History Girls

An archaeological excavation of mass graves of plague victims on the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo near Venice, Italy found the first example ever discovered of a suspected vampire.

The skull, buried in 1576, was found along with part of the body in March 2009 and was unusual as the jaw was forced permanently open by a brick, known to be a medieval exorcism technique to prevent ‘vampires’ returning from the dead.

Read more: http://ping.fm/P39Oh

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{June 30, 2010}   Edutainment: Wild West

Rose Dunn met George “Bitter Creek” Newcomb, a former member of the Dalton Gang before their demise in Coffeyville, Kansas, through her outlaw brothers. In 1893, Newcomb became a member of the Doolin Gang, and it was somewhere around this time that he met Rose Dunn, often referred to as “the Rose of Cimarron,” through her outlaw brothers. The Doolin Gang terrorized Indian Territory for two years as they robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

From: http://ping.fm/5Jb6y

Archaeologists investigating a mass burial of 97 infants at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley believe it may have been a brothel.

From: http://ping.fm/7u4AC

The modern gentleman may prefer blondes. But new research has found that it was cavemen who were the first to be lured by flaxen locks.

According to the study, north European women evolved blonde hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to make them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males.

From: http://ping.fm/bxSIQ

The Middle Awash area of Ethiopia is the most persistently occupied place on Earth. Members of our lineage have lived, died, and been buried there for almost six million years. Now their bones are eroding out of the ground. Step by step they record how a primitive, small-brained primate evolved to conquer a planet. Where better to learn how we became human?

From: http://ping.fm/TyTO7

Contemporaries were horrified by the onset of the plague in the wet summer of 1348: within weeks of midsummer people were dying in unprecedented large numbers. Ralph Higden of Chester, the best known contemporary chronicler thought ‘scarcely a tenth of mankind was left alive’.

From: http://ping.fm/zVmjl

In the great wars of American history, there are, in immediate connection with the army, two situations in which woman more prominently appears: the former is where, in her proper person, she accompanies the army as a “vivandiere,” or as the daughter of the regiment, or as the comrade and help-mate of her husband; the latter, and less frequent capacity, is that of a soldier, matching in the ranks and facing the foe in the hour of danger.

From: http://ping.fm/TlxtM

The legend of La Llorona (pronounced “LAH yoh ROH nah”), Spanish for the Weeping Woman, has been a part of Hispanic culture in the Southwest since the days of the conquistadores. The tall, thin spirit is said to be blessed with natural beauty and long flowing black hair. Wearing a white gown, she roams the rivers and creeks, wailing into the night and searching for children to drag, screaming to a watery grave.

No one really knows when the legend of La Llorona began or, from where it originated. Though the tales vary from source to source, the one common thread is that she is the spirit is of a doomed mother who drowned her children and now spends eternity searching for them in rivers and lakes.

La Llorona was a caring woman full of life and love, who married a wealthy man who lavished her with gifts and attention. However, after she bore him two sons, he began to change, returning to a life of womanizing and alcohol, often leaving her for months at a time. He seemingly no longer cared for the beautiful Maria, even talking about leaving her to marry a woman of his own wealthy class. When he did return home, it was only to visit his children and the devastated Maria began to feel resentment toward the boys.

From: http://ping.fm/Vy9Gl

The status of women during the Enlightenment changed drastically; surprisingly, much of the talk concerning individual liberties, social welfare, economic liberty, and education did not greatly affect the unequal treatment of women.

In many ways, the position of women was seriously degraded during the Enlightenment. Economically, the rise of capitalism produced laws that severely restricted women’s rights to own property and run businesses. While Enlightenment thinkers were proposing economic freedom and enlightened monarchs were tearing down barriers to production and trade, women were being forced out of a variety of businesses throughout Europe.

In 1600, more than two-thirds of the businesses in London were owned and administered by women; by 1800, that number had shrunk to less than ten percent. While the Enlightenment greatly changed the face of education, the education of women simultaneously expanded in opportunity but seriously degraded in quality.

From: http://ping.fm/d4PVA

{June 27, 2010}   The Muses of Ancient Greece

The Muses were not only singers for Zeus and other gods; they also oversaw thought in all its forms: eloquence, persuasion, knowledge, history, mathematics, astronomy.

Hesiod praises their services to humankind, claiming that they accompany kings and inspire them with the persuasive words necessary to settle argument and re-establish peace, and that they give monarchs the gift of gentleness which makes them popular.

A singer (thought of as a servant of the Muses) has only to celebrate the deeds of men of long ago or to sing of the gods, and anyone listening who is beset by troubles or sorrows will forget them instantly. The oldest song of the Muses is the one sung after the victory of the Olympians over the Titans to celebrate the birth of a new order.

From: http://ping.fm/ukZdm

et cetera