1862 advertisement for Laird’s Bloom of Youth, claiming to preserve and beautify the complexion and skin. Source: Cosmetics and Skin.
UPDATE! This post was originally published on January 17, 2013. Skin care and that eternal search for youth are back in the news this month with a remedy that is both scandalous and ancient: blood. A new study has found that young blood does have powers of rejuvenation. The blood plasma from young mice was injected into old mice who then experienced improved learning and memory. It isn’t a far leap to imagine applying this research to skin care and the possibility that blood may impart youth to the physical appearance as well. This is certainly not a new thought. History has several examples of people who believed blood was perhaps a fountain of youth. Continue reading
UPDATE! This post was originally published on March 14, 2013. One year later and ancient tattoos are back in the news due to a fascinating find and an exciting exhibit at the British Museum. Eight mummies from Egypt and Sudan have been subjected to CAT scanning, infra-red “reflectography” and carbon dating in an effort to develop a more complete picture of their ancient lives for the new exhibit called Ancient Lives: New Discoveries. The scanning has revealed previously unseen features from beneath their wrappings. One of the most interesting discoveries is a tattoo on the inner thigh of a 1,300 year old female mummy. The tattoo represents the symbol of the Archangel Michael and spells out in ancient Greek M-I-X-A-H-A (Michael). According to an article by Robert Mendick in The Telegraph, the woman was 20-35 years of age, died in about 700 CE and “lived in a Christian community on the banks of the Nile.” Continue reading
UPDATE! Originally published on December 12, 2012, this was AntiquityNOW’s first blog post! The dinosaur/avian connection is back in the news today with the announcement that Australia will be the first country to publicly display specimens of Guanlong wucaii, a relative of Tyrannosaurus rex that helped confirm the link between dinosaurs and birds. The Guanlong wucaii is the T-Rex’s oldest relative living around 90 million years before its gigantic relative. Unlike the more famous T-Rex, the Guanlong wucaii much more closely resembled our modern day birds as its body was covered in feather-like structures. Stephen Wroe, associate professor at University of New England and a palaeontologist, said, “It might be hard to imagine how Tyrannosaurus, with its huge size and famously tiny arms, could be related to birds. But Guanlong demonstrates earlier relatives of Tyrannosaurus were much more avian – more lightly built and with longer forelimbs.” Continue reading
*Originally published on February 7, 2013, this is the first post in our Ancient Idioms series. Don’t miss Part 2 on Thursday!
It’s no secret that English is heavily influenced by Latin and Ancient Greek – especially if you’ve ever had to study vocab for the SATs – but it might surprise you to know that many of our current idioms have been around since ancient times. Idioms usually form based around the culture that speaks the language, yet the English language has several idioms that come from antiquity. They are a testament to how relevant history is to our lives today, and how we’re not so dissimilar to our ancient ancestors. Continue reading
It’s Valentine’s Day. Moonlight and roses, chocolate and Hallmark cards… ahhh, the power of love. But why do we love? What is that irresistible draw to the heart and soul of another human being?
For such a popular holiday, Valentine’s Day is marked by an interesting historical fact—we’re not really sure of its true origins. The actual St. Valentine is a martyred figure associated with three stories from the early Christian Church. In one, St. Valentine was a Christian priest thrown into a Roman prison for preaching his beliefs. On February 14, he was beheaded not only for disputing Roman deities but also for allegedly curing the jailer’s daughter of blindness—a miracle not looked kindly upon by the Romans trying to suppress the upstart religion. His farewell letter to the jailer’s daughter, signed “From your Valentine,” and the letters he received and sent from jail to the friends who cared for him supposedly began the exchange of notes of affection for this holiday. Continue reading
Posted in Biology, Blog, Holidays, Public Life, Science and Technology
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, brain, Claudius, history, Roman, St. Valentine, valentine's day
Detail of the Villa Borghese gladiator mosaic, 4th century CE
The stadium is hot, packed with roaring fans ready to cheer for their favorite players. Above the din, vendors are screaming out what foods and souvenirs are for sale. The city is festooned with colorful advertisements sporting muscle-bound celebrities endorsing the latest products. Super Bowl 2013? Think again. It’s actually ancient Rome. As the doors open, the gladiators emerge, boldly strutting onto the field for the day’s games. The crowd goes wild, Roman BCE-style. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Celebrities, Culture, Public Life, Sports
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, football, gladiators, history, Pompeii, Super Bowl
This is the worst flu season since 2010, and we haven’t even hit the official peak of the season, which is typically in February.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is calling the outbreak an epidemic. According to Curtis Allen, spokesperson for the CDC, “When the H3N2 virus circulates, we tend to have a more severe season. It can cause more hospitalizations and kill more people ages 65 and over.” In fact, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency and ABC named Boston a “city under flu crisis.” Continue reading
Posted in Biology, Blog, Healing Arts, Science and Technology
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Athenian plague, CDC, history, influenza, Justinian plague, plague