Category Archives: Historical Facts and Trivia

Two gods, three heads-Happy New Year?

Janus or Juno?

January has a slightly contentious etymology. It’s traditionally said that it was named after the god Janus. Which would make sense, given that he’s the god of beginnings and endings.

But…there’s also evidence from farmer’s calendars that it might actually have been named after the goddess Juno, queen of the gods. (Others cite June as belonging to Juno…)

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Early coin from the Republic featuring Janus.

 

Of course, history and language being what they are, it gets even muddier when you factor in that the early Roman calendar began with March. There’s no definite answer to when this changed-possibly because they had one regular and one ritual calendar.

Whether or not he could lay claim to the first month, the first day of each month was sacred to Janus. Continue reading

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tut-ausstellung_ffm_2012_47_28711781955729November 4th is sometimes considered the anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

 

Howard Carter’s began what he expected to be his last funded season excavating in the Vally of the Kings November 1rst. He started off by having his workers clear out the area where Rameses VI’s workmen had built their huts.

 

November 4th they found the rock cut steps that would lead to Tutankhamun’s tomb. They cleared out and found the door by the end of the 5th, but wouldn’t actually enter until his patron joined them some weeks later.

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Lend me your ears…

indian-cornYou see the wonderful multicolor corn everywhere in New England this time of year. I always want to take pictures, between the contrast in textures and all the colors they contain.

 

I also normally think of the geneticist Barbra McClintock and her discovery of jumping genes, which I’ve mentioned before.

 

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But I don’t actually pay much attention to the varieties of corn themselves.

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I’ll ask no thing of man or king…

To wrap up Earth Science Week it seemed appropriate to mention the pioneering geologist and professor, Florence Bascom.

 

When she got her doctorate in geology in 1893, Bascom was the first woman to obtain a doctorate from Johns Hopkins.

 

She was the second woman to have a PhD in geology in the United States. (The first was Mary Emilee Holmes, University of Michigan, 1888.*) She is also credited with being the first woman to be hired by the United States Geological Service, the first woman to present a scientific paper at the Geological Society of Washington, and the first female officer of the Geological Society of America.

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A Tip of the Hat

Sir John's Hatter

Sir John’s Hatter

Today is Mad Hatter Day. (At least in the US. I guess it’d be June 10th in Europe.) Mad Hatter Day was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

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Blue Beyond the Sea

1539-cu-lapis

A piece of lapis with a wire work bail I made to echo its pyrite sparkles.

 

Lapis is sometimes considered a secondary birthstone to sapphire. That’s probably due to its brilliant blue color, and the fact that through the middle ages the word sapphire was used pretty loosely!

 

 

Lapis is a vibrant blue stone consisting of lazurite and usually pyrite and sodalite as well as a host of other minerals. It’s the pyrite that gives lapis its midnight sparkle of stars.

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Fake Pearls, Fashion, and Irritated Bivalves

I don’t generally read romances, but I stumbled on the Two Nerdy Girls blog back when I was researching French costume for a 17th century doll and I love it! They really dig into historical fashions and accessories-the fun fripperies that show us how little people change, but that history books tend to skip.

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