Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Eleanor of Aquitaine


Eleanor of Aquitaine – Powerful/Enthralling Personalities

Eleanor of Aquitaine was considered to be the most powerful as well as enthralling personalities of feudal Europe. She was a major figure in the middle ages as well as a prominent personality in women’s history.

She was the eldest daughter of William, Duke of Aquitaine and had married Louis VII, King of France at the age of 15 bringing with the union, her enormous possessions from the River Loire to the Pyrenees. At 19, she knelt in the cathedral of Vezelay before the celebrated Abbe Bernard of Clairvaux and offered him thousands of her vassals for the Second Crusade.

Queen Eleanor had appeared at Vezelay in the attire of an Amazon galloping through the crowd on a white horse, advising them to join the crusades. Though it is said that the church may have been delighted in receiving her thousand fighting vassals, they were not happy when they learned that Eleanor had along with 300 of her ladies planned to help and tend to the wounded. Her presence together with the ladies and wagons of female servants was disapproved by commentators throughout her adventure. Dressed in armour and carrying lances, the women did not fight.

Eleanor’s Announcement - Marriage Invalid

When they reached the city of Antioch, Eleanor was in deep renewed friendship with Raymond her uncle who had been appointed prince of the city. Raymond was only a few years older than Eleanor and was handsome and far more interesting than her husband, Louis.

Eleanor supported his views when he had decided that the best strategic objective of the Crusade was to recapture Edessa and protect the Western presence in the Holy Land. Louis however was more engrossed in reaching Jerusalem which seemed a less sound goal and demanded Eleanor to follow him to Jerusalem.

Eleanor furious, announced to all that their marriage did not seem to be valid in the eyes of God since they were related through some family links to the extent which was prohibited by the Church. Nonetheless Louis compelled Eleanor to honour her marriage vows and ride with him. The expedition resulted in failure and a defeated Louis and Eleanor returned to France in separate ships.

1152 – Officially Divorced – Married Henry of Anjou

During the Second Crusade, her relationship with her husband worsened and in 1152, they were officially divorced. Thereafter she married Henry of Anjou and over the next thirteen years, the royal couple had eight children, five sons and three daughters. Queen Eleanor was very much occupied in the ruling of King Henry II’s huge empire in France and England.

However Henry and Eleanor finally separated and Henry had her imprisoned in 1173 for supporting her son who had revolted against Henry and was not released till 7 July 1189 when Henry died. Their son ascended the English throne as Richard I. Eleanor acted as regent while Richard went on the Third Crusade when on his return he was captured and held a prisoner.

Eleanor lived well into the reigns of her son John, who was the youngest.By the time of her death she had outlived all her children except for King John and Queen Eleanor of Castile.Bestowed with intelligence, creative energy together with remarkably long life, she played a major role in the 12th century, an inspiring achievement since medieval women had been considered as nothing more than chattel.

As the queen partner of King Louis VII of France and of King Henry II of England and as the mother of King Richard I and King John, she was in the limelight exercising power over the most important men of her time.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Epic of Gilgamesh


Epic of Gilgamesh – Surprised Update

One of the oldest chronicles in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh has recently got a surprised update when the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq reported that it had discovered 20 new line of the Babylonian Era poem of mortals, gods and monsters. Since the poem had prevailed in fragments from the 18th century BC, there has constantly been the likelihood of more turning up.

However the one which we seem to be familiar with was in 1853 in Ninevehand does not differ much over recent times. The text seems to be equally fixed which is till the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and the forceful pillaging that followed generated in something new.

 It is reported that an Assyriologist at the University of London – ULC had discovered a stolen clay tablet with inscription of ancient cuneiform text which was recently obtained by a museum in Iraq, comprising of 20 earlier unknown lines to the epic story of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh is the oldest known epic poem which is widely observed as the first great work of literature that was ever created. Though the precise origin of the tablet is not known, the style of the script as well as the circumstance of acquiring it has lead experts in believing that it was unearthed at Babylonian site and could date back as far as the Old Babylonian period.

Fascinating New Details – V Tablet

When the text seemed to be translated by a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at UCL, Farouk Al-Rawi, together with the help of Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at UCL, they discovered that it comprised of fascinating new details to the fifth tablet in the Epic of Gilgamesh. This discovery provided new information with regards to Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to freed Gilgamesh of his haughtiness, while they are travelling to the Cedar Forest, the home of the gods, in order to defeat Humbaba, the monstrous giant.

The Cedar Forest is the magnificent dominion of the gods of Mesopotamian mythology which is described in Tablets 4 – 6 of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The forest which is guarded by the demigod Humbaba was presumed to be a quiet as well as a reflective space, but the new segment of Tablet 5 which was translated by Al-Rawi, provides a totally diverse perspective

Humbaba Not a Barbarian Ogre – A Foreign Ruler Entertained with Music

Al-Rawi and George writes in their paper `Back to the Cedar Forest: The Beginning and End of Tablet V of the Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, that more surprising was the revelation of the Cedar Forest which was in the Babylonian literary imagination, a dense jungle inhabited by unusual and noisy fauna.

The chatter of the monkeys, chorus of cicada and squawking of several types of birds created a symphony or cacophony which entertains the forest’s guardian, Humbaba, daily.Humbaba has emerged not as a barbarian ogre but as a foreign ruler entertained with music at court, like Babylonian kings but the music is of a more unusual type which is played by a band of equally unusual musicians.

According to Live Science, the tablet tends to measure 11 cm x 9.5 cm and was purchased in 2011 by Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani, Iraq.

 It was purchased from a known smuggler of Mesopotamian antiquities. Though such a move seems controversial and feed the black market with antiquities dealing, the museum debates that it is the only option of regaining some of the treasured artifacts that had been seized from historical sites in Iraq.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mass Mammoth 'Grave' Discovered in Siberia


Mass Grave of Woolly Mammoths – Siberia

Mass grave of woolly mammoths was discovered in Siberia with about 550 bones from extinct creatures which have been recovered from this remote site. It is the fifth such necropolis to be found close to the 2,268 mile long Ob River in the Khaty-Mansi Autonomous Region. The latest mammoth cemetery is said to contain the remains of around 11 woolly beasts but more is likely to be revealed on further excavations.

Experts had also found the bones of extinct woolly prehistoric deer and rhinoceroses at the site and it is presumed that the bones date back between 10,000 and 30,000 years though detailed analysis would be carried out in order to verify their age as well as to establish why they seemed to die all together.

The head of the paleontological department of the KhantypMansiysk Museum of Nature and Man, Anton Rezvy informed that he had taken part in the expedition and the presence of this site had been reported long back but till now they could not specify its precise location. He further added that when they arrived they were lucky to locate the site swiftly and part of it had been washed away by the river with the bones lying on a flat surface of the riverbank.

Several Years - Bones Taken as Souvenirs

The bones amounting to 500 were collected, one from the woolly rhinoceros, three of reindeer and the remaining of the mammoth. It is said that for several years, the people had taken the bones as souvenirs resulting in no trace of any tusk, teeth and large bones.

 The most amazing thing was that the bones were found at a place from where they had been washed away by the river and a large scale excavation can be done there. Reports of the discovery in The Siberian Times, states that `One theory is that the mammoths suffered a mineral deficiency and were desperately seeking calcium at sites of the salt licks’ while another states that they had been trapped by ancient hunters.

Sergey Leshchinsky, palaeontologist, seems to be convinced that osteoporosis was the main cause of the death of the woolly mammoth on discovering thousands of ancient bones at several sites damaged by the disease.

Creatures Weakened Due to Lack of Calcium/Vital Minerals

His theory on the lack of key minerals in food for the mammoths over 10,000 years back has been supported by his latest discovery on two summer expedition to the `salt lick’. He revealed during his recent expedition, a necropolis which included instances of woolly rhinoceros and extinct species of ancient bison and horse.

 The Siberian Times reported that the site was similar to an ancient animal health spa though several had perished there. It could probably be due to the conditions which had made them seek mineral infusion or perhaps they got stuck in the clay or due to attacks by predators at the site.

The theory of Dr Leshchinsky is that all the creatures had been weakened due to lack of calcium as well as other vital minerals which owing to the climatic changes were not obtained in their food. According to the academic, from Tomsk State University states that the collection of paleontological remains at the site could be explained by the fact that there were salt licks which local animals tend to prefer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015



Caduceus – Associated with Greek God Hermes

Caduceus is considered to be a winged staff with two snakes around it and was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce. It was associated with the Greek god Hermes, a messenger for the gods and conductor of the dead as well as the protector of merchants and thieves.

Originally, it was a herald’s staff, the staff that was carried by Hermes in the Greek mythology and at times had wings with two white ribbons attached to it which ultimately changed into snakes forming the shape of `eight’.The same staff is said to be borne also by heralds in general, for instance, by Iris, the messenger of Hera.

The number eight seems to be important to doctors of official astrology. To some extent, depictions of Greek kerykeion could differ drastically from the traditional caduceus. It features two snakes on the top of the rod and crossed, creating a circle with the heads of the snakes, resembling `horns’. This form looks similar to the symbol of the planet Mercury and Mercury the god is the Roman name for Hermes carrying the kerykeion or caduceus.

Used in Astrology & Alchemy

In the Roman iconography, it is often portrayed of being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of gods, guide of the dead and protector of shepherds, gamblers, and liars, besides merchants and thieves. As a symbolic object, it tends to characterize Hermes and is associated with the god by extension trades, occupations and undertakings.

The caduceus, in later antiquity, provided the basis for astrological symbol which represented the planet Mercury and through its use in astrology as well as alchemy; it signifies the elemental metal of the same name. It is also said that the wand could wake the sleeping and those awake to sleep. If it was applied to the dying, their death would tend to be gentle and if applied to the dying, they would come back to life.

The caduceus has also been a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, by extension of its association with Hermes and Mercury, the two realms wherein balanced exchange and reciprocity tend to be acknowledged as ideals. This association seems to be ancient as well as consistent right from the classical period till modern times. Moreover, the caduceus has also been utilised as a symbol, representing printing once again by extension of the attributes of Mercury, with eloquence and writing.

Origin of Symbol – 2600 BC

The two astrological symbols historically had separate meanings in alchemical and astrological values and some medical groups link the serpents of the caduceus with steps to recommend a DNA double twist. The origins of the symbols is presumed to date back to early 2600 BC in Mesopotamia, while there are many references to a caduceus like symbol in the Bible.

In the chapter of Exodus, Moses had been instructed by God to fashion a pole on which hung a bronze snake and anyone who had been bitten by a snake for complaining against God could be saved by looking at it. The intention was that people would look upwards and be reminded to pray to God though eventually the meaning seemed to be forgotten by the Hebrews.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Real Truth behind Indian Independence Will Leave You Speechless


Facts – Indian Independence

We now live in a democratic and a free nation, credits of which goes out to several freedom fighters against the British. We can get some insight to the real hidden truths behind our independence and know the facts about `Indian Independence’, as well as after the independence issues that came up. We are aware that Jana Gana Mana our national anthem was written by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore actually composed to praise King George V. The song was sung on the day of the Indian National Congress convention, on December 27, 1911, at Calcutta which King George had also attended.

Jana Gana Mana had been chosen by Jawaharlal Nehru as the national anthem against Vande Mataram since Nehru was of the opinion that it would be easier to play the band. Vande Mataram which was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was first sang on a stage in 1896 at the Indian National Congress session which was 15 years prior to Rabindranath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana debut on the very same stage. On the day of the nomination from India Congress committee for the position of Prime Minister, 12 out of 15 Congress committees had nominated Sardar Vallabhbai Patel against the wish of Congress and the remaining 3 committees were neutral and did not nominate any other name.

It was Mahatma Gandhi who sought for nominator of Nehru and informed him that no PCC had nominated his name with the exception of few CWC members. Nehru seemed to be disappointed and did not want to lose. It is said that Mahatma Gandhi then had requested Sardar Patel to withdraw his name from the nominations and Patel with due respect to Gandhi did so without wasting any time.

He thus made the way clear for the coronation of Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of India. According to Mahatma Gandhi, he believed that Nehru who was foreign educated with modern thoughts would be far more eligible than Patel. Moreover, he was also concerned that Nehru would have revolted for being denied as the Prime Minister and this could have given rise for the British with an excuse to deny transfer of power. Besides this he was assured of Sardar Patel’s loyalty and that he would never oppose him.

The transfer of power agreement 1947 had been signed between Nehru and Mountbatten for the Independence of India and it was mentioned that India would be a member of commonwealth dominion for about 99 years. No British law would be amenable or removable. Besides this, the Queen of UK would be head of state above president of India by rank and would not require Passport/Visa in order to enter India.

The ultimate decision of Independence from Dominion status would be decided only after or during the end of the tenure of 99 years of agreement. Due to this and several other such law agreements, many Prime Minister failed in performing independently to UK. The first unofficial Indian National flag was hoisted at Parsi Bagan Square – Greer Park, Calcutta on August 7, 1906 and was designed by Sachindra Prasad Bose. The flag had three horizontal strips, equal in orange, yellow and green in colour from top to bottom.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Decoding the Mystery behind the Law of Attraction

Law of Attraction – Attract Whatever You Think

Many of us tend to have created our own reality and according to science it is true. We develop thoughts before leaving for work and when we find traffic on the road, we could be late in reaching there. We are somewhat to be blamed for this, since we tend to think negatively and what we conceive is also negative.

This could occur often and what we fear the most tends to be true. For instance, if we think that if one is not successful in their exams and does not do well, they tend to dwell on negative thoughts. If our thoughts tend to get negative, they also end up with negative results. There is no means in which we could anticipate the future but we could focus more on the positive aspects of life.

Instead of thinking on the negative aspects of a given situation we could think of something positive of the given situation being faced. Thus we are taking into account the positive side of the situation and not focusing on the negatives of a given circumstance. The law of attractions states that you attract whatever you think about, whether positive or negative. The law of attraction is all about `when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you in achieving it’.

Universe Manifests Thoughts/Desires

As per this principle, whatever tends to go on in the mind is what is attracted and the universe manifests your thoughts as well as the desires and the significance of success is to have a positive outlook while operating towards one’s objective. However, the road to success may not seem to be an easy one and you could face hurdles all through, but all the same one should be strong-minded in achieving if intending to be successful.

The Law of Attraction does exist and explained by NASA Scientist in Layman’s term. For more than forty years, several writers have labelled and wondered the facets of The Law of Attraction in works like The Power of Positive Thinking, Creative Visualization and The Secret.

 According to Dr Taylor, a scientist, engineer as well as a science fiction writer, who had studied the mysterious nature of quantum physics and the universe, states that the Law of Attraction is not a law and that the `law’ is more of a motto, a philosophical or a psychological proverb and does not dismisses it. He states that it is not a law by severe scientific proof and there is no experimental evidence for it.

Influence Reality by How You Think

According to him, you can influence reality by how you think. He further explains new theories of the brain as well of reality, stating that one can influence reality by creating a though with emotions and imagery.

In spirit, what we are doing is sending qwiff - a quantum wave function in the energy field that we are in, which tends to go out and gets attracted to other similar qwiffs, the result of which is a new reality. We should know what we want and be confident in what one desires from the Universe and have a clear image of what one wants since it will attract what you think.

You should create a mental image of what is wanted as though you have already achieved it and focus on how it would feel. Most important is to be thankful of what is achieved and being grateful for what you have could further heighten the positive, sending good vibrations out in the universe.

Indian National Library


National Library – Largest Library in India

The well-known National Library is one of the largest libraries in India and an institution of national importance under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The library is located on Belvedere Road, Kolkata and is known not only for its collection of books but is also known to be the haunted houses of Kolkata, a former residence of former Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. The library was designated to collect, disseminate as well as preserve the printed matter produced in the country which is situated on an attractive 30 acres Belvedere Estate in former Calcutta – Kolkata.

The Ministry of Culture, the owner of the library, decided to get the library building restored by the Archaeological Survey of India – ASI, in 2010. It was while taking stock of the library building, that a previously unknown room had been discovered by the conservation engineers. The ground floor room, the size of around 1000 sq. ft. did not have any kind of an opening. Search from the first floor area, forming the ceiling of the room, was carried out by the ASI archaeologists for a trap door, but they were not successful.

Mysterious Chamber Untouched for Over Two Centuries

Restoration of the building would be incomplete without being able to assess inside this enclosure according to Tapan Bhattacharya, deputy superintending archaeologist of ASI, stating that they had come across an arch on one side of the enclosure that had been walled up and speculations were common as per another archaeologist. Some speculated that the room could have been used as a punishment room used by Warren Hasting and other British officials or a place probably to store treasure.

It was a common practice with the British to `wall up’ offenders in death chambers and according to some sources, this enclosure has the same look and feel of such chambers. Besides this the British were also know to hide their riches in such type of blind chambers. It is said that the chamber had lain untouched for more than two centuries. After Independence, the National Library, then in Esplanade, had been shifted to Belvedere House which is of great architectural and heritage value and all the treasure of books were shifted to the new building on the 30 acre campus while the old building was getting restored

Historical & Cultural Importance

The building being of historical as well as cultural importance, ASI director D.V. Sharma informed that they bore a hole through the wall instead of breaking it to peer inside with searchlight. National Library authorities had written to the ministry of culture for permission. The director of National Library, Swapan Chakravorty, had commented that `the ASI cannot drill into a building of such great historical significance as this, without permission and assisted this as caretakers of the building.

Matter on the enclosure had been raised in a recent meeting of the committee of experts which had been formed by the Centre to advise the ASI on the restoration with regards to the National Library. Historian Barun De, chairman of the committee had commented that `the ASI raised the issue of the enclosure in the last meeting of the committee and were anxiously waiting for the first look inside.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Delos Birthplace of Artemis


Delos – Birthplace of Offspring of Zeus/Leto

According to the Greek mythology, Delos seemed to be the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, the twin offspring of Zeus by Leto. Zeus jealous wife Hera had banished Leto from the earth when she found that she was pregnant. However, it was Poseidon who had taken pity on her and had provided Delos as a place for her to give birth to her offspring in peace.

The island of Delos near Mykonos towards the centre of the Cyclades archipelago was one of the most important mythological archaeological as well as historical sites in Greece. The excavations in the island is said to be the most extensive in the Mediterranean.

The excavations under the direction of the French School at Athens with several of the artifacts discovered are put on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delos as well as the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Delos holds a position as a holy sanctuary for millennium prior to Olympian Greek mythology. The horizon portrays the two conical mounds from its Sacred Harbour which have known landscapes sacred to goddess in several other sites, one of which retains its pre-Greek name, Mount Kynthos which is crowned with a sanctuary of Zeus.

Festival Hosted in Honour of Apollo/Artemis/Leto

The Greek island of Delos was a major sacred site for the ancient Greeks, second in importance only to Delphi. The Sacred Island at its height was covered with various temples and sanctuaries which were dedicated to various gods and presently it is a captivating site placed two miles from Mykonos.

The island was considered so sacred that at one point of time, that no one was permitted to be born or to die there and those about to do so were rushed off to a nearby islet of Rinia. As described in Homeric Hymn 3, the festival, Delia had been hosted here in honour of Apollo, Artemis and Leto.

Delos by the 7th century became the political capital of the Amphictionic League and the Athenians joined the league gaining control. This led to trouble for the Delian daily till around 315 BC when the Egyptians became rulers over the Aegean Sea.

Prosperous in Late Hellenistic/Roman Times

Deloswas said to be prosperous in late Hellenistic and Roman times, when it had been declared as a free port becoming the financial as well as trading centre of the Mediterranean. Towards 100 BC, the island had a population of 30,000 including foreigners from places as far as Rome, Syria and Egypt. Each individual group had its own shrine and lived in harmony inspite of their differences.

However in 88 BC the attack of Mithridates, the king of Pontus, on the unfortified island revolted against the Roman rule. The entire population of 20,000 were killed or sold in slavery while the sanctuary treasures were burgled and the city had been razed to the ground.

The Roman had partly rebuilt the city but restoration had been prevented due to continuous pirate attacks. In 66 BC, a Roman envoy built defensive wall around the city but by then Delos was onits way out and was slowly abandoned. By the 2nd century AD, Pausanius recorded that it was occupied only by the temple guards.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Singing Sand Dunes


Various Theories – Singing Sand Dunes

There are various theories regarding the singing sand dunes mechanism and it has been suggested that these sound frequency has been controlled by the cut off rate. Others indicate that the frequency of vibrations could be connected to the thickness of the dry surface layer of the sand.

The sound waves tend to bounce back and forth between the surface of the dunes and the surface of the moist layer. This gives rise to resonance which increases the volume of the sound. The sound could be generated by friction between the grains or it could be due to the compression of air between them. Some other sounds which are produced by sand have been described as roaring or booming.

Certain note which is produced between 60 and 105 hertz by the dune has been controlled by the rate of collision in the cut off band splitting the avalanche from the static area of the dune. For impulsive avalanche, frequency tends to be controlled by gravity as well as by the size of the sand grains and the entire length of the landform is around 185 km.

Sound – Roaring/Squeaking/Song of Dunes

Some sand dunes tend to make strange low frequency humming noise which may sound like a drone of a distant propeller aircraft. This sound could be quite loud and in some incidents, it could be heard from a distance of several kilometres.

Singing sand dunes an example of the phenomenon of singing sand, tends to produce sound which has been described as roaring, squeaking or the `Song of Dunes’. This is a natural occurrence of around 105 decibels which tend to last for several minutes.

It occurs in about 35 desert locations all over the world. It is said that the sound seems similar to a loud, low pitch, rumble and originates from the crescent shaped dunes or barchans. The sound which is produced is accompanied with a slumping or avalanching movement of the sand, generally activated by the wind passing over the dune or by someone probably walking near the crest.


The sound could be somewhat unusual and eerie significant to a bass musical instrument due to its relative purity and the drone is caused by the synchronised avalanche of the sand grains. The pitch of the note that is produced could be based on the size of the grains and each singing sand dune may have its own typical sound pitch.

One study had discovered that different notes created by the sand depended on the size of the grains as well as the speed at which they whistle through the wind and scientists have no clue as to how the flowing grains of sand tend to sound like music in the first place.

However, the precise reason for the grain synchronization is yet debated among various scientists and more research needs to be done and understood as to why a few of the dunes boom while the others tend to remain silent. Examples of singing sand dunes are in California’s Kelso Dunes, Eureka Dunes, sugar sand beaches and Warren Dunes in South-western Michigan, Sand Mountain in Nevada and much more.