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MindMatters: Phillip Barlag: Murderers, Tyrants and Lunatics - A History of Rome at Its Worst

barlag roman
Extreme avarice. Fratricide. Megalomania. Debauchery. Genocide. At the height of its power and influence ancient Rome was led by some truly crazy and terrifying people. Caligula and Nero come to mind as the most famous, but they had a lot of company: men (and women) whose unbridled ambition and wielding of power were employed to absolutely horrible and destructive effect. And even if they were assassinated (which was quite often the case!), another grossly incompetent and tyrannical psychopath was quite often installed to replace them! Knowing this history, it seems like a true wonder that Rome was as relatively stable as it was for as long as it was.

But who were these individuals whose names we are probably unfamiliar with? What levers of influence did they use to assume the seat of power? And how did the famed empire manage to survive the rule of such figures?

Join us this week on MindMatters as we talk to author Phillip Barlag and discuss his new book Evil Roman Emperors: The Shocking History of Ancient Rome's Most Wicked Rulers from Caligula to Nero and More - and get a glimpse into a place and time that may make the evils we see now pale in comparison.


MindMatters on LBRY: https://lbry.tv/@MindMatters:4

Running Time: 00:55:35

Download: MP3 — 50.7 MB



Blue Planet

Skeletons of twin infant Vikings discovered in Christian burial in Sweden

viking twin burial
© Uppdrag arkeologi
This close-up shot shows one of the burials found in the tombs in Sweden. They are believed to be Christianized Vikings who lived about 1,000 years ago.
Seven Viking tombs holding well-preserved skeletons, including possible twin infants, have been discovered in the Swedish town of Sigtuna.

The archaeologists discovered the 1,000-year-old remains of eight people — four adults and four children — inside the tombs; they were likely Vikings who had converted to Christianity. "The Christian character of the now-excavated graves is obvious because of how the tombs were laid out," said Johan Runer, a project manager with Uppdrag arkeologi, a cultural resource management company, which led excavations of the site.

Comment: See also:


Beaker

America's impressive history of bioweapons attacks against its own people

Uncle SAM and victim
© Getty Images
Forget China-bashing conspiracy theories, let's look at the fogging of SF, the microbial attack on the NYC subway and other unpleasantries perpetrated by the CIA and US military in our not-so-distant past...

The Biden Administration, the mainstream media and pretty much all the politicians in our country continue to throw fuel on the Sinophobia fire initially stoked by former President and current Mar-a-lago "fungineer" Donald Trump.

(Word to the wise, "Sinophobia" means anti-China hatred, not anti-cinema hatred as I had thought. So I apologize to all the people who posted a movie review for Fast And Furious 27 and noticed a response comment from me reading "GODDAMN SINOPHOBE!" Under the circumstances, that was an odd thing to yell.)

During the Trump Administration, the Wuhan lab leak theory was called a ridiculous conspiracy that blossomed out of Trump's racist brain — which it did. It absolutely did. And he should get some credit for that because anyone can be racist but Trump is a racist inventor. He comes up with new and exciting ways to be racist. So he deserves some credit for his innovation.

Comment: See also:


MIB

Revolver explores Feds favorite espionage tactic: Fake bodyguards

FBI poster
As part of our ongoing investigation into the true story of the January 6 Capitol incident, Revolver shined a light on the federal government's widespread use of informants and infiltrators within various extremist (and so-called "extremist") groups. We explored how the FBI provokes and entraps suspects into participating in crimes that never would have happened without the Bureau's instigation. And in our massive report earlier this week, we raised questions pointing to the possibility that Oath Keepers founder and leader Stewart Rhodes may be one of these informants and provocateurs.

Repeatedly, Rhodes has injected himself into disputes or ingratiated himself with public figures by deploying the Oath Keepers to provide private personal security, gratis. In 2018, Arizona Oath Keepers provided personal security for Sheriff Joe Arpaio during his Senate campaign.

Oath Keepers

Oath Keepers with Joe Arpaio [Oathkeepers.org]
As it turns out, three of the 12 Oath Keeprs indicted in the aftermath of January 6th were previously deployed as bodyguards for Roger Stone. This wasn't a one-off operation, either. The DOJ's own charging documents indicate that the Oath Keepers also accompanied Stone to events in Florida, and even visited his home. Oath Keepers also provided security to Alex Jones shortly before the Capitol incident, and in the months since, the federal government has "investigated" the possibility of charging Stone and Jones based on their ties to the group.

Comment: See also:


Info

DNA study traces origins of modern Japanese to Paleolithic man

Minatogawa man
© Illustrated by Teruya Yamamoto and provided by the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo
An artist’s rendition of what a Minatogawa man looked like.
Modern Japanese appear to be genetically descended from the Paleolithic Minatogawa people, according to DNA analysis of human remains in Okinawa Prefecture dating from 20,000 years ago.

According to current mainstream theory, Japanese have mixed origins in the Jomon people known for their distinctive pottery culture (c. 14500 B.C.-1000 B.C.) and the Yayoi people with their own pottery culture (1000 B.C.-A.D. 250).

The latest study indicates the origins of Japanese can be traced to a more distant past.

Minatogawa refers to people whose remains were unearthed in Okinawa Prefecture in 1970. Named after the site where the bones were discovered, the Minatogawa people are among the few Paleolithic humans whose remains have so far been discovered in Japan.

They were small in stature, standing around 150 centimeters. Narrow-shouldered, they had a sturdy lower-body skeletal build, which experts believe made them suited to running on barren land.

DNA analysis and other studies support the theory that modern Japanese have mixed origins in Jomon hunter-gatherers who inhabited broad areas of Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa between 15,000 and 3,000 years ago and the Yayoi farming people, who arrived later from the Asian mainland.

What remained a mystery was the relationship with the Minatogawa people, who lived thousands of years before the Jomon people.

Info

Rare 51,000-year-old bone carving suggest Neanderthals were artists

The rare bone carving was unearthed at a cave entrance in northern Germany.
The Neanderthal bone carving.
© V. Minkus/NLD
The Neanderthal bone carving.
Patterns deliberately etched onto a bone belonging to a giant deer is further evidence that Neanderthals possessed the capacity for symbolic thought.

Neanderthals decorated themselves with feathers, drew cave paintings, and created jewelry from eagle talons, so it comes as little surprise to learn that Neanderthals also engraved patterns onto bone. The discovery of this 55,000-year-old bone carving, as described in Nature Ecology & Evolution, is further evidence of sophisticated behaviour among Neanderthals.

"Evidence of artistic decorations would suggest production or modification of objects for symbolic reasons beyond mere functionality, adding a new dimension to the complex cognitive capability of Neanderthals," as Silvia Bello, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum in London, explained in an associated New & Views article.

The carving was found at the Einhornhöhle archaeological site in the Harz mountains of northern Germany, and it features a line pattern consisting of six etchings that form five stacked chevrons. The "parallel and regularly spaced engravings have comparable dimensions and were very probably created in a uniform approach suggesting an intentional act," according to the study, led by archaeologist Dirk Leder from the State Service for Cultural Heritage Lower Saxony in Hannover, Germany.

Black Magic

Canada Day special: How a 'synthetic nationalism' was created to break the US-Russia alliance

trudeau diefenbaker
As a Canadian author associated with a Canadian geopolitical magazine and a book series rooted in the thesis that Canada is still under the dominance of the British Empire to this very day, the July 1st holiday known as "Canada Day" is a bit of a strange thing to celebrate.

As I have recently written in my articles "The Missed Chance of 1867" and the "Truth of the Alaska Purchase", July 1st, 1867 was the day the British North America Act was established creating for the first time a confederacy in the Americas devoted to "maintaining the interests of the British Empire" (as our founding constitution makes explicit).

The motive for this 1867 confederation was driven by the British Empire's burning fear of losing its valuable possessions in the Americas during the course of the Civil War when Britain's "other confederacy" operation against Lincoln's union was obviously going to fail. The fact that the U.S.-Russian alliance that saved the Union in 1863 and led into the sale of Alaska in 1867 would also usher in an inevitable growth of rail development through the Bering Strait connecting both civilizations was a prospect devoutly to be feared by the City of London.

Blue Planet

No sign of foreigners in Turkey's Bronze Age Alalakh burials despite it being 'international age'

Alalakh
© Ingman et al., 2021. PLOS ONE.
Map showing location of Alalakh in Turkey.
A new study published in PLOS ONE reports genetic and oxygen and strontium isotopic data for individuals buried at Alalakh, finding little evidence for the foreigners mentioned in texts.

The Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean has long been considered by researchers to have been the 'first international age,' especially the period from 1600-1200 BC, when powerful empires from Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt set up large networks of subordinate client kingdoms in the Near East. These empires fought, traded, and corresponded with one another, and ancient texts from the period reveal rich economic and social networks that enabled the movement of people and goods.

Comment: Meanwhile in Bronze Age Germany: Why are adult daughters missing from Early Bronze Age German cemeteries?

See also:


Archaeology

Ancient carved snake found in Finnish neolithic dig site, Järvensuo

snake carving finland excavation
© snSatu Koivisto et al
Between earth and water: a wooden snake figurine from the Neolithic site of Järvensuo
A pair of researchers from the University of Turku and the University of Helsinki, respectively, both in Finland, has found a well-preserved ancient carved snake at Järvensuo 1, a dig site in south-west Finland. In their paper published on the Cambridge University Press site Cambridge Core, Satu Koivisto and Antti Lahelma describe where the artifact was found, its condition, its age and its possible purpose.

Info

Ornate stone carving discovered at Roman fort near Hadrian's Wall

Archaeologists search for clues to identify a mystery horseman after carved relief uncovered at Roman Vindolanda, Hadrian's Wall.
Hadrian's Wall

A beautifully carved sandstone relief which depicts a naked male figure holding a spear stood in front of a horse/donkey has been uncovered during the annual excavations at the Roman fort of Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland. The complete stone measuring 160mm by 315mm would have originally been fitted into a recess.

The stone was uncovered on 20th May, only inches under the topsoil by two Vindolanda volunteers from Newcastle, who have both been making their annual pilgrimage to assist with the excavations for over 15 years. Richie Milor and David Goldwater had been assigned to uncover a flagged floor inside a 4th century building of the ancient fort. They quickly realised the rugged stone that lay face up amongst the larger smooth flag was something special. David noted that "I saw one of the legs of the horse first and then the pointed top of the relief ", Richie said "we are just absolutely elated, very proud to be part of this discovery, it was actually very emotional. Whether you find something or not we love coming to this site, playing our small part in the research that takes place, but finding this made it a very special day indeed."