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Fri, 17 Aug 2018
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Archaeology

Hundreds of skulls reveal scale, skill, and the history of human sacrifice in Aztec capital

A codex written after the conquest by a Spanish priest depicts Tenochtitlan's enormous skull rack, or tzompantli. 1587 AZTEC MANUSCRIPT, THE CODEX TOVAR
© WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
A codex written after the conquest by a Spanish priest depicts Tenochtitlan's enormous skull rack, or tzompantli.
1587 AZTEC MANUSCRIPT, THE CODEX TOVAR
The priest quickly sliced into the captive's torso and removed his still-beating heart. That sacrifice, one among thousands performed in the sacred city of Tenochtitlan, would feed the gods and ensure the continued existence of the world.

Death, however, was just the start of the victim's role in the sacrificial ritual, key to the spiritual world of the Mexica people in the 14th to the 16th centuries.

Priests carried the body to another ritual space, where they laid it face-up. Armed with years of practice, detailed anatomical knowledge, and obsidian blades sharper than today's surgical steel, they made an incision in the thin space between two vertebrae in the neck, expertly decapitating the body. Using their sharp blades, the priests deftly cut away the skin and muscles of the face, reducing it to a skull. Then, they carved large holes in both sides of the skull and slipped it onto a thick wooden post that held other skulls prepared in precisely the same way. The skulls were bound for Tenochtitlan's tzompantli, an enormous rack of skulls built in front of the Templo Mayor-a pyramid with two temples on top. One was dedicated to the war god, Huitzilopochtli, and the other to the rain god, Tlaloc.

Comment: So even though it's thought that human sacrifice was a ritual with a long history, it seems to have reached its peak at a particular period and the evidence would suggest that their fear of the end of the world was probably well founded. In many other parts of the world there was a documented shift in climate causing famine and plague, along with increased fireball activity in the skies:


Hammer

Enemy of the state: The gruesome assassination of Leon Trotsky

Trotsky
© Wikimedia Commons (Trotsky) / iStock (Background)
In August 1940, a Russian expatriate worked in his well-sheltered garden in Mexico City. He surrounded himself with chickens, rabbits, and peaceful trees. But the man was no vacationing grandpa - he was one of the most famous political exiles in the world, and his home in Coyoacan was surrounded by armed guards and fortress-like walls.

Leon Trotsky had been a political liability in Russia for years before his hasty expulsion. Though he had helped lead the Communist Party to power in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, Trotsky quickly became persona non grata to Joseph Stalin. Trotsky's opposition to Stalin's bloated bureaucracy and his publicly-stated belief that Stalinism wasn't taking Communism far enough toward permanent world revolution cost him everything.

When Vladimir Lenin died in 1924, it was thought that Trotsky, who had endured a long
Ramon Mercader

Ramón Mercader
marriage of political convenience with Lenin, might come to power. But Stalin helped drum up and took advantage of anti-Trotsky sentiment to seize Soviet control instead. Stalin acted swiftly against the former hero, and he swept Trotsky out of his political positions, the Communist Party, and eventually the USSR itself.

As Trotsky looked for a new state to call home, Stalin scrubbed him from photographs and published texts, but Trotsky was more concerned about preserving his actual life. Though he managed to find political asylum in Mexico, he survived multiple assassination attempts over the years and a raid on his compound.

However, on August 20, 1940, Trotsky's luck ran out. A man who called himself Jacques Mornard had become friends with Trotsky and his armed guards. They exchanged sympathetic political views and chatted about trivial matters, but Mornard was actually Ramón Mercader, a Soviet agent.

Colosseum

Laughably fake 'reconstruction' of Julius Caesar's face unveiled by Dutch archaeologist

caesar bust reproduction
Archaeologist Tom Buijtendorp, who is promoting a new book on Julius Caesar, headed a project to recreate Caesar's bust using a 3D scan of one existing portrait, a marble bust held by the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. Archaeologist and anthropologist Maja d'Hollosy used the scan of the marble bust (and other portraits, allegedly) to create a truly horrendous clay and silicon 'reproduction'. The bust was unveiled at an event by Buijtendorp at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands, on Friday.

RT reports:
A new 3D reconstruction of Julius Caesar's head gives unprecedented insight into what the famous Roman general looked like all those years ago - including the bizarre proportions of his cranium.
...
The result is a remarkably lifelike depiction of Caesar, down to the unusual skull shape said to have been the result of his difficult birth.

"So he has a crazy bulge on his head," Buijtendorp said of his skull, HLN reports. "A doctor said that such a thing occurs in a heavy delivery. You do not invent that as an artist."
You can see the monstrosity that resulted above. The only problem is: Caesar didn't look like that.

Cow Skull

What the British really did to India

Shashi Tharoor‌
Oh my god. The lies we were taught in school. I have just finished listening to an interview with (v.i.p.) Shashi Tharoor about his book on the British rule of India: Inglorious Empire: What the British Did To India.
  • Before the British arrived India represented over 20% of the world's GDP (textiles, steel, shipbuilding...) and had done so for centuries. By the time the British left it was reduced to 3% of world's GDP.
  • There is an eyewitness account the British smashing Indian looms and breaking or cutting off the weavers' thumbs so they could not rebuild the looms and resume production.
  • The Indian export textile industry was effectively destroyed as Indians were forced to sell cotton to Britain and then buy back inferior British textiles.
  • The railways did little to benefit Indians until after the British left.
An interesting datum given today's situation...
  • The British were the ones responsible for introducing the Hindu-Muslim antagonistic divide. The Hindus and Muslims were united, serving under common native command, to oppose the British. The British responded by initiating policies that over time succeeded in their aim of building hostility between the two faiths - the old "divide and conquer" tactic.
And we are reminded again of the genocidal policies that I first read about in Mike Davis's Late Victorian Holocausts. This time, however, it was Winston Churchill himself who emerged as the Stalinesque monster, diverting grain from regions where millions were dying in order to build up reserves for remotely hypothetical threats in Europe. Churchill is on record as saying the deaths are the Bengalis own fault for "breeding like rabbits".

And on and on it goes.....

Telephone

The Saker interviews Michael A. Hoffman II

Rabbi
Introduction by the Saker: I have always had a passion for theology in general and the studies of religions in general. Several years ago I discovered, quite by chance, a book written by Michael A. Hoffman II entitled Judaism's Strange Gods which I found most interesting and thought provoking. Reading that book, I felt that I wanted to find out much more and I ended up ordering and reading Michael A. Hoffman II's magnum opus Judaism Discovered: A Study of the Anti-Biblical Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit which absolutely amazed me: over 1000 pages packed with information, sources and most interesting analyses. Needless to say, the book was also very controversial and elicited all sorts of negative reactions from various reviewers. Here I need to immediately begin by a disclaimer: while the topic of "Rabbinical Phariseism" (modern "Judaism" should be called something like "Rabbinical Phariseism" since all modern Judaic denomination are descendants of the sect of the Pharisees; furthermore, this religion is dramatically different from the religion of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: it is the religion of Maimonides, Karo, Luria and others) has always fascinated me and while I do have a graduate degree in theology, I am absolutely not qualified to endorse or refute the views of Hoffman. What I can say is that his books are very well written, well researched, fully sourced and that I see no contradictions between what he wrote and the little I personally know about this topic. As for his critique of the religion of the Rabbinical Pharisees (from which all form of modern "Orthodox Judaism" stem from), it is not "racist" in any way: unlike ethnicity, a religion is a personal choice and thus a legitimate target for scrutiny and criticism and Hoffman's condemnation of Rabbinical Phariseism is in no way harsher than the writings of Church Fathers like Saint Justin Martyr, Saint John Chrysostome, Saint Cyprian of Carthage or Saint Ephrem the Syrian.

Hoffman recently published another amazing book, the 700 pages long "The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome" which I began reading (I am about 1/3rd through) with, again, rapt interest. Yet again, here was a very well researched and beautifully controversial book which gave me as strong desire to speak with the author and, luckily for me, Michael A. Hoffman II has kindly agree to replies to my questions to him on his life and research. The following is the full unedited Q&A with I had with him.

* * *

Bad Guys

Inside The Deep State: "If Only We'd Listened To Ike"

Eisenhower
© greanvillepost.com
Many Trump supporters, and even some on the left, like to talk about the "Deep State" secretly having complete control of our government, thus rendering our elected leaders to be nothing more than meaningless figureheads. Let's investigate.

Long before the term 'Deep State' became popular, the term "Military Industrial Complex" was coined by President Dwight Eisenhower.

He gave his now famous Military Industrial Complex (MIC) speech on Jan 17, 1961.

Archaeology

3,000-year-old geoglyphs in Peru may depict the heavens

Peru site called Pampa de las Salinas
More than 3,000 years ago in what is now the lower Chao Valley in Peru, ancient people created five geoglyphs out of angular rocks, forming designs that may have shown heavenly constellations.

These geoglyphs had stone doorways leading into them. Archaeologists believe that ancient people would have entered these doorways to participate in some form of ceremony or ritual activity performed at the geoglyphs.

These five geoglyphs are part of a much larger ceremonial landscape now called Pampa de las Salinas that consistsof more than 20 archaeological sites, including trails, plazas and a massive mound called "Los Morteros" that consists of the remains of ancient buildings as well as fish and plants.[Amazing Photos of the Mysterious Geoglyphs in Peru]

Recently, archaeologists have been mapping and excavating Pampa de las Salinasin an effort to help understand the landscape's mysteries.

Comment: From the abandonment of the area to the apparent desire to create a reflection of the sky on earth, the similarities with other mysterious ancient civilisations are curious:


Star of David

Demystifying the myths of Israel's Six-Day War

6daywar
© Unknown
Israel's Six-Day War
The war that Israel initiated in June of 1967 became the stuff of myths and legends on many levels. Now, after fifty one years it may be time to unravel and demystify what took place during those fateful six days in June.

There is the myth of the existential threat which called for Israel to engage in a preemptive strike which started the war, then there is the myth of the greatness of the Israeli army and its remarkable abilities, and there is a claim which one can argue is also a myth that it was this war that changed the face of the Middle East forever. Then, there is an even greater myth and that is that Palestine was occupied as a result of the 1967 war. That the West Bank and The Gaza Strip, which are no more than two small parts of Palestine artificially created when Israel was established, are The Occupied Palestinian Territories, as opposed to two areas within occupied Palestine. It can be no coincidence that most immediately after the war of 1967 these areas were named "The Occupied Territories" and the fact that the greater part of Palestine had been occupied for almost twenty years - that point had somehow slipped the collective memories of all but the Palestinians themselves.

Comment: Askew the definitions, rebrand the scenario, change the focus, bribe or eliminate the naysayers and voila - you have your own country. You can lay claim to false rights, dispose of thousands of people, convince others of your sovereignty, rewrite history to suit your narrative and over time they will believe you. Was that the plan?


Archaeology

Ancient political propaganda: Electoral slogans uncovered from ruins of Pompeii

political ads uncovered Pompeii
© Getty Images
Electoral claims in Latin language found in Pompeii's Regio V.
If you've ever wondered how people rose to power in Ancient Rome newly discovered political ads in the famous city of Pompeii offer fresh insight on the age-old practice of propaganda.

The recently uncovered Latin inscriptions were found by archaeologists working in the Regio V area of the government protected park. The perfectly preserved messages, which were graffitied onto the outside of buildings during Pompeii's heyday more than 1,900 years ago, were used to promote politicians running for office, according to reports in Italy.

Since its rediscovery in 1748, various studies of Pompeii have shown that the ancient town had a sophisticated political structure, including magistrates and councillors.

Mail

Scotsman's letter proves the slaughter of Aborigines

crosshatch letter
© Pursuit
James Graham's cross-hatch letter, dated 1839.
An extraordinary letter home to Scotland from a young man who had emigrated to Australia in the 1830s has been made available to people trying to reconcile with Aboriginal history.

James Graham wrote home to his family in Fife in 1839, a year after he had emigrated to Australia, and his letter contains proof that Aborigines were massacred by white settlers - studies have shown that up to 60% of Australians still do not believe such atrocities happen.

During National Reconciliation Week earlier this month - seven days of promoting Aboriginal culture - the so-called Overland Letter by Graham was promoted by the University of Melbourne in its online publication Pursuit.

The letter from the university archives is extraordinary for several reasons, not least because it is a rare example of the "criss-cross" style of writing which Victorians used in order to save paper - the most famous user of that method was the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

According to Pursuit, Graham's cross-writing horizontally, vertically and diagonally filled two large leaves of heavy paper with words that would later add up to forty pages of typed transcription.