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'Last Supper' papyrus may be one of oldest Christian charms

Greek papyrus
© University of Manchester, John Rylands Research Institute
A Greek papyrus dating back some 1,500 years from an ancient Egyptian city refers to Jesus' Last Supper and manna from heaven.
A 1,500-year-old fragment of Greek papyrus with writing that refers to the biblical Last Supper and "manna from heaven" may be one of the oldest Christian amulets, say researchers.

The fragment was likely folded up and worn inside a locket or pendant as a sort of protective charm, according to Roberta Mazza, who spotted the papyrus while looking through thousands of papyri kept in the library vault at the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

"This is an important and unexpected discovery as it's one of the first recorded documents to use magic in the Christian context and the first charm ever found to refer to the Eucharist - the Last Supper - as the manna of the Old Testament," Mazza said in a statement.

The fragment likely originated in a town in Egypt.

The text on the papyrus is a mix of passages from Psalm 78:23-24 and Matthew 26:28-30, among others, said Mazza, who is a research fellow at the institute.

"To this day, Christians use passages from the Bible as protective charms so our amulet marks the start of an important trend in Christianity."
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Huge tomb from the era of Alexander the Great discovered

Greek Mosaic Floor
© Greek Ministry of Culture
This image, released Aug. 31, shows the mosaic floor revealed at Amphipolis.
At a site under excavation in Greece, archaeologists have uncovered mosaic floors that pave the entrance to a huge tomb from the era of Alexander the Great.

The freshly revealed floor covers the antechamber behind the sphinx-guarded entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis in Macedonia, a historical region of Greece, photos released by the Greek Ministry of Culture show. Small, irregular fragments of white marble are embedded against a red background in the floor, which is preserved in excellent condition, the excavators said.

No graves have been discovered yet at the so-called Kasta Hill site at Amphipolis. But that hasn't stopped tourists, journalists and politicians from flocking to the ancient village to get a glimpse of the excavation. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras toured the site last month and told reporters he was standing in front of an "extremely important discovery."

Some local media outlets have derided the media circus. The Greek Reporter charged that Amphipolis has become "archaeological Disneyland." [See Photos of the Alexander-Era Tomb Excavation]
Blue Planet

Super sized dinosaur discovered

© Lacovara et al/Scientific Reports 2014
SUPER SIZED A plant-eating dinosaur named Dreadnoughtus schrani has claimed the record for most massive land animal discovered to date.
A newly discovered dinosaur species makes Tyrannosaurus rex look like a munchkin. The towering behemoth, which stretched a bit longer than a 25-meter swimming pool and as tall as a two-story building, weighed about 59,000 kilograms - more than seven T. rexes. And the animal was still growing, researchers report September 4 in Scientific Reports.

Though the creature dined on plants, its brute size and burly tail made it more formidable than any meat eater. It may have even lived up to its name. Dubbed Dreadnoughtus schrani by its discoverers, paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University in Philadelphia and colleagues, the animal's genus name comes from Old English for "fear nothing."

Dreadnoughtus lived 66 million to 84 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, in what is now Argentina. It is the largest land animal reported to date. Researchers have dug up other massive dinosaurs before, but those animals' fragmentary remains made their sizes hard to estimate.
© Lacovara et al/Scientific Reports 2014
BIGGEST BEAST Dreadnoughtus schrani, a dinosaur dug up in Argentina, had thigh bones about as tall as a person. The fossil bones found are shown in white.
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Archaeologists confirm that Stonehenge was once a complete circle

Stonehenge
© SWNS.com
Stonehenge in Wiltshire.
Though archaeologists have long suspected that the huge neolithic stones of Stonehenge once formed a complete circle, evidence in support of the claim has remained elusive. Now, owing to a spat of dry weather, the mystery appears to have been solved.

Stonehenge's current configuration is that of an incomplete circle. In an effort to prove that it was once complete, historians have performed countless high resolution geophysical surveys and excavations, but with no luck.

Now, thanks to a dry summer and a watering hose that was too short, the answer has unexpectedly emerged in the form of ghostly outlines - patches of parched grass where the megaliths once lay. Usually, the ground around the ancient structure is watered by stewards, but this year their hose was too short to reach the entire site. Quite by chance, the incomplete section of the inner stone circle was left to dry out.
Treasure Chest

Ancient Rome currency reform

© Unknown
In the Western world, modern civilizations are often thought of in comparison to those of the ancient world. The Roman Empire is typically the first considered, and arguably the most natural reference point owing to its many achievements, complexity and durability. It stands in history, widely considered the high water mark of the ancient world; one against which contemporary political, economic and social questions can be posed. Much of the world is still living with the consequences of Roman policy choices in a very real sense, in matters ranging from the location of cities to commercial and legal practices to customs.

The global economic downturn of 2008, in particular its monetary facet, readily invites comparison between the troubles of the modern world and those of the Roman Empire; just as Western currencies have declined precipitously in value since their commodity backing was removed in stages starting roughly a century ago, Roman currencies were also troubled, and present a cautionary tale.

Comment: Listen to the SOTT Talk Radio show Babylon, Ancient Rome and the American Empire for more on this fascinating topic.

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Back to school in B.C.

It's back-to-school season, and you know what that means: Despite receiving a king's ransom in new clothes, electronics and school supplies, children across the country are already complaining about the burden of regularly attending an affordable system of formal education.

If the "back in my day" speech hasn't set them straight, why not let them know of how much worse back-to-school season could have been for them had they been born a couple thousand years ago?
Bsck to School
© iStockphoto
Before we get rolling, it's important to mention that in just about all of the following ancient societies, formal education was typically the privilege of wealthy families.
Crusader

Born from the Ashes and Blood or, How FDR, Churchill, and Stalin butchered Poland


Comment: Laura's note: This piece is excerpted from a longer work that I wrote back in 2000 or so. Obviously, my perspectives on a lot of things have changed since then. However, the main point, that Poland was screwed over by all three countries, with FDR being the real sell-out and back-stabber, still stands. I thought it might be useful to remind the Poles of this fact now, at a time when great care should be taken regarding alliances, and on the anniversary of the invasion. Political situations can change dramatically as a people grow and change and acquire governance in accordance with that growth. Russia has changed for the better; the USA has changed for the worse; so too, it seems, has Poland.


At the annual party rally held in Nuremberg in 1935, the Nazis announced new laws which institutionalized many of the racial theories prevalent in Nazi ideology. The laws excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of "German or related blood." These became known as the infamous "Nuremberg Laws."

Many husbands and wives of Jews in Germany were forced to choose between divorce or concentration camps. Hitler would not allow "interracial" marriages and those that chose to remain married were punished by imprisonment in camps where many died. There were also many couples who committed suicide together.

Three years later, at 11: 55 p.m. on November 9, Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller sent a telegram from Berlin to all security police stations and units in Germany. The following paragraph is an excerpt from that telegram:
In shortest order, actions against Jews and especially their synagogues will take place in all of Germany. These are not to be interfered with... Preparations are to be made for the arrest of 20-30,000 Jews in the Reich. Primarily propertied Jews are to be selected...
The Terror had begun in earnest.

The Nazis engineered the Kristallnacht attacks so that they would appear to be unplanned and set off by the anger of the German people over the assassination of a German official in Paris at the hands of a Jewish teenager.

In two days, over 1,000 synagogues were burned, 7,000 Jewish businesses were trashed and looted, dozens of Jewish people were killed, and Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes were looted while police and fire brigades stood by. The pogroms became known as Kristallnacht, or the "Night of Broken Glass, " for the great quantity of shattered glass from the store windows that littered the streets of Germany.
Question

Did the historical Jesus exist?: 5 Reasons to suspect Jesus never existed

Jesus Myth
© patheos.com
Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are "mythologized history." In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.

At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a "historical Jesus" became mythologized.

For over 200 years, a wide ranging array of theologians and historians - most of them Christian - analyzed ancient texts, both those that made it into the Bible and those that didn't, in attempts to excavate the man behind the myth. Several current or recent bestsellers take this approach, distilling the scholarship for a popular audience. Familiar titles include Zealot by Reza Aslan and How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman.

But other scholars believe that the gospel stories are actually "historicized mythology." In this view, those ancient mythic templates are themselves the kernel. They got filled in with names, places and other real world details as early sects of Jesus worship attempted to understand and defend the devotional traditions they had received.

Comment: You don't want to miss the following.

Who was Jesus?

Julius Caesar: Evil Dictator or Messiah for Humanity?

Was Julius Caesar the real Jesus Christ?

'As important as the scientific discoveries of Darwin and Galileo': Linguist Francesco Carotta proves real identity of 'Jesus Christ' to be Julius Caesar

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New underground structures still being found at ancient Armenian city of Ani, first discovered by Georges Gurdjieff in the 19th century


Top left: An abandoned church in Ani. Top right: A cave room near Echmiadzin Cathedral, Ani. Bottom left: An entrance to one of the underground tunnels in Ani. Bottom right: Wall paintings found in one of the underground chambers.
For the first time in history, the academic world is paying attention to the spectacular underground world of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located on the Turkish-Armenian border. Hurriyet Daily News reports that scientists, academics, and researchers have just met at a symposium in Kars titled 'Underground Secrets of Ani' to discuss the city's underground world mentioned in ancient parchments as the location of an ancient Mesopotamian esoteric school.

Located on a hilltop near the bank of the Akhuryan River, Ani is the most famous among the Armenian capitals. Renowned for its splendour and magnificence, Ani was known as 'The City of 1001 Churches' and 'The City of 40 Gates'. At its zenith, Ani rivalled the likes of Constantinople, Baghdad and Cairo in size and influence. By the 11th Century Ani had grown to over one-hundred-thousand people. It would later become the battleground for various contending Empires, leading to its destruction and abandonment. Today, hundreds of ancient churches, Zoroastrian temples, and other buildings, most of them in ruins, remain scattered across the rugged and desolate landscape.

Excavations have revealed that the area has been inhabited since ancient times, from at least as early as the Bronze Age, but the first historical records that mention 'the Fortress of Ani' trace back to the 5th century AD. By the end of the 8th century Ani, with its nearby estates, got under the control of Bagratid dynasty. Ani began growing since 961 AD, when the Bagratid king Ashot III transferred his capital from Kars to Ani. During the period of only 40-50 years Ani transferred from a little fortress town to a big medieval city.
Igloo

The mystery of the disappearance of the Dorset Paleo-Eskimos

arctic
© Carsten Egevang
A view of the world that modern-day Canadian Inuits inhabit. A study published Thursday effectively ruled out a theory that the DNA of the Dorset people lives on in modern Inuits.
Seven hundred years ago, the Dorset people disappeared from the Arctic. The last of the Paleo-Eskimos, the Dorset had dominated eastern Canada and Greenland for centuries, hunting seal and walrus through holes in the ice and practicing shamanistic rituals with ornate carvings and masks.

Then, they promptly ceased to exist. Modern archaeologists have scoured troves of Arctic artifacts, searching for clues to the Dorset's sudden extinction. Did they assimilate when the Thule, ancestors of the modern Inuit, advanced from the Bering Strait with dog sleds, harpoons and large skin boats? Or did they die out, victims of either an unfortunate epidemic or a violent prehistoric genocide?

Now, scientists have begun to chip away at this and other mysteries of the New World Arctic. In a paper published Thursday in the journal Science, researchers analyzed 169 ancient DNA samples to study the origins and migration patterns of early Arctic cultures. The results point to a single, genetically distinct Paleo-Eskimo population that thrived in isolation for more than 4,000 years, only to vanish in a matter of decades.
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