الأحد، 14 أغسطس 2011

The face of king tut

More nonsense about Cleopatra's 'black' ancestry-video

The truth about Cleopatra's lethal drugs cocktail

Cleopatra's Last Moments (1892) by the little-known artist D Pauvert
Cleopatra expires languidly in the painting Cleopatra's Last Moments (1892) by the little-known artist D Pauvert
Cleopatra did not kill herself in 30BC by letting an asp sink its poison-laced fangs into her delicate flesh, as everyone thought. Instead she swallowed alethal of drugs — opium, hemlock and aconitum. At least, that is what Professor Christoph Schaefer of the university of Trier says. He tells a German television programme, “Back then this was a well-known mixture that led to a painless death within just a few hours, whereas the snake death could have taken days and been agonising.”
Mind you, of those three poisons, I am not sure that either aconitum or hemlock would be bring about an easeful death. Opium just sends you to sleep — into the arms of Morpheus — and in high doses shuts down respiration; that’s how you die. The other two, though, could feel extremely nasty.
Aconitum, aka wolfsbane, stimulates the heart and can kill as a result. You’d feel terrible, with palpitations, fever probably, terrible nausea and angor animi — that’s the feeling of acute anxiety and fear of death that presages actual death. Aconitum is a flower from the ranunculales (buttercup) family, and an ancient medicine. Medea used it when she attempted to murder Theseus. She mixed it in a bowl of wine. It appealed to the Romantics, or the idea of it did anyway.  Keats refers to it in his Ode on Melancholy:
No, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
It’s a common misconception, which the Romantics may have encouraged inadvertently, that all these toxins kill you by sending you into a nice sleep. They don’t, usually. Most poisons that kill you do not cause you to doze pleasantly as you expire. You are likely to be wide awake, and suffering. People make this mistake today, I’m afraid to say. They take paracetamol thinking it’ll put them to sleep and instead three days later they find themselves lying in hospital in agony, dying of liver damage.
As for hemlock, this is Conium maculatum, a leafy shrub containing the neurotoxin coniine. It works similarly to curare. When Socrates took it after being condemned to death, he slowly lost sensation in his body as he died, with numbness starting in his feet and moving upwards through his legs. So Plato describes it in the Phaedo. It doesn’t sound quite as bad as aconitum, but still hardly instantaneous: plenty of time to work oneself up into a state of high anxiety.
Any one of those drugs on its would be enough to kill, in the right doses. So perhaps the Queen of the Nile was applying a “belt and braces” principle. In the same way executioners in the USA employ a barbiturate to knock out the victim, then follow up with other drugs such as potassium to stop the heart dead, even though the barbiturate would be enough to kill the patient on its own.
It’s certainly no surprise that Cleopatra was familiar with mind-bending substances. The Egyptians were keen on altering their moods with chemicals. Many cultures used chemicals extracted from plants, which I wouldn’t recommend because they’re nearly all horribly toxic and produce little discernible benefit.
Egypt, however, was in the early wave of alcohol producers, perhaps 4,000 years or more before Christ. It may have been that grapes stored in jars started fermenting by accident, someone decided to drink the juice and found themselves feeling unaccountably more cheerful than before. The ancient Egyptians also developed techniques of brewing beer by malting barley, making a mush with it, boiling it and then fermenting it. They also had a goddess of beer called Menquet, and Hathor the bull, god of wine, had his own day of devotion, a Day of Intoxication.

Printable Map of Egypt about 1450 BC + a reference map of the Nile delta.

Printable Map of Egypt about 1450 BC + a reference map of the Nile delta.

This map of ancient Egypt shows the major cities of the Dynastic period (3150 BC to 30 BC):
Ancient Egypt Map

Here's another ancient Egypt map, this one is of the Nile river valley as seen by Piri Reis. Piri Reiss was a Turkish admiral, geographer and cartographer who lived from 1465 to 1555.

about Queen Nefertiti

Little info on Queen Nefertiti and her early life is known. There is some speculation as to her parentage. When Nefertiti married a pharaoh, akhnaton she became Queen Nefertiti Akhenaton. Although her husband also had several other wives, it is apparent from the autobiography of Queen Nefertiti found in ancient depictions that the pharaoh was completely enamored of her. It is not hard to imagine why, when even in modern times, Nefertiti is celebrated for her incomparable beauty. The couple is known to have had six daughters, although none of the daughters inherited the throne of Egypt. That role was reserved for a son born to the Pharaoh by a minor wife.
It is widely believed that Nefertiti was influential in her husband's attempts to convert the nation of Egypt from a polytheistic religion to a monotheistic religion, dedicated to the worship of the deity Aten. The number of reliefs and artwork that were eventually found bearing the likeness and info on Queen Nefertiti indicate that she was much beloved by the people of Egypt.
When a small bust of Queen Nefertiti, absent the now infamous and modern Nefertiti costume, was finally discovered in almost perfect condition the world rejoiced. The queen had long been celebrated for her beauty and now lovers of Egyptian history would be able to personally view the features of the queen up close. The statue was placed on display in Berlin and quickly became one of the most easily recognized and famous pieces of Egyptian art. For several decades the bust was enjoyed by visitors from around the world; however it would eventually become the subject of much outrage and controversy, when a Nefertiti costume was added to the bust.
The almost perfectly preserved bust reveals an extremely beautiful woman wearing a tall headdress and ornate jewelry. There is no clothing of Nefertiti traditionally included on the bust and it actually ends with the jewelry. The Egyptian public became outraged when the bust was lowered onto a supposed Nefertiti costume that consisted of little more than low cut sheer fabric. The new Nefertiti costume was considered to be vulgar by most Egyptians, who are quite conservative, and dangerous to the antique bust by many historians who were concerned for the safety of the precious artifact. There was so much controversy over the Nefertiti costume that the bust was almost immediately removed. Today the Nefertiti costume that is most remembered is the regal headdress that adorned the most beautiful woman in the world.

Queen Cleopatra of Egypt

History of Cleopatra

Queen Cleopatra of Egypt is the most well known of all the ancient egyptian queens. Cleopatra was born in Alexandria in 69 B.C. during the reign of the Ptolemy family to Ptolemy XII. Cleopatra appears to have been a popular name in the family, as her mother bore the name as well as an older sister, making the new daughter Cleopatra the Seventh, although she is rarely referred to as such. Cleopatra and her family were not Egyptian, but rather Macedonian, descended through a general of Alexander the Great. Cleopatra would become the first ruler of her family who could actually speak the Egyptian language.
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
In keeping with ancient Egyptian tradition, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt married her then 12 year old brother. The marriage was not truly legitimate, however and considering the young age of her new husband and co-inheritor of the throne, Cleopatra rule Egypt independently and as she wished. This lasted for only three short years before Cleopatra received the same fate as her father and was exiled, along with another younger sister. Her 15 year old brother and husband remained to rule Egypt. Cleopatra escaped to Syria, however she did not intend to give up without a fight.
The events that soon followed are quite legendary. Cleopatra's brother, Ptolemy, became involved with a bitter war between Julius Caesar, and a former friend, Pompey. Ptolemy took sides with Caesar and had Pompey killed, hoping to curry favor with the Roman leader. The plan backfired on him. Julius Caesar was so enraged by the murder of Pompey; he immediately took control of the Egyptian palace and ordered Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and Ptolemy to present themselves to him.
The history of Cleopatra is one that has been the subject of novels and movies and is filled with deception, intrigue and romance. The historical biography of Cleopatra suggests she obtained the throne of Egypt through some rather violent means. When her father was briefly exiled following a rebellion, an older sister took the throne. Following their father's return and reclaim of the throne, the sister was put to death. The second of the three women in the family to carry the same name, Cleopatra VI, died around the same time as well; although the cause remains a mystery. This left Cleopatra the Seventh as the oldest child in her family, with a brother who was several years younger. About four years later, their father died and Cleopatra took control of the throne. She was only about 17 years old at the time.
Queen Cleopatra
Cleopatra on the terraces of Philae
Queen Cleopatra had been encamped just on the other side of the Egyptian and Syrian border. When she received the news that she was to enter Egypt and report to Caesar, she astutely realized she would be easy prey for supporters of her brother's regime. In a scene that has been replayed in countless movies, Cleopatra allowed herself to be smuggled into Egypt in a rug. The affair between Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and Caesar is thought to have begun when she was presented to him, wrapped in the rug. For more than 3 years the couple enjoyed a scandalous affair and Cleopatra gave birth to a son. Following the birth of the child, she joined Julius Caesar in Rome, but quickly departed when he was killed, fearing for her own life.
Absolute chaos ensued in theroman  Empire following the assassination. One of the three men poised to take the throne of Rome, Mark Anthony ordered Cleopatra back to Rome for questioning. Once again displaying her political savvy and intelligence, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt made plans to seduce Mark Anthony. She donned the garb of Venus, the Goddess of Love and was completely successful in her attempt to seduce her would be inquisitor. Of all the costumes Egyptian Cleopatra has been portrayed in, this is the most famous. The full costume of Cleopatra, dressed as Venus, is vividly remembered when Elizabeth Taylor wore a reproduction in her famous portrayal of the queen. The film was so successful in memorializing the queen and her seductive costume, that historical Cleopatra costumes have remained popular ever since.


Image of King Tutankhamun's mask at www.argonet.co.uk/users/harts/egypt/4a_plan.htm from Mike Owen, harts@argonet.co.uk, March 2000. Email message.
King Tut’s original name was not Tut.  They just called him that for short.  His real name is Tutankhamun or Tutankhaten.  King Tut is probably the most well known king because his tomb hadn’t been robbed like most Egyptian tombs and pyramids had when it was discovered in 1922.  
Howard Carter discovered Tut’s tomb about 600 years after Tut died.  Howard was on the search for Tut for ten years.  Howard was going to stop searching for Tut’s tomb until one of his workers found a new door that lead to Tut’s tomb.  Tut’s tomb was buried behind a layer of rubble and chips.  After Tut died they had forgotten about his tomb.  Cleopatra removed his name from the royal lists.  That is why his tomb was not robbed as much as other tombs were.
When Tutankhaten became king he was 9 years old.  He became king when his father died because he was the oldest boy.  He was king for 9 years then unexpectedly died from a head injury.  None of Tut’s children were still alive after Tut died, so they could not take his place in being king.  Instead, Tut’s brother became king after Tuts’ death.
King Tutankhaten had 4 coffins.  They were all made of wood, which was then heavily decorated on the outside with both paint and gold leaf.  One of Tut’s coffins was made partly of gold.  That was the coffin that they put Tut in when he died.  The head of that coffin was made of pure gold decorated with stones and colored glass.
Some things that were in the tomb were foods and drinks that Tut ate and drank.  There were also models of servants and guards.  There were models of them because the Egyptians thought that the point of an Egyptian’s burial is to have somebody help the dead person live again for millions and millions of years.  The Egyptians thought that if you carefully preserved a dead body you would also preserve their spirit (Ba & Ka) and give them everlasting life.  Another thing that was in Tut’s tomb is a chest that was painted on one side.  It was in his tomb because it showed Tut stepping on his enemies.  A statue of the goddess Hathor was also in Tut’s tomb to watch over Tut’s body.
Tut’s tomb was not fit for a king. It was more for an official.  But since Tut died at an early age he had have that tomb.  The rooms were changed to make it more fit for a king, but he didn’t have a pyramid like most Egyptian rulers.  Some items for Tut’s afterlife were just thrown into rooms of his tomb.
When they opened the coffin that Tut was in they found 15 rings of all sizes on his mummy fingers.  He had 15 rings because that is how many times it took to wrap his hands.  Tut also had 13 bracelets.  They also found 415 statues of servants complete with baskets and tools.
Howard Carter was disappointed when he found out that somebody was there before him.  In Tut’s tomb tomb they found a hole that lead to a room that had some things in it that represented Tut.  Some of those things were tools and painted boxes.  Howard soon found out that someone had robbed that room.  He knew someone had robbed that room because some things were stolen.  Now Howard was more mad because now he really knew that someone was already there.
They found another room that was filled with chariots.  A chariot is something like a carriage that horses pull.  The chariot was used for racing and in battles.
Image of Canopic Jars at http://www.dia.org/, William Peck, DIAPO.wpeck@mail.ci.detroit.mi.us, March 2000. Email message.
Howard still did not find Tut until they went back and cut a hole in the door.  In the hole through the door they saw a gold door.  Surely it was fit for a king.  The room that they entered was painted with colorful pictures and strong letters.  On the other side of the room there was another door.  As Howard entered the room he was sure that no person had been there before, not even robbers.  The room was Tut’s family burial room, but Tut was not there either. After looking around for a while Howard discovered another door that lead to a room with chests of solid gold that held Tut’s brain, liver, stomach, intestines, and lungs. The chests, or canopic jars, had 4 figures of the goddesses Isis, Nemphthys, Neit, and Selket.
Howard Carter finally found Tut.  It was not easy, but he did it.  The last coffin that they looked in was Tut’s.  Dr. Doudlas Derry, another scientist, carefully unwrapped the layers of cloth that were hiding Tut.  Each layer of cloth had been covered with gold and jewelry.  The body was now all unwrapped.
They believe Tut was known as a mean and harsh ruler. They knew this because they saw pictures showing Tut kicking people.
The reason why archeologists know more about King Tut than they know about other kings of Egypt is because Tut’s tomb had not of been robbed when it was discovered.  This lets us know a lot of information about the Ancient Egyptians.

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