Secret History
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Colosseum

Villa of Ben-Hur's rival Messala Corvinus identified

© Laura Pagliantini
This reconstruction shows how the villa might have looked. Thermal baths, swimming pool, and rooms lavishly decorated with frescoes, marbles and statues made the site a luxury holiday residence.
Archaeologists investigating the Tuscan island of Elba have identified the remains of the villa belonging to the real-life individual that inspired one of the principal characters in the epic tale of Ben-Hur.

Overlooking Portoferraio's bay, the once magnificent 1st-century B.C. estate, known as Villa Le Grotte (the Caves) because of the shape of its vaulted facades facing the sea, has long been believed to have been owned by Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, portrayed as Ben-Hur in the Hollywood blockbuster starring Charlton Heston.

While Ben-Hur was a fictional villain, dreamed up in Lew Wallace's 1880 novel and immortalized in the 1959 MGM movie, the Messalla character was based on a real-world historical figure.

Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus was a member of one of the oldest and most important families in Rome, the patron of the poet Ovid, and a commander at the battle of Actium in 31 B.C., fighting for Octavian against the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

Comment: A staunch 'republican', Corvinus was proscribed in 43 BC by Octavian/Antony/Lepidus, but found refuge with Brutus and Cassius - two of the men who murdered Julius Caesar in cold blood. He later went over to Mark Antony before finally settling on Octavian/Augustus. As one of his public works he restored the road between Tusculum and Alba, initiating the construction of many buildings too. In 25 BC, he resigned as city prefect, perhaps uttering these words: "I am disgusted with power."


Info

Drones to explore Amazon for evidence of ancient civilizations

Scientists plan to use drones to scour the Amazonian forests for evidence of ancient civilizations. New discoveries suggest that sophisticated cultures similar to those in other parts of the Americas once occupied the area.


Data on ancient settlements in the Amazon, which have been accumulating over the last few years, show that civilization there was far more advanced than previously thought. BBC News is reporting that the discovery of geoglyphs, where deforestation has taken place, may point to highly developed urban cultures similar to other peoples in pre-Columbian times, such as the Olmecs, Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.

Until now, the idea that an advanced civilization was lost in the Amazonian forests was considered to be just a myth or the stuff of Indiana Jones films. Early European explorers called it El Dorado or the City of Z. Hundreds of them ventured into the Amazon's dark interior searching for its legendary cities, which were reputed to possess gigantic riches.

Also, most scientists in the last century thought that the soil was too poor and ecological conditions too severe for anything other than tribes and small farmers to have existed there. However, the discoveries over the recent period are seriously challenging this view.

Pharoah

Houston anthropologist reveals irrefutable proof that recorded history is wrong

Image

Bosnian Pyramid
Evidence Found Across the Globe of Highly Evolved Human Species from before the Ice Age, Demand Scientific Recognition of our Past that Depicts Societies of Advanced Technology and Culture

Houston anthropologist, Dr. Semir Osmanagich, founder of the Bosnian Archaeology Park, the most active archaeology site in the world, declares that irrefutable scientific evidence exists of ancient civilizations with advanced technology that leaves us no choice but to change our recorded history. An examination of the age of structures across the earth reveals conclusively that they were built by advanced civilizations from over 29,000 years ago.

Comment: It seems that our ancestors were tapped into some type of advanced technology and understanding of the universe that we know little about.


Books

Two US wars of aggression hidden from the history books

© unknown
While there are only a few wars that are recognized by the public education system and mainstream media, the US has been involved in hundreds of different wars and invasions all over the planet in the past 100 years.

Below is some information about just two of the wars that are often left out of the history books.

Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped over two million tons of bombs on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history. The US dropped more bombs on Laos than they did on both Germany and Japan combined during World War 2.

Info

Ancient stone carving discovered among lawn ornaments

© Tvpresenter4history/YouTube
Searching through a collection of lawn ornaments for sale, archaeologist and TV presenter James Balme stumbled upon a large, grey stone with unique carvings on it.

Sensing it might be more than just large, grey stone with unique carvings on it, he purchased it, brought it home and discovered he was right: It was more than just a large, grey stone with unique carving on it.

It was ancient, and possibly exhibited writing from a previously unknown language.

Info

Untouched Mycenaean tomb found in Central Greece

© Greek Reporter
An ancient Greek Mycenaean tomb was unearthed in Amfissa, central Greece during an irrigation project that required excavation in the area. It is a unique finding, the first of its kind that has ever been found in West Locris and one of the few in central Greece.

The preliminary archaeological study of the findings shows that the tomb was used for more than two centuries, from the 13th to the 11th century B.C..

Within the burial chamber archaeologists found a large amount of skeletal material, which had accumulated near the surrounding walls, while a few better preserved burials were also uncovered.

Furthermore, the excavation revealed forty-four vases with painted decorations, the two bronze fragmented vases, as well as gold rings, brass buttons, fragments of semi precious stones, two bronze daggers, female and animal figurines, and a large number of seals with animal, plant and linear patterns.

The full scientific research regarding the recent finding will be made by a team of archaeologists and it is expected to provide new information about the archaeological and historical development of the region.

Heart - Black

80s AIDs crisis survivors share their stories; entire neighborhoods died and lesbians cared for the sick

© twitter
Real LGBTI people who lived during the 1980s AIDs Crisis share what happened to them.
As the UK celebrates LGBT History Month, users of Reddit revealed what it was like to be living in what felt like a constant state of tragedy. Real LGBTI people remember the confusion, the lack of information, the lack of support from the government because of the suffering from the virus known only at the time as GRID (gay-related immune deficiency).

'I'm a 62-year-old gay man. I thankfully made it through the epidemic that started in the early 80s and went right through the mid-90's. You ask what it was like? I don't know if I can even begin to tell you how many ways AIDS has affected my life, even though I never caught the virus,' one user said.

'By the early 80s, I had what I would consider a really large circle of friends and acquaintances and once the epidemic really started to hit, it was not uncommon to find out three, four or more people you knew had died each month. We set up informal and formal support groups to look after our friends who took sick. Feeding them when they would eat. Changing them. Washing them. Acting as go-between with families who "were concerned" about their sons, nephews, brothers, etc., but wouldn't lend a hand to help because AIDS was, you know, icky.

'After they passed, there were memorial services to plan with no real time to grieve because when one passed, you were needed somewhere else to begin the process all over again.

'I kept a memory book/photo album of everyone I knew that died of AIDS. It's quite large to say the least. Who were these guys? These were the people I had planned to grow old with. They were the family I had created and wanted to spend the rest of my life with as long as humanly possible but by the time I was in my late 40s, every one of them was gone except for two dear friends of mine.

'All we have left of those days are each other, our memories and pictures. I hope that statement doesn't come off as pitiful though. I am fit, active, healthy and you know what? I enjoy every single day of my life. I enjoy it because most of my friends can't. In my own personal way, I want to honor their lives by living and enjoying mine.'

Book

Newfound 'Gospel of the Lots of Mary' discovered in ancient text

© Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mrs. Beatrice Kelekian in memory of her husband, Charles Dikran Kelekian, 1984.669
An image showing the opening of the gospel. The text is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language that makes use of the Greek alphabet. The pages of the gospel are small, measuring less than 3 inches (75 millimeters) in height.
A 1,500-year-old book that contains a previously unknown gospel has been deciphered. The ancient manuscript may have been used to provide guidance or encouragement to people seeking help for their problems, according to a researcher who has studied the text.

Written in Coptic, an Egyptian language, the opening reads (in translation):

"The Gospel of the lots of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, she to whom Gabriel the Archangel brought the good news. He who will go forward with his whole heart will obtain what he seeks. Only do not be of two minds."

Anne Marie Luijendijk, a professor of religion at Princeton University, discovered that this newfound gospel is like no other. "When I began deciphering the manuscript and encountered the word 'gospel' in the opening line, I expected to read a narrative about the life and death of Jesus as the canonical gospels present, or a collection of sayings similar to the Gospel of Thomas (a non-canonical text)," she wrote in her book Forbidden Oracles? The Gospel of the Lots of Mary (Mohr Siebeck, 2014).

What she found instead was a series of 37 oracles, written vaguely, and with only a few that mention Jesus.

Info

Newton's journal reveals seeds of plant biology

© Syndics of the Cambridge University Library
Sandwiched between the headings 'Philosophy' and 'Attraction Electricall & Filtration' is half a page of text on plant function.
Sir Isaac Newton's interest in botany extended well beyond the fabled apple falling from a tree - he also appears to have understood how water moves from roots to leaves over 200 years before botanists did.

Newton, who lived from 1643-1727, is known for his observations on the properties of light, the invention of calculus, and for his time as head of the Royal Mint, and president of the Royal Society, the leading scientific body of the day.

But buried in a notebook Newton used during his undergraduate days, is half a page of text on plant function, which has been reviewed in the journal Nature Plants by Professor David Beerling of the University of Sheffield.

In his notes, Newton describes how water is drawn up through a plant's roots and out through its pores.

Newton wrote:
"Suppose a b the pore of a Vegitable filled with fluid mater & that the Globule c doth hitt away the particle b, then the rest of subtile matter in the pores riseth from a towards b & by this meanes juices continually arise up from the roots of trees upward leaving dreggs in the pores & then wanting passage stretch the pores to make them as wide as before they were clogged. which makes the plant bigger untill the pores are too narow for the juice to arise through the pores & then the plant ceaseth to grow any more."

Sherlock

Cold War: FBI's 'Plan C' included martial law and emergency detention

Documents show the FBI created a "Plan C" during the Cold War, which could have been triggered in the event the US underwent a nuclear attack. It included putting the nation under martial law, rounding up "subversives," and interning enemy diplomats.

The documents, acquired by transparency journalism organization MuckRock, detail the FBI plan created in 1956, which was shared with several top officials from every governmental department. The FBI also distributed papers regarding the plan to its field offices. The plan would have gone into effect "after a war has begun in which the US is involved or may become involved and prior to an actual attack on the US itself," according to the documents.

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