Sunday, January 21, 2018

Neolithic girl's reconstructed face unveiled

An 18-year-old girl who lived in Greece 7,000 years ago and was unearthed by archaeologists in Theopetra cave, near the city of Trikala, has had her face reconstructed and is about to officially introduce herself to the public.

Neolithic girl's reconstructed face unveiled at Athens Acropolis Museum on January 19th

Eight years after the revelation of Myrtis, the reconstructed head of a girl that once lived in Classical-era ancient Athens and died during the plague in Athens in the 5th century BC and following the international sensation that it caused, the Acropolis museum is ready to to introduce Dawn’s new face from an even earlier past, to Greek and international audiences.

Rainsongs by Sue Hubbard - Review by Martina Evans

From the Irish Times:
An English woman’s journey to her dead husband’s Kerry summer cottage leads to a series of discoveries.

A recently widowed English woman, Martha Cassidy, is driving in the dark, lost somewhere outside Cahirsiveen. Her husband, Brendan Cassidy, has died suddenly of a heart attack, and she is on her way to his remote summer cottage on the headland. The practical need to sort and pack up his things is clearly more than that. “Coming here forces her to accept his loss. This was always his place.”

As Martha contemplates her loneliness here at the end of the world with Skellig rock in her sight line, the medieval monks who survived on that rock symbolise faith in the face of darkness and privation. But Skellig also represents unfinished business for Martha, a trip that was never taken.

Thousands Of Rare, First Edition Books And Manuscripts Destroyed In Freak Accident | Gizmodo Australia

A large portion of a private collection of King works, which included original typed manuscripts of Maximum Overdrive and The Eyes of the Dragon, has been lost to an accident.

Gerald Winters spent 20 years of his life travelling the world and collecting rare, invaluable pieces of King's literary work in hopes of one day opening up a small museum dedicated to the author's legacy. Last year, Winters packed up his life and collection and moved from Thailand to Bangor, Maine (where King calls home) to share his treasures with other fans. But this week, a freak flooding accident suddenly robbed the collector of thousands of first edition books, manuscripts, and a variety of other incredibly rare items that have come out of King's creative process.

Winters estimates that nearly 90 per cent of the collection - which also included signed works from J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin - was destroyed. Understandably, he's going through a period of mourning.

Essex's eventful past retold in new book

From Echo News:
Echo: Book cover- the Little History of Essex offers a compact history of Essex’s pastIf you caught the intriguing BBC4 documentary - England’s Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey – which aired on BBC 4 on Thursday, you’ll already know how the short life of the teenage girl who sat on the throne of England for just nine days in 1553 was one of sadness - and a tragic bloody end.

But the often overlooked queen also had interesting links to our county, which are explored in a new book, The Little History of Essex.

Penned by Southend historian and author Judith Williams, the book condenses the most interesting chapters of the county’s past into one enjoyable easy read.

The Little History of Essex takes the reader through the ages of Essex- from its early beginning, to Norman and Medieval times, Tudor Essex, up to Victorian and then post war and modern history.

More than just one invasion after another: Medieval Ireland

A new book seeks to challenge that assumption, providing a look at a thousand years of the history of the island of Ireland, from the arrival of St Patrick in the 5th century to the political and religious events of the late 14th century.

The book, by Dr Clare Downham of the University of Liverpool, resists the tendency to define Irish medieval history by certain landmark dates, such as the arrival of the Vikings c.800, or the invasion of Ireland by Henry II of England in 1171.

Dr Downham’s reasons for this are compelling: an Irish person in 1175 is unlikely to have viewed them self as in a fundamentally different society as someone ten years before, and many of the changes in medieval Ireland, such as the increase in literacy and improvements in farming technology, were both far more gradual and far more wide reaching than the events of any single date.


Review: The Habsburgs by Benjamin Curtis

The Habsburgs by Benjamin Curtis
"The truth about the dynasty lies, predictably, somewhere in between its ostentatiously constructed self-image and the rather pock-marked public perception."

Benjamin Curtis' "The Habsburgs: The History of the Dynasty" is a great introduction into the Habsburg dynasty from its obscure beginnings until the 20th century.

Author Benjamin Curtis readily admits that in condensing such a history into a "manageable tome", there was much that had to be left out.  He makes no apologies for that, and instead focuses on what the reader actually wants to read - the personalities, court intrigue, politics and dynastic marriages, the battles.  

All the major players are there, from Rudolf I, Charles V , Philips II - IV, Maria Theresa, to the very last, Franz Joseph (d.1916).  All, and those in between, are given a voice, and each chapter is followed by a summation or analysis of the political and dynastic forces that impacted the reigns of the period covered.

Curtis gives us the groundwork to go out and explore on our own - as the dynasty itself did, extending its reach far beyond Spain and Europe.

A well-researched and readable tome; a worthy addition to anyone's personal library.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Juliana: The Mughal ‘Princess’ from Portugal

Medieval Indian history has stories and anecdotes of illustrious women such as Razia Sultana, Noor Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal and Jahan Ara, some of whom have also been featured stunningly so on celluloid. However, very little is known about Juliana, a Portuguese lady who played a sensational stellar role in the Mughal Court and witnessed from close quarters the unfolding of history, as well as history being made on account of the mystifying sway she had over this era.

Juliana Nama is a book that narrates the fascinating story akin to a fairy-tale of the alluring and charismatic Dona Juliana Dias da Costa—the favoured and beloved companion of Shah Alam, also known as Bahadur Shah-I—who succeeded his father, the controversial Monarch, Aurungzeb to the Peacock Throne. She not only left an enduring and unfading stamp on that period but perhaps, emphatically so, refashioned and altered the course of events to an exceptional degree.

Centuries of Dunfermline's history revealed in Patricia's new book

A North Queensferry author has penned a new book which features Dunfermline’s Burgh history. Patricia Dennison’s revealing text tells the story of urban development in Scotland over the course of the millennium. The evolution of urban life, in its different guises, is detailed throughout ‘The Evolution of Scotland’s Towns: Creation, Growth and Fragmentation’.

“Nothing defines the history of the ordinary person in Scotland better than the history of our towns,” she said.

Welcome return for author’s medieval investigator Foxley

Toni Mount has published the fifth book in her series of medieval murders. Picture: Toni MountA Gravesend author, lecturer and scientist has just launched her latest book dealing with medieval murders.  It is the fifth in a series that is making Toni Mount a household name in the area.

She told us: “It is called The Colour of Murder and deals with even more medieval murders, including the mysterious death of The Duke of Clarence, one of the future Richard III’s brothers, who, tradition tells us was drowned in a wine barrel.”

“Some 540 years ago, on 18th February 1478 the Duke of Clarence was, famously, drowned in a butt of malmsey wine. Did he jump or was he pushed? The question has never been answered, so this was an opportunity for my intrepid investigator Seb Foxley – to finally solve the mystery.”