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  • Buried Standing Up July 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Buried Standing Up

    In the rusty old filing cabinet that provides fodder for this blog there is somewhere a file on men being buried upright. However, Beach has failed to find said file for the last three years, so despairing he hands the problem over to his readers. Famous or not so famous people from history who decided […]

    Lost Book on Magical Chameleons May 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Lost Book on Magical Chameleons

    This blog has long championed the lost books of antiquity and the middle ages. But there have been few greater tragedies for the bizarrist, surely, than the disappearance of an early Greek volume entitled On the Power and the Nature of the Chameleon. The chameleon is to be found through large part of the Mediterranean […]

    Greek Hot Air Balloon? May 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Greek Hot Air Balloon?

    This little tale appears in a vaguely sceptical Aulus Gellius, whose Attic Nights provides some very enjoyable reading for those wishing to travel back into the ancient world. that which Archytas the Pythagorean [obit 347 BC] is said to have devised and accomplished ought to seem no less marvellous, but yet not wholly absurd. For […]

    Index Biography #41: Prize a book April 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Index Biography #41: Prize a book

    ***Stephen C got this*** Scroll down for the answer*** The Index Biography is a quiz pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the individual’s life. We offered up […]

    Chasing Off Demons in Roman Slovenia April 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Chasing Off Demons in Roman Slovenia

    Beach is coming back to the Battle of the Frigidus in 394, by all means click the link if you need to refresh your memory. As Theodosius is bringing his army up to fight Eugenius’s army something rather strange is described by the historian Rufinus. But the pagans [Eugenius’ army], who are always giving fresh […]

    When God Spoke in a Wind: the Battle of the Frigidus March 23, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    When God Spoke in a Wind: the Battle of the Frigidus

    The Battle of the Frigidus 394 was one of the most important clashes as the Western Roman Empire was winding down: Honorius, the loss of Britain, Gerontius in Spain all just above the horizon… 5 and 6 September of that year, two enormous armies, perhaps as many as 150,000 men, took to the field under, […]

    The Eternal Mystic March 19, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    The Eternal Mystic

    Beach is eternally worried about mystics, people who have or believe that they have paranormal powers. Where do they come from? What do they mean? Most studies of ‘mystics’ put them in a historical tradition. The Cunning Man in the English or, for that matter, New England countryside in the 1700s draws on Christianity, Anglo-Saxon […]

    Earliest Ordeal: Drowning March 4, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Earliest Ordeal: Drowning

    What is the earliest ordeal in history? Well, there were probably games involving Paleolithic ne’er-do-wells and mammoths, but the earliest recorded ordeal in history? There are some hypotheses about drinking ancient poisons (drugs?), in the near east: though to Beach this sounds more like an execution and it is, in any case, a hypothesis. However, […]

    The Problem with Shamanism March 3, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient
    The Problem with Shamanism

    ***dedicated to a misguided friend in Estonia*** All academic disciplines have terminological issues. Medievalists get excited about ‘feudalism’; archaeologists head-butt each other over ‘Celtic’; there are even some linguists who get upset about ‘Indo-European’. These words have been energized and arguments over them are about more than just semantics: disputes are bitter, useful and productive. However, […]

    Phoenician Sun God in Eighteenth-Century Ireland? March 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Phoenician Sun God in Eighteenth-Century Ireland?

    It is the most extraordinary inscription. This mill-stone rock, which once stood on the top of Tory Hill in County Kilkenny in Ireland, has been taken as proof of Carthaginian contact and settlement or at least trade with Ireland in antiquity. The words clearly read (give or take some distorted letters) Beli Dinose, a reference to […]

    The Raven Stone Spell February 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    The Raven Stone Spell

    Location: tradition found in the Germanic regions of Continental Europe and Scandinavia, and also in parts of Britain. Aim: The collection of the raven stone (korp-sten in Scandinavia, Lloyd 1854, 331) that will render the owner invisible, though note that the stone is also credited with bringing luck and curing humans and cattle of diseases: […]

    Beach’s Book of Shadows February 9, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Beach's Book of Shadows

    Beach has a heaving filing cabinet full of spells: spells from the Middle Ages, spells from early modern Europe and spells from as recently as the Second World War. Some of these apparently date back to deepest antiquity; some are probably the spontaneous invention of men and women with borderline psychologies and would, as such, […]

    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect? December 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Fairy Wings: Bat, Bird or Insect?

    Another fairy wings question thinking of the last two posts on the origins of fairy wings and on the production of fairy wings: what do fairy wings look like? Here Beach is going to start wide by looking at all winged flying supernatural creatures including angels, Cupid, putti (curse them), cherubs (curse them), Psyche and […]

    Images of Deviant Burials December 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    Images of Deviant Burials

    When Beach was in his early twenties he used to spend hours, and they were happy times, looking through detailed archaeological graphics of Anglo-Saxon and Roman cemeteries. At one point he used to take them to bed and fall asleep with Winchester A or Circencester 1982 Season open on his chest. There is something, well, […]

    Milk Stealers: Paleolithic or Neolithic? November 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric
    Milk Stealers: Paleolithic or Neolithic?

    It is a snakey week and here is a second snake post in almost as many days. There are many legends about snakes and other reptiles taking milk from nursing mothers, there are also many legends about snakes and other reptiles (and sometimes birds) taking milk from cattle. Beach has given examples of these tales […]

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