egyptian tombs

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Rare Egyptian Bronze Cat Nursing Kittens, Late Dynastic, C. 712-343 BC

A cast bronze fragment of a piece that was perhaps a cuff or applique.

The ancient Egyptians, rather uniquely among the world’s civilizations, had an obsession with cats, both tame and fierce, large and small. Cats were domesticated to help protect crops from pests in Cyprus or possibly Mesopotamia (it is difficult to interpret the archaeological record on this matter for a variety of reasons), but the Egyptian’s love of cats seems to have gone above and beyond that of their contemporaries. The cemetery at Hierakonpolis includes a cat skeleton in a pre-Dynastic tomb (c. 3700 BC) that had a broken left humerus and right femur that seem to have been set by a human and allowed to heal before that cat’s ultimate death.

The first illustration of a cat with a collar comes from a 5th Dynasty (c. 2500 to 2350 BC) Egyptian tomb at Saqqara. Cats were the most frequently mummified animal in Egypt and there were multiple feline goddesses, including the domesticated cat-form Bastet. Bronze statues like this one may have been direct offerings or appeals to Bastet.

Languid Lounger | If ever an animal was born to run, it’s the cheetah. People have marveled at this fastest of land mammals for thousands of years. Egyptian tombs and rock temples show representations of the cheetah, and many ancient cultures used the cheetah for its hunting prowess, much the way falcons are used in many countries to accompany hunters. The cheetah has adorned the courts of kings, queens, and emperors, and its amazing grace and beauty still captive the world today. (photo: Paul Manaig)

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Women cry during the funeral for those killed in a Palm Sunday church terrorist attack in Alexandria Egypt, at the Mar Amina church, Monday, April 10, 2017. Egyptian Christians were burying their dead on Monday, a day after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in coordinated attacks targeting Palm Sunday services in two cities. Women wailed as caskets marked with the word “martyr” were brought into the Mar Amina church in the coastal city of Alexandria, the footage broadcast on several Egyptian channels.
(AP Photo/Samer Abdallah)

~*~

Lamenting Mourning Women
Tomb (TT55) of Ramose
c. 1411-1375 BCE, Thebes.

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Shatby Necropolis

Alexandria, Egypt

4th century BCE

Just like all cemeteries in Alexandria, Shatby burials have been cut into the natural rock, used by the first generations of Macedonians in Alexandria. Shatby is Alexandria’s oldest Hellenistic cemetery.

these tombs were arranged with a central, so called kline burial, consisting of a rock cut bed or sofa into which the deceased was laid down (one of the main differences between Macedonian kline burials and the Alexandrian is in the physical appearance of these beds/sofas: while the Alexandrian ones are hollow, the Macedonians are flat, thus placing the deceased straight on its top). Similar to other Alexandrian cemeteries Shatby is decorated with Doric (half) columns, and its chambers are decorated with false windows. Although most paint is long gone, it was originally recorded to have sky-blue panels, and an overall decoration which can be compared with the 2nd Pompeian style.

That Quaint Small Town Named Sunnydale

Sunnydale, CA, just a couple of hours north of Los Angeles by car, must be the most interesting place to live! With a population of only 38,500 (as per the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign in 2x03 “School Hard”), this piece of suburbia has:

Geographical Features

  • A hellmouth (1x01 “Welcome to the Hellmouth”)
  • A lake (1x12 “Prophecy Girl”)
  • A beach (2x20 “Go Fish”)
  • A cliff called Kingman’s Bluff (3x10 “Amends”)

Government and Cultural Institutions

  • Sunnydale Zoo (1x06 “The Pack”)
  • Natural History Museum (2x04 “Inca Mummy Girl”, 2x21 “Becoming, Part One”)
  • Two hospitals: Mercy Hospital (1x12 “Prophecy Girl”), and Sunnydale Memorial a.k.a. Sunnydale General Hospital (1x07 “Angel”, 2x18 “Killed by Death”)
  • A military base, one with a rocket launcher (2x14 “Innocence”)
  • A secret military agency, built underground, called the Initiative (4x04 “Fear Itself”)
  • Several high schools (and presumably a number of elementary and middle schools as well): Sunnydale High, Fondren High (2x02 “Some Assembly Required”), Kent Preparatory School (2x05 “Reptile Boy”), Miss Porter’s (3x02 “Dead Man’s Party”)
  • Two colleges: Crestwood College (2x05 “Reptile Boy”), and UC Sunnydale (4x01 “The Freshman”)

Concentration of Consecrated Grounds

  • 43 churches (2x10 “What’s My Line, Part Two”)
  • 12 cemeteries (3x17 “Revelations”)

Transportation Hubs

  • Sunnydale Bus Depot (2x04 “Inca Mummy Girl”)
  • A port that can accommodate large cargo ships, possibly those bound for Asia (2x13 “Surprise”)
  • Sunnydale International Airport (3x19 “Choices”, 6x01 “Bargaining, Part One”). An “international” airport is one equipped to handle immigration and customs.
  • Sunnydale Train Station (5x14 “Crush”), also a terminus (a station at the end of a railway line)

Historical/Mystical Landmarks and Artifacts

  • The du Lac Cross (2x09 “What’s My Line, Part One”)
  • Glove of Myhneghon (3x07 “Relevations”)
  • Gem of Amarra (4x03 “Harsh Light of Day”)
  • The Scythe, forged centuries ago for the Slayer (7x21 “End of Days”)
  • Old Sunnydale Mission, a Catholic mission buried by an earthquake in 1812 (4x18 “Pangs”)
  • An Egyptian (wth, Joss?) tomb, sheltering the last of the Guardians (7x21 “End of Days”)

Other Unique Features

  • A high mortality rate (2x20 “Go Fish”)
  • A sewer tunnel network popular among vampires and demons (1x02 “The Harvest”)
  • A multitude of abandoned factories and houses (2x01 “When She Was Bad”)

Nearby Locations

  • Large woods (3x05 “Homecoming”, 6x02 “Bargaining, Part Two”)
  • A desert containing a sacred spot (5x18 “Intervention”, 7x13 “The Killer in Me”)
  • A dam (6x15 “As You Were”)
  • Shadow Valley Vineyards (7x18 “Dirty Girls”)
Poirot and Miss Marple anime

Good quality versions of all 39 episodes of Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot and Marple (2004-2005) anime series have appeared on Youtube, complete with English subtitles!

Happy watching!

Why the next Elder Scrolls game should be set in Elsweyr

So one of my friends recently asked me some questions about Khajiit religion, and it got me on a Khajiit kick, and I realized I’ve never put my case for the above out into the blackness of the internet. Note I’m not saying other locations wouldn’t be deserving–just that I think Elsweyr, at this particular point in the lore of the universe, is the prime candidate for a game.

What is Elsweyr

Elsweyr is the homeland of the Khajiit. Set in the central south of Tamriel, it borders Cyrodil in the north, Valenwood in the west, and Black Marsh, roughly, in the east. The land itself reflects the dual nature of the Khajiit–the north is a hot, sandy desert inhabited largely by nomadic tribes, while the south is lush and tropical, home to many plantations, with several large cities where most of the population is concentrated. Already, we have the setup for a great world, with lots of visual variety in addition to cultural variety.

Why Elsweyr works so well

  • It has great fodder for dungeons
  • Cyrodil had Ayelid ruins and oblivion gates. Skyrim had barrows and Dwemer Ruins. Elsweyr? Egyptian-style tombs buried in the sands of the dessert, complete with mummified corpses. Delving the south? Ancient temples and ruins from before men or mer were even on Tamriel. It represents a chance to see things older than we ever have before.
  • Crime is widespread
  • Not just the bandit camps, but organized crime–smuggling, drug trafficking, theft, scams. Khajiit carry a reputation as criminals for good reason, and it is likely a game set there would put Skyrim’s plentiful bandit camps to shame.
  • It is visually stunning
  • Vast shifting dunes. Plantations on stilts. Rainforest-like jungles. Great cities and entrenched strongholds. Elsweyr doesn’t just have a great variety of climates, it has a variety of some of the most visually contrasting and appealing climates. This isn’t skyrim where everything is grey, white, brown or green–the foliage alone has all the colors of the rainbow.
  • It’s full of characters
  • Anyone familiar with the Elder Scrolls series knows that Khajiit are often some of the most memorable characters. From their wit to their playful nature, each one is memorable in their own way.
  • They’re visually diverse
  • Khajiit biology is tied to the moons–there are a total of at least 17 kinds of Khajiit, ranging from elves with cat tails to intelligent housecats to man-sized tigers. This means that everyone you meet will be different, and cities full of them will not feel as homogenous and bland as Skyrim’s cities often did.
  • They have a unique philosophy
  • While Khajiit have a version of the monomyth that features many of the Divines we’re familiar with, by and large they worship Azurah, and follow the teachings of a Bhuddist-like philosophy called Ja-Kha’jay. After a game that asked pointed questions about what a deity was in the Elder Scrolls universe, Elsweyr is ready and waiting to ask “What does it matter?”
  • It has a newly relevant ruin with a lot of historical importance
  • If you delved into Skyrim lore, you probably picked up that Talos, who went on to become Tiber Septim, founded the third era by conquering Tamriel, thanks in no small part to a giant bipedal machine called the Numidium, which was powered by the heart of the dead god Lhorkan. The building site of this machine, the Halls of Colossus, was built in Elsweyr, after the Blades forcefully evicted the area of the native Khajiit. Not only that, but at some point during or after the Numidium’s construction, it began poisoning the surrounding area, rendering a large swath of Elsweyr uninhabitable to the present day, with descriptions often recalling radiation poisoning. You do the math; an old, abandoned ruin, once home to the heart of a dead god, now in territory controlled by the Thalmor, who have an expressed desire to achieve deity, possibly at the expense of the mortal world.

Why they work now

  • They’re an outside perspective
  • Though technically part of the Aldmeri Dominion, Khajiit are natives to Tamriel, and are generally skeptical of both elves and men. This makes them an excellent background for a story about the conflict between men and elves, which Skyrim obviously built up. We will get to see not only both sides, but what each side looks like to a people unconcerned with either of them.
  • They’ve never been more accessible
  • Because Elsweyr is now part of the Dominion, it’s been instilled with an influx of Thalmor, trying to control their society and generally being perplexed by their culture. Not only does this provide a great source of conflict for the player to be involved in, it gives the writers a way to showcase the quirks of Khajiit culture without making the game totally alien and unrelatable.
  • They’re the most politically uneasy ally in the Dominion
  • Elsweyr joined the Dominion, not as Elsweyr, but as Anequina and Pelletine, the two countries it was originally formed out of. This is because the Mane, the Khajiit spiritual leader, was assassinated by the Thalmor. The Mane served as a mediator between the two halves of Elsweyr, and without him, the balance between the two fell apart. They both joined the Dominion after it claimed responsibility for ending the Void Nights, but there are several indications that the common folk are unhappy with their new Thalmor rulers. Combine this with a long tradition of Khajiit rebels and nationalists and an old racial conflict with the Bosmer, and Elsweyr is the best place to start for somebody looking to chip away at the power of the Dominion.
  • Its experiencing an identity crisis
  • Anequina. Pelletine. Elsweyr. What is the homeland of the Khajiit? This is a question the Khajiit are very much struggling with right now, and there would be no better time for us to explore a culture than when it is trying to find itself, especially as an outside group (the Thalmor) is trying to force their own culture and religion on them.
  • They’re primed for a player character
  • Their spiritual leader is recently dead. Their country is fractured, their culture under assault, and they very recently spent two years with the focal point of their lives absent. What happens when the type of child you have is determined by the moons and they aren’t there anymore? Is it random? Does it go on as normal, but without a reference? Are all the children stillborn? In any case, it’s mass panic at best, and there would be a great deal of lingering trauma over that. To put it in the simplest terms, the Khajiit have the most problems that could be addressed by a legendary hero coming in and shaking things up.

I know you want to go to Alinor and punch the Thalmor in their faces. I know Black Marsh has undergone several radical, often concerning changes. I know Valenwood is fantastically interesting, as are the lands beyond Tamriel. 

But have you considered going Elsweyr.