Currently housed at the University of Cambridge Library, the historic Book of Deer is said to have been discovered by the University's librarian, Henry Bradshaw, around 1860. It is said to be the only pre-Norman manuscript revealing tenth century northeastern Scottish culture's society and religious traditions, and is the earliest known Gaelic document in existence.
Although fascinating to historians for multiple reasons, the greatest intrigue for those drawn to this ancient text lies within the handwritten notations made in its margins and other blank areas, and not necessarily within the text itself. The notations, also referred to as 'notitiae', are written in the type of Gaelic typically spoken by the upper classes in the early twelfth century region of Buchan at a time later than the original text, indicated land grants or 'charters' and represented the legal rights to land believed to have belonged to the original Deer monastery of Aberdeenshire in Scotland, thus presenting a clear connection to the Deer region.
Although a Cistercian Abbey can be traced back to the year 1219 in a nearby region, any links to an earlier monastery have never been established and appear to have vanished entirely other than within the hand writings of the Book of Deer. If the writings are, in fact, valid, and not forgeries, they indicate the earliest Gaelic documents in Scottish existence - dated back to three centuries earlier than the next earliest historical writings confirmed. Although their credibility has been called into question by some, others argue the writing is completely authentic and believe clues to the location of the actual monastery will be found eventually. Through continued study and ongoing excavations like the fall of 2015's endeavor which sought to use ground-penetrating radar as well as other archeological work being planned and funded primarily by the namesake Scottish Book of Deer Project, such a discovery may well occur in time.
The text of the book comprises eighty-six folios including portions of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the full Gospel of John, an Anointing of the Sick (especially relevant as the church sought to secure the Picts' faith over traditional folk healers when sick), the Apostles' Creed, and an old Irish colophon arranged into a small Gospel Book. (There is also an interesting element within the text, largely considered an error in the Gospel of Luke, which indicates a man named Seth to be the first man and grandfather of Adam.) These types of books were usually made for personal use at the time rather than for use in church, and were called "Irish Pocket Gospel Books." Cambridge University was provided the book by King George I after he bought the library of Bishop John Moore in 1715, but its original transport from its roots in Aberdeenshire remains a mystery. Some have speculated that the Wars of Scottish Independence may have provided the circumstances for its theft.
Although some have suggested the penmanship appears identical among the various notations, others have stressed the differences and proposed the possibility of five different writers. Some of the accompanying artistry, however, is especially unique and noteworthy. Decorative adornments of letters, large Evangelist illustrations and simple drawings can be found throughout the book, and its style suggests similarities to early Irish manuscripts such as the old Irish manuscripts of the Book of Dimma and Book of Durrow.
Of particular relevance aside from the land grants' writing are areas which centered around the monastery's creation in Deer by the saints Drostan and Columba, after they were given the original land from a Pictish authority named Bede. Additionally, some of the writings asserted the monastery was free to remain of paying certain fees. David I of Scotland is also mentioned in the writings, as he is said to have given the monastery certain immunity from lay service and future demands for payments. As a result, during the time of David's rule in Scotland, he enjoyed heightened 'sair sanct' status throughout his reign.
The entire book has now been shared with the world via the digital images of the Cambridge University Library.- Ancient Origins
Book of Deer- WIKIPEDIA
Book of Deer- Cambridge University, Digital Library
Image: The Nebra sky disc, a bronze disk of around 30 centimeters. The symbols are interpreted generally as the Sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars (including a cluster of seven interpreted as the Pleiades). Two golden arcs along the sides, interpreted to mark the angle between the solstices, were added later. A final addition was another arc at the bottom surrounded with multiple strokes (of uncertain meaning, variously interpreted as a Solar Barge with numerous oars, the Milky Way, or a rainbow). Permissions*: see below.
Indiana Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, reports on the find of a Bronze Age city. “Archaeologists have uncovered a 5,000-year-old city thought to be ten times larger than Jericho as well as a 7,000-year-old temple in northern Israel, officials announced Sunday.”
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In December 1933, nineteen-year-old Patrick Leigh Fermor set out alone on a great adventure, a walking trip from Amsterdam to Istanbul, or as Fermor still called it, Constantinople. (It was renamed in 1930.) He had no idea when he left that he would not return until 1937. In 1977, he collected his notebooks from the trip and wrote A Time of Gifts and its sequel Between the Woods and the Water.
Although Leigh Fermor had one notebook stolen from him with all the rest of his gear, he otherwise must have kept careful account and his memories of the trip must still have been vivid, for the result is an entrancing account of scenery and architecture, tales of chance encounters, glimpses of foreign customs and celebrations, and so on. Jan Morris, who wrote the introduction, calls him “one of the great prose stylists of our time,” and Wikipedia, quoting an unnamed British journalist, “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene,” presumably for his work with the Cretan resistance in World War II as well as his writing. (He was also a friend of Ian Fleming.)
After his journey, Paddy settled in Athens and then Rumania with Princess Balasha Cantacuzene, a fascinating older woman separated from her husband. However, after World War II broke out, he hurried back to England, not realizing how long it would be until he saw her again.
Paddy spent most of the war in Crete working with the resistance. He is famous for kidnapping a German general and removing him to Egypt, an act meant to improve Cretan morale. (A movie, Ill Met by Moonlight starring Dirk Bogarde as Paddy, was made about this feat, but Paddy was unhappy with how far it drifted from the facts.) For the rest of his life, despite the unfortunate political differences that evolved between England and Greece after the war, Paddy was beloved in Crete.
After the war, Paddy lived a gadabout life with many famous friends, only settling down in Greece with his wife Joan in his late middle age. He and Joan had been together 27 years before they married and for many of those years, had an open relationship.
Paddy chose the profession of writer and wrote several books about his travels and adventures. He was a raconteur who demonstrated an impressive range of knowledge and was interested in everything. Apparently very charming and loved by many people, he was not always sensitive to the feelings of others.
From his drinking bouts with Dutch barge men to his extended stays in various German, Austrian, and Czech castles, Leigh Fermor plunges enthusiastically into every experience on offer. At one moment he is sleeping in a barn, in the next hanging out with fashionable youth in Vienna. Along the banks of the Danube he is mistaken for a 50-year-old smuggler. All of these adventures as well as his observations of nature are described in beautiful, evocative prose. To add interest to the modern reader, he is describing a Europe that no longer exists.
Halloween: A celebration of Celtic Tradition, Christian Dogma, Victorian Mischief, Costumes and Free Candy
Long before the modern Halloween the Ancient Irish and Europeans were celebrating Samhain, pronounced SOW-WIN, a great druidic (Druids were Celtic Priests) festival that marked the boundary between our world and the spirit world. In druidic times Samhain. (This marks the Celtic beginning of the New Year and winter. This celebration starts at sunset on October 31 to sunset November 1. Samhain, means November in the Celtic culture, it is the Gateway to winter, where the veils are especially thin between these worlds of the seen and unseen. The Celts called the unseen realms the ‘Otherworld’, a place of beauty, rest, and renewal.- Cherokee Billie) marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year.
The Celtic New Year’s Eve was a mysterious moment which belonged neither to the past nor the present. Samhain was considered the third and last harvest of the growing year. Fruit and nuts were the last gifts of nature to be gathered and the apple in particular was the symbol of this harvest. Traditionally great bonfires were lit at Samhain upon which in druidic times may have been the site of human sacrifices to ensure that the winters reign was not unending.
FEILE NA MARBH - the dead walk abroad At Samhain the spirits of the dead sought the warmth of the fireside and communion with their living kin. This time was also known as Féile na Marbh (the Feast of the Dead). As the veil between worlds thinned, all manner of spirits walked abroad at Samhain, including those of loved ones passed on. An empty chair by the fire was often left free along with a candle in the window to guide the ghosts home for comfort and seek their blessing for the coming year. In time the candle was placed inside a turnip lantern upon which a demon’s face was carved to scare off unfriendly spirits. The tradition of wearing of costumes and masks at Samhain developed to deceive these same unfriendly spirits lest they recognised you and called you to the Otherworld before your time. Nervous living folk would attempt to appease the wandering spirit with gifts of fruit and nuts, which may be the origin of the ubiquitous treat or treating.
APPLE MAGIC Samhain was also a time for divination and apples were predominant among the tools used to tell the future. Bobbing for apples or snapapple was used as a race among unmarried contestants – the winner who took the first bite of the apple was destined to be the first to wed, alternatively the winner was destined for good luck in the coming year. An unmarried girl would attempt to peel an apple in one long strip and cast the peel over her shoulder. The peel would reveal the initial of her future husband. Before the stroke of midnight a person would sit in a room in front of a mirror lit by only one candle and cut an apple into nine pieces. With their back to the mirror they would ask the question they wanted answered and eat eight of the apple pieces. The ninth would be thrown over their left shoulder. Then they would turn and look over the same shoulder into the mirror where they would see a symbol or image that would answer their question.
BARM BRACK A fruit loaf called barm brack was baked at Samhain with tokens wrapped in greaseproof paper. If you found a token in your slice of barm brack this also foretold your future. The type of tokens varied by family but common examples were: A ring – marriage within the year A silver coin – riches A rag or pea – poverty A stick – an unhappy marriage In some areas Colcannon, a dish of mashed potatoes, cabbage with either ham or bacon, was cooked with similar tokens placed into the dish.
HOW SAMHAIN BECAME HALLOWEEN With the coming of Christianity to Ireland in the 7th century Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints Day, a time to honour saints and martyrs, to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was originally celebrated on May 13th but in 834 Pope Gregory III moved All Saint’s Day to 1st November and it became the opportunity to remember all Saints who had died and all of the dead in the Christian community. October 31st became All Hallows Eve (or Hallow e’en)Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2019 occurs on Thursday, October 31. - YouTube
Until the Victorian era, these two traditions continued in their own right. However, since the Victorian times, these two traditions seem to have merged together a little, and the Christian’s Halloween has absorbed some of the darker aspects of Celtic Samhain. This seems to be why today we have the spooky festivities on Halloween.
It is important to note, that Halloween and Samhain are still two separate celebrations, the latter being mostly for Celtic Pagan followers. However, some do argue that the Christians tried to ‘Christianise’ the Pagan Samhain with their own Hallowe’en, although this is disputed.
Why do we celebrate Halloween?Today we tend to celebrate Halloween because it falls on the eve of All Saint’s (Hallows) day where all saints are honoured. But also this celebration is mixed with the Pagan Samhain, where the spirits of the dead can rise up and walk with the land of living. It just so happens that these two rituals fall on the same date, where Christian and Pagan celebrations intertwine.- DISCOVER MIDDLE AGES.COM
For Further Reading about the evolution of Halloween:
Festival of the Dead (FEILE NA MARBH)- WIKIPEDIA
Barm Brack- Wikipedia
Tricks and Treats: The Story of Halloween
Halloween: Origins and Traditions
English Folklore: The Forgotten Death of Mischief Night
Mischief Night -WIKIPEDIA
The practice of burying wooden boats alongside the tombs of Egyptian royals began in the Early Dynastic Period, just after the reunification of upper and lower Egypt around 3100 B.C. Egyptologists still debate the exact significance of the boat burials. Some believe the vessels were intended as barges to carry the deceased ruler down the mighty Nile River to the afterlife. Alternatively, the boats could have been intended to provide transportation through the unknown waters of the underworld. In any case, they clearly played a crucial role in the elaborate rituals surrounding royal funerals in ancient Egypt. Some pharaohs during the Old Kingdom (Third to Sixth Dynasties) even had several boats buried alongside them as part of their pyramid complexes.
In most cases, unfortunately, not much has survived of these wooden funerary boats. Either they were dismantled back in ancient times, and the pits where they were buried were found empty, or they disintegrated, leaving the pits full of brown dust. One notable exception was found back in 1954 in the Great Pyramid built for the Fourth-Dynasty pharaoh Khufu in Giza. That vessel, which had been buried in pieces, was painstakingly reconstructed and put on display in all of its 144-foot-long glory.
Now, another funerary boat discovered buried in the sand near the Abusir necropolis is giving archaeologists hope that more such vessels may lie waiting to be found. During an excavation in 2015, a team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology uncovered the boat some 12 meters (39 feet) south of a large mastaba built of mud bricks. Despite the distance, they clearly linked the boat to the tomb due to the boat’s orientation and the pottery found inside it. Both date to around 2550 B.C., at the very end of the Third or the beginning of Fourth Dynasty.
Measuring some 62 feet long and made of wooden planks, the boat remains in surprisingly good condition after spending several millennia buried in sand. The wooden pegs holding the planks together can still be seen in their original positions, and even the battens covering the planking seams (made of plant fibers) survive, along with some of the ropes holding the boat together.
The funerary boat, and the tomb itself, does not appear to be linked to a pharaoh or other member of a royal family, as they were not buried close enough to a royal pyramid. Still, the tomb’s impressive size suggests the person buried within was a member of Egypt’s elite, with a significant connection to the reigning pharaoh. Though a stone bowl found in the tomb bears the name of King Huni, of the Third Dynasty, the identity of the tomb’s occupant remains unknown, due to the badly preserved state of the chapel area. (Interestingly, the oldest Egyptian funerary boat known to survive—a 20-foot-long vessel discovered at Abu Rawash cemetery back in 2012 and dating to around 2950 B.C.—also housed a non-royal, a high-ranking official during the First Dynasty.)
As Dr. Miroslav Barta, director of the Abusir expedition, notes in a press release: “[T]his is a highly unusual discovery since boats of such a size and construction were, during this period, reserved solely for top members of the society, who usually belonged to the royal family. This suggests the potential for additional discoveries during the next spring season.” The relatively well-preserved condition of the funerary boat found near Abusir also makes the find a particularly valuable one for Egyptologists, who will be able to see at close range how such boats were constructed. In 2016, the Czech team will join experts from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University in studying the techniques used to build the boat’s hull. -History.com
Nautical Archeology Notes- The Royal Ship of Khufu
Wikipedia- Khufu Ship
PBS- Building Pharoah's Ship
harvard.eduDigital Giza- Khufu Boat Pits
The village of Wurttemberg, located in Germany was the idle home for the Kepler family. Johannes Kepler's achievement, his ability to discover that the movement of the planets in elliptical orbits was almost as shocking as the intimate knowledge that his mother was a witch.
Tried for witchcraft in 1615, Katharina Kepler horrified her family and scandalized her sons achievement.
The story is beautifully told by Dr. Ulinka Rublack, a professor of early modern history at University of Cambridge.
For Kepler, the achievement of overthrowing Aristotle's belief in circular movements and a geo-centric universe was not easily for many to accept. A Heliocentric universe for a Lutheran wasn't any easier, it only lent credence to the image of his mother as a craven, unmoored individual.
Katharina's first accuser was her own son, Heinrich, a mercenary held in financial bondage throughout Europe. Having been arrested, she was thrown into prison and shown the tools of torture. She was released and returned home.
Dr. Rublack has unearthed a fascinating study of the social mores of early modern Europe during difficult social, geopolitical times. With her book, we are introduced to thinking of those that spent most of their time working at night, on rooftops with arcane maps and zodiacs.
University of Cambridge http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/professor-ulinka-rublack
The Siege of Jaffa was fought from 3 to 7 March 1799 between France and the Ottoman Empire. The French were led by Napoleon Bonaparte, and they captured the city. Jaffa was surrounded by high walls, flanked by towers. Ahmed al-Jazzar entrusted its defence to his elite troops, including 1,200 artillerymen. Napoleon had to win Jaffa before he could advance any further, and the whole expedition's success depended on its capture—the town was one of Syria's main mercantile centres, and had a harbour which would provide vital shelter for his fleet. All the exterior works could be besieged and a breach was feasible; when Bonaparte sent a Turk to the city's commander to order its surrender, the commander decapitated the Turk and ordered a sortie. He was pushed back and as early as the evening of the same day; the weight of the besiegers caused one of the towers to collapse and so, despite courageous resistance by its defenders, Jaffa was taken.
According to some sources, the French messengers who brusquely told the city of Napoleon's ultimatum had been arrested, tortured, castrated and decapitated, and their heads impaled on the city walls. This harsh treatment led Napoleon, when the city fell, to allow his soldiers two days and nights of slaughter and rape. He also executed the Turkish governor Abdallah Bey. Bonaparte no longer wished to honour the promises of his adopted son Eugène de Beauharnais that prisoners' lives would be spared and ordered that a large part of the Ottoman prisoners (according to some sources around 2,440, according to others 4,100), many of them Albanians, be shot or stabbed to death with bayonets. Napoleon's eulogists later wrote of this decision: "For, to keep in submission so considerable a number of prisoners, it would have been necessary to detach guards for them, which would have severely diminished his army's numbers; and if he had allowed them to leave free men, it was reasonable to fear that they might swell the ranks of Ahmed al-Jazzar's troops."
Napoleon also allowed hundreds of Egyptians to leave, hoping that the news they would carry of Jaffa's fall would intimidate the defenders of the other cities in Syria. This backfired, since their news instead made these defenders fight all the more fiercely. Meanwhile, a plague epidemic caused by poor hygiene in the French headquarters in Ramla decimated the local population and the French army alike. As he had also suggested during the siege of Acre, on the eve of the retreat from Syria-Palestine Napoleon suggested to his army doctors (led by Desgenettes), that the seriously ill troops who could not be evacuated should be given a fatal dose of laudanum, but they forced him to give up the idea. Overcome in the north of the country by the Turks, Napoleon abandoned Palestine. After his departure the British, allied to the Turks and commanded by William Sidney Smith, rebuilt Jaffa's city walls. In the years 1800 to 1814, after a new nine-month siege, Jaffa was again taken over by Napoleon's former opponent, Ahmed al-Jazzar, Acre's governor, a Bosnian.- YouTube
Indiana Hoenlein & the Lost Napoleon battle of Jaffa. @elalusa Report w/Malcolm Hoenlein @conf_of_pres. @thadmccotter
On March 3, the French army reached the fortified hilltop city of Jaffa. The Ottoman fortress with its 1.3-meter thick walls constituted a formidable challenge.
French military buttons found in Jaffa from Napoleon conquest Moshe Hartal, Israel Antiquities Authority.
As the French and Turks struggled, the Turks collected the heads of fallen French infantry soldiers, and placed the severed heads on poles above the walls. On March 7, Bonaparte sent an officer bearing a flag of truce to negotiate Jaffa's surrender. The Turks opened the city gates and let the officer through. Minutes later his head was raised on a pole.
A Napoleon coin, minted in 1858, found in debris taken from Temple Mount, Jerusalem Olivier Fitoussi.
The furious Napoleon ordered a general assault. He remained outside the city, where he was told that 3,000 Ottoman soldiers were willing to surrender if their lives would be spared.
But further outraging the emperor, among the captives were soldiers who had been caught in Al Arish, Gaza and Ramla, and who had promised never to take up arms against the French again.
Again, the French were having difficulty provisioning their own troops, let alone prisoners of war. Also, Napoleon didn't want to stretch his already outnumbered soldiers by making them guard the captives. But he didn't want them rejoining the enemy ranks.
Years later, exiled on the island of Saint Helena, Napoleon wrote: "to have acted otherwise than as I did, would probably have caused the destruction of my whole army…I therefore… ordered that the prisoners taken at El Arish, who in defiance of their capitulation, had been found bearing arms against me, should be selected out and shot. The rest, amounting to a considerable number, were spared."
We do not know if Napoleon slaughtered all 3,000 Turkish prisoners at Jaffa or only men who resumed fighting him after their release, as he tells us. There is no archaeological evidence to support the mass slaughter described in the memoirs of Napoleon´s secretary, Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, who never missed an opportunity to stain the Corsican's reputation.
The booty the French found in Jaffa included small vessels anchored in its harbor, and also cannons, that would shortly prove useful.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.790107
History of Jaffa
On the Road to Jerusalem: Ali Baba's Cave & solved mysteries of the time of Jesus and Pilate. Gideon Avni, Israel Antiquities Authority. Malcolm Hoenlein @conf_of_pres.
Dr. Gideon Avni (PhD – 1997) is the Head of the Archaeological Division in the Israel Antiquities Authority and a lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University. In 1989 – 2000 he was the IAA Jerusalem District Archaeologist.
His academic interests focus on various aspects of Classical, Late Antique and Early Islamic archaeology, the cultural and religious transformation of the Near East from Byzantine to Islamic rule, and the archaeology of desert societies in the Levant. During the last 30 years he has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Negev Desert (1979-1988; 2005-2011), Beth Govrin (1983-1992), Jerusalem (1984-2003) and Ramla (2002-2004). In 1996-2002 he headed a comprehensive survey and excavations project at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
In 2004-2007 he co-directed a research team supported by the Israel Science foundation on the urban centers of Palestine in the Early Islamic period. He was a fellow at Institute of Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2008-2009). He is currently a member of a research group of the Hebrew University and the Israel Academy of Sciences on the formation of Islamic society in Palestine, and a co-director of an interdisciplinary study on the ancient agriculture of the Negev during Byzantine and Early Islamic times.
IN ISRAEL, 'ALI BABA CAVE' OFFERS INSIGHTS INTO JESUS'S LIFE AND DEATH- Newsweek
In an Israeli warehouse, clues about Jesus’ life and death- Times of Israel
One of the most famous queens of ancient Israel is Jezebel, the daughter of the Phoenician king Ethbaal, wife of Israelite King Ahab (872–851 B.C.E.) and archetype of the wicked woman. I believe that she had a seal and that it has been recovered, although until now not confidently identified.
Jezebel, though a woman, plays a major role— but backstage. Her influence on her husband, King Ahab, was enormous. As the Biblical text puts it: “There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited” (1 Kings 21:25). She never gave up her Phoenician religion, nor her devotion to Baal. Ahab sinned not only by taking a worshiper of Baal for his wife, but, at her urging he, too worshiped Baal (1 Kings 16:31). No doubt this strong Biblical criticism is colored by later Deuteronomistic theology, but it stands to reason that Jezebel did deserve her reputation somehow.
Jezebel went even further. She began killing off the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:4). Apparently a hundred were saved when they were hidden in two caves by Obadiah. At that point the prophet Elijah confronts the king, who responds to Elijah with the famous line “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17).
Elijah then sets up a contest on Mount Carmel: 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah who sup at Jezebel’s table (1 Kings 18:19) face Elijah alone. A bull is placed on Baal’s altar, but try as they may, even gashing themselves with knives, the prophets of Baal can produce no fire. Then Elijah orders water to be poured on his meal offering to the Lord. Elijah beseeches the Lord and fire descends from heaven consuming the meal offering and even the water (1 Kings 18:23–38).
Fit for a Queen: Jezebel's Royal Seal- Biblical Archeology Society