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History as current news: #1917Live: Exhausted Russian army on verge of turning against Nicholas II

Comment: What a creative way to bring history alive - to tell the story as though it is current news using the up-to-date ways that such a story would be covered. Nice job, RT!

Poor logistics, high war casualties on the Eastern Front, and shortages of military equipment and food have left Russia's capital Petrograd dangerously unstable in the latest developments from #1917Live, RT's social media project in which we cover the events of 100 years ago in real time.

Last year's Brusilov Offensive brought Russia initial gains against the teetering Austro-Hungarian Empire, but petered out due to supply problems, adding around a million men to the casualty list. In all, more than a million men have died, and over four million have been wounded. 1.5 million deserted the army in 1916 alone.

Comment: Russia seems to have learned some lessons from its revolutionary years:


Archeologists have discovered the first sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithra on the island of Corsica

© Denis Gliksman-Inrap
Archaeologists have found the first sanctuary dedicated to the God Mithra
A sanctuary dedicated to the god of an ancient and mysterious religion known as Mithraism has been discovered on the French island of Corsica for the first time. The structure was erected in the Roman city of Mariana, created around 100 BCE.

The local authorities were planning roadworks in the vicinity of this major site, so they called the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) to conduct excavations and make sure that no significant archaeological remains would be standing in the way.

A team, led by archaeologist Philippe Chapon, started working in Mariana in November 2016. It is thought that this little Roman town was at its peak in the third and fourth century and that it derived its strength from its commercial harbour, a point of contact for maritime exchanges with the whole Mediterranean.


Discovery of a large labyrinth in Denmark, relic of Stone Age people?

© Danish Geodata Agency / Pernille Rohde Sloth
The dark green dotted lines indicate where scientists have dug their trenches and excavated the site. The position of where the palisade is believed to have been is marked in red. The light green dashed line shows the lack of finds.
A series of Stone Age palisade enclosures have been discovered in Denmark in recent years and archaeologists are still wondering what they were used for. One of the latest additions is a huge construction, discovered by archaeologists from the Museum Southeast Denmark. The fence dates from the Neolithic period and seems to frame an oval area of nearly 18,000 square meters.

"It was actually somewhat overwhelming to experience that it is possible to reveal the traces of such a huge building from the Neolithic period. There are many suggestions for what they could've been used for, but to put it simply, we just don't know," says archaeologist Pernille Rohde Sloth who leads the excavation.


38,000 year-old engravings confirm ancient origins of technique used by Seurat, Van Gogh

© Hughcharlesparker -Wikipedia
Aurignacian Culture Map
A newly discovered trove of 16 engraved and otherwise modified limestone blocks, created 38,000 years ago, confirms the ancient origins of the pointillist techniques later adopted by 19th and 20th century artists such as Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Roy Lichtenstein.

"We're quite familiar with the techniques of these modern artists," observes New York University anthropologist Randall White, who led the excavation in France's Vézère Valley. "But now we can confirm this form of image-making was already being practiced by Europe's earliest human culture, the Aurignacian."

Pointillism, a painting technique in which small dots are used to create the illusion of a larger image, was developed in the 1880s. However, archaeologists have now found evidence of this technique thousands of years earlier—dating back more than 35,000 years.

Book 2

Walt Whitman Novel Lost for 165 Years Gives Clues to 'Leaves of Grass'

© The New York Public Library
A portrait of Walt Whitman, 1853 or 1854.
Readers who picked up The New York Times on March 13, 1852, might have seen a small advertisement on Page 3 for a serial tale set to begin the next day in a rival newspaper.

"A RICH REVELATION," the ad began, teasing a rollicking story touching on "the Manners and Morals of Boarding Houses, some Scenes from Church History, Operations in Wall-st.," and "graphic Sketches of Men and Women" (presented, fear not, with "explanations necessary to properly understand what it is all about").

It was a less than tantalizing brew, perhaps. The story, which was never reviewed or reprinted, appears to have sunk like a stone.

But now comes another rich revelation: The anonymously published tale was nothing less than a complete novel by Walt Whitman.

The 36,000-word "Life and Adventures of Jack Engle," which was discovered last summer by a graduate student, is being republished online on Monday by The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and in book form by the University of Iowa Press. A quasi-Dickensian tale of an orphan's adventures, it features a villainous lawyer, virtuous Quakers, glad-handing politicians, a sultry Spanish dancer and more than a few unlikely plot twists and jarring narrative shifts.

From Wikipedia:

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.

Born: May 31, 1819, West Hills, NY

Died: March 26, 1892, Camden, NJ

Poems: Song of Myself, O Captain! My Captain!, More

Awards: Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration
Quotes: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Be curious, not judgmental.

Quenelle - Golden

'You're a Political Chump': What Malcolm X Really Thought About the Democratic Party

© Justin Osuji
Malcolm X
"I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years"

- U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according to Ronald Kessler's "Inside the White House"
Malcolm X was a controversial figure during the civil rights era. If Malcolm X were alive today he would have been disappointed with the African-Americans and others who overwhelmingly vote for the Democrat party. Why? Because Malcolm X often spoke out against the American establishment, in particular, the Democratic Party for their involvement in the destruction of the African-American community and how they are used as "tools" for political power over their Republican rivals. There is no doubt that he would have continued to expose the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and how they have failed the African-American community for decades. Malcolm X was not a Republican and he certainly was not a Democrat as he once said "We won't organize any black man to be a Democrat or a Republican because both of them have sold us out. Both of them have sold us out; both parties have sold us out. Both parties are racist, and the Democratic Party is more racist than the Republican Party." Before and even after the Civil Rights Act was established in 1964 under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and the well-known racist President Lyndon B. Johnson, racism in America was still at an all-time high.

Wine n Glass

Keeping up with the Karas: Unearthing Armenia's ancient wine-making earthenware

© Karine Vann/Smithsonian
Asli Saghatelyan stands next to her father-in-law’s 240-gallon karas, a clay vessel traditionally used in Armenia, until recently, for storing and fermenting homemade wine.
The enormous 240-gallon clay vessel, or karas, was nestled snugly in the corner of Asli Saghatelyan's maran (storage cellar) in Chiva, a modest village in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia. Asli and her son Mushegh watched with curious faces as I beheld their egg-shaped earthenware with awe.

The Saghatelyans no longer use this forlorn family heirloom, the girth of which exceeds the width of the door's frame. It belonged to the family's now-deceased patriarch, who used it to make homemade wine through a traditional process of fermentation and storage that people in this region have used for millennia. At one point, the family possessed at least five of them. Today only two are still intact.

This scene of giant karases, now sitting dusty and idle for decades in the basements of Armenia's villagers, is a strangely common one in this particular region. The villagers don't use them anymore, but the pots are so large they cannot be transported it out of their homes without the karas being smashed, or the wall of the basement being demo-ed. You can imagine the residents of Chiva rarely choose the latter option.


Radiocarbon dating and DNA show ancient Puebloan leadership in the Maternal line

© Douglas Kennett, Penn State University
Photo of Pueblo Bonito taken from the northern rim of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, USA.
Discovering who was a leader, or even if leaders existed, from the ruins of archaeological sites is difficult, but now a team of archaeologists and biological anthropologists, using a powerful combination of radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA, have shown that a matrilineal dynasty likely ruled Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico for more than 300 years.

"We are not saying that this was a state-level society," said Douglas J. Kennett, head and professor of anthropology, Penn State. "But we don't think it was egalitarian either." Archaeologists have described the Chaco Phenomenon as anything from an egalitarian society without any rulers at all, to a full-fledged state-level society or kingdom. The researchers now think that Chaco Canyon was much more than a leaderless conglomeration of people, but a hierarchically organized society with leadership inherited through the maternal line.

Typically, the only things found in prehistoric archaeological ruins to indicate elevated status are grave goods—the artifacts found with burials. Throughout the Southwest it is unusual to find formal burials within structures, because most people were buried with limited grave goods outside housing compounds, but in excavations sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and carried out in the 1890s at Chaco Canyon, archaeologists found room 33 in Pueblo Bonito—a burial crypt within a 650-room pueblo dating between 800 and 1130—that contained 14 burials.


Declassified files show Nazi-era film star Marika Rokk was Soviet spy

© imago stock&people / www.globallookpress.com
Marika Rökk
Newly declassified records reportedly show that Marika Rokk, the incarnation of glamour and coquetry who was one of the brightest stars in the Third Reich and post-war West Germany, played another important role off screen - that of a Soviet agent.

An old file from 1951 seen by German newspaper Bild says she had "connections to Soviet authorities" that allegedly indicated some "intelligence activity." The documents had been kept under lock and key for over five decades.

Rokk was allegedly recruited as a KGB agent by her manager, Heinz Hoffmeister, who was already working for Soviet intelligence. Her husband, film director Georg Jacoby, whom she met on the set of Kora Terry, is thought to have spied along with her.

While it is unclear what role Rokk might have played in the espionage, the network of agents she was a member of, called Krona, was involved in passing top secret military intelligence on to the USSR, including plans for Operation Barbarossa (the code name for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II) and the Battle of Kursk.

The Egyptian-born diva of Hungarian descent started her career as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris before heading to Broadway to polish her dancing and acting skills.


Iranian historians unravel ancient mummy murder mystery

© Davide Mauro
Iranian scientists have managed to uncover the cause of death of what's probably the country's most famous mummy, who dates back to 9550 B.C.

Having spent many years researching the mystery of one of the so called 'saltmen' - mummies discovered in Iran's northwest in the 1990s and kept in the National Museum in Tehran - Iranian historians have been able to establish that the man did not die of natural causes, according to the Mehr news agency.

After subjecting the mummy's skull to radiocarbon dating, the researchers have determined that the 'saltman' was in fact killed at the age of 40 by a powerful blow to the head.