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From: LindyBill4/20/2016 10:25:57 AM
   of 7360
Scientists reveal Jewish history's forgotten Turkish roots

Israeli-born geneticist believes the Turkish villages of Iskenaz, Eskenaz and Ashanaz were part of the original homeland for Ashkenazic Jews
David Keys Archaeology Correspondent
  • @davidmkeys
  • 16 hours ago

    A group of Ashkenazic Jews in Jerusalem, circa 1885 Getty Images

    New research suggests that the majority of the world’s modern Jewish population is descended mainly from people from ancient Turkey, rather than predominantly from elsewhere in the Middle East.

    The new research suggests that most of the Jewish population of northern and eastern Europe – normally known as Ashkenazic Jews – are the descendants of Greeks, Iranians and others who colonized what is now northern Turkey more than 2000 years ago and were then converted to Judaism, probably in the first few centuries AD by Jews from Persia. At that stage, the Persian Empire was home to the world’s largest Jewish communities.

    According to research carried out by the geneticist, Dr Eran Elhaik of the University of Sheffield, over 90 per cent of Ashkenazic ancestors come from that converted partially Greek-originating ancient community in north-east Turkey.

    Read more
    Man finds important Roman villa in his back garden

    His research is based on genetic, historical and place-name evidence. For his geographic genetic research, Dr Elhaik used a Geographic Population Structure computer modelling system to convert Ashkenazic Jewish DNA data into geographical information.

    Dr Elhaik, an Israeli-born geneticist who gained his doctorate in molecular evolution from the University of Houston, believes that three still-surviving Turkish villages – Iskenaz, Eskenaz and Ashanaz – on the western part of an ancient Silk Road route were part of the original Ashkenazic homeland. He believes that the word Ashkenaz originally comes from Ashguza - the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian name for the Iron Age Eurasian steppeland people, the Scythians.

    Referring to the names of the three Turkish villages, Dr Elhaik points out that “north-east Turkey is the only place in the world where these place-names exist”.

    Ulta-orthodox Ashkenazic Jews during a protest in Jerusalem last year (Getty Images)

    From the 690s AD onwards, anti-Jewish persecution by the Christian Byzantine Empire seems to have played a part in forcing large numbers of Jews to flee across the Black Sea to a more friendly state – the Turkic-ruled Khazar Empire with its large Slav and other populations.

    Some analyses of Yiddish suggests that it was originally a Slavic language, and Dr Elhaik and others believe that it was developed, probably in the 8th and 9th centuries AD, by Jewish merchants trading along some of the more northerly Silk Roads linking China and Europe.

    By the 730s, the Khazar Empire had begun to convert to Judaism – and more people converted to the faith.

    Discoveries that change the way you see the world

    But when the Khazar Empire declined in or around the 11th century, some of the Jewish population almost certainly migrated west into Central Europe. There, as Yiddish-speaking Jewish merchants came into contact with central European, often German-speaking, peoples, they began to replace the Slav words in Yiddish with large numbers of German and German-derived words, while retaining some of its Slav-originating grammar. Many Hebrew words also appear to have been added by that stage.

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    From: FJB4/20/2016 6:39:28 PM
    2 Recommendations   of 7360
    Federal Park Ranger Mocks Founders, Constitution ... While Leading Tour of Independence Hall!
    A federal employee of the National Park Service who offers guided tours of Independence Hall in Philadelphia -- the birthplace of the Constitution -- stunned a group of tourists this week by telling them the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were the product of "class elites who were just out to protect their privileged status."

    Mary A. Hogan, a federal employee making in excess of $95,000 per year in salary and benefits, provided a tour Monday afternoon at Independence Hall laced with factual inaccuracies and disparaging comments about the Founders and the Constitution.

    Several attendees of her tour group on Monday told PJ Media that Hogan, who goes by the name Missy, had explained to them that "the Founders knew that when they left this room, what they had written wouldn't matter very much." Hogan told the group that the "most important part of the Constitution written at Independence Hall was the ability to change it."

    Hogan also inaccurately told the tour group that "King George III paid more attention to Parliament" than the colonists "because they were right there and could remove him from office." Parliament did not possess the power to remove the king from office in the 1770s, and does not possess that power today...

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    From: isopatch4/20/2016 11:16:15 PM
    1 Recommendation   of 7360
    <Mystery of the Varna Gold: What Caused These Ancient Societies to Disappear?

    Treasure found in prehistoric graves in Bulgaria is the first evidence of social hierarchy, but no one knows what caused the civilization's decline image:

    This gold appliqué, more than six millennia old, appears to be a bull but has buffalo-like horns. (Natsionalen Istoritcheski Muzej, Sofia, Bulgaria; De Agostini Picture Library / A. Dagli Orti / Bridgeman Images)

    By Andrew Curry


    APRIL 18, 2016

    Perhaps you’d like to see the cemetery?” says archaeologist Vladimir Slavchev, catching me a bit off balance. We’re standing in the Varna Museum of Archaeology, a three-story former girls’ school built of limestone and brick in the 19th century. Its collections span millennia, from the tools of Stone Age farmers who first settled this seacoast near the mouth of the Danube to the statues and inscriptions of its prosperous days as a Roman port. But I’ve come for something specific, something that has made Varna known among archaeologists the world over. I’m here for the gold.

    Slavchev ushers me up a flight of worn stone stairs and into a dimly lit hall lined with glass display cases. At first I’m not sure where to look. There’s gold everywhere—11 pounds in all, representing most of the 13 pounds that were excavated between 1972 and 1991 from a single lakeside cemetery just a few miles from where we’re standing. There are pendants and bracelets, flat breastplates and tiny beads, stylized bulls and a sleek headpiece. Tucked away in a corner, there’s a broad, shallow clay bowl painted in zigzag stripes of gold dust and black, charcoal-based paint.

    By weight, the gold in this room is worth about $181,000. But its artistic and scientific value is beyond calculation: The “Varna gold,” as it’s known among archaeologists, has upended long-held notions about prehistoric societies. According to radiocarbon dating, the artifacts from the cemetery are 6,500 years old, meaning they were created only a few centuries after the first migrant farmers moved into Europe. Yet archaeologists found the riches in just a handful of graves, making them the first evidence of social hierarchies in the historical record.

    Slavchev leads me to the center of the room, where a grave has been carefully recreated. Though the skeleton inside is plastic, the original gold artifacts have been placed exactly as they were found when archaeologists uncovered the original remains. Laid out on his back, the long-dead man in grave 43 was adorned with gold bangles, necklaces made from gold beads, heavy gold pendants, and delicate, pierced gold disks that once hung from his clothes.

    In the museum display, his hands are folded over his chest, clutching a polished axe with a gold-wrapped handle like a scepter; another axe lies just beneath. There’s a flint “sword” 16 inches long at his side and a gold penis sheath lying nearby. “He has everything—armor, weapons, wealth,” Slavchev says, smiling. “Even the penises of these people were gold.”


    Since he started working at the museum in 2001, Slavchev has spent much of his time considering the implications of the Varna gold. His long black hair, shot through with gray, is pulled back in a tight ponytail; his office on the top floor of the museum, where he serves as curator of prehistoric archaeology, is painted green and filled with books about the region’s prehistory. A small window lets in a bit of light and the sound of seagulls.

    Slavchev tells me that just a few decades ago, most archaeologists thought that the Copper Age people living around the mouth of the Danube organized themselves in very simple, small groups. An influential 1974 book called Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images, by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, went even further. Based on feminine figurines made of bone and clay found in Copper Age settlements along the lower Danube, she argued that the societies of “Old Europe” were run by women. The people of “Old Europe” were “agricultural and sedentary, egalitarian and peaceful,” Gimbutas wrote. Her vision of a prehistoric feminist paradise was compelling, especially to a generation of scholars coming of age in the 1960s and '70s.

    A restorer from the Varna Museum of Archeology looks into rows of excavated graves in 1976, four years after archeologists discovered the prehistoric cemetery and erected a fence to protect it. (Varna Regional Museum of History)Gimbutas thought the Copper Age ended when invaders from the east swept into the region around 4000 b.c. The newcomers were “patriarchal, stratified … mobile, and war oriented”—everything the people of the Copper Age weren’t. They spoke Indo-European, the ancient tongue that forms the basis for English, Gaelic, Russian, and many other languages. The new arrivals put their stamp on Europe, and wiped out the goddess worship of the Copper Age in the process.

    Gimbutas was putting the finishing touches on Goddesses and Gods as the first finds from Varna were coming to light. She couldn’t have known that this cemetery deep behind the Iron Curtain would come to challenge her theory.
    In hindsight, the evidence is compelling. When I ask Slavchev about the conclusions drawn by Gimbutas, who died in 1994, he shakes his head. “Varna shows something completely different,” he says. “It’s clear the society here was male dominated. The richest graves were male; the chiefs were male. The idea of a woman-dominated society is completely false.”


    The Varna find still seems miraculous to those who were part of it. In 1972 Alexander Minchev was just 25, with a freshly minted Ph.D. and a new job at the same museum he works in today as senior staff member and expert in Roman glass. One morning he got a call: A former schoolteacher who had opened a small museum in a nearby village was in possession of some treasure; perhaps someone from Varna would be willing to come take a look?

    When the call came in, Minchev recalls, his older colleagues rolled their eyes. Locals were routinely calling about “treasure.” It always turned out to be copper coins they found in their fields, some just a few centuries old. The museum’s storerooms were full of them. Still, Minchev was eager to get out of the office, so he jumped in a jeep with a colleague.

    Entering the smaller museum, the two men immediately realized this was no collection of old coins. “When we walked in the room and saw all these gold artifacts on his table, our eyes popped—this was something exceptional,” Minchev says. The retired teacher told them a former student had uncovered the artifacts a few weeks earlier while digging trenches for electrical cables. After fishing a bracelet out of the bucket of his excavator, the young man gathered up a few more pieces. He assumed the jewelry was copper or brass, and tossed it in the box that came with his new work boots, then shoved it under his bed. Gold never crossed his mind. A few weeks went by before he gave the box of jewelry, still covered in dirt, to his old teacher.

    Until that morning, all the known gold artifacts from the Copper Age weighed less than a pound—combined. In the shoebox alone, Minchev was holding more than double that. The initial find was 2.2 pounds, in the form of bracelets, a flat, rectangular breastplate, earrings, delicate tubes that might have fit around a scepter’s wooden handle, some rings, and other small trinkets. “We took them in that same shoebox straight back to Varna,” Minchev says.

    Within weeks the bewildered backhoe operator was leading a cop, two archaeologists, and his former teacher to a construction site a few hundred yards from Varna’s lake. Though it had been months since the construction worker found the gold, Minchev immediately spotted more glitter peeking out of the loose dirt on the side of the trench.


    The hunt was on. “It’s very rare to have just one grave,” Minchev says. “Very soon, we found more. After it was obvious it was a cemetery, a temporary fence was erected. It turned out later it wasn’t big enough [to contain the full circumference of the graveyard].” As winter closed in and the ground froze solid, archaeologists lit fires to keep the work going. In a strange twist, a local prison supplied convict labor to help the archaeologists recover the cemetery’s gold.

    Bulgarian archaeologists spent more than 15 years excavating 312 graves. All date to a relatively brief period between 4600 and 4200 b.c.—a pivotal point in human history, when people were just beginning to unravel the secrets of metalworking.

    As researchers dug up one new grave after another, a pattern emerged. The riches of Varna’s cemetery weren’t evenly distributed. The majority of the burials contained very little of value: a bead, a flint knife, a bone bracelet at best. One in five contained small gold objects like beads or pendants. Shockingly, just four graves contained three quarters of the cemetery’s gold—the Copper Age’s equivalent of the wealthiest one percent. “The cemetery shows big differences between people, some with lots of grave goods, some with very few,” Slavchev says. “6,500 years ago, people had the same ideas we have today. Here we see the first complex society.”

    This pendant necklace of gold, carnelian, and Spondylus shell was found in a cenotaph, a grave with no human remains. Archeologists believe it hung from the neck of a woman during the late Copper Age. A typical female adornment, its white, red, and gold are a unique color combination that offers clues to the world’s oldest known social stratification. (Varna Regional Museum of History)

    Varna and its gold quickly became celebrated outside of Bulgaria. The country’s communist leadership was eager to promote the site, and they sent the jewelry on tour to museums around the world.

    Bulgarian archaeologists chuckled at the irony. “I joked with a colleague that this cemetery was the first nail in the coffin of communist ideology,” Minchev says. “It showed that even in the 5th century b.c., society was very stratified, with very rich people, a middle class, and mostly people with nothing but a pot or a knife to call their own. It was the opposite of the official ideology.”


    A day after meeting Minchev, I head back to the museum. This time, I’m not there to see gold. Instead, Slavchev is waiting outside. His car is in the shop, so we hop in a colleague’s battered silver Mitsubishi SUV. We’re going to see the cemetery itself—or what’s left of it.

    As we weave through mid-day traffic on the edge of Varna, through cookie-cutter apartment blocks and post-communist commercial developments, Slavchev explains that a significant chunk of the cemetery—perhaps a third—was never excavated. In 1991, the archaeologist in charge called a halt to the dig. He reasoned that future researchers would have access to better technology and techniques, and he wanted to finish publication of the work already done.

    He couldn’t have known that the end of communism would plunge Bulgarian archaeology into a slump that’s lasted more than two decades. Today, Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union, and as scientists have struggled to fund legitimate excavations, looters have plundered many of the country’s archaeological treasures and sold them on the international black market. The Varna site has thus far been spared.

    After turning off the main road into a bleak industrial park, we pull up next to a nondescript chain-link fence. Slavchev gets out of the car and unlocks a gate. Together we slip into a long, narrow strip of land squeezed between run-down factory buildings and warehouses that tower on all sides.

    Locals have turned the fenced area into an informal community garden, with small vegetable plots and ramshackle greenhouses made of plastic sheeting. Where it hasn’t been planted with vegetables, the space is choked with thick underbrush and strewn with trash. A sign written in black marker on a piece of blue plastic reads, “God is watching from above—Don’t steal!”

    Twenty-five years after the original excavation was halted, Slavchev is still publishing findings, and hoping eventually to restart the Varna dig and complete the work of his predecessors. One of the questions he’d like to answer: What was it about the Copper Age that encouraged people to create social hierarchies? And why here on the shores of the Black Sea?


    Picking his way through the gardens, Slavchev suggests the people who built the Varna cemetery had more on their minds than subsistence. “The whole population was in good health and had a well-balanced diet. These people were not rich or poor in today’s sense. They didn’t go hungry,” he says. “They had reached a moment where they started to think about more than survival.”

    Slavchev thinks their minds turned to metal. Sitting by a campfire one night, not long after 5000 b.c., an observant Stone Age farmer must have noticed that certain rocks—green-blue ores we now know as malachite or azurite—melted into shiny beads of copper when they got hot.

    Copper could be shaped and worked into tools and decorations in a way that must have seemed otherworldly. Until the invention of metallurgy, all the tools humanity had at its disposal were crafted from stone, wood, bone, antler, or clay. Once they broke, they were useless. Malleable copper, though, could be shaped into weapons, tools, and jewelry over and over again. “If a metal axe is broken, you can melt it down and produce another axe,” says Svend Hansen, the head of the Eurasia department at the German Archaeological Institute. “Metal is never used up. It can be recycled endlessly.” The first metalworkers must have seemed like wizards.

    But while stone and bone were widely available—materials anyone could pick up off the ground—malachite, azurite, and gold were all hard to come by. A pound of copper requires mining hundreds of pounds of copper ore; it takes up to ten tons of material to yield an ounce of gold. Mining, smelting, and working metal took special skills and lots of time.

    All those man-hours needed to be organized and ordered. That’s where the man in grave 43 and his fellow one-percenters came in. “We come for the very first time to a crucial point in human history—part of society must work with metal, and others must feed them,” Slavchev says. “That separation has to be ordered and regulated, with somebody assigning roles. The person making decisions has to have a lot of power to keep society separated.”


    Slavchev and I are soon standing on a slight rise, covered in a thicket of brush and stubby trees. A few rotting sheds are barely visible in the undergrowth. He points to a handful of shallow pits downslope, so covered with weeds I wouldn’t have noticed them without his help. “You’re standing on top of the cemetery,” he says. “That’s where they found the richest graves.” Excavators later piled all the dirt from the graves on the part of the cemetery they hadn’t yet examined, sealing it under 15 feet of soil to wait for better days.

    Vladimir Slavchev wanders through the cemetery’s overgrown brush. Though 9,000 square yards were excavated, more has yet to be explored. Archeologists stopped digging in 1991 and struggle to raise funds today. Slavchev hopes to finish the work of his predecessors. (Varna Regional Museum of History)As a cold wind carries the sound of clanging metal from a nearby factory, I ask Slavchev something I’ve been wondering since we met: What happened to the society that once existed here? The golden age entombed in the cemetery was brief, he says. The bones were all buried within a few centuries, between 6,600 and 6,200 years ago.

    What happened next is an enduring mystery. All along the lower Danube, settlements and cultures that flourished during the Copper Age come to an abrupt end around 4000 b.c. Suddenly, settlements are abandoned; the people vanish. For six centuries afterwards, the region seems to be empty. “We still have nothing to fill the gap,” he says. “And believe me, we’ve looked.”

    For decades, scholars assumed the sudden abandonment was the result of an invasion by the mounted Indo-European warriors Gimbutas had written about, rampaging through the region. But there are no signs of battle or violence, no burned villages or skeletons with signs of slaughter.

    More recently, researchers have begun considering another possibility—climate change. The collapse of the Copper Age coincides with a warming world, with larger swings in temperatures and rainfall. The villages that produced the gold found here are now underwater: The Black Sea was as much as 25 feet lower than it is today.

    From the top of the cemetery, it’s just possible to peek over the factory fences and see the lake that covered the villages. All the gold in the world—or at least most of it—couldn’t save them. “Perhaps their fields became swamps,” Slavchev says, closing and locking the gate behind us. “With the changes in climate, maybe people had to change their way of life.”

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    From: Tom Clarke4/22/2016 1:10:02 PM
       of 7360
    ‘Be cheerful, live your life:’ Ancient mosaic ‘meme’ found in Turkey’s south
    HATAY – Anadolu Agency

    What could be considered an ancient motivational meme which reads “be cheerful, live your life” in ancient Greek has been discovered on a centuries-old mosaic found during excavation works in the southern province of Hatay.

    Demet Kara, an archaeologist from the Hatay Archaeology Museum, said the mosaic, which was called the “skeleton mosaic,” belonged to the dining room of a house from the 3rd century B.C., as new findings have been unearthed in the ancient city of Antiocheia.

    “There are three scenes on glass mosaics made of black tiles. Two things are very important among the elite class in the Roman period in terms of social activities: The first is the bath and the second is dinner. In the first scene, a black person throws fire. That symbolizes the bath. In the middle scene, there is a sundial and a young clothed man running towards it with a bare-headed butler behind. The sundial is between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. 9 p.m. is the bath time in the Roman period. He has to arrive at supper at 10 p.m. Unless he can, it is not well received. There is writing on the scene that reads he is late for supper and writing about time on the other. In the last scene, there is a reckless skeleton with a drinking pot in his hand along with bread and a wine pot. The writing on it reads ‘be cheerful and live your life,’” Kara explained.

    Kara added the mosaic was a unique finding for the country.

    “[This is] a unique mosaic in Turkey. There is a similar mosaic in Italy but this one is much more comprehensive. It is important for the fact that it dates back to the 3rd century B.C.,” Kara said.

    She also said that Antiocheia was the world’s third largest city in the Roman era, and continued:

    “Antiocheia was a very important, rich city. There were mosaic schools and mints in the city. The ancient city of Zeugma in [the southeastern province of] Gaziantep might have been established by people who were trained here. Antiocheia mosaics are world famous.”


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    To: Tom Clarke who wrote (4462)4/23/2016 6:17:50 AM
    From: Tom Clarke
       of 7360
    A 2,400 year-old mosaic discovered during excavations in Turkey's southern Hatay province, showing a skeleton lying down with a jorum in his hand and a wine pitcher and bread on the side could be one of its kind, Turkish researchers have said.

    The mosaic, which is reportedly from the 3rd century BCE, was first discovered in 2012, when municipality was carrying out work to build a cable car in Antakya and found ancient remains.

    Excavations were then launched to search the area for more remains.

    According to archeologist Demet Kara at Hatay Archeology Museum, the mosaic is a part of ancient Greek-Roman city of Antioch and has an Ancient Greek inscription saying 'Be cheerful, enjoy your life.'

    Kara further noted that professors have referred to the mosaic as the 'skeleton mosaic' and have concluded that the mosaic belonged to the dining room of a house belonging to the upper class back then.

    She noted that there is a similar mosaic in Italy, but this one is more comprehensive, making it a unique piece.

    The ancient city of Antioch was established by Seleucus I Nicator -who is one of Alexander the Great's generals- in the 4th century BCE. It is known to be the first place where the followers of Jesus were referred to as Christians.

    Hatay is known for its Roman-era mosaics dating back to the second and third centuries BCE.

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    From: Tom Clarke4/26/2016 4:53:46 PM
    2 Recommendations   of 7360
    Amulet with Cartouche of Thutmose III Discovered in Jerusalem

    Schoolgirl makes rare discovery on Temple Mount Sifting Project

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    From: LindyBill4/27/2016 9:17:55 AM
       of 7360
    Templeborough Roman fort


    A Roman fort was first built on the site in earth and wood in the first century AD (most likely in the period 43 to 68), and was later rebuilt in stone. It is thought to have been occupied until the Roman withdrawal from England c410 but its original name has never been ascertained.

    The Roman road called Icknield Street (sometimes Ryknild or Riknild Street) crossed the River Don at a ford close to the fort. There was also a road named Batham Gate that ran southwest from the fort to Brough-on-Noe in Derbyshire.

    The double bank that surrounded the fort was still visible in 1831 although it is believed that stone blocks from the site were regularly carried off and re-used in nearby buildings.

    Archaeological excavations of part of the fort and bath house were carried out in 1877 by the Rotherham Literary and Scientific Society headed by local historians, J D Leader and John Guest. They found evidence that the fort had been burned to the ground and rebuilt twice.

    In 1916 the site of the fort was acquired by Steel, Peech and Tozer’s steelworks in order to expand their works to meet the demand for steel during World War I. The plans for the steelworks required the site to be leveled, and 10–15 feet of soil were removed from the area of the fort, destroying all archaeological remains.

    A tile stamped with the stamp of Cohors IV Gallorum found on the site dates to either the time of Domitian (81–96) or Trajan (98–117). The Fourth Cohort of Gauls are known to have occupied the fort, as evidenced by the clay tiles and carved Roman tombstones discovered on the site.

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    From: Stan4/29/2016 3:47:49 PM
    2 Recommendations   of 7360
    It's great enough to find just a bunch of modern coins laying around let alone 1300 lbs of ancient Roman ones.

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    From: isopatch4/29/2016 9:34:46 PM
    1 Recommendation   of 7360
    There's also a strong case for Charles Martel being "Founder of France". Good read, nevertheless.

    Extraordinary times, as new dynasties emerged to take control of larger and larger portions of the failing Western Roman Empire.


    <The Commanding Clovis I: King of the Merovingian Dynasty and Founder of France

    26 APRIL, 2016 - 03:53


    Clovis I was the second king of the Merovingian Dynasty, and its first ruler to unite all the Franks in the region of Gaul under Merovingian rule. Due to this achievement, Clovis is often regarded as the founder of France. In addition to this unification, Clovis is also remembered for his conversion to Christianity. Like the Roman emperor Constantine, Clovis’ conversion was related to a battle, and paved the way for the adoption of Christianity (specifically Roman Catholicism, as opposed to Arianism) by the Franks.

    Military PowerClovis I was born around 466 AD, and was the son of a chief by the name of Childeric. Clovis’ father was the leader of a Germanic tribe known as the Salian Franks, and served as an ally of Rome. When Childeric died, Clovis, who was 15 years old at that time, inherited his father’s position. Five years after inheriting his father’s throne, Clovis came into conflict with Syagrius, the last Roman governor of Gaul.

    Syagrius was defeated by Clovis at the Battle of Soissons in 486 AD, and the governor fled to Toulouse, hoping to find refuge with the Visigothic king Alaric II. Clovis demanded that Syagrius be handed over to him, to which Alaric complied. Syagrius was brought back to Soissons, where he was beheaded.

    The captured Syagrius is brought before Alaric II who orders him sent to Clovis I. ( Public Domain )

    Clovis continued his military campaign, conquering many important cities, including Paris, Rouen, and Reims by the end of the year. By 491 AD, much of western Gaul was under Clovis’ rule. By this time Clovis had ordered the assassination of several Frankish kings, and added their kingdoms to his. During the early 6th century AD, Clovis defeated the Visigoths in southern Gaul, and added much of what is today the region of Aquitaine to his kingdom. By the time of Clovis’ death in 511 AD all the Franks in Gaul were united under the Merovingians.

    Delayed VengeanceAnother important contribution of Clovis to history was his adoption of Roman Catholicism. Christianity had already taken root in Gaul prior to Clovis’ conversion, and Childeric, his father, is recorded to have been on good terms with the bishops of Gaul. This policy was continued by Clovis, and may be exemplified in a story recorded by Gregory of Tours.
    In this story, Clovis and his soldiers are said to have looted many churches after defeating Syagrius in 486 AD. One of the looted items was “a vase of marvelous size and beauty”. The bishop, from whose church the vase was taken, sent a messenger to Clovis, begging for the restoration of this particular vase.

    The king brought the messenger back to Soissons, where he had taken up residence. Once there, Clovis placed the loot in the middle of his army, and told his men that he would like the vase for himself so that he could return it to the bishop. Clovis’ soldiers, except one, agreed that the vase should be given to the king. This soldier who disagreed made his opinions known by stepping forward and crushing the vase with his battle axe. Furthermore, the soldier cried “Thou shalt receive nothing of this unless a just lot give it to thee.”

    St. Remy, Bishop of Rheims, begging of Clovis the restitution of the Sacred Vase taken by the Franks in the Pillage of Soissons. ( Public Domain )

    The shattered vase was given to the bishop’s messenger, and Clovis is said to have not lost his cool on that occasion, and kept an appearance of calm and patience. Needless to say, the king was not at all satisfied with the soldier’s behavior.

    A year later, Clovis got his revenge. During a review of his troops, Clovis recognized the soldier, and reproached him for the poor condition of his arms. The king then seized his battle axe and threw it on the ground. When the soldier bent down to pick his weapon up, the king used his own battle axe to crush the head of the unfortunate man, saying “Thus didst thou to the vase at Soissons.”

    Clotilde Clovis’ conversion to Christianity can also be found in Gregory of Tours’ account, and may be said to have begun with his marriage to Clotilde. This woman was the daughter of the king of the Burgundians, and was a Christian herself. Clotilde strove to convert her pagan husband to the Christian faith, to no avail. Despite her failures, Clotilde did not give up her intention of converting her husband. Her efforts finally paid off when Clovis was in the midst of a battle with the Alemanni.

    During this battle, Clovis’ army was on the brink of defeat, when he decided to pray to the god of the Christians. In return for victory, Clovis promised to be baptized. Miraculously, the enemy then fled from the field, leaving Clovis victorious. Thus, Clovis became a Christian, and his wife was later venerated as a saint for her role in Clovis’ religious conversion.

    The Baptism of Clovis. ( Public Domain )

    Featured image: Saint Remigius baptizes Clovis, in a painting of ca 1500. Photo source: Public Domain .

    By Wu Mingren

    ReferencesCavendish, R., 2011. Death of Clovis I of the Franks. [Online]
    Available at:

    Halsall, P., 1996. Medieval Sourcebook: Gregory of Tours: On Clovis. [Online]
    Available at:

    Kurth, G., 1908. Clovis. [Online]
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    From: isopatch5/3/2016 9:44:36 PM
    1 Recommendation   of 7360
    Although the proportions of the instrument are, at best, a close approximation of the ancient original; the music in the video is purely speculative, historically speaking. Nevertheless the brilliant tonal quality and rich resonance produced is extraordinarily beautiful, at least to this old guitarist's ear.

    Hope you folks enjoy it, too.


    <The Lyre Of Megiddo

    Published on Jan 25, 2014

    <The "lyre of Har Megiddo" is an instrument etched onto an ivory plaque that was discovered by archaeologist Gordon Loud in the excavations of a royal palace in the ancient city of Megiddo (aka Armageddon) in Israel. One of the interesting things about this image, which appears at the beginning of this video, is that it dates from roughly the time of the biblical King David (slightly before 1000 B.C.) and if David played a harp, as the Tanach (Old Testament) says he did, it was almost certainly an instrument of this sort.

    David's instrument, which was called a "kinnor" in ancient Hebrew, had ten strings, and we know that he played it "with his hand" (as opposed to using a plectrum or pick for strumming - 1 Samuel 13:9). Being curious as to what this instrument might have sounded like, I built a replica of it, and that is what I am playing in this video. It is tuned to an F harmonic minor scale, and strung with pure silk. Harps and lyres in ancient time were strung with gut but silk, when it is properly prepared, is equally hard, strong and resonant.

    Was this the sound that lulled troubled King Saul to sleep? We cannot know for sure, but it is possible. If you are curious about this instrument, here is a page on my website that explains a little about its construction and history.>

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