Log 11.420.7

Metroid dissection continues to provide more questions than answers. Our research teams have isolated the energy conduits that run from the invasive twin mandibles to the energy core in the creature’s quadripartite nucleus, but the manner in which a Metroid actually extracts the life force from its prey remains an utter mystery. The victim does not lose blood or any other vital fluids, and yet the Metroid extracts energy; identifying this energy is our central problem. It takes no physical form, and yet without it, the victim dies. We will continue to research this matter, as the isolation of this life-giving essence could be the key to our ascendance.

- Metroid Prime (2002)


Also, this is my favorite log entry in the game, not only because I get a kick out of reading the Space Pirates’ confidential data files regarding failed or otherwise dangerous science experiments (there’s one later, I believe, that talks about trying to replicate Samus’ morph ball ability… Needless to say it didn’t go well for them), but also because it’s such a stark contrast to the Chozo lore scattered around Talon IV.

While the Space Pirates are highly technologically advanced, this is mostly influenced by violence and a desire to dominate the galaxy. With all their science and weapons tech, they are still baffled as to how Metroids feed on an invisible life force, but they don’t really care so long as they can find a way to extract this mysterious energy for their own purposes.

Meanwhile, the Chozo became an advanced race by respecting and bonding with nature, using the branches of growing trees, for example, to reinforce their infrastructure. They appear to be long aware of the existence of the soul and the way their spirits are connected to the greater universe. At the point where they began to see visions of the future and a “light that sometimes takes the form of a woman,” I’d argue that they’d already achieved an ascended state of being.

While the Chozo saw Phazon as a “Great Poison” to be sealed away, the Space Pirates only see it as a source of incredible genetic strength with a side effect of madness. And what’s a little madness if you’re going to force your way to being the most powerful race in the galaxy?

I guess the moral is, you can’t truly become the most successful species through violence alone.

Where To Start with MFU Classic

So, in recent days, I’ve heard from a few people who are wondering if they ought to take the plunge into watching original The Man From UNCLE.  With 105 episodes–and substantial variations in quality–I thought it might be useful to compile a list of recommendations for “starter” episodes.  

A few of my top picks are:

“The Quadripartite Affair”–one of the earliest episodes to prominently feature Illya; he’s very cute in this and I like the way he is with the female guest star (prickly at first, but eventually warming up to her–not too different from tall!Illya with Gaby).

“The Project Strigas Affair”–an early humor-focused episode; in this episode, Napoleon and (especially) Illya spoof some well-worn spy movie tropes–but (unlike the excessively campy episodes of the third season), it makes sense for them to do so here because the antagonist has some very theatrical ideas about spycraft.  Also features William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, before they were the stars of Trek, as bumbling secondary antagonists.

“The Gazebo in the Maze Affair”–a baddie encountered in some pre-series mission kidnaps Illya so that Napoleon will be lured into to rescue him.  Nice banter between the boys, when they are chained up in a dungeon.

“Re-Collectors Affair”–the guys foil a gang of criminals who focus on returning artworks looted during the war to their rightful owners–for a price.  Illya is particularly yummy in an undercover role as the fiance of the rightful owner of one of the paintings.

“The Arabian Affair”–Illya in a white burnoose, riding a horse.  ‘nuf said.

“The Children’s Day Affair”–THRUSH runs a boys’ boarding school.  Sweet (though sadly truncated) h/c scene between NS and IK, after the latter gets whipped by the headmistress.

OK, we sort of waded into the shallow end of the pool there at the end…there are some parts of season 4 I haven’t seen yet (and am hugely looking forward to), so I’ve focused on the early part of the show.  And, as you might have noticed, I’m Team Illya.  Any other cousins on Tumblr who want to weigh in with additional suggestions?  

PHOKIS, Delphi. 5th century BC. AR Tridrachm (25mm, 18.26 g). Two rhyta (drinking vessels) in the form of ram’s heads; above, two dolphins swimming toward each other; ΔAΛΦ-I-KON in small letters below; all within beaded border / Quadripartite incuse square in the form of a coffered ceiling; each coffer decorated with a dolphin and laurel spray.

We come this week to a coin that is considered to be one of the most important historical, religious, and architectural artifacts from the Greek world. Struck in Delphi, the so-called “navel of the world,” this coin is thought to show two drinking vessels shaped like the heads of rams on the obverse, and is commonly associated with the Greek defeat of  the Persians in 479 BCE. The reverse is thought to show the actual ceiling of the temple of Apollo at Delphi on the reverse.

This attribution has raised some questions, but it is believed that the Persian treasure from the campaign was dedicated at Delphi and the frequent repetition of dolphins, associated with Apollo Delphinios, the particular god of Delphi, has strengthened these claims.

This is a very rare denomination (tetradrachms are most  common, along with didrachms and drachms) and a very rare coin. Less than twenty are known to still exist.


Very Rare Coin from Phokaia with Silenos

This electrum hekte, struck in 521-479 BC, at the ancient city of Phokaia in Ionia features the front facing head of Silenos (Silenus) with wide eyes, beard and mustache. The reverse is a quadripartite incuse square. A very rare coin, only 10 examples are known, five of which are in museums.

In Greek mythology, Silenus was the old rustic god of wine making and drunkenness. He was Dionysus’ foster father and tutor. Dionysus was nursed by the Nysiad nymphs and raised by Silenus in a cave on Mount Nysa. He was usually depicted as a bearded, balding old man with a pot belly and stubby nose, with the ears and tail of a donkey.


The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Affair Conclusion

I’m done with Season One and what a lovely season it was!

To recap here are all 29 episodes with descriptions and links to some more in-depth reviews. The best episodes (in my opinion) are bolded.

The Vulcan Affair: In which Napoleon’s hair is hella weird.
The Iowa-SCUBA Affair: The title makes no sense. The episode follows suit.
The Quadripartite Affair: where it becomes apparent that Illya is the worst flirt in the world. He compares himself to furniture. Because Ladies love furniture.
The Shark Affair: in which Illya gets beaten up by doors and Napoleon gets whipped, but in which no sharks were actually harmed.
The Deadly Games Affair: the plan is Zombie Hitler. The solution is kill it with fire.
The Green Opal Affair: Repeat after me: Illya is the only one allowed undercover ever again.
The Giuoco Piano Affair: where the crazy villains are doin’ it for love.
The Double Affair: in which Napoleon Solo is replaced by a perfect double and nobody notices.
The Project Strigas Affair: where Kirk and Spock are not yet Kirk and Spock
The Finny Foot Affair: aka the one with mini Snake Plissken.
The Neptune Affair: Soviet officer Illya is forced to put the lives of his countrymen in the hands of Napoleon Solo. He is understandably distressed.
The Dove Affair: Spy vs spy, but Napoleon has the advantage because Khan Noonien Singh is afraid of children.
The King of Knaves Affair: As a result of brainwashing, Napoleon isn’t quite as bad at undercover work this time.
The Terbuf Affair: In which being so obviously American is a definite handicap.
The Deadly Decoy Affair: Mr. Waverly has a cunning plan. Napoleon Solo fucks it up.
The Fiddlesticks Affair: The Casino Heist.
The Yellow Scarf Affair: where you realize Napoleon’s thing is personal one-on-one rapport with villains.
The Mad, Mad Tea Party Affair: In which Mr. Waverly is so much of a troll even THRUSH is confused.
The Secret Sceptre Affair: in which Napoleon is completely, brutally wrong. (and Illya should stop going on vacation with his partner.)
The Bow-wow Affair: Illya’s episode. He names a fox “Napoleon” and it literally takes Solo’s role in the plot: causing a huge commotion and leading the bad-guy henchmen (dogs) on a merry chase because he’s so foxy.
The Four-Steps Affair: Illya metaphorically beats cynicism into a child.
The See-Paris-and-Die Affair: Alternative title: Illya’s terrible, no-good, very bad day.
The Brain-Killer Affair: In which the Section Ones demonstrate why they’re in charge.
The Hong Kong Shilling Affair: where Illya pretends to be a Mongol Lord for reasons that I’m sure were explained but which currently escape me.
The Never-Never Affair: in which the Joker goes after Agent 99.
The Love Affair: Listen up kids: joining a cult is less fun than it sounds.
The Gazebo in the Maze Affair: In which lifelong bondage fans are made.
The Girls of Nazarone Affair: Napoleon learns blond(e)s are dangerous despite being Illya’s partner for almost an entire season by now.
The Odd Man Affair: All the evil cool kids wear sunglasses to a nightclub, but it’s in France so no one notices.

Extremely Rare Greek Cerberus Coin, c. 500-450 BC

This is an electrum stater from the city of Cyzicus (aka Kyzikos) in the region of Mysia (map), with the very rare depiction of the hellhound Cerberus (with just two heads). He is depicted above a tunny fish with a quadripartite incuse square on the reverse. Cerberus appears with some frequency on Roman provincial coins, yet rarely on Greek coins. In Greek and Roman mythology Cerberus guards the entrance of the Greek underworld to prevent the dead from escaping and the living from entering. He is best known for having been captured by Heracles in his twelfth and final labor, which was by far his most dangerous. After delivering the hellhound to King Eurystheus, he then returned to chain the creature at the gates of Hades, which he continued to guard.

Cerberus is typically described as having three heads of wild dogs, though often with just two, as here on this coin; but as with most every aspect of Greek mythology there are various traditions and little agreement, such that Cerberus is described as possessing somewhere between one and one hundred heads. He is said to have had the claws of a lion, a tail in the form of a serpent, and his mane sometimes is described as being composed of a great mass of serpents. 

It has been suggested that this type coin was struck in reference, or homage, to Cimmerium (Kimmerikon), a city on the southern shore of the Cimmerian Bosphorus that earlier had been called Cerberion. The reason being that this city would have been a familiar destination for the intrepid Cyzicene merchants. However, Cyzicus was particularly attached to the story of the Argonautic expedition – especially to Heracles’ involvement – and to the goddess Persephone, who Appian says had received Cyzicus as a marriage gift from Zeus. Since Cerberus is associated with both Heracles and Persephone, this type perhaps is best seen as part of a larger display of designs associated with those deities.

Very Rare Electrum Stater from Kyzikos, Mysia c. 500-450 BC

The coin shows a winged deer with a tunny fish below; an incuse quadripartite square is on the reverse.

Kyzikos (Cyzicus) was a city in the region of Mysia in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor or Anatolia (modern Balıkesir Province, Turkey).
The city was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later it received many colonies from Miletus, allegedly in 756 BC, but its importance began only after the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), when the decay of Athens and Miletus set in.

A rare & fascinating coin pertaining to the Oracle at Delphi:

This coin is from the Asyut Hoard of 1968/9 and it sold for $600,000. It is extremely rare and of the greatest artistic, historical, and architectural importance - a superb example, probably the finest known.

This tridrachm from Delphi, Phokis (c. 480-475 BC) shows two drinking vessels (rhytons) in the form of rams heads; above them, two dolphins swimming toward each other. On the reverse is a quadripartite incuse square in the form of a coffered ceiling; each coffer decorated with a dolphin and a spray of laurel leaves.

The tridrachms of Delphi are among the most historically interesting of all Greek coins. The fact that almost all the known examples were found in Egypt suggests that the unusual weight standard might have been chosen specifically with Egyptian trade in mind. The obverse type is a direct reference to the Greek victory over the Persians at Plataea in 479 BC, when a great deal of booty, including silver vessels like the two on this coin, were taken by the Greeks. These two rhyta, which are of Persian design, were certainly from that booty and must have been brought as a dedication to Apollo in Delphi (rams were sacred to Apollo, along with dolphins).

The reverse is also very unusual: it is not a normal quadripartite incuse but, rather, clearly shows the stepped coffering that we know decorated ancient ceilings, especially those of prestigious buildings like that of the Temple of Apollo. It is interesting to consider that the coffered ceiling design might be an actual representation of the ceiling that existed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The dolphins that ornament these coffers make the identification sure as they are a punny play on both the name of Delphi (delphis means dolphin) and on the fact that Apollo himself could appear in the form of a Dolphin. Mythology says that he first came to Delphi in the guise of a dolphin swimming into the Corinthian Gulf.

Delphi was famous in the ancient Greek world for being the mountain location of the Temple of Apollo and the Delphic Oracle. The oracle was consulted by kings and by private individuals, the responses being interpreted by the Pythia, who would sit in a trance-like state while she spoke. It is from this place where many important questions were asked and decisions were made in the ancient Greek world - Alexander the Great’s decision to conquer Persia and the rest of the known world being one of them.


Extremely Rare Ancient Chimera Coin

This is an electrum stater from the ancient city of Kyzikos, Mysia, circa 550-500 BC. It has a chimera above a tunny fish which was the civic badge of Kyzikos. The reverse is a quadripartite incuse square. This near mint state, extremely rare coin sold for around $65,000.

The feared Chimera was a monster of which a brief description in Homer’s Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference. He depicts it as “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire”. It was the offspring of Typhon (last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, and most fearsome of all the monsters of Greek mythology) and Echidna (a half-woman, half-snake, who with her mate Typhon was the origin of many monsters) and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.

According to Greek myth, the Chimera lived in Lycia, ravaging the land. It was eventually slain by Corinth’s most famous son Bellerophon, with the help of Pegasos, at the command of King Iobates of Lycia. Since the Chimera was impervious to Bellerophon’s attacks even when mounted on Pegasos, an inventive weapon was required – thus, mounting a block of lead on the end of his spear, Bellerophon lodged the lead in the Chimera’s mouth so that when it breathed fire the lead melted and blocked its airway, suffocating it.

About the Chimera on this coin and in Greek art…

Keep reading

Extremely Rare Centaur Coin, C. 500-450 BC

Valued at $180,000, this electrum stater was minted by the Orrescii, an ancient Thraco-Macedonian tribe. It shows a centaur carrying off a struggling nymph. The reverse side is a simple quadripartite incuse square. This stater is of the greatest numismatic importance and rarity and is apparently unique and unrecorded. It appears to be lacking a direct comparison in the published numismatic literature. The closest parallel is an electrum stater in the British Museum collection, of similar type, but of a wholly different style and execution.

The Orrescii lived around the ancient city of Lete (map) in Mygdonia, Macedon. They may have been identical to the Satrae and closely connected with the Bessi, or priests of the oracular temple of the Thracian Bacchus. The Orrescii and other Pangaean tribes were miners who worked the mines around the Pangaean range.

Their coins reflected their religious beliefs, the subjects being satyrs and centaurs carrying off struggling nymphs, iconography associated with the worship of Bacchus. The image of a centaur on the Orrescii coins however is more rare than that of the satyr. These coins illustrate the wild rituals which were held in the mountains of Thrace and Phrygia in honor of Bacchus, whose mysterious oracular temple stood on the top of Mount Pangaeum.

Macedonia, Terone, Tetrobol ca. 500-450, AR 2.43 g. Legend TE, between, a one-handled jug. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. SNG Berry 48. SNG ANS 754.

This lovely tetrobol of Terone in Macedonia, gives us an opportunity to talk a little bit about trade in the ancient world, which, building on the coin from Emporion last week, makes something of a theme for January. In this case, this simple 5th century coin reveals a great deal about the economy of this polis in the northern Greek world.

Though little is known about Terone, outside of its rocky dealings between the Greeks and the Persians during the end of the archaic period, the area, and the polis were known for their main export, wine. The “jug” shown here is in fact an oinochoe, which translates literally to “wine pourer.” Other coins of Terone show amphorae, large storage containers used to ship wine, and grapes.

This coin is also interesting in that the name of this polis has been disputed based on differences between Greek dialects. Attic Greek writers preserve the name as Torone, but, as is evident by the legend TE on this coin, the locals, speaking in an Aeolic dialect, called it Terone. Multiple dialects were spoken in Greece during its long history, and the differences influenced not only accent, but spelling.

The earliest depiction of Kyzikos, son of Apollo

This electrum stater from Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 460-400 BC shows the hero Kyzikos, riding his rearing horse at a gallop to the right. This is the earliest depiction of the Thessalian Kyzikos, the son of Apollo and the founder of the famous city of Kyzikos located at the Sea of Marmara, where the tuna fish catch was so important that the animal became the characteristic feature of this city’s coinage. The reverse shows a quadripartite incuse square. A rare and very fine coin.

The entire trade in grain as well as slaves in the Black Sea Region was transacted with electrum coins from Kyzikos such as this for many decades. The site of ancient Kyzikos is located in the modern Balıkesir Province of Turkey. It was located on the shoreward side of the present Kapıdağ Peninsula (the classical Arctonnesus), a tombolo which is said to have originally been an island in the Sea of Marmara only to be connected to the mainland in historic times either by artificial means or an earthquake.

18 MFU episodes that show the true depth of Napoleon & Illya’s friendship - Part 1

Quadripartite - Napoleon protects his very vulnerable partner.

Shark - Illya takes a beating to protect his partner, even knowing the futility.

Neptune - Underneath Napoleon’s cockiness is his determination to solve the mystery and bring Illya back home.

Terbuf - Illya knows Napoleon is going to need him and will do whatever it takes to help.

Fiddlesticks - Knowing he can’t save Illya is devastating for Napoleon.

Secret Sceptre - Illya once again goes above and beyond for Napoleon and Napoleon returns the favor by reclaiming something that belongs to him.

Love - Illya waiting for Napoleon at the airport and Napoleon so happy to see the friend he had earlier thought dead.

Ultimate Computer - Despite being ordered to get his disreputable body away, “Filthy” returns to rescue Napoleon.

Virtue - He knows he shouldn’t, but Illya still scuttles the mission to save Napoleon’s life.

Children’s Day - Napoleon gets a C- for putting friendship first.

More to follow…

Drachm from Teos, Ionia, Hagnon, Magistrate c. 375 BC

The coin shows a Griffin seated right, raising its forepaw. On the reverse, a quadripartite incuse square with granulated quarters and thick crossbars; THIΩN on vertical crossbar, A r-NΩN on horizontal crossbar.

Ancient Teos was flourishing seaport located in Ionia (Asia Minor). The coinage of Teos bears the Griffin (Gryphon), a creature sacred to Apollo, whom most Ionian cities worshiped.

All that is known of Hagnon the Magistrate comes to us from Plutarch:

“He saw that his favorites had grown altogether luxurious, and were vulgar in the extravagance of their ways of living. For instance, Hagnon the Teian used to wear silver nails in his boots.” - Plutarch, Alexander, chapter 40