Saturday, 12 May 2012

Mural Found in Guatemala Contradicting 2012 Doomsday Prediction

Latest excavations into an unexcavated Maya city have brought forward a mural within a Maya house. But this is no simple mural. In addition to the image of a king and his subject, the walls of the room are filled with different calculations. These are calculations for vast amounts of time and they definitely outlive 2012. These markings suggest that Maya scholars made predictions many thousands of years in advance from where we stand. This room also offers a rare glimpse into the inner Mayan society.

Mayan Mural found near Guatemala

This mural and room were found within the 6 square miles spanning jungle floor. The site was found by a group of archaeologists in search of looters tunnel. They found the faintest trace of paint on a thin stucco wall. Soon the researchers cleared up the mud that had accumulated on the walls over 1200 years. And more red paint appeared from the walls.

Archaeologists clearing the mud from walls 

Soon the team confirmed that this was an ancient workstation for Mayan record keepers and scribe writers. Within this workstation people sat on the benches and worked. They painted books and maintained records that have been lost with time. These books could be filled with elaborate calculations that predict the city’s future. There fixed tabulations made on the walls which could be referred to by the scholars while carrying out calculations. It is just like the tables that are given at the back of a Chemistry book.

Calculations made on the wall of Mayan workstation

The workstation was lost with time. Erosion and creeping up of plant life also led to the anonymous remaining of this Mayan workstation. This small building is located close to a Mayan plaza. This plaza in turn is encircled by pyramids where kings and priests conducted various types of ceremonies. There are fragments of slay pots found all through the forests that suggests existence of peddlers selling these clay pots. This city is just five miles from a prominent Mayan metropolis, San Bartolo.    

Friday, 11 May 2012

Search for Tomb of King Herod

Herod the Great was a fabled King of Judeaea. He died in 4 BC. Though this great king died more than 2,000 years ago but his final resting place was never found. Most experts narrowed their search for the tomb to Herodium, a grand complex that was designed by the King himself on a man-made hill which was located south of Jerusalem. There was a biography about Herod less than a hundred years after his death. This biography contained indepth details about where within the Herodium the great king was buried.

Herodium: Herod's final resting place

Though there were so prominent clues still searches for Herod’s tomb did not succeed until very recently. Herod died in Jericho to a nasty kidney disease that led to development of a nasty gangrene. After his death there was an enormous funeral procession and Herod’s body was carried on a golden briar to the edge of Judaean desert. He was buried within the beloved Herodium. Herodium is built on a volcano shaped hill which is located at about 8 miles south of the modern day city of Jerusalem. This white stone building was Herpd’s desert retreat. It had a fortified palace, administrative buildings, ritual baths and gardens.
Lower Base of Herodium

Accounts of Herod’s funeral made most experts believe that the tomb would be found at the base of Herodium. There were decades of search within the lower complex of Herodium but the tomb was not found. Then in 2006 researchers noticed an out of place section within the wall which is halfway up the hill. They started digging and hit upon a slab of high quality and highly ornamented pink limestone. After digging deeper they found an ornamented sarcophagus, which would be fit for a king as great as Herod.

King Herod's Sarcophagus

There were remains of a huge staircase which lead to the burial site uncovered. Another section which was thought to be a hippodrome was also uncovered. Later this hippodrome was conceived as the area staging Herod’s funeral. There was also a monument about 80 feet tall that marked the King’s tomb.

Place where Herod's tomb was found

Most of the tomb is in ruins, may be due to damages inflicted by the Jewish rebels who disliked Herod. Such a revolt took place in the late 60s AD. Though the tomb and sarcophagus were found, but Herod’s bones were not. It is probable they were put away by some rebels.

Herodium still stands tall and is protected by Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Was Hamlet really a Prince of Denmark? This question has intrigued researchers for many centuries. But recent studies have come up with new information. Most scholars till date have unanimously agreed that Shakespeare based his great tragedy on Hamlet of Amlethus, who is mentioned as a legend in the “History of the Danes”. This record was written around 1200. The name of Amlethus was tracked back from the word “Amlothi” which appears in the 10th or 11th century poem written by an Icelandic poet Snow Bear.

What is the exact origin of Hamlet?

But recent studies suggest that the roots of true Hamlet are even deeper than this. The source can be assumed as a little known Irish tale known as “destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel”. This Irish tale was written in the 11th century. In this tale a king is killed in a hall filled with many uncanny figures. There are three prime figures in this tale Mael, Mlithi and Admlithi. There is particular resemblance between Admlithi and Hamlet. Admlithi of Eire became Hamlet of Elsinore when the tale travelled to Scandinavia through the sailor mouths. Snow Bear’s Amlothi can thus be stated as a corruption of Admlithi. Thus Admlithi can be easily replaced vy Amlethus or Amlothi.
Amlethus could be the origin of Hamlet's tale

Admlithi in this regard is related to the Gaelic word for grinding. This word was used by the navigators to describe grinding sea. Though Admlithi had a small role in the tale, but due to his strange name, Admlithi was used in different senses by the seafarers. 

Shakespeare used an Irish tale as his source

Thus Shakespeare seems to have unknowingly used an Irish tale for the basis of his tragedy. This new dimension would add some new insights into Hamlet and Shakespeare. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Mysterious Causes for Lenin’s Death

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and a communist politician who was at the forefront of 1917 October Revolution. He headed the Soviet State during its initial years (1917-1924). He was a persuasive orator and led to the formation of a completely new Soviet Union. There are many mysteries regarding his sudden death at 6:50 P.M. on January 21, 1924. He died just a few months before his 54th birthday. Generally known cause of his death was a massive stroke. Modern day medical experts opine that the cerebral arteries of the great leader had become so calcified that they sounded like stones when tapped. Let us check out the medical history of Lenin to find some clues for his sudden death.

Vladimir Lenin: A Prolific Orator

As a baby Lenin is reported to have had a large head that made him fall over numerous times. He used fall on the floor and bang his head, this made his mother worry that her child would grow up to be a mentally disabled person. But her fear did not realise. In his adulthood Lenin suffered from diseases such as toothaches, typhoid, influenza and erysipelas (a painful skin infection). He was immensely stressed at all times which led to other diseases such as migraines, insomnia and abdominal pain. When he was 38 years old he was shot twice in an assassination attempt. One bullet stayed in his collar bone after puncturing through his lungs and the other was caught up in the base of the neck. Both these bullets stayed within his body for the rest of his life.

Lenin's Dead Body after his death

If we take a look at the medical history of Lenin’s family: his father died young at the age of 54 due to cerebral haemorrhage, but during death Lenin’s father also suffered from typhoid fever. All of Lenin’s seven brothers and sisters died young.

Lenin's Dead body is undergoing modern day medical research to authenticate the reason for his death 

Two years before his death Lenin suffered three strokes. Some of the reputed medical practitioners in Europe were consulted and they suggested a variety of reasons such as nervous exhaustion, chronic lead intoxication (from the bullets within his body) and cerebral arteriosclerosis. When Lenin died he had suffered multiple seizures. This was an interesting fact for the medical experts and most of them were convinced that poison was the probable cause of Lenin’s death.

Stalin and Lenin Together

But who would do such a heinous crime? And why? Most suspect Stalin of poisoning Lenin. Just a year before Lenin’s death Stalin had sent a secret letter to the Politburo suggesting that Lenin had asked Stalin’s help to commit suicide. But Stalin did not help and he decided to bring this thing in focus to the supreme authorities. Lenin was one of the main obstacles to Stalin’s supremacy and with Lenin’s death Stalin would be the main benefactor.

Another suspicious act was ordered by Stalin after Lenin’s death. Stalin ordered that no toxicological tests should be conducted on Stalin’s corpse. This made it impossible for the modern day experts to verify whether the real cause of Lenin’s death was poisoning.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Did Edison Steal Some of his Inventions?

Thomas Alva Edison is claimed to be the greatest who ever lived and there is no doubt about this fact. He provided mankind with some of the most spectacular technologies. He held more than 1,000 patents which is a mean deed in no way. But some research about his life shows that he could go to any extents to claim credit for inventions done by others. There are some examples of this infamous deed.

Thomas Alva Edison: Inventor or ...

Edison is generally mentioned as the inventor of fluoroscope which was used for x-rays. X-rays are a huge boon for medical science. Invention and later distribution of these devices added significantly to the wealth of Edison. But the actual inventor of the x-ray device was a German scientist named Wilhelm Rontgen. Rontgen was the first to see the human bones. He took x-ray images of his wife’s hand many years before Edison. But Rontgen’s invention did not spread and Edison was more than happy to claim x-ray as his brainchild and mint money.

X-ray image of Rontgen's wife

Edison is also credited for creating devices for recording speech and other sounds. But a French printer and bookseller named Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville had initially created a device known as “phonautograph”. This device was created more than 15 years before Edison’s invention of phonograph. In this instance too Edison made no mention of de Martinville while distributing his new device.
Edison with his motion picture camera

One of the worst stories about Edison is his invention of motion pictures. Edison is known as the Father of Motion Pictures. But the first working motion pictures were invented by Louis Le Prince, who was an inventor himself. It was sure that whoever got the patents for motion picture would become very rich. In 1890, Le Prince started distributing the motion pictures in England. He would sail to America once he was done in England. He stepped on a train on September 13, 1890 and vanished from there. Even his luggage could not be traced. In 1892 Le Prince’s son was shot dead before testifying for hos father’s patent trial. The murder mystery was never solved.

Still from A trip to the Moon

Another story of Edison’s mischief can be sighted. A Trip to the Moon was a popular motion picture in England. Everyone liked this picture. So, Edison obtained a personal copy from a theatre owner. On making his way back to USA he made a lot of money showing this print to the motion picture lovers. This was the first act of piracy. When Melies arrived in USA with his picture he incurred heavy losses as the public had already watched the pirated copy. This led to Melies’ infamous bankruptcy.   

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Pontius Pilate: A Cruel Roman or Victim of Circumstances?

Pontius Pilate was a Roman prefect of Judaea and he is more famous (or should I say infamous) for presiding over the trial of Jesus and giving the orders for his crucifixion. According to the past accounts of his life Pilate was a Roman knight belonging to the Samnite clan of Pontii (this gave him the name Pontius). He was close to Sejanus, favourite of Roman emperor Tiberius. It was through the intervention of Sejanus that Pilate became the prefect of Judaea. His position as a prefect are confirmed by a Casarea inscription. He was always protected by Sejanus but he had incurred enmity with the Jews for insulting their religious sensibilities and insulting them. He hung the images of Roman emperor all through Jerusalem for the sake of worshipping. Upon his orders coins bearing the image of pagan religious symbols began to be minted.  
A Statue of Pontius Pilate

In 31 AD Sejanus fell from his position of power and this made Pilate vulnerable. He had to remain idle to survive amongst the Jews. He was under pressure due to sharp criticisms from the Jews. The Jews in their turn capitalized this vulnerability and obtained the death sentence of Jesus. It was not long after that Samaritans reported about Pilate to Vitellius (who was the Legate of Syria), when the former attacked Mount Gerizim in 36 AD. He was asked to come back to Rome. In Rome he was charged and stood trial against charges of oppression, cruelty and executing men without proper trials. It is known that Pilate killed himself in 39 AD on orders from the Roman emperor Caligula.  
Inscription of Pontius Pilate

It is a pity that the judgements of Pilate have to be made on the basis later Jewish or early Christian writings such as Josephus and the New Testament. Josephus’ reference of Pilate seems to be consistent. He is depicted as a strict, authoritarian and headstrong Roman leader who had both practicality and rationality but never knew how far he should go in any given situation. He started out a riot between Samaritans and Jews. He tried to abolish the privileges enjoyed by the Jews. Pilate ordered the troops to set camp in Jerusalem and sent images of the emperor attached against their banners. When the Jews demonstrated in Caesarea or Pilate’s city of residence he threatened to kill them unless they stopped demonstrations. When the Jews showed readiness to die for their cause he had the images removed. Josephus concludes that Pilate has inferential judgement that could be affected by firm resolution.  
Pontius Pilate During Christ's Trial

Even the New Testament suggests that Pilate had a weak and vacillating personality. He decided to crucify Jesus and pardon Barabbas just to please the Jewish mass. Soon his wife told him about her dream and Pilate transferred his responsibility to the emperor. Though it is known that Pilate was later remorseful of Jesus’ crucifixion and even took up Christianity and became saint.  

All that can be said is Pontius Pilate was more a victim of the circumstances and a weak character man then being cruel or biased.