Greek Bronze and Gold Short Sword and Dagger, C. 1450-1300 BC
The daggers and early swords of the Aegean Bronze Age represent some of
the most striking artifacts of the period in terms of their opulence,
craftsmanship and display of technical virtuosity. Whilst some were used
solely for ceremonial use, many were functional instruments of war,
attested by the clear developments in form, according to fighting
preferences and practices. The short sword, which developed from the
dagger, is one of the most interesting innovations of the Bronze Age,
often signifying social status in societies in which hierarchy and
one-on-one combat were primary concerns. The present dagger and short
sword probably originate from Crete, in the locality of the great
palaces at Knossos, or from Mycenae. The Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations were renowned for their wealth, richness of culture,
technical sophistication, and strong influence across the Greek world
for centuries to come. These are the weapons of the fabled heroes of
Troy, the great treasures of powerful kings like Agamemnon, who ruled
over the kingdom of Mycenae.
Main element of the Mycenaean religious ritual was the procession of female worshippers towards the shrine, the temple, or the altar of the seated, sometimes enthroned goddess.The depiction of processions on murals, and gold seal-rings was particularly frequent.
The preserved part of a large mural composition from the palace of Thebes (14th/13th century BC) shows a procession of female adorants in traditional Minoan dress. They advance majestically holding their offerings: lilies, wild roses, a casket with jewellery, a necklace, and a luxury vase perhaps filled with aromatic oil. They move in two opposite directions, perhaps towards a central female deity who receives their offerings.
I think I have finally solved the flounced skirt mystery. In my opinion it’s a large rectangle piece of textile, straight from the loom, perhaps decorated at the top and bottom border with added woven bands. The textile is draped around the hips, then tied with the top toppling down. Multiple layers can be worn, toppling down and giving the look of the flounced skirt. Similarly the vest, could be a tunic, again rectangle pieces of textile can be used, with decorative woven bands binding them together at the seams.
The Egyptian siege of Dapur in the 13th century BC, from Ramesseum, Thebes The Siege of Dapur occurred as part of Ramesses II’s campaign to suppress Galilee and conquer Syria in 1269 BC. He inscribed his campaign on the wall of his mortuary temple, the Ramesseum in Thebes. The inscriptions say that Dapur was “in the land of Hatti”. Although Dapur has often been identified with Tabor in Canaan, Kenneth Kitchen argues that this identification is incorrect and that the Dapur in question is in Syria, to the north of Kadesh.
How to Move an Ancient Egyptian Temple — The Relocation of the Abu Simbel Temples.
In the 13th century BC the mighty pharaoh Ramses II ordered the construction of two large temples in southern Egypt to commemorate the Battle of Kadesh, to honor his queen Nefertari, and to impress his Nubian enemies to the south. Carved directly into the sandstone hillsides, the large facade of the temples feature four colossus statues of Ramses himself, each standing 67 feet in height. The facade itself stands an incredible 100 feet high and 119 feet wide. Inside of the temples are a network of rooms and hallways with many priceless hieroglyphic carvings detailing Egyptian history, religion, and folklore.
By the 1960’s the Abu Simbel Temples were a national treasure for the new Egyptian nation. However, Egypt’s industrial modernization would threaten the temples in a way that no pharaoh could have ever predicted. Near Abu Simbel was the construction of a 364 foot hydroelectric dam known as the Aswan dam. A key objective of the Egyptian government, the dam would provide electricity for the developing nation and kick start a new agricultural plan which would create a massive irrigation project. However, Abu Simbel was literally in deep trouble, for construction of the damn would leave the ancient temples submerged at the bottom of the Lake Nasser Reservoir.
To save Abu Simbel, a team of archeologists, historians, engineers, architects, and construction workers were recruited by UNESCO to conduct one of the most ambitious rescue operations of an ancient structure. The plan was to relocate the ancient temples above the flood plain of Lake Nasser. Incredibly, the team cut the temple facade and structure into individual blocks weighing 20-30 tons. Each block was numbered then recorded to keep track of where they would go when reassembled. The blocks were lifted out of their original foundation using massive cranes, then transported to another site where they could be catalogued and stored for later. From 1964-1965 over 10,000 stone blocks were cut, lifted, and transported away from the site.
The new home for the temples was located 200 meters inland and at a height 65 meters higher than the original Abu Simbel site. To recreate the look of a temple carved from a sandstone hill, artificial hills were created using concrete which simulated sandstone. Once the new Abu Simbel site was ready, each block was meticulously fitted back into position, reconstructing the ancient temples anew. In fact the reconstruction is so precise that it would impress ancient Egyptian engineers, on the façade of the temples there are no visible seams where the blocks meet. Only a few joins can be found from within the temple complex. The project was completed in 1968 and cost $40 million, over $250 million dollars today. The cost was well worth it as the Abu Simbel complex is considered one of the great treasures of Egypt and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 500,000 tourists visit the temples every year.
As I announced in my previous recording, I’m very excited to share something new with you today: my first recording in Hittite! The Hittites were a people who lived in central Anatolia (modern Turkey) during the Bronze Age; at its greatest extent, in the 14th and 13th centuries BC, their empire included Syria to the south and reached the shores of the Aegean Sea to the west. The Hittite language is particularly interesting because it is the oldest written Indo-European language. This means several words are recognisable by modern-day English speakers, one of the most well-known being watar which means - you’ve guessed it - water.
The text chosen for this recording is a prayer known as the Prayer of Kantuzili. Kantuzili was a Hittite prince who suffered from some kind of sickness; seeking relief, he turned to the Sun-god Ištanu. I did not record the entire prayer, because it’s too long and several parts are damaged, making them difficult to read. Instead I chose what I found to be the most striking passages. I hope you enjoy listening to them.
A note on pronunciation: unlike Ancient Greek, Hittite pronunciation is near impossible to reconstruct, so the way I went about it is pretty much hit-and-miss. As a basis, I used variations in spelling, transliterations into other languages, and etymology. For example, it’s debated whether Hittite š was pronounced s, sh or something in between; I chose the middle road as a conciliation, and also, more subjectively, because I wanted Hittite to have a different sound quality from Ancient Greek.
Finally, for those of you who like my Ancient Greek recordings, fear not! I’m not going to stop making them anytime soon. Rather, I hope to expand the project to other languages while keeping the usual Ancient Greek hymns and poetry. Along with Hittite, you can expect Akkadian and possibly Sumerian in the future.
Thank you for your support, and as always, comments and suggestions are welcome! :)
§10 Numu pirmet inani peran pittuliyaš pir kišat numu pittuliyai peran ištanzašmiš tamatta pēdi zappiškizzi. Nu wētti mieniyaš armalaš maḫḫan nuza ūka apeniššan kišḫat kinunamušan inan pittuliyaša makkēšta. Nat šīunimi tuk memiškimi.
§2 My God, since my mother gave birth to me, you, my God, have raised me. Only you are my name and my reputation, my God. Only you have joined me together with good people, my God, and to a position of strength, my God, only you have directed my deeds. My God, you have called me, Kantuzili, the servant of your body and your soul. Since childhood, my God’s mercy, I recognise and acknowledge it.
§5 Life is tied to death. Death is tied to life. A child of humankind does not live forever. The days of his life are counted. If a child of humankind could live forever, even if human ills and sickness arose, they would not be a grievance to him.
§10 But my house, because of the sickness, has become a house of anxiety, and because of the anxiety, my soul is dripping away to another place. Such as someone who is sick throughout the year, so have I become, and now the sickness and the anxiety have grown too great. My God, I keep saying it to you.
ḫašta, “to give birth”, literally means “to open”
ÌR is the Sumerogram (a sign that stands for an entire word, taken from Sumerian) for “servant”. A Hittite would’ve read it out loud as the Hittite word. In this text, I have replaced several Sumerograms and Akkadograms with their Hittite equivalents (šīunimi for DINGIR-YA, annašmiš for AMA-YA) but unfortunately the Hittite word for “servant” is unknown, so I had to read out the Sumerogram instead.
the same goes for DUMU, “child”
manatwa natta kattawatar: until recently, researchers were unsure whether this was a rhetorical question (would they not be a grievance to him?) or an assertion (they would not be a grievance to him). The publication of a Sumerian hymn to the Sun-god Utu has shown that the sentence is directly adapted into Hittite from the Sumerian text, and that it is an assertion: if human beings could live forever, sickness wouldn’t matter anymore.
Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia, is a sexual attraction or sexual act involving corpses. The attraction is classified as a paraphilia by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. The term was coined by the Belgian alienist Joseph Guislain, who first used it in a lecture in 1850. It derives from the Greek words νεκρός (nekros; “dead”) and φιλία (philia; “love”).
Rosman and Resnick (1989) reviewed information from 34 cases of necrophilia describing the individuals’ motivations for their behaviors: these individuals reported the desire to possess a non-resisting and non-rejecting partner (68%), reunions with a romantic partner (21%), sexual attraction to corpses (15%), comfort or overcoming feelings of isolation (15%), or seeking self-esteem by expressing power over a homicide victim (12%).
Singular accounts of necrophilia in history are sporadic, though written records suggest the practice was present within Ancient Egypt. Herodotus writes in The Histories that, to discourage intercourse with a corpse, ancient Egyptians left deceased beautiful women to decay for “three or four days” before giving them to the embalmers. Herodotus also alluded to suggestions that Greek tyrant Periander had defiled the corpse of his wife, employing a metaphor: “Periander baked his bread in a cold oven.” Acts of necrophilia are depicted on ceramics from the Moche culture, which reigned in northern Peru from the first to eighth century CE. A common theme in these artifacts is the masturbation of a male skeleton by a living woman. Hittite law from the 16th century BC through to the 13th century BC explicitly permitted sex with the dead.
Around 1850, Belgian physician Joseph Guislain coined the word nécrophiles in a lecture about mental illness, with reference to infamous contemporary necrophile François Bertrand. The term was popularized about a decade later by psychiatrist Bénédict Morel, who also discussed Bertrand. Richard von Krafft-Ebing included necrophilia in his 1886 Psychopathia Sexualis. Krafft-Ebing based his conclusions on the cases of Bertrand and Victor Ardisson, and suggested that Bertrand’s necrophilia was caused by congenital feeble-mindedness and early masturbation.
In a modern example, Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who suffered from necrophilia. In order to be aroused, he had to murder his victims before performing sexual intercourse with them. Dahmer stated that he only killed his victims because they wanted to leave after having sex, and would be angry with him for drugging them.British serial killer Dennis Nilsen is also considered to have been a necrophiliac.
“During intercourse the cold, the aura of Death, the funeral decorations and the smell of death helped her.”
Megiddo was an important city-state in northern Israel, overlooking the fertile Jezreel Valley from the west. It is thought that the greek word Armageddon is derived from Megiddo (the term Armageddon is used in a generic sense to refer to any end of the world, an apocalyptic scenario).
Megiddo has been identified as one of the most important cities of biblical times. Its strategic location gave the city a great importance. It controlled a commonly used pass on the trading route between Egypt and Mesopotamia, and it also stood along the route that connected the Phoenician cities with Jerusalem and the Jordan River valley.
The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 BC. It is a tell, a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot. Following massive construction, the city reached its largest size under King Solomon, king of Israel, in the 10th century BC.
Megiddo is mentioned many times in Egyptian royal inscriptions (15th to 13th centuries BC). They attest to the city’s importance as the center of Egyptian administration in Canaan and as a logistical base on the road north. The armies of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition led by the rulers of Megiddo fought at the Battle of Megiddo (15th century BC). The city was conquered after a seven month siege. Megiddo has been the site of several historical battles in ancient and modern times.
Excavations have unearthed almost 30 layers of ruins, confirming a very long period of settlement. Finds include monumental temples -an Early Bronze Age sacrificial altar, from the Canaanite period, 3rd millennium BC-, luxurious palaces, a collection of jewelry pieces and ivories, fortifications and remarkably engineered water systems.
The city was abandoned during the Persian rule, in the 5th century BC
Egypt, Abu Simbel. The facade of the huges 13th century BC Great Temple of Abu Simbel which was raised 65m (213 ft) when the rising waters of Lake Nasser threatened to drown it. Here tourists are listening to a lecture given by their guide. 2006, Ian Berry.