Archaeological evidence suggests humans started skating on ice approximately in the second millennium B.C. The oldest known ice skates, found throughout Scandinavia, were made mostly of horse and cow bones, pierced at one end and bound to the foot with leather straps.
Bones lack the edge necessary for the modern skating stride, so forward propulsion came from the person's upper limbs: a stick was pushed backward between the legs, which were kept almost straight.
Slow and awkward but effective, especially in Finland:
"Ice skates in Finland were a huge benefit. Our study does not provide conclusive evidence that ice skating originated in that country, but poses strong basis for this hypothesis. In other words, if I were an archaeologist searching for the oldest ice skates, I would certainly start from Finland," Formenti said.
During this period some persons made a business of smearing needles
with poison and then pricking with them whomsoever they would. Many
persons who were thus attacked died without even knowing the cause, but
many of the murderers were informed against and punished. And this sort
of thing happened not only in Rome but over practically the whole
world. -- Cassius Dio (d. 229 AD) on the reign of Domitian (51-96 AD)
The Roman jorica was public in the full sense of the term, like soldiers' latrines in war time. People met there, conversed, and exchanged invitations to dinner without embarrassment. And at the same time, it was equipped with superfluities which we forego and decorated with a lavishness we are not wont to spend on such a spot. All round the semicircle or rectangle which it formed, water flowed continuously in little channels, in front of which a score or so of seats were fixed. The seats were of marble, and the opening was framed by sculptured brackets in the form of dolphins, which served both as a support and as a line of demarcation. Above the seats it was not unusual to see niches containing statues of gods or heroes, as on the Palatine, or an altar to Fortune, the goddess of health and happiness, as in Ostia; and not infrequently the room was cheered by the gay sound of a playing fountain as at Timgad. . . . [Yet in]Rome . . . even the latrines of the imperial palace, as majestic and ornate as a sanctuary beneath its dome, contained three seats side by side . . . .
The public latrines were not the resort of misers or of the very poor. These folk had no mind to enrich the conductores joricarum to the tune of even one as. They preferred to have recourse to the jars, skilfully chipped down for the purpose, which the fuller at the corner ranged in front of his workshop. He purchased permission for this from Vespasian, in consideration of a tax to which no odour clung, so as to secure gratis the urine necessary for his trade. Alternatively they clattered down the stairs to empty their chamber pots (las ana) and their commodes (sellae pertusae) into the vat or dolium placed under the well of the staircase. Or if perhaps this expedient had been forbidden by the landlord of their insula, they betook themselves to some neighbouring dungheap. For in Rome of the Caesars . . . more than one alley stank with the pestilential odour of a cess trench (lacus) such as those which Cato the Elder during his censorship paved over when he cleaned the cloacae and led them under the Aventine. Such malodorous trenches were extant in the days of Cicero and Caesar; Lucretius mentions them in his poem, De rerum natura. . . .
There were other poor devils who found their stairs too steep and the road to these dung pits too long, and to save themselves further trouble would empty the contents of their chamber pots from their heights into the streets. So much the worse for the passer-by who happened to intercept the unwelcome gift! Fouled and sometimes even injured, as in Juvenal's satire, he had no redress save to lodge a complaint against the unknown assailant; . . . Roman jurists did not disdain to take cognisance of this offence, to refer the case to the judges, to track down the offender, and assess the damages payable to the victim. . . .
When in consequence of the fall of one of these projectiles from a house, the body of a free man shall have suffered injury, the judge shall award to the victim in addition to medical fees and other expenses incurred in his treatment and necessary to his recovery, the total of the wages of which he has been or shall in future be deprived by the inability to work which has ensued.
By day there reigned intense animation, a breathless jostle, an infernal din. The tabernae were crowded as soon as they opened and spread their displays into the street. Here barbers shaved their customers in the middle of the fairway. There the hawkers from Transtiberina passed along, bartering their packets of sulphur matches for glass trinkets. Elsewhere, the owner of a cook-shop, hoarse with calling to deaf ears, displayed his sausages piping hot in their saucepan. Schoolmasters and their pupils shouted themselves hoarse in the open air. On the one hand, a money-changer rang his coins with the image of Nero on a dirty table, on another a beater of gold dust pounded with his shining mallet on his well-worn stone. At the cross-roads a circle of idlers gaped round a viper tamer; everywhere tinkers' hammers resounded and the quavering voices of beggars invoked the name of Bellona or rehearsed their adventures and misfortunes to touch the hearts of the passers-by. The flow of pedestrians was unceasing and the obstacles to their progress did not prevent the stream soon becoming a torrent. In sun or shade a whole world of people came and went, shouted, squeezed, and thrust through narrow lanes unworthy of a country village . . . -- from Daily Life in Ancient Rome by Jerome Carcopino
Amazing. Pliny the Younger said Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 AD, and rotten fish entrails prove he was correct.
Remains of rotten fish entrails have helped establish the precise dating of Pompeii's destruction, according to Italian researchers who have analyzed the town's last batch of garum, a pungent, fish-based seasoning.
Frozen in time by the catastrophic eruption that covered Pompeii and nearby towns nearly 2,000 years ago with nine
to 20 feet of hot ash and pumice, the desiccated remains were found at
the bottom of seven jars.
The find revealed that the last Pompeian garum was made entirely
with bogues (known as boops boops), a Mediterranean fish species that
abounded in the area in the summer months of July and early August.
"Analysis of their contents basically confirmed that Mount Vesuvius most likely erupted on 24 August 79 A.D., as reported by the Roman
historian Pliny the Younger in his account on the eruption," Annamaria
Ciarallo, director of Pompeii's Applied Research Laboratory told
Here's how Herodotus (a Greek historian of the fifth century BC) sums up the Persian penchant for adopting other people's customs:
The Persians welcome foreign customs more than any other people. For instance, they decided that Median dress was more beautiful than their own, and so they wear it. They wear Egyptian breastplates for their wars. Whenever they learn of employments of all sorts, the adopt them for their own practice. From the Greeks they have learned to lie with boys. (Book I, sec. 135, translation by David Grene)
The Maliakos Gulf tsunami was one of a series of earthquakes in the summer of 426 BC which affected the course of the Peloponnesian Ware by forcing the advancing Spartans to abort their planned invasion of Attica. The ancient geographer Strabo reported that throughout Greece parts of islands were submerged, rivers permanently displaced and towns devastated.The tsunami itself hit the coast in the Maliakos Gulf at three different places, reaching towns as far as three quarters of a mile inland.The force of the tsunami was such that at one place a trireme was lifted out of its dock and thrown over a city wall.
Thucydides gave the following account, noting the characteristic sequence of quake, receding water and huge wave:
About the same time that these earthquakes were so common, the sea at Orobiae, in Euboea, retiring from the then line of coast, returned in a huge wave and invaded a great part of the town, and retreated leaving some of it still under water; so that what was once land is now sea; such of the inhabitants perishing as could not run up to the higher ground in time. A similar inundation also occurred at Atalanta, the island off the Opuntian-Locrian coast, carrying away part of the Athenian fort and wrecking one of two ships which were drawn up on the beach. At Peparethus also the sea retreated a little, without however any inundation following; and an earthquake threw down part of the wall, the town hall, and a few other buildings.
The cause, in my opinion, of this phenomenon must be sought in the earthquake. At the point where its shock has been the most violent the sea is driven back, and suddenly recoiling with redoubled force, causes the inundation. Without an earthquake I do not see how such an accident could happen.
The Acts of Paul and Thecla, a second century noncanonical narrative of apocryphal Pauline adventures, contains a detailed physical description of the apostle, which seems a bit unprepossessing to modern readers:
[Paul was] a man of small stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting and nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness.
Well, the friendliness is fine, but how about the rest of it? Does the unflattering picture mean it's probably accurate? After all, who would idealize a historical figure by giving him a hooked nose and a unibrow?
Three of Paul’s features, his small stature, hooked nose, and meeting eyebrows, also appear in Suetonius’s description of Augustus (Vita Caes. 2.79.2):
His teeth were wide apart, small and well-kept; his hair was slightly curly and inclining to golden; his eyebrows met. His ears were of moderate size, and his nose projected a little at the top and then bent slightly inward. His complexion was between dark and fair. He was short of stature . . . but this was concealed by the fine proportion and symmetry of his figure.
Suetonius used such physiognomic descriptions, which have parallels in the handbooks, to describe his ideal political leaders. Meeting eyebrows were regarded as a sigh of beauty, and a person with a hooked nose was thought likely to be royal or magnanimous. Tallness was preferred; nevertheless, since men of normally small height had a smaller area through which the blood flowed, they were thought to be quick. . . .
The same features were also attributed to Heracles . . . . The closest parallel to the Acts description is found in Philostratus VS 552, where a certain Agathion, who was also called Heracles, is described. Philostratus’s description is based on a letter of Herodes Atticus, who had been a pupil of Dio Chrysostom.
He says that his hair grew evenly on his head, his eyebrows were bushy and they met as though they were one . . . . He was hook-hosed . . . and his legs were slightly bowed outwards . . . .
Heracles and traditions associated with him were used extensively in early Christianity, and I suggest that the author of the Acts derived his description of Paul from these sources.
This doesn't mean that Paul did NOT look like this, but such a description is not to be considered "true" because of its "warts-and-all" candor. In fact, it was quite formulaic; like most antique descriptions, it was intended to reveal the social and psychological stature of the individual through universally understood physiognomic traits. These were not necessarily made up in the case of historical rather than mythological figures, but they were certainly cherry-picked even when the individual was known to the writer.
A cylinder seal is a cylinder engraved with a 'picture story', used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally wet clay. First appearing in the Near East during the Uruk period, later versions would employ notations with Mesopotamian hieroglyphs. In later periods, they were used to notarize or attest to multiple impressions of clay documents.
The seal itself was made from hard stone, glass, or ceramics such as Egyptian faience.Many varieties of material such as hematite, obsidian, steatite, amethyst, and carnelian were used to make cylinder seals, but lapis lazuli was especially popular because of the beauty of the blue stone.
Yesterday, my daughter (Paperclip, 17, future archaeologist), who volunteers at a museum once a week, got to work with the curator and head of collections rolling out ancient Babylonian cylinder seals onto clay (which they flattened in a pasta maker).