Month: August 2015

How Global Heritage Fund Saves Cultural Treasures

Since its founding in 2002, Global Heritage Fund has protected, preserved and sustained the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world. Focusing its efforts on preservation and responsible development of the most important and endangered global heritage sites, Global Heritage Fund selects projects using the strictest criteria. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) speaks to Mr. Stefaan Poortman, Executive Director at Global Heritage Fund, about the importance of cultural heritage in addition to what Global Heritage Fund has done to save the world’s cultural treasures. JW: Mr. Stefaan Poortman, welcome to AHE! Our interview comes at a time when archaeological and cultural heritage sites are in peril or destroyed in nearly every corner of the world, so I thank you so much for your willingness to speak with me. In your words, could you tell us why cultural heritage and major archaeological sites merit protection as well as higher awareness among the public? SP: The impact of cultural heritage on civil society is exponential, it …

Warriors Across the Ancient World

This post is part of a series of image posts Ancient History et cetera will be putting together each month. Today’s post concerns ancient warriors! Ancient warfare was vastly different from how it is conducted today; the vanquished could be certain that slavery or execution awaited them. Initially, ancient armies were made up of infantry units who would engage enemy forces on the field with spears, shields, some form of body armour and a helmet. In time, armies developed to include shock troops, peltasts and include strategies like the formation known as the phalanx. The hoplite is the Greek solider most are familiar with. His complete suit of armour was a long spear, short sword, and circular bronze shield; he was further protected, if he could afford it, by a bronze helmet, bronze breastplate, greaves for the legs and finally, ankle guards. The Aztecs engaged in warfare (yaoyotl) to acquire territory, resources, quash rebellions, and to collect sacrificial victims to honour their gods. Warfare was a fundamental part of Aztec culture and all males were expected to participate. Eagle knights were …

Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble Head of a Companion of Odysseus

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of a companion of Odysseus, copied after a famous work from the Hellenistic period. This head shows the face of a man that probably belonged to a multi-figure group depicting Odysseus with his twelve companions blinding the one-eyed giant (and the most famous of the Cyclopes), Polyphemus, with a burning stake.

Conjecture or Fact? The Two Faces of Alexander the Great

The headline “Mosaic of Alexander the Great Meeting a Jewish priest,” recently caught my attention. I have been to Greece twice, once on an archaeological excavation, and I teach ninth grade world history. This is just the kind of headline to get my students excited about ancient Greece. It reminds me of the excitement surrounding the discovery of a second Mona Lisa back in 2012. Is this an open and shut case? Could this really be another image of Alexander? So far the circumstantial evidence indicates that this newly discovered mosaic is the famous general, king and warrior. The Daily Mail describes a legend in which Alexander meets with a Jewish priest, and the new mosaic discovered in Israel could be the long-awaited confirmation of that myth.

Ancient Mediterranean Funerary Art

This post is part of a series of image posts Ancient History et cetera will post each month. Today’, it is all about ancient funerary art! All ancient cultures had varying and extensive beliefs about life and death. They also had elaborate burial rituals performed at death. These rituals ensured safe travel to the afterlife, so that the dead are remembered forever. By the sixth century CE, ancient Greek concepts of the afterlife and ceremonies associated with burial were well established. They believed that when one died they went to the realm of Hades and his wife, Persephone. Greek burial rituals were usually performed by the women of the family and involved a prothesis (laying out of the body) and the ekphora (funeral procession). The most common forms of Greek funerary art are relief sculpture, statues, and tall stelai crowned by capitals, and finials. Similarly, the Romans performed a funeral procession for their dead which would end in a columbarium. These columbarium, depending on the person’s station in life, could be quite elaborate. Roman Sarcophagi also tend to be quite beautiful and visually tell us Roman values. (Whereas, epitaphs provide literary insight into Roman …

Traveling in Israel on a Budget

On the shores of the Mediterranean sea, Israel is a country with a rich archaeological and religious history. As a land of great significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims, it has many sacred sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque. People are also drawn to the many ancient relics and landmarks Israel has to offer. In this interview with Ancient History Encyclopedia, Jade Koekoe speaks to Carole Raddato of Following Hadrian. Carole discusses her recent experiences in Israel and gives her advice about traveling to this magnificent country on a budget.

The Ancient Minoans of Crete

The Minoan civilization flourished on the Mediterranean island of Crete during the height of the Bronze Age (c. 2000-c. 1500 BCE). By virtue of their unique art and architecture, the ancient Minoans made significant contributions to the subsequent development of Western civilization. However, we still know less about the Minoans than the civilizations of Egypt or Mesopotamia. Professor Louise Hitchcock, an archaeologist specializing in Aegean archaeology at Melbourne University, introduces us to the world of the ancient Minoans and the importance of Aegean archaeology in this exclusive interview with James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE).