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The Hare that Killed a Hundred Thousand July 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Hare that Killed a Hundred Thousand

Beachcombing was much struck by some of the comments concerning his Amazon article about the terrifying warrior women of Benin. Several of the examples given by readers were not though of warrior women per se: but of women war-leaders, which is a fascinating phenomenon and one which is certainly more common. Think Joan of Arc, […]

Self Castrators July 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
Self Castrators

Castration is everywhere in history. The Normans did it to the Sicilians, the Afghans to the British, the Italians to their future opera singers and Heloise’s family did it to Abelard: and, goodness, did Abelard have it coming – a father speaks. But there is a more refined category of testicle removal that is not […]

Perpetua’s Death Dream July 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Perpetua's Death Dream

Beachcombing decided to bring night visions into the day a month ago, opening a new tag on – note the failure to alliterate – Historic Dreams. He offered as a start Lincoln’s prophetic dream of the President’s own death and raised some questions about how prophetic said dream really was. Today, he offers,  instead, a […]

The Nanjing Belt July 9, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
The Nanjing Belt

Beachcombing always comes to China with a certain trepidation. After all, he doesn’t have much Mandarin (i.e. absolutely zilch), he has an embarrassingly modest knowledge of Chinese historiography and yet he must admit to having nothing but fascination for the exotic flowers that grow in the swamps of the Chinese past – recent oriental posts […]

Bringing Back Flogging? July 3, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Bringing Back Flogging?

Beachcombing thought that he would give a little publicity to a ‘rogue researcher’ today: a tag that refers to those who, with often commendable eccentricity, step outside the bounds laid down by their profession – Beachcombing is always on the look out for these rare souls, drbeachcombing DOT yahoo AT com. The RR in question […]

Incest in Ancient Egypt June 29, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Incest in Ancient Egypt

Incest is a fringe interest in most societies. However, Beachcombing has learnt, on a morning trip to his local library, that there are some curious exceptions: a number of Hawaiian clans, certain tribes in the Solomon Islands and, of course, the most famous of them all, the Egyptian pharaohs. Now, it is common knowledge among […]

Bishop Q June 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Bishop Q

Today a curious Roman marble inscription from Terni in central Italy – not Rome as often reported – that probably dates from towards the end of the Empire, perhaps from the end of the fourth century (Olybrio = consul?). It is an inscription that is so unexpected that it is difficult to know where to […]

Christian Orgies June 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Christian Orgies

On rainy nights, when the children have gone to bed and Beachcombing wants to provoke his ultra Catholic wife, there is little he loves more than to quote from the following early third-century Christian text, where some of the first pagan criticisms against the upstart religion are aired. As well as describing how Christians eat […]

Oaks: Sacrificial and Otherwise June 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Oaks: Sacrificial and Otherwise

***This post is dedicated to Justin, who introduced Beach to the Tree that Owns Itself*** ‘From little acorns might oaks…’ blah blah blah. But, seriously, oaks have long caught the human imagination from sacrificial oaks – Beach has a ‘book’ memory of a German tribe that use to hammer one part of their victim’s guts […]

St Andrew and Scythia June 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
St Andrew and Scythia

Patron saints have a strange habit of not coming from the countries that they are supposed to represent. England’s Saint George was Syrian, St Patrick was born not in Ireland but in Britain, Portugal’s patron saint lived all his life in northern Italy… Usually there is a logical enough explanation. St George, for instance, was […]

Unusual Riots June 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Unusual Riots

A long day ahead of Beachcombing as the family prepare to celebrate Little Miss B’s third birthday with an uneasy coalition of villagers and local think tank wonks and the confusion of their progeny. Think Farmer Pickles talking about the price of wheat, John Balls describes the demographic replacement rate, while master Pickles and master […]

Druids’ Eggs June 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
Druids' Eggs

An interesting text from Pliny: (29, 3*) There is also a sort of egg, famous in the provinces of Gaul, but ignored by the Greeks. Innumerable snakes coil themselves into a ball in the summertime. Thus they make it so that it is held together by a bodily secretion and by their saliva. It is […]

Ancient Beliefs in Modern Egypt June 8, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Ancient Beliefs in Modern Egypt

Time brings its chopper down on generation after generation, annihilating almost all memory. How little we know of our grandparents’ lives, how very little of our great grandparents’: while most people living in the west today have no idea where their great grandparents lived or, indeed, their names. Yet every so often history gives evidence […]

Cyclops Origins June 7, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Cyclops Origins

  Beachcombing has always had a bit of a thing about Cyclops. And who can blame him? After all, the encounter between old Round Eye and that smarty-pants pirate king from Ithica is what most children – genuine or grown – remember about the Odysseus: there is something so Roald Dahlish about the disgusting yet […]

Roman Mosaics and Bras in 1930s Leicester June 6, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Roman Mosaics and Bras in 1930s Leicester

A busy day for Beach today – the hunt for mice, newspaper columns and the ongoing search for an aupair – and so he thought that he would just quote from this 1930s guide to Roman Britain for a strange archaeological visit. Leicester, for those who don’t know it, is a rather frightening English Midland […]

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