Saturday, July 5, 2008
http://www.chinaview.cn/ 2008-07-06 05:59:34
CAIRO, July 5 (Xinhua) -- An Egyptian archeological mission has unearthed a 5,000-year-old royal burial ground in southern Egypt, the official MENA news agency reported on Saturday.
The cemetery was discovered in Umm el-Ga'ab area, south of the historical city of Abydos in Sohag governorate, about 400 km south of Cairo, said the report.
The burial ground, which contains 13 tombs, is believed to be of senior royal employees or people who contributed to the construction of the cemetery.
The team of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities also found objects of an ancient Egyptian game called "Senet," which resembles chess.
MENA said this is the second time the "Senet" game has been discovered. The first one was found in the tomb of boy King Tutankhamen near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor.
Editor: Yan Liang
*********************************************************************************** It seems incredible that this is only the second time Senet has been discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb, but come to think of it, I believe all examples I've seen in museum exhibits did come from Tut's tomb, including a beautiful very small painted ivory game board in the 2006 exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago (see photo - this is the board we saw). More than one senet board was recovered from Tut's tomb - I believe at least 4 boards were found in the tomb. This board, however, is NOT showing senet - it's showing the twenty-squares game! Senet has 30 squares! Perhaps it's on the other side of the board; it was not uncommon for Egyptian game boards to have the twenty-squares game on one side the Senet on the other side.
Here is the announcement from AFP.
Friday, July 4, 2008
The Moon has inspired mankind throughout the ages. Countless poems and songs - and romantic legends - have revolved around the Moon. Animals are inspired by the Moon, too. Why is this? Why, for instance, do coyotes and wolves and dogs howl at the full moon?
There is a close connection between the Moon Goddess and canines; in the way ancient times, before time was even counted as we count it today, canines were associated with death and the Passing Over of the dead to the Next World. Canines were carrion eaters, along with vultures and crows. The carrion eaters performed an important function - they picked the bones of the dead clean of putrefying flesh, thus rendering the bones fit for burial and memorial. This is the logical reason why canines, vultures and crows have, since the most ancient times, been associated with death and primeval goddesses of death, birth and resurrection.
As the Sun was associated with life, the Moon was associated with death and rebirth; but the Moon is also with life, since from the most ancient times onward it was associated with the rhythyms of menstruation, and menstruation, a uniquely feminine physiological event, was associated with the creation of Life. Blood was death, but it was also a symbol for life in menstruating women, the bearers of New Life. Thus, the dual notion of symbolism in blood - and the dual notion of symbolism in the Moon.
In most cultures, the Sun was considered masculine and the Moon was considered feminine, the Mate of the Sun. Actually, the Sun was the Mate of the Moon, for it was the Moon that controlled the tides and controlled the menstrual cycles of women in close societies. To this day, scientists continue to study why it is that women who work together in offices, for instance, seem to "shift" their menstrual cycles so that they all happen relatively close together. They think it might have something to do with phemerones - but who really knows for sure, heh?
Tonight, after a long hard day of whacking at weeds, cutting down unwanted seedling trees and pruning what seemed like endless branches from shrubs and trees, I'm pooped! And for some reason, I'm thinking about the Moon. There's no moon in the sky, leastwise, that I can see.
But I was thinking about this wonderful old song, "I'll Be Seeing You," and it's punchline lyrics about the Moon:
...I'll be seeing you
In every lovely, summer's day
And everything that's bright and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But Ill be seeing you.
So I see a connection between the Sun, a lovely summer's day and a warm, summer night with a full Moon shimmering in the sky after all...
A few interesting tidbits about the Moon Goddess:
From Barbara Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:"
"Moon worshippers," a common name for Mesopotamian astrologers who studied the movements of the moon in relation to the stars.(1) Because the magic powers of the Chaldeans commanded respect nearly everywhere in the ancient world, biblical writers made abraham a Chaldean (Genesis 121:28).. The same name wa still being applied to astrologers and wizards in the 15th century A.D. (2)
(1) Briffault 2, 600.
(2) Lea unabridged, 772.
(This is the Goddess that got me to thinking many Moons ago, har!, that chess had something to do with the Goddess...) Chinese Moon-goddess, sole keeper of the ambrosia of immortality (menstrual blood). Her husband, the Excellent Archer, became intensely jealous of her monopoly of life-magic and quarreled with her. So she left him, as Lilith left Adam, and went to live in the moon forever, dispensing her precious elixir to women only.(1)
(1) Larousse, 383.
There is also a new article available online (by subscription only) at the American Journal of Achaeology:
Issue 112.3 (July, 2008)
Moon Over Pyrgi: Catha, an Etruscan Lunar Goddess?
Nancy T. de Grummond
(Image: American Journal of Archaeology: Terracotta head of a deity from Pyrgi (Leukothea? Catha?), fourth century B.C.E. Rome, Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia (courtesy Università di Roma La Sapienza, Pyrgi Excavations).
Terracotta head of a deity from Pyrgi Relatively little has been written about Etruscan deities of the moon. This article explores the imagery of Etruscan lunar divinities and argues for recognition of a moon goddess at Pyrgi named Catha. A group of antefixes long recognized as astral or cosmic, from the 20-celled building in the Etruscan sanctuary at Pyrgi, includes a female figure with two horses, proposed here as an image of Catha. The paper considers implications for the cult of Catha at Pyrgi as consort of the sun god Śuri and as a goddess of the sea and the moon, perhaps associated with childbirth.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Originally aired July 2, 2008
Antiquities Exhibit Illuminates Ancient Afghan Trading
A new ancient Afghan art exhibition displays the country's rich and diverse culture. At the National Gallery of Art, the NewsHour visits the relics that have survived the tumult of recent history in Afghanistan.
JEFFREY BROWN: June 2004, Kabul. The bank vault in Afghanistan's presidential palace is opened, and a metal safe brought out. Lacking keys, a worker takes a circular saw to open up a box that could hold priceless antiquities long thought to be lost.
Archaeologist and National Geographic fellow Frederik Hiebert was there.
FREDRIK HIEBERT, National Geographic fellow: I was worried. A circular saw had a lot of heat. If there was gold in there, was it going to affect the gold? What if there was nothing in there? What if somebody had already gotten in there, stolen the gold, and there was a little note saying, "Ha, we got here first?"
JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, thousands of pieces of gold from the so-called "Bactrian hoard" were there and safe.
CURATOR: You can see actually there's a piece of jewelry...
JEFFREY BROWN: And some can now be seen here, at Washington's National Gallery of Art, part of an exhibition organized with the National Geographic Society called "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul." It will travel around the U.S. through September 2009.
The 228 objects were excavated from four archaeological sites and together reveal a little-known land that stood at the center of ancient trade routes, while developing its own unique cultural blend.
FREDRIK HIEBERT: I think this is the most astonishing part of the exhibition. You look at these treasures from Afghanistan, from a country that you know only from the news as a land of terror, as a land of chaos.
And you look at these pieces, they're gorgeous. They're beautiful. They're so familiar. You see iconography from Greece, from Rome, from China, from India. You say, "Wow, these things came from Afghanistan."
JEFFREY BROWN: The oldest objects, from 2200 B.C., come from a Bronze Age site called Tepe Fullol. Little is known about the people who made these, but the images show they were in contact with ancient India and Mesopotamia.
FREDRIK HIEBERT: On these gold bulls, you see iconography that's distinctive of the neighbors. But the gold itself was local, so we know now that Afghanistan had a role in international trade already 4,000 years ago.
JEFFREY BROWN: Objects from the second site show northern Afghanistan -- then called Bactria -- when it was a colony of Greece. The city of Ai Khanum was founded around 300 B.C. by followers of Alexander the Great. Most of these pieces were excavated in the 1960s and '70s by French archaeologists.
A highlight is a ceremonial plaque in silver and gold, with Cybele, the Greek goddess of nature, riding in a chariot with the winged goddess, Nike.
Afghanistan as a mosaic
JEFFREY BROWN: The largest galleries in the exhibition bring the visitor into Afghanistan's role as a crossroads of the famous Silk Road, trade routes that ran from Rome and the Mediterranean to China and India. These ivory reliefs were used to decorate furniture including, as this video animation shows, a throne.
These objects were excavated in 1937 from a long-buried warehouse in the ancient city of Begram. Amazingly, most were found intact.
FREDRIK HIEBERT: This is really unusual in archeology. If we took a -- take a look at this fragile glass. That's 2,000 years old. You can see the pieces are intact. They're whole. Look at this glass.
JEFFREY BROWN: You mean, these were found -- these were found like this?
FREDRIK HIEBERT: These were found like this. These fish are typical of the Roman world. There are fish drinking glasses like this from other parts of the Mediterranean world.
JEFFREY BROWN: So this is a Mediterranean fish that washes up in Afghanistan?
FREDRIK HIEBERT: Of all places, in Afghanistan.
SAID JAWAD, Ambassador, Afghanistan: That's what Afghanistan is about actually. It is truly a mosaic of different cultures, countries, civilizations, languages, but yet it has kept a Bactrian or Afghan characteristics.
JEFFREY BROWN: And this exhibition, says Said Jawad, Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S., is a way of showing that identity to the world.
SAID JAWAD: For a lot of people, Afghanistan starts with the Soviet invasion or some of the recent violence. This is not the case. This country has been around for 5,000 years.
Objects survived modern Afghanistan
JEFFREY BROWN: But it is the recent history that makes this exhibition all the more striking, for as remarkable as the ancient history of these objects may be, their survival in modern times can seem miraculous.
Remember the Bactrian hoard? These thousands of pieces of gold were found in six graves at a site called Tillia Tepe, on and around the bodies of wealthy nomads.
But the year was 1979, just as the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, and archeologist Victor Sarianidi didn't even have time to finish the excavations.
Fredrik Hiebert, who would later work with Sarianidi, picks up the story.
FREDRIK HIEBERT: He actually had to go sort of incognito. He took his golden treasures, more than 50 pounds of gold, and he put it in paper bags and got on a bus.
JEFFREY BROWN: Paper bags?
FREDRIK HIEBERT: Paper bags, got on a bus, and went incognito back to the capital city. He quickly inventoried these objects. It was astonishing.
More than 20,000 pieces of gold were inventoried and then quickly hidden away in the National Museum of Afghanistan, not to be studied, not to be displayed. This was kind of an unusual moment for an archaeologist to find his greatest find and have to hide it away.
JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, hiding the treasures saved them, while so much else was lost. In the early '90s, the National Museum in Kabul was looted and shelled amid civil war.
FREDRIK HIEBERT: The National Museum lost its roof, lost its windows. When I first saw it in 2003, there was not a single artifact.
Restored museum to receive the art
JEFFREY BROWN: Next, the Taliban systematically destroyed works of art, including the famous giant sculptures of Buddha at Bamyan in 2001. Everything, including the Bactrian hoard, was at risk.
SAID JAWAD: The criminals and the looters wanted to have in their hands for financial gain. The Taliban wanted to destroy these items because of their wrong ideological or religious conviction.
JEFFREY BROWN: And it was, in the end, a handful of workers at the museum who apparently saved what they could, in the vault in the presidential palace, in homes, and elsewhere, and kept it secret, even as the world assumed the worst.
SAID JAWAD: Any one of these gentlemen could have actually packed one or a few pieces of these artifacts and lived very comfortably somewhere in Europe. They didn't.
JEFFREY BROWN: Indeed, this is now the great hope, that these, and so many other objects that have been looted and taken from the country, will be part of a restored National Museum in Kabul.
For now, even as Americans can study these treasures, the continuing political uncertainty in Afghanistan makes it impossible to predict when Afghans, young and old, will get their chance.
And so this article came as a shocking surprise - but then, again, why should I be surprised. How many times has this scenario played out? We've heard about it countless times - they've even made movies about it! The older, world-weary and "wise" writer/scholar/poet/actor/politician (take your pick) takes up with an adoring and incredibly stupid (naive) younger woman, taking her for the ultimate ride, stealing not only her innocence but also her ideas. Photo: Laura Riding a/k/a Laura Reichenthal. She married twice: Louis Gottschalt (div. 1925) and Schuyler B. Jackson (critic, m. 1941, d. 1968).
From the Independent.co.uk
War poet Robert Graves 'stole work from his mistress'
By Arifa Akbar, Arts CorrespondentFriday, 4 July 2008
Few would doubt the brilliance of Robert Graves, a man considered to be one of Britain's foremost war poets whose verses on Greek mythology and frontline conflict cemented his name in literary history.
But one academic has accused the poet of stealing ideas, literary criticism and poetry from his one-time American mistress and passing them off as his own.
Dr Mark Jacobs, a research fellow at Nottingham Trent University who has spent two decades studying 700 letters he received from Laura Riding Jackson as well as her literary works, said when she discovered the uncanny similarity in his texts she condemned her former lover as a "robber baron".
Dr Jacobs, who is writing a book which will reveal the full extent of the couple's relationship, credits Jackson for having been a major influence on Graves's work and has called for a reassessment of his writings in the light of the revelations.
Jackson's chagrin at Graves' alleged "lifting" of her work is described in her letters to Dr Jacobs, who began writing to her as a PhD student 30 years ago. Their correspondence continued until a year before her death in 1991 and the letters were this week placed in the university's research archive.
The couple became lovers in the 1920s, when Graves was still with his first wife, Nancy Nicolson. Jackson moved into the couple's home for some time before the marriage ended after Jackson's failed suicide attempt when she threw herself out of a window, an event she describes in her letters. The couple's literary and romantic partnership was the inspiration for Miranda Seymour's 1998 novel, The Summer of '30.
Dr Jacobs said Jackson accuses Graves of "robbing" her of key ideas which he appropriated as his own for his seminal study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess, published in 1948.
He claimed that the inspiration for the work, which equates God with women, related to an early essay Jackson wrote in the 1930s called The Idea of God and her book, The Word Woman, which preceded Graves's magnum opus.
The couple moved from Britain to Spain, where Jackson left her manuscript for The Word Woman when the pair fled the country on the outbreak of the civil war in 1936. Dr Jacobs claims it was this manuscript – which Jackson had asked Graves to burn – that the poet used as the basis for The White Goddess.
"Between 1926 and 1939, he was learning from her what she was doing and thinking," Dr Javcobs said. "He was taking her ideas, her research, he was simply shovelling it in to his own books.... She left her manuscript in Majorca. She later wrote to him [Graves] and told him to burn the manuscript. We now know that he didn't. It all appeared in dribble form in The White Goddess. He used it for his own ends without mentioning it to her. She only found out in the 1950s."
Graves also used four lines of a poem Jackson had published at least two decades earlier about the Greek mythological hero, Hercules, in his own poem, Ogmian Hercules, Dr Jacobs added. "He wrote the poem and stole about four lines in his 12 line poem. Her poem was published by the private Seizin Press that they had set up in the 1920s."
In her letters to Dr Jacobs, Jackson accuses Graves of having "sucked, bled, squeezed, plucked, picked, grabbed, dipped, sliced, carved, lifted the body of my work" after their relationship broke down in 1939."
Professor Dunstan Ward, president of the Robert Graves Society, said there was a host of textual evidence proving that Graves was developing his theory for the White Goddess even before he met Jackson and that a poem called A History, written before the two met, contains "clear references" and the reproduced lines of poetry in Ogmian Hercules was a "homage to her".
By Miguel Angel Gutierrez Thu Jul 3, 12:22 PM ET
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Archeologists are opening a cave sealed for more than 30 years deep beneath a Mexican pyramid to look for clues about the mysterious collapse of one of ancient civilization's largest cities.
The soaring Teotihuacan stone pyramids, now a major tourist site about an hour outside Mexico City, were discovered by the ancient Aztecs around 1500 AD, not long before the arrival of Spanish explorers to Mexico.
But little is known about the civilization that built the immense city, with its ceremonial architecture and geometric temples, and then torched and abandoned it around 700 AD.
Archeologists are now revisiting a cave system that is buried 20 feet beneath the towering Pyramid of the Sun and extends into a tunnel stretching for some 295 feet (90 meters) with a height of 8 feet.
They say new excavations begun this month could be the key to unlocking information about the sacred rituals of the people who inhabited the city, later dubbed "The Place Where Men Become Gods" by the Aztecs who believed it was a divine site.
"We think it had a ritual purpose. Offerings were placed at the very end of the tunnel as part of the pyramid's construction process," Mexican archeologist Alejandro Sarabia told Reuters.
"We want to find out why the Teotihuacan people sealed it and when," he said.
Sarabia said the tunnel was first discovered in the early 1970s but it was closed soon afterward, and most of the information about it was lost when the archeologist who found it died.
Teotihuacan is Mexico's oldest major archeological site and during its heyday in 500 AD, the city was home to some 200,000 people, rivaling the size of ancient Rome at that time, according to archeologists.
Today, it is surrounded by encroaching slums spilling over from the outskirts of Mexico City, but swarms of tourists still visit the giant 212-foot (65-meter) sun pyramid each year to celebrate the spring equinox festival marking the sun's return to the northern hemisphere.
Writing by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Eric Beech)
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
- GM-elect Marie Sebag (FRA 2521). Marie earned her third GM norm at the European Individual Chess Championships earlier this year. She was the only chess femme playing among the large male field (a separate women's event for a lot less money and a much smaller field was held concurrently, attracting the female chess stars of Europe).
- IM Anna Zozulia (BEL 2332). Anna is married to GM Vadim Malakhato (BEL 2600), both originally from Ukraine but now playing for Belgium. She holds both IM and WGM titles. When England's Ruth Sheldon won the World Girls' Under 14 championship in 1993, Anna was the only player who managed to beat her. She herself is a former holder of the European Girls' Under 18 Championship and winner of various national (Ukrainian) girls' titles.
- WIM Tatiana Kasparova (BLR 2147). Tatiana, born in 1969, is married to GM Sergey Kasparov and has played on the European chess circuit for several years. Tatiana earned her WIM title in 2007, having earned her third and final WIM norm at the 25th International Metz Open in April, 2007. This year, Tatiana has played in the Capelle la Grande, the Sort Open, the 14th Fesival Leonardo di Bona Magistrale and the 3rd Open of West Tolouse - maybe a few more!
- My body is covered with the bleeding ulcerous remains of a thousand mosquito bites
- I go through a gallon of Deep Woods Off (it doesn't help)
- St. John's Festival has the extragavanza fireworks display!!!!! (but it marks that summer is half-over, boo!!!)
- delion, Isis, Michelle and I get together to celebrate the latest Goddesschess anniversary. This year's celebration begins July 22nd
- I splurge and buy Dove triple-chocolate ice cream bars when they aren't on sale
I love this photo, it's called "Florida squirrel." LOL!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The Katonah Library in Lewisboro, New York is sponsoring chess classes this summer: Reading, chess programs at Katonah Library Written by Matt Dalen Sunday, June 29, 2008 “Learn How to Play Chess” is for second grade students and older. John Gallagher will teach the basic rules and strategies of chess. All levels of experience are welcome and there will be a number of practice games. The library is at 26 Bedford Road in Katonah. There is some street parking and, on weekends, nearby municipal parking. Information: 232-3508 or katonahlibrary.org. ****************************************************************************************** The Aiken County Chess Club (Aiken, South Carolina) was featured in the Carolina Chronicle: Aiken County Chess Club Special Sunday, June 29, 2008 MEETS: Every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stoplight Deli on Laurens Street in downtown Aiken. MEMBERSHIP: Anyone may join the group; membership is free.
MISSION: The Aiken County Chess Club is a forum where chess enthusiasts can participate in friendly competition. Anyone interested in the game of chess is urged to come out and play.
QUOTE: "Chess brings back the art of conversation," said David Whatley, the secretary of the club. INFORMATION: Contact Mr. Whatley at email@example.com.
Here is the website for the Aiken County Chess Club! ************************************************************************************************ Want to pick up a casual game of chess in Portland, Oregon? Visit Anna Banannas. Love the name! Here are the details from the PortlandMercury.com:
Anna Bannanas 1214 NW 21st Avenue Portland, OR 97209 503.274.2559 Website Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30am-11pm, Fri 7:30am-midnight, Sat 8am-midnight, Sun 8am-11pm