Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Japanese Schindler

As of January 2012, 24, 356 people from 47 nations were recognised by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority based in Jerusalem, as Righteous Among the Nations. These people have all been recognised for their sacrifices, risking life or liberty, to save Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust during World War II. In […]

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The Lost Tribes, Nestorians and Christ in Japan.

In 2005 Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar recognized the Kuki-Mizo, a Tibeto-Burmese people in northern India, as one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Since then there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the issuing of visas by Israel to these people but on Christmas eve 2012 the Israeli government decided to let them emigrate. These […]

The War of the Oaken Bucket

Medieval Italy was a complicated place, full of backstabbing political intrigues and competing city-states. Fromthe 12th until the 16th centuries northern Italy was split between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, two factions who supported the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire respectively. This quarrel was essentially about primacy of power. The Holy Roman Emperors claimed that […]

The Mausoleum of China’s First Emperor

In 1974 some farmers from Xi’an (in Shaanxi province, China) uncovered ancient statues of soldiers made out of terracotta. Each soldier was individual in height and facial features suggesting they were modeled on real people and not just made from a caste. Archaeologists would go on to discover that buried in the same area was a terracotta replica of an […]

Cultural associations of the Boar in ancient Lebanon and Egypt

In the almost collective myth of gods of rebirth being dispatched by irate gods there are two that will be focused on; the death of Osiris by his brother Seth and the death of Adonis by the jealous God Ares. These two gods of rebirth were dispatched by a wild Boar. The strength, courage, and […]

Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

Catharism, as talked about in previous articles (See The Last Cathar and The Real Cup of Christ?), was a Gnostic Christian sect which flourished in southern France until the 14th century when the last Cathar Parfait was executed. It has been theorised that this sect came to France by way of trade with the Byzantine Empire […]

The Female Pope

Although this story should not technically be classified as obscure history I have come across enough people who are not aware of it, which in my mind, makes it worth writing about. The story of the female Pope is an interesting and amusing one; and it seems fitting for the time given the Papal conclave […]

The Kabbalist who tried to convert the Pope

Before the end of the Reconquista and the expulsion of the Sephardi Jews along with the Muslims, Spain had been a center of the Jewish world. The Jewish community had given Spain some of the best doctors, theologians, adventurers and administrators in the world. A surprisingly large amount of these came from the Jewish enclave in Tudela, in […]

The Hidden Christians of Japan

In 1549 three Catholic missionaries landed in Kagoshima, Japan intent on spreading the word of God to this new land. They were Francis Xavier (later made a saint), Cosme de Torres and Father John Fernandes. They would meet with great success and at its height the number of converts would number 300,000 including members of […]

Yasuke: The African Samurai

Japan is not a place one would usually associate with immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean. Yet in the late 16th century Japan’s most powerful warlord, Oda Nobunaga, had a black page who was not only a cultural curiosity but also served as Nobunaga’s bodyguard and was granted the prestigious rank of Samurai. This was […]