all-sacrifice claim by examining the skeletal remains from 348 urns for developmental markers that would determine the children's age at death. Schwartz and Houghton recorded skull, hip, long bone, and tooth measurements that indicated most of the children died in their first year with a sizeable number aged only two to five months, and that at least 20 percent of the sample was prenatal.

Schwartz and Houghton then selected teeth from 50 individuals they concluded had died before or shortly after birth and sent them to Macchiarelli and Bondioli, who examined the samples for a neonatal line. This opaque band forms in human teeth between the interruption of enamel production at birth and its resumption within two weeks of life. Identification of this line is commonly used to determine an infant's age at death. Macchiarelli and Bondioli found a neonatal line in the teeth of 24 individuals, meaning that the remaining 26 individuals died prenatally or within two weeks of birth, the researchers reported.

The contents of the urns also dispel the possibility of mass infant sacrifice, Schwartz and Houghton noted. No urn contained enough skeletal material to suggest the presence of more than two complete individuals. Although many urns contained some superfluous fragments belonging to additional children, the researchers concluded that these bones remained from previous cremations and may have inadvertently been mixed with the ashes of subsequent cremations.

The team's report also disputes the contention that Carthaginians specifically sacrificed first-born males. Schwartz and Houghton determined sex by measuring the sciatic notch—a crevice at the rear of the pelvis that's wider in females—of 70 hipbones. They discovered that 38 pelvises came from females and 26 from males. Two others were likely female, one likely male, and three undetermined.

Schwartz and his colleagues conclude that the high incidence of prenate and infant mortality are consistent with modern data on stillbirths, miscarriages, and infant death. They write that if conditions in other ancient cities held in Carthage, young and unborn children could have easily succumbed to the diseases and sanitary shortcomings found in such cities as Rome and Pompeii.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 021710.php
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby kurupetos » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:05 am

Excellent work Yialousa. Keep it on. :)
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:09 am

kurupetos wrote:Excellent work Yialousa. Keep it on. :)


:D
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