Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Launch - The Purple Mist by Kim Scott

Jay Hanson was climbing the ladder at a prestigious Boston ad agency. His beautiful wife was expecting their first baby. Life couldn’t get much better
A misstep with a million dollar account leaves Jay’s life spiraling out of control. He is desperate to right it all again.
Jay’s wife brings a new pet into their home. This is no ordinary cat. Jay quickly learns the cat has astonishing abilities.
Focused on getting revenge at any cost, Jay is making wicked decisions. When everything is done there will be consequences.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

History Trivia - Union of Kalmar signed

June 30

 296 St Marcellinus began his reign as Catholic Pope. The violent persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian dominated his papacy.  Also the papal archives were seized and destroyed, but the famous Cemetery of Calixtus was saved by the Christians when they blocked its entrance.

350 Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantine dynasty, was defeated and killed in Rome by troops of the usurper Magnentius.

1397 Denmark, Norway & Sweden signed the Union of Kalmar under Queen Margaretha.



Monday, June 29, 2015

History Trivia - London's Globe Theatre burns down

June 29

1509 Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII of England died.

1613 London's Globe Theatre burns down when a theatrical canon is fired during the play 'All Is True'. 

1644 Charles I of England defeated a Parliamentarian detachment at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, the last battle won by an English King on English soil.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

History Trivia - Fighters of the First Crusade defeat Kerbogha of Mosul

June 28

548 Byzantine Empress Theodora, wife of Emperor Justinian I, and thought to be the most influential and powerful woman in the Roman Empire's history, died.

767 Pope St Paul I died. His reign was dominated by relations with the Frankish and Lombard kings and with the Eastern Roman Emperor.

8 Fighters of the First Crusade defeated Kerbogha of Mosul.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Secret tunnel near 'Dracula's dungeon' uncovered

Fox News

File photo - An old wall drawing depicting a portrait of Vlad the Impaler is seen in a house in Sighisoara, Romania, where his father lived. (Reuters)
Archaeologists still aren't entirely sure where a secret passageway beneath a castle in Turkey leads, but visitors can now explore it for themselves. Not far from where Vlad the Impaler—the inspiration for Dracula—was reportedly held in one of two dungeons inside Tokat Castle, the tunnel stretches for about 100 feet before the path is blocked, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
"We have made progress. Since it has an angle of 45 degrees, it is hard to remove stones and earth," culture and tourism director Abdurrahman Akyuz says of the tunnel, found during restoration efforts in 2009.
"We think that this tunnel was closed in the past to prevent possible danger." Earlier this year, Akyuz told the Daily Sabah that "the history books record that this passage comes down to Pervane Public Bath with a stairway of 360 steps." But for now, "it is a total mystery to where this passage leads." Experts previously said the king's daughters may have used the passage to access the bath, but all that's known for certain is that the tunnel, known as Ceylanyolu or Gazelle Passage, stretches into Tokat's city center, Akyuz says.
It wasn't the only finding that popped up during the restoration, which is ongoing. Food preparation areas, a military shelter, and the two aforementioned dungeons have also been found over the years.
An archaeologist argues Vlad III was held in the dungeons by the Ottomans beginning in 1442, and though that hasn’t been confirmed, officials say a beeswax sculpture of Vlad III will be added to the dungeons, in the hope that it will attract tourists, Hurriyet reports.
"Dracula is a known brand and I think we can begin taking advantage of it," Tokat’s city council president said in announcing the new addition earlier this year.
(Vlad's own castle hit the market last year.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Secret Tunnel by 'Dracula's Dungeon' Uncovered

History Trivia - Roman Emperor Julian dies, ending the Pagan Revival

June 27

 363 Roman Emperor Julian died, ending the Pagan Revival.

678 St Agatho began his reign as Catholic Pope. The great event of this pontificate was the Sixth General Council, the Third of Constantinople which extinguished the Monothelite heresy and reunited Constantinople to Rome.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Athenian Wealth: Millions of Silver Coins Stored in Parthenon Attic

Live Science

New research indicates millions of silver coins, the reserves of ancient Athens, were once kept in the attic of the Parthenon (shown here as it appears today).
Millions of silver coins may have been stored in the attic of the Parthenon,one of the most famous structures from the ancient world, a research team says.
The attic of the Parthenon is now destroyed and the coins would have been spent in ancient times. The researchers made the discovery by reconstructing the size of the attic, analyzing ancient records to extrapolate how large the reserves may have been and re-examining archaeological work carried out decades ago.  
Their evidence suggests that millions of coins made up the cash reserves of the city-state of Athens and much of this hoard was stored in the attic of the Parthenon. During the fifth century B.C., when the Parthenon was built, Athens was a wealthy city-state whose people erected fantastic buildings and fought a series of devastating wars against their rival Sparta. This vast reserve of coins would have helped fund those endeavors. [In Photos: Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World]

While the Parthenon's attic is now destroyed, researchers estimate its floor would have spanned an area more than three times that of a tennis court, with dimensions of 62 feet wide by 164 feet long (19 by 50 meters) and about 10 feet (3 m) high at the center. The coin reserves were likely placed there around 434 B.C., when the Parthenon was dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.
Incredible riches
A silver tetradrachm dating to between 480 B.C. and 420 B.C., held at the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon.
Millions of silver tetradrachms (like the example shown here at the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon) may have been kept in the attic of the Parthenon.
Credit: Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, CC Attribution 2.5 Generic
In the fifth century B.C., Athens was one of the richest and most powerful city-states in Greece. Boasting a large navy, it exacted tribute from other Greek cities in exchange for military protection. Ancient writers say the Athenians kept vast coin reserves on the Acropolis, but don't say exactly where.
For instance, one decree dated to around 433 B.C. refers to "3,000 talents" being transferred to the Acropolis for safekeeping, a colossal sum of money, researchers say. The highest-denomination coin minted in Athens at the time was a silver tetradrachm, and it took 1,500 tetradrachms to make one talent, the researchers noted. This means the "3,000 talents" mentioned in the decree would be worth 4.5 million tetradrachms. Such a huge number of coins would have weighed about 78 metric tons, or nearly 172,000 lbs., researchers say. To put that in perspective, that's heavier than the M1 Abrams battle tank used today by American soldiers.
Remarkably, ancient writers said the Athenian reserves could, at times, reach up to 10,000 talents (potentially 260 metric tons).
Researchers caution that Athens may have minted some of its coins in gold (which was worth about 14 times more than silver). If that were the case, the number of coins (and the overall weight of the reserves) would be somewhat less, since it takes fewer gold coins to form one talent.
"Gold coinage was always minimal in Athens, in part because Athens mined silver locally," study researcher Spencer Pope, a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, told Live Science in an email. As such, the ancient writer Aeschylus called Athens and its nearby area a "fountain of silver," Pope added.
The ultimate money stash
Ancient records mention nothing about where on the Acropolis the coins were stored, nor do they reveal the purpose of the Parthenon's attic. "The sources are silent on the use of this space," said Pope at a presentation recently in Toronto during the annual meeting of the Classical Association of Canada.
However, there are several reasons why researchers believe the attic was used to store most of Athens' immense coin wealth. [Photos: Mysterious Tomb from Ancient Greece]
While the attic is now virtually destroyed, the remains of a staircase that would've led up to the attic still survive. This staircase appears to have had a utilitarian rather than a ceremonial use, suggesting it could have been used to bring coins to and from the attic.
Additionally, the sheer floor size of the attic not only would have provided room to store the coins, but also would have meant the coins' weight could be spread over a wide area. Assuming the attic was floored with thick cypress wood beams, it would have been able to support the weight of the coins, the researchers say.
Because the Parthenon was located centrally, people would've had an easier time securing and accessing the money there. And criminals would be less likely to steal the coins, as the Parthenon was a temple for Athena — meaning any theft from it would be considered a crime against the goddess.
"The attic of the Parthenon is the only suitable space large enough to hold all of the coins in the Treasury," Pope said in an email. "While we cannot rule out the possibility that coins were distributed across numerous buildings, we should recall that the attic is the most secure space."
Researchers say that the coins may have been stored in boxes whose dimensions could be standardized to make counting easier.
Pope co-wrote the scientific paper with Peter Schultz, a professor at Concordia College at Minnesota, and David Scahill, a researcher at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.