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Hearts, Genies and Gnosticism at Nag Hammadi October 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Hearts, Genies and Gnosticism at Nag Hammadi

Howard Carter whispering ‘wonderful things’, Leslie Alcock finding Dark Age timber at Cadbury (‘that was Camelot’), Bedouin shepherds investigating a complex of caves at the Dead Sea… All wonderful, of course. But for Beachcombing none of these quite match the thrill of the discovery at Nag Hammadi in 1945. In that year, possibly in December, […]

Tute’s Glass Ball September 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Tute's Glass Ball

Beach is in a meteor mood again and has been flicking back through his notes to some particularly interesting cases that Andy the Mad Monk sent him last year. Andy, in fact, provided a series of remarkable examples but Beach’s favourite is probably this curious case from ancient Egypt. In the picture above we see […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Woolly Mammoths among the Pharoahs? April 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Woolly Mammoths among the Pharoahs?

  **This post is dedicated to Andy the Mad Monk who put Beachcombing onto it** Beachcombing has long wondered if the publishing world would not have room for a volume on long-travelled exotic animals in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: giraffes turning up in Renaissance Italy; polar bears being brought down to the medieval Arabs; […]

A Pillar and an Archer in Medieval Alexandria January 23, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
A Pillar and an Archer in Medieval Alexandria

  Ancient pillars survive even when associated buildings collapse. Many Greco-Roman pillars, indeed, are still standing today: a testimony to the durability of early Mediterranean civilisation. The medieval dwarfs looking back at the achievements of the classical world often got excited by pillars. Pillars were probably in part responsible for causing an early English poet […]

The Dog-Headed Saint January 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
The Dog-Headed Saint

  St Christopher is in many ways a typical early eastern saint. He was for many years a prisoner of war: check. He was a Roman soldier when he turned to Christ: check. His staff miraculously took to life and began to bloom: check. An angel – Raphael no less – gave him the gift of speaking […]

The Karma Sutra of the Ancient Mediterranean July 8, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Karma Sutra of the Ancient Mediterranean

                If there is a heaven then Beachcombing hopes that, past the brass-band podium and the daisy strewn park, there will be a public Library of Lost Books, stocked with the works of antiquity and the middle ages that inconsiderate ancestors forgot to hand down to us. And, […]

Circumnavigating Africa six centuries before Christ June 1, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Circumnavigating Africa six centuries before Christ

        Beachcombing can barely take down M. Cary and E.H. Warmington’s The Ancient Explorers without a tremble of excitement running through his body, such treasures are to be found there. One of his favourite sections is their dissection of Herodotus 4, 42-43, a passage where the Greek historian describes, with requisite scepticism, a […]

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