Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Barbarians and Romans


Barbarians – Protection at Roman Frontiers - Julius Caesar

Barbarians had been organized for protection at the Roman frontiers right from the time of Julius Caesar. The river Rhine and Danube demarcated the Roman Empire in the European continental segregating the citizens of Rome from the various people who had inhabited Germania, which is the Roman term for the location extending as far north as Scandinavia and far east as the Vistula River.

The empire had at no point of time isolated itself from the Germanic people known as barbarian who were recruited as soldiers for the Roman army and developed commercial as well as political bonds with their leaders who had occupied lands beyond the borders.Several of these barbarians would return to the homeland though others would stay with their families in the Roman territories and would rise to the highest rank in military.

The kingdom had established diplomatic ties with the Germanic monarchs who had inhabited the lands further than the borders in order to safeguard them from hostile barbarians much beyond the field. Possibilities of Roman citizenship together with military as well as economic support had encouraged barbarian leaders to support their well to do neighbours mainly with the provision of troops.

Barbarian Neighbours – Hierarchical/Wealthy Elites

The barbarian neighbours of the empire were hierarchical as well as wealthy elites. Refereed by the buried artifacts and some observation in the literature of Rome, ‘Gaul almost everywhere had been governed by elite families who had been merged together by marriage as well as service in the community and region’.

These provisions enabled the barbarians of high position to amass wealth like direct gifts of jewellery from the empire together with payment in gold coin which in turn could be utilised in the commissioning of luxury objects of personal beautification from the local artists.

In the later centuries of the empire the increasing strength and the extent of the military needed the assimilation of improved quantities of barbarians units called the foedarati, in the army. Towards the fourth century, around 75,000 soldiers had been posted in the Roman province of Gaul where most of them were Germanic.

Roman Belief – Superior to Barbarian Neighbours

Burns had described the relations between the Roman Empire and the barbarians towards the frontier in Western Europe through a span of 500 years. The Romans were of the belief that they were superior to their barbarian neighbours and looked on their own civil wars as serious affairs though made light of the endemic warfare among the barbarians.

 Rome had been interested in stability and peace on its borders and the barbarians were aggressive and invading each other inclusive of the societies with whom the Romans had agreements. Besides protecting the barbarian allies, Rome also pressured these allies in limiting the warfare.

The trade between the Romans and the barbarians had been universal which comprises of Celtic people whom the archaeologists had found signs of having large amount of Roman goods. This indicated that they had on-going trade.Towards the second century BCE, in southern and central Gaul, the Celts had created `highly refined iron products and the Roman trader had acquired Celtic iron wear for resale.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Mackenzie Poltergeist in Greyfriars


Mackenzie Poltergeist – Most Bloody Religious Persecution

The greatest bloody religious oppressions passed out in the 17th century by King who appointed Lord Advocate Sir George Mackenzie against the Presbyterian Covenanters rebel was at the Greyfriars Kirkyard site. This was carried out due to their failure in accepting the state approved religion and to swear loyalty to the King. It is also said to be the location of the most popular documented poltergeist activity in the world known as the Mackenzie Poltergeist in Greyfriars.

It had started fifty years after the National Covenant had been signed promising to keep Scotland as a Presbyterian country and when King Charles II had risen to the throne and had immediately renounced the Covenanters right to practice their religion freely. He had demanded that all should accept the new official state religion and on June 22, 1679, his forces had swept the last of the Presbyterian Covenanters in a bloody yet significant battle which was called the Bothwell Brig.

Numerous of the thousand Presbyterian Covenanter rebels who had refused to swear allegiance to the King were rounded up and confined in a segment of the Greyfriars Kirkyard which is the graveyard of the small Greyfriars Kirk parish owned by The church of Scotland and is known as the Covenanters’ prison.

Bluidy MacKenzie

The Covenanter prisoners of war had been registered rebels and were subjected to exile, inhuman torture, exposure, starvation and executions at the hands of Lord Advocate Sir George Mackenzie. Being nicknamed as `Bluidy MacKenzie’ by his victims the dreadful brute had been in charge of the Presbyterian Covenanter oppression on behalf of Charles II.

Though his daily life disguise had been that of a loving husband and father, legal scholar, published author, the private business of persecution which he had conducted on behalf of the king was well hidden which his own wife was not aware of his malicious and aggressive nature.

The persecution seemed persistent and eventually most if not all of the prisoners had died and were buried in the Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery the place where they were confined. Overall, Mackenzie had been responsible for the death of around 18,000 of his compatriots in search of a combined religion during `The Killing Time’.

Black Mausoleum

His reign of terror came to an end in 1691 after his death and he was ironically buried in a casket contained in the Black Mausoleum tomb which is a building placed on the GreyFriars Kirkyard in close vicinity from the scene of his gruesome war crimes, where his victim had been laid to rest.

The victims as well as the tormentor were laid to rest in an uneasy peace, for 300 years, just feet from each other. In 1998 on a dark and stormy night, a homeless man probably needing shelter from the rain or possibly on the lookout to steal something of value had broken into the `Black Mausoleum’ a vaulted and well-fortified tomb which was the final resting place of the notorious `Bluidy MacKenzie’.

 He had ransacked the tomb breaking caskets on every level till he had come to one that had the body of Bluidy MacKenzie. While attempting to open the casket a huge hole opened up in the floor beneath his feet dropping the man into a chamber below and the pit was filled with the remains of plague victim, who had been unceremoniously dumped in the hole and covered during the plague days in order to dispose the bodies. Coming across the remains and the stench of still rotting flesh, the man ran away screaming hilariously from the mausoleum into the night and was never heard again

The Copper Scroll treasure

Copper Scroll

Copper Scroll – Mystery Treasure

A Copper Scroll had been discovered by archaeologist in a cave on March 14, 1952 while most of the other Dead Sea Scrolls were found by Bedouins, at the back of Cave 3 at the Qumran site. They are said to be on display at the Jordan Museum in Amman. As per its name, the writing had been etched onto a copper scroll which records a huge amount of hidden silver and gold treasures.

The scroll seems to date back to over 1,900 years to a time when the Roman Empire had taken charge of the Qumran area. It had been the last of 15 scrolls found in the cave and hence has been referred as 3Q15. While the other had been written on parchment or papyrus, this particular scroll had been written on copper mixed with around 1% tin.

The rusted metal could not be unfurled in any conservative way and hence the scroll had been cut into 23 strips and then patched back together in 1955. The language appeared different from the others, wherein Hebrew seems closer to the language of the Mishnah than the literary Hebrew of the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Opening of Copper Scroll – John Marco Allegro

The opening of the Copper Scroll had been supervised by John Marco Allegro, who transcribed its content instantly and it then became clear that there had been something very unique regarding the content. Contrasting from the other scrolls, that were literary works, the copper scroll seemed to comprise of a list which did not seem like an ordinary list.

It contained directions to 64 locations where amazing quantities of treasures could be discovered. There had been various revolts against the Roman rule during the time the scroll had been written and the scientists have assumed that the treasure had been concealed in order to avoid being captured by the Roman forces. The Copper Scroll is said to be a part of the extraordinary cache of the First century documents.

It seems to differ from the other documents in the library of Qumran and tends to be quite unusual among the Dead Sea Scrolls wherein its author, style, script, language, content, genre together with the medium seem to differ to the other scrolls.

Unique/Important/Least Understood

Professor Richard Freund had commented that the copper scroll could possibly be the most unique, the most important, and the least understood.The treasure of the scroll was presumed to be the treasure of the Jewish Temple and some of the scholars claimed that it belonged to the First Temple and was destroyed in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon.

Others have suggested that the treasure could have been that of the Second Temple but according to historical records, the main treasure of the Temple tend to be in the building when it fell to the Romans. The copper scroll has led several to the biggest treasure hunt in history with various expeditions taken up in locating the valuable treasure.

It has not been revealed in the scroll by whom or when, the treasure were buried or why. However it has been presumed that it had been hidden within Judaea or near the Mount Gerizim in Samaria, parts of modern Israel.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rainbow Creek Australian Micronation

Rainbow Creek

State of Rainbow Creek – Australian Micronation

The self-governing country of Rainbow Creek was an Australian micronation which was active during the 1970s and 80s and was founded due to the result of a long running compensation dispute between the Victorian farmers in the town of Cowwarr and an agency of the Victorian state government, the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission – SRWSC. It was intended to publicize their cause to the wider community.

Cowwarr is situated on the Thomson River in the Victorian Alp and is sited downstream of the heavily forested country. During winter, flood season infrastructure in the area was prone to damage by the large volume of bush land debris that got washed downstream.

A road bridge which was built in the late 1930s over the Thomson River at Cowwarr was too near the annual flood high water mark and when the structure proved to be an impediment to the flow of debris during a particular violent flood in the year 1952, the river carved a new course for itself around the edge of the bridge and this breakaway which was later named Rainbow Creek was passed through a number of privately owned farming properties.

SRWSC Constructed a Weir Across the River

Remedies for this seems ineffective and the creek got enlarged by subsequent flooding which reached the size of several football field at the cost of the farmers’’ affected lands. Making the best of a bad situation, the farmer started using the water from the creek to irrigate their properties with the local and state authorities responding by serving levies for the use of water.

Those who were affected had to pay a set of levies to the local council for land which was presently underwater since their title deeds did not indicate the existence of the creek, while the second levy to the SRWSC was paid for using creek waters for irrigation purpose and the third levy was to the Thomson River Improvement Trust which was supposed to prevent further erosion by the creek which continued to grow inexorably with every new flood.Then in 1954, SRWSC constructed a weir across the river downstream of the bridge that had an effect of funnelling higher volumes of floodwater directly into the Rainbow Creek.

Yammacoona – Worst Affected Properties

Towards the late 1970s, the the micronation was 8 meters deep and more than 50 meters wide and the farmers had to privately provide finance for the constructions of bridges to cross over from one side of their properties to the other which were all washed including their crops, stock as well as their equipment by a particular severe flood in 1978.

 The farmers of Cowwarr blamed the government for its incompetence for over three decades for their plight, but they were denied the right to claim compensation for the loss of their land, productivity as well as private infrastructure, they decided to take further action in 1978. Yammacoona was one of the worst affected properties which was located directly below the weir and was owned since 1970, by Thomas Barnes who was a retired UK and Victorian police officer and had settled in the town. He was known to be of feisty temperament with less patience for the slow turning wheels of the government bureaucracy and hada flair for publicity.

Hackers Are a Big Issue for the Upcoming Election

There are stories about hackers in the news every day. Brilliant computer geniuses are using their talents to commit crimes. They are usually trying to steal money or personal information to create fake identities to be used for fraudulent scams. However, hackers now have their sights set on a much bigger goal. They are trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 United States presidential election. Needless to say, this is something that would be catastrophic if it were allowed to occur. Fortunately, the United States government has noticed several previous intrusions by hackers they believe to be from Russia. This has caused the government to take steps to cut the hackers off and limit their access to election computer networks. Here are a few ways that hackers are playing a role in the upcoming election.

1. Hackers are leaking sensitive info that is changing the way the election is covered.

One of the biggest stories has been the release of private emails and other sensitive information that could have a huge impact on who people eventually vote for in the presidential election. This is the first time that hackers have been able to use their skills to influence the election coverage on all of the major news channels and newspapers. Not a day goes by when there is not a new story about sensitive data leaks and the ramifications they could have on the election.

2. Hackers are the likely source of crucial data pertaining to the election that Julian Assange plans to release in the near future.

Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks. This is the organization that specializes in leaking sensitive information about politicians and governments that exposes corruption. Assange has claimed on numerous occasions that he has come into possession of a substantial amount of information that could impact the election. He has not been specific about what the data is. Many people in the media believe he received this information from Russian hackers who want to influence the outcome of the election. However, Assange has a strict policy of never discussing who his sources are. He believes that revealing his sources could put them in serious danger. Assange has not given an exact date when he will release the data. He has confirmed that it will be released in four batches after his team has verified its validity.

3. Hackers have targeted the voter registration systems in two states.

The presence of Russian hackers has already been felt in Arizona and Illinois. According to the FBI, both of these states experienced an intrusion by Russian hackers into their voter registration systems. Senator Mike Crapo believes that cyber security should be the biggest concern of the United States leading up to the election. Mike feels that the threat Russian hackers present is very real and should be taken seriously. He is not alone. There are many government officials and cyber security experts who believe that computerized electoral systems and voting machines could potentially be hacked if the proper safeguards are not put into place. Hackers already showed what they were capable of in 2009 when they crashed online business services in Minnesota. Experts believe that this is an example of how vulnerable election systems can be if they are targeted.