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Did the Greeks Build the Terracotta Army? March 19, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Did the Greeks Build the Terracotta Army?

We’ve fluttered before around the interesting work of Lukas Nickel (see link at bottom of this page), alleging contacts between Greece and China in the early centuries B.C. In a recent article (‘The First Emperor and sculpture in China’) in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies LN suggests that there was […]

Plato Meets the Meteorite: Solon, Egypt and Atlantis February 22, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Plato Meets the Meteorite: Solon, Egypt and Atlantis

***Dedicated to ANL who sent this in*** The story is well-known and comes in Plato’s Timaeus. Solon, the law-giver, has travelled to Egypt and there, in the city of Sais, he speaks to one old priest, who tell him how 9,000 years before a power named Atlantis had fought against Europe and Asia. These passages […]

How To Create A Golden Age: Instructions for Use January 27, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
How To Create A Golden Age: Instructions for Use

There are grey moments in history and there are black moments and, then, every so often there are wonderful conflagarations as the very paper that the past is written upon catches fire. Think the sheer brilliant evenescence of Athens in the fifth-century B.C.; Baghdad in the ninth century; or, indeed, Florence in the fourteenth and […]

Zeus in China? January 12, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Zeus in China?

This blog has pioneered the scientific reporting of contacts between distant civilisations with our wrong place tag. Today strangehistory offers up a particularly satisfying hint of Greek culture penetrating China in the Hellenic period (crudely fourth century to first century AD) based on the work of sinologist and WANW in the making Lukas Nickel and […]

The Last European Lion June 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Last European Lion

The ancient Greeks were lion mad. Lions frequently appear in the lively similes of ‘Homer’. They appear in Greek art and in legends: at a guess Pausanias probably has a score of lion legends from around Greece. But can any of this be taken to prove that lions actually lived in ancient Greece or, indeed, […]

Athens and Ghosts May 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Athens and Ghosts

  A month ago Beach published a story of a legal case between Irish tenant and landlord over a haunting. While typing the account out, while reading the emails about it and generally in that week, Beach had this strange déjà vu, nothing new under the sun feeling. He’d come across something similar before. Finally, his memory […]

The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Are More Rainbow Coloured on the Other Side of the Fence April 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Are More Rainbow Coloured on the Other Side of the Fence

Hallucinogens are frequently found in the traditional religious life of hunter-gatherers and rural communities. There are, of course, literally hundreds of different ways of intoxicating yourself ranging from toad glands to nutmeg, from jimson weed to ergot spores. And naturally, these techniques which, depending on your point of view, canker or enhance reality, are important […]

Capital Problems March 19, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval
Capital Problems

Capital cities should represent a country. They should be the head that directs and controls: unless you live in a properly federal society and there are none of those left. But what happens when capitals come to outweigh and dominate the country that they stand in? Take an example from close to this blogger’s home. […]

Armpitting September 8, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Armpitting

Armpitting is something that you would not wish on your worse enemy. Well, no actually that is not quite true. It is something that, in antiquity, you reserved specifically for your worst enemy, but only when he was lying on the floor belching blood. The one extensive reference to armpitting comes in the Suda, a […]

Mutant Hares, Modern Satyrs and Centaurs July 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mutant Hares, Modern Satyrs and Centaurs

Fairies are so ‘yesterday’. What about the more exotic fauna from the forests of the imagination? Let’s start with the mutant hare at Windsor! I remember Lilian, Countess of Cromartie, telling me of a strange incident that once happened to her. She was walking alone one bright summer morning in Windsor Great Park. Suddenly she […]

Desperate Men: 490 BC June 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Desperate Men: 490 BC

The Battle of Marathon is one of those events that has been so polished by historians and lyricists that it has become a mirror held up to every age which has cared to look into it. But behind the bumph and the pumph there remains a very real mystery. How did a (then) obscure Greek […]

The Babel of History May 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Babel of History

  The past according to a much worn-line is ‘a foreign country, they do things differently there’. Of course, if this were all then history would be a doddle. It would be enough to fill the Cutty Sark with sabres and give the natives music sheets for their acres. But, unfortunately for those who like […]

Selling (Balkan) Europe by the Pound March 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Selling (Balkan) Europe by the Pound

Beach has pioneered for some time his WIBT (‘wish I’d been there’) series. Those moments in the past where any historically-conscious person would just LOVE to be a half dead bluebottle on the windowsill watching the great men and women conspiring to create history. It is a nice idea, of course. However, as most of […]

Hippocratic Cobblers. February 15, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Hippocratic Cobblers.

***Dedicated to good and honest doctors: a pox on the others…*** Beachcombing has suffered greatly under the tyranny of white-coats over the years: blame a long undiagnosed and thus untreated condition – uncovered eventually after about ten minutes on Wikipedia. He has come then to expect problems in the medical sector. But nothing prepared him […]

Socrates, Sneezing and Daemons December 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Socrates, Sneezing and Daemons

Socrates is the bedrock on which the western philosophical tradition has been built. You can polish him like Plotinus. You can take your geological hammer and tap gently at his sides in the style of Aristotle (poor dolt). Or you can start smashing bottles of nitric acid on his stone-work as Nietzsche did. The fact […]

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