Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Man Who Gave Us Wings

When we learn of the history of flight we often think of the Wright Brothers and their first ever airplane. Even looking back in history we rarely look back further than Leonardo Da Vinci, who many believe to be the first man to conceive of flight. Few have ever heard of Eilmer of Malmesbury who […]

Fratres Non In Fide

In modern times much has been made of a clash of civilizations between the Muslim East and the Christian West. It has been seen as a religious conflict rather than a political one. This is expressed by the tendency, particularly among right wing extremists, to view these different faiths as being somehow incompatible with each other […]

The Last Cathar

Catharism was a Gnostic sect of Christianity which thrived in southern France until the 13th century. Although essentially Christian the Cathar’s beliefs differed somewhat from the Church. Principally they did not believe in Jesus as the son of God but rather that he was an angel in human form; they believed that those who lead […]

The Holy Roman Apostate

Bodo was once the shining star of the Carolingian court at Aachen during the reign of Louis the Pious. However, he would become a beacon of hatred for Christians throughout Spain and France after a fateful pilgrimage to Rome on which he committed an astonishing act. In a Europe beset by passions of antisemitism and persecutions […]

Mysterious origins of Malta

In the National Museum of archaeology in Malta there is the ‘sleeping lady’, an object found in the painted rooms of a sort of vaulted cave temple complex from the Saflieni phase. This was a time between 3000-2500 BC. The statue is believed to be that of the Goddess Astarte and is the finest artifact […]

A review of Uttermost Part of the Earth by E. Lucas Bridges: the southernmost indigenous peoples of the planet and their fate at Tiera del Fuego.

Yamana group, Tierra del Fuego This is  a review of a most amazing book called ‘Uttermost Part of the Earth: a history of Tierra del Fuego and the Fuegians’ (1948) by E. Lucas Bridges. I have been studying hunter-gatherers as part of my MSc, but I came upon this book by chance a year ago.  […]

The sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos

The tomb of Ahiram was hailed as one of the most exciting finds by Semitic scholars, the tomb now in the national museum of Beirut, is widely accepted to be from around 1000 B.C. When the tomb was discovered by the French archaeologist Pierre Montet, it soon became apparent that it was an important link […]

The Arabic Speaking Christians of Spain

The world “Mozarab” comes from the Arabic “must’arab” meaning “arabized”. This came to generally describe the Christians living under Muslim rule in Spain. Originally they were the descendents of the Hispano-Gothic Christians living in Spain at the time that the Muslims took Iberia from the Visigoths in 711. Over time the community grew to included […]

Yazidis, at risk minority in Mesopotamia and their extraordinary culture.

In northern Iraq in what is perhaps the most dangerous region in the world, Mosul, lives the majority of the tribal culture of Yazidis. Amongst the sectarian strife between Sunni and Shiite, political divisions between Baathist and Kurd, the Yazidis maintain their ancient religion and practices. The roots of Yazadinism are mysterious as with all […]

Grapes of Wrath: The Lycurgus Cup

The British Museum is home to some of the most important and impressive artifacts from the ancient world. The Rosetta stone from Egypt allowed us to decipher the hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt, the panels from the walls of the Assyrian royal palace at Nimrud show allow us deep insights into Assyrian culture and gives us glimpses of […]