Divinity at its very source is human. -- Jane Harrison, Themis [Stone's Zeus]

Cable on the Ancients - Pagans
Egyptian Greco-Roman
Miscellaneous Tidbits.
Search Terms : exodus-theorie, sodom-theorie, disaster-theorie, jericho-theorie, noah-theorie, minoan-theorie

Serials - Ancient Assassins
[ sub-menu ] - [ TV Guide ] - [ top-menu ]
"A series examining feared and experienced warriors of the past"
Season 1
1 47 Ronin 10/3/2014 Samurai plot to avenge the death of their lord [ Wiki ]
2 Ghost Warriors 10/10/2014 Germanics with spears, slingshots, javelins and clubs. [ Wiki ]
3 Berserkers 10/17/2014 8th-century Vikings raid a monastery off England's coast [ Wiki ]
4 Hawaiian Koa 10/24/2014 Koa warriors in Hawaii practice a martial art called lua [ Wiki ]
5 Ninja 10/31/2014 Ninja during the 16th century in Japan [ Wiki ]
6 Assassins 11/7/2014 In 11th-century Persia, Hassan-i Sabbah's trained killers [ Wiki ]
7 Spartans 11/21/2014 Spartan warriors clash with Persians at Thermopylae [ Wiki ]
8 Varangian Guard 11/28/ 2014 Byzantine emperors' bodyguards from Scandinavia [ Wiki ]
9 Eagle Warriors 12/5/2014 Aztec Eagle warriors capture enemies for sacrifice. [ Wiki ]
10 The Sicarii 12/12/2014 Extremists vow to liberate Judea from the Romans [ Wiki ]

Ancient Assassins: The Sicarii
Season 1, Episode 10
These are the Masada people - not the Bar Kochbas.

AD 60 - terrorist attacks on Roman soldiers and their collaborators by a guerilla group, much like Al-Qaeda today. These are the Sicarii, strictly observant Jews, who would not accept any foreign rule over them.

The sicarius is a small curved sword, easily concealed, able to cut to the bone.

But opposition to Rome is not easy. The Sicarii practice asymmetric warfare, using force multipliers:

  • know narrow streets,
  • mingle with the crowd,
  • understand the people,
  • know shortcuts, escape routes,
  • speak the native language
Like terrorists today, the symbolism of the target is all-important. The propaganda of the deed demonstrates to the common people that they can succeed. Always making a statement. This market is not safe.
  • Target's vulnerability - is he conscious of being a target?
  • Look at his pattern of life, a long,detailed process.
  • Psychological preparation to carry out close-up in-cold-blood killing
  • infiltrate crowd with reconnaissance team
  • check for unexpected danger
  • infiltrate the crowd
  • locate the target
  • get the go-ahead
  • hit-man strikes the victim
  • pull away and join the hue and cry

Test on sand bags full of chicken innards and pig's blood.

Their leaders are

[ From the Jewish encyclopedia
Menahem ben Jair was a Leader of the Sicarh. He was a grandson of Judas of Galilee, the founder of the Zealot party, of which the Sicarii were a branch. Menahem checked the lawlessness of the Sicarii, who, under his leadership, in 66 C.E., stormed the fortress of Masada and slew the Roman garrison. Later they entered the fortress of Antonia, after its garrison had been forced to retreat by the Zealots under Eleazar ben Ananias, and ruthlessly murdered the maimed and helpless left behind by the Romans. Exulting in his successes, Menahem now demanded the leadership of the Zealots, sought recognition as the Messiah, and led his men into still more cruel acts of violence. Eleazar ben Ananias, realizing that the Sicarii were a menace, turned the Zealots against Menahem, who fled to Ophla, but was captured and executed. He was succeeded by his brother Eleazar.


Gessius Florus cracks down in 66 AD. orders theft of artifacts in the Temple treasury. Remove quarter of a million dollars for unpaid taxes.

Gessius Florus was the Roman procurator of Judea from 64 until 66. Born in Clazomenae, Florus was appointed to replace Lucceius Albinus as procurator by the Emperor Nero due to his wife's friendship with Nero's wife Poppaea. He was noted for his public greed and injustice to the *Jewish population, and is credited by Josephus as being the primary cause of the Great *wish Revolt

Angry Jews gather on the streets in noisy demonstrations.

Florus makes a mistake, sending in troops to put down the demonstration.

4,000 are executed or crucified.

He has misread the public mood.

The whole city turns on the Romans, tens of thousand of new Jewish fighters on the street fighting the infidel. Florus has unwittingly played into the hands of Sicarii. They don't have enough weapons so they steal from Romans. Guerilla raid on an isolated Roman fort on shores of Dead Sea and seize the armory. Overrun the Roman garrison. Romans flee the city. Jerusalem is liberated.

Newfound Jewish unity falls apart. The leaders know Rome can't be defeated, and want a deal with Rome.

Sicarii want none of that. Jew against Jew in running battles Then the Sicarii go too far. They impose their own severe law on the city, overreaching themselves. Now Jerusalem rises up against them.,

They kill Menahim ben Jahir.


Eleazar ben Yahir [Eleazar ben Ya'ir] is their new leader, who received orders from God. A guerilla HQ crossed with religious community. It's a tough place to live. Have to save up water for the summer. Eleazar commands raids on surrounding villages.

For a successful guerilla raid - reconnaissance, reconnaissance, reconnaissance - principle followed today. Way in, way out, what to grab.

Ein Gedi, small oasis village, brutal attack. Chase the Jews out, kill 700 of them, steal food and balsam, a valuable fragrance, an aromatic resin from nearby wild plants, one of the lucrative trades of them time, using it like the Taliban used opium to fund their resistance. Maybe intended to monopolize trade in that.

The Sicarii flee the city and hold up at Masada.

By AD 71, lots of people living there.


Flavius Silva mounted the attack on Masada, using 15,000 Roman soldiers and Jewish prisoners of war for hard labor. Surround the fortress, they lay siege. Isolate them. Use the POWs to build a wall around the mountain. This wall is still there today. The Sicarii have lost their mobility, their greatest advantage.

Then Masada has an Achilles heel, the west side, a natural spur of rock. Silva orders the POWs to use it to build a ramp up the mountain. No big deal for Roman engineers. Eleazar tried to obstruct the ramp by dropping rocks on the workers.

"Once you choose to sit in a fortress, you are doomed."

Then the Romans begin to break in. Prospect of death, rape, slavery. Fanatical groups like the Sicarii never surrender. Fight to the death. Decide on suicide. Set fire to the fortress.

Each man kills his own wife and children.

Then 10 men selected by lot to kill the others.

Then one man kills the other nine, then himself.

Two women and three children are said to have survived.

Sicarii today regarded as heroic freedom fighters.

Said Judas Iscariot got his name from the Sicarii.

Ancient Assassins: The Spartans
Season 1, Episode 7

Lacedaemon, southern Peloponnesus

Only professional army in Greece

Begins at birth for each man. There is a pit outside Sparta for the weaklings.

Training starts at seven. Similar to elite special forces today. Graduate at 18. Come back with the shield or on it.

Not enough to eat. Have to steal, punished only if caught.

"Steal the cheese" festival yearly. Chaps on rocks beat off the hungry youngsters.

The Krypteia is the secret operations force, the elite of Sparta. Like Seal Team 6. Initiation ritual: kill a helot, a member of the Spartan servant class, state sanctioned murder. He must master camouflage and concealment.

Speed Aggression Surprise - the SAS acronym.

In the phalanx, even the second row can deliver a killing blow.

Persians invade Greece, Xerxes's father humiliated before, he wanting revenge. Greeks in council turn to Leonidas and use the size of the Persian army against itself by slowing it down. Set up their phalanx at Thermopylae.

Leonidas, leading his troops, is 60 years old.

Persian spy watches the Spartans oiling and combing out their long hair, and he concludes that they are girly men. He brings the news to Xerxes.

In first attack by infantry, Persians expect easy victory. For the Spartans, this is like a training exercise.

There's a secret pass across the mountains above Thermopylae. Leonidas hears of this. Dispatches Greeks from Phokis to guard against that.

Persians send in the Immortals. Always 10,000 of them, now against 300. They must go at night, unheard of in those days.

Thermopylae in August is like a furnace, 100 degrees.

Water is a top priority. 3 gallons a day for each man.

Two days and the Spartans still hold the pass. A local Greek reveals the secret pass over the mountains to Xerxes. Persians can have the Spartans surrounded by daybreak.

"Night missions are almost unheard of in ancient warfare due to the enormous confusion nighttime can cause. This is how desperate Xerxes is getting." Persians want to launch an attack from behind at day break. Runners from the Greeks at that pass tell Leonidas the news. He will. be outflanked.

Leonidas orders his own night time attack. Aim is the tent of Xerxes. It isn't clear what happens next, but Xerxes survived. Only thing left is a final stand.

Persians attack from both sides. Phalanx is useless. Fight with short swords and never give up.

Xerxes calls in archers to finish off Spartans, having lost 20,000 men.

Within a year, Xerxes is defeated on land and sea.

Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

Serials - Ancient Discoveries
[ wiki ].

Ancient Discoveries: Egyptian Warfare
Season 3, Episode 6
[H2 HD]
Produced by Wild Dream Films for The History Channel®
© 2006 A&E Television Networks.
The Battle of Qadesh - between Ramesses II and Muwatalli
  • Prof. Alan Lloyd, Director, The Egypt Center
  • Dr. Peter J. Brand, University of Memphis
  • Robert Partridge, Editor, Ancient Egypt Magazine
  • Dr. Andreas Shachner, Germany Archaeological Institute
  • Andy Cropper, Weapons Expert, UK
  • Lucia Gahlin, Egyptologist
  • Steve Bluett, Blacksmith
  • Mike Loades, Military Historian
  • Dr. Ian Shaw, University of Liverpool
  • Mike Ashington, Champion Archer
  • Robert Hurford, Chariot maker
Narrator: Phil Crowley

Egypt was a great place to live because of the abundant food. You find stories of people from elsewhere heading down to Egypt in times of famine.

Egypt had in infantry of spearmen and archers

-- the mace

  • Heat a round rock, sprinkle a few drops of water on the hot spot to create tiny cracks, then continue this until you create a hole that can be worked. They were expert at this, making maces that could crush skulls
  • But when the enemy wore metal helmets, the mace became obsolete.
When Ramesses came to power, Egypt had been complacent and fallen b ehind in technology. He set out to fix that.

Earlier, the Egyptians adapted the weapons of the Hyksos.

-- the penetrative axe

  • bronze axe heads
  • lashed to handle with leather thronging - leather put on when untreated so it shrinks and tightens
  • soldiers can do their own maintenance in the field
  • better on a helmet than the mace

--- leather body armor - not as good as the Hittite armor made from strips of metal overlapping

-- shields - wood covered with leopard hide

-- the khopesh - curved blade

-- straight-edged sword, tapered to a point

-- composite bow - adapted from the Hyksos

  • long strip of buffalo horn - keeps it shape and acts like a spring during firing
  • attached to preformed wood strip with resin- left to set for a month
  • wound about with animal sinew
  • resin from fish

Then It would take 18 months to 2 years for this to dry and set. Today's equivalents are fiberglass and carbon fiber -- the same thing. Horn is carbon. The sinew was fiberglass.

These are the materials we go to space with, but the concept of composite structure giving extreme strength is as old as the Egyptians.

You can go into battle with the composite bow already strung. You don't have to wait until the last moment.

  • It was developed over thousands of years.
  • The arrow fishtails as it flies.
  • 300 feet/seconds - 200 mph - the impact would be fatal.
  • Ornate specimens found in tomb of Tutankhamen.
  • Copies made today have half the power of the ancient ones.

-- Egyptian chariots

  • most complex object of the ancient world
  • produced on assembly lines
  • light and fast, better than the Hittites
  • bent-wood rim
  • rawhide tire
  • six spokes
  • lightweight
  • axle to the rear, giving a sharper turning circle

-- The Hittite chariot

  • heavier, better for penetrating
  • could carry three men
  • driver, archer, shield-bearer/spearman to protect the other two.

Ancient Egyptians had no horse and chariot before the New Kingdom.

(52:11) The Egyptians had lost the province of Qadesh in Syria 50 years before Ramesses came to the throne. The loss caused no problems, but the Egyptians were obsessed with getting it back.

Chariot on battlefield not to attack the infantry but to frustrate their movement to get tactical advantage. Swoop in, barrage of arrows, then sharp turn to get away fast, letting off move arrows in retreat.

In the battle, it was Ramesses rallying his men against a surprise Hittite assault. He gets the upper hand only when he can use his chariots on the open field. Muwatalli calls for a cease fire.

Egyptians and Hittites joined together against the Assyrians.

Serials - Ancient Vice -
can't find any info on this - ???

Roman Vice
Season X, Episode Y
(2005) [H2 HD] - 2 hours
[ YouTube ]

Augustus creates a vast empire full of decadence that he fights all his life.

The market for the feast is the empire in microcosm.

stuffed dormice.

romans obsessed with fish farming. Like lampreys for slaves who offend.

When Augustus came do dinner, he might do your wife.

A good banquet has good choreography. Who sits where determines status.

A slave breaks a crystal glass. The owner wants to throw him to the lampreys. Augustus has all the glasses smashed and the lamprey pool filled in and slave forgiven. Augustus at war with decadent Rome. Doing the wife of the host is very moral.

Ovid's Ars Amatoria irritates Augustus. Ovid says that a statue of Augustus is the best place to seduce women. Augustus has banished his grand daughter, then banishes Ovid to the Black Sea. He dies a miserable nine years later.

Frescoes of Pompeii. Pictures of sex between beautiful people is to be enjoyed by all, young and old. Priapus in the house of the Vetii wards off bad luck. Frescoes in public baths, found in 1986, open to public since 2001. In public view are forbidden sexual acts depicted. Purpose may have been comic. Boxes with number painted above, so people can remember where they put their clothes. Use of the mouth in sex was forbidden in Rome because the mouth was part of the countenance of her person.

Rome began with the rape of the Sabine women. The women take the women as husbands.

No sexual sin in Roman thought.

Augustan Rome has 32,000 registered prostitutes, and twice as many unregistered. Prostitution is not adultery for the man.

Augustus, then Tiberius - great peace and prosperity for Rome. But comes moral laxness, and the elder Tiberius becomes a total degenerate. Sergius Orata creates first artificial oyster bed. And a heated swimming pool.

Luxury not necessity was the mother of Roman invention. To bathe was to be Roman.

Romans had no problem with pedophilia. Tiberius had his minnows. When bored with them, he throws them off a high cliff at his Villa Jovis.

Claudius drooled. He was the only heterosexual emperor.

Gladiatorial combats designed to remind Romans of the cruelty needed to create an empire. Claudius loved people torn apart by beasts, especially criminals condemned to death.

The crowd had the final decision.

  • Thumbs down - sword buried harmlessly in the sand - let him live
  • Thumbs up to the throat - he should die.

Human torches of Christians for the Roman fire impresses the Romans with Christian fortitude.

Serials - Ancients Behaving Badly
[ sub-menu ] - home page at THC - Wikipedia - [ top-menu ]
A UK/Canada Co-Production FOR HISTORY
© 2009 Blink Films Limited and Yap Productions Inc.
Run Time Per Part: 44:06 minutes / Video Aspect Ratio: 1.760
Narrator: Tom McCamus.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Caligula 11/06/2009 Narcissistic Personality Disorder
2 Attila the Hun 11/13/2009 Creativity
3 Julius Caesar 11/20/2009 Sexual Dominance
4 Hannibal. 12/19/2009 Obsessive Behavior
5 Genghis Khan 12//19/2009 Sexual Dominance
6 Alexander 12/19/2009 Narcissistic Personality Disorder
7 Nero 12/19/2009 Histrionic Personality Disorder
8 Cleopatra. 12/30/2009 Histrionic Personality Disorder

Ancients Behaving Badly : 1 - Caligula
  • Timothy B. Erickson, MD, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center
  • Fred Galvan, military medic [no chyron]
  • Taufik Valiante, MD, Neurosurgeon, Toronto Western Hospital
  • Terence van Rooyen, Wine maker, Niagara College
  • Fleur Kemmers, PhD, Dept. of Classics, Radbound University Nijmegen
08/12 born  
19 father dies 7
19-31 lives with grandmother 7-19
31-37 lives at Capri 19-24
03/37-01/41 Emperor [3yrs, 10 months] 24-28
01/41 Assassination 28


He used to parade around the camp in a costume made by his mother. The soldiers called him, "Caligula," meaning, "little boots," after "the tiny little military sandals he used to wear.".

His childhood had a profound effect on him, with adults who told him that he could do no wrong, and would do anything for him at a snap of his fingers. This is childhood turned upside down.

At the age of 7, his father, Germanicus, dies. Medical science can now answer the question, "Was it a homicide?" It was arsenic poisoning, with heavy ["rice-water-like"] diarrhea disguising it as cholera.


Tiberius is an early version of Stalin, with files on all his enemies, real or imagined. The fattest file is on Germanicus, a true war hero.

  • Tiberias kills Caligula's two brothers.
  • Tiberias's Leap
    • [13:50] - Roman society is violent, even apart from retreats.
    • "Like a James Bond villain, Tiberias enjoys creative killing."
    • Tiberius threw people off his high cliff, even women and children, on trivial reasons.
    • Boats below with people to kill any who might survive the leap.
    • Caligula must have wondered, "Am I next?"
    • "Even for bloodthirsty Romans, killing women and children is too much."
  • Orgies, rape, pedophilia, torture - Caligula abandons himself to all of it.
  • Lessons Caligula learns
    • Life is worthless,
    • the purpose of life is pleasure,
    • pleasure is increased by violence.
  • "I want to be like Tiberias."

37 AD - A well-beloved Emperor . . .

  • Suetonius says that Caligula had Tiberias murdered.
  • Normal for 1st 8 months
  • [22:30] pretends to burn the files of Tiberias.
  • Throws coins to the crowd to buy their love - 2.7 billion bronze coins.
  • Gemellus, his cousin, is is co-Emperor.

37 AD - Becomes a Brutal Tyrant almost overnight

  • 8 months in - sudden personality change
  • He is 25 years old.
  • he becomes manic, a raging monster, a Tiberias clone
  • Feasts with executions for sideshows; raping wives of diners, then discussing their sexual performance.
  • So the ruling class suffers tortures as well as the criminal class.
  • Changes rules of of gladiator fight to make them longer and bloodier.
    • One combatant is given less protective gear.
    • Gladiators know to draw out the fight.
    • First rules change in 300 years.

Coincident with a mysterious illness

  • [32:15] 2,000 year old sources blame the change on a mysterious illness.
  • ["In October 37 AD, Caligula fell seriously ill or perhaps was poisoned."]

What do we say of the causes?

A sudden personality change suggests brain damage.

(1) Sex - herpes encephalitis attacks the frontal lobes, involved in impulse inhibition. But "even with modern medicine, 3/4 of its victims die." 2,000 years ago, chances of survival would have been less.

(2) Alcohol - poor quality Roman wine was sweetened by defrutum, a mixture boiled up in a lead-lined pot. A brass (brazen) pot would spoil the juice.

  • Today wine has 200 parts per billion of lead.
  • Defrutum wine, by experiment, has 29,000 ppb.

This could cause altered personality, delirium, confusion.

But everyone drank wine. Caligula drank excessively. "Philo writes that after taking power, Caligula's drinking becomes excessive, even by loose Roman standards." [ THAT'S IT? ]

The entire Roman people followed along with his illness out of concern.

When he was well, he took Publius Afranius Potitus at his word.

With "the illness now over," the insanity remains a permanent condition.


  • Now he has Gemellus killed without even a show trial for treason.
  • He views himself as a "grandiose, omnipotent figure."
  • He cannot treat others with any level of empathy.
  • Suetonius: he makes Temple of Castor and Pollux entrance to his palace.
  • So shocking that for 2,000 years, no historian has believed this charge.
  • Modern archaeology has now proved it.

AD 39 (age 27) - He undertakes a military mission

  • [44:30] Caligula rules Rome through fear, but fear is not enough.
  • To impress Romans, you must kick barbarian butt spectacularly.
  • A military mission is the next thing for his vanity.
  • 1,000 mile expedition to North Sea for the conquest of England.
    • Suetonius claims that it was a hoax.
    • The paraded captured prisoners are fakes.
    • He demanded that generals gather up sea shells.
    • Stories of his fighting the ocean, declaring war on Neptune.
    • These are acts of a lunatic.
    • But Suetonius worked under an anti-Caligulan regime.
  • We have now examined forts on the banks of the Rhine in Holland
  • Claudius used for them the conquest of Britain,
  • but Caligula built them.
  • Dendrochronology gives pieces of wood a unique pattern, like a bar code.
  • It dates the forts to 40 AD, and more precisely, to the winter of 40.
  • We have found 700 coins there, half from Caligula's reign.
  • Caligula had a rational plan.
  • At this time, he was not psychotic, not insane.
  • For, in psychosis, you do not see goal directedness.
Was there a northern campaign to Britannia that was aborted? This campaign is derided by ancient historians with accounts of Gauls dressed up as Germanic tribesmen at his triumph and Roman troops ordered to collect seashells as "spoils of the sea." 

The few primary sources disagree on what occurred. Modern historians have tried to explain these actions. This trip to the English Channel may have been a training and scouting mission The mission may have been to accept the surrender of British chieftain Adminius.

 "Seashells"(conchae) may be a metaphor for female genitalia (perhaps the troops visited brothels) or boats (perhaps they captured several small British boats).

Did Caligula have a death wish?

[54:40] At age 28, Caligula, in his short reign, has made enemies.

Ancient sources give story of Caligula assassinated by

In 2006, the cryptoporticus (underground corridor) where this happened was found. It was like a maze.

First passages discovered were built sometime after Caligula.

Then "they made a find that changed everything:"

"Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus" inscribed into a water pipe. He succeeded Caligula. We're getting close to Caligula.

Two years later, an older cryptoporticus was found. [Time of Caligula?]

Caligula dies on the ground in a pool of blood.

Psychometer - Caligula was a "stone-cold psychopath," a killer without remorse

psycho killer

goal driven killer

                                                           * Caligula
                                                           * Himmler
                                                           * Goering

* Genghis Khan
* Julius Caesar
  Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Ancients Behaving Badly : 2 - Attila (434-453)
  • John Mann, Historian & Author
  • Erzsebet Fothi, PhD, Hungarian National History Museum
  • Robert Mason, Archaeologist, University of Toronto [arm tattoos]
  • Frank Csordas, Hungarian Mounted Archer
  • Lynn Weaver, Dietician, College of Dieticians of Ontario
  • Rahim Valani, MD, Toronto East Gerneral Hospital

Attila's history was written by Romans.

Ammianus Marcellinus (ca. 325 - ca. 391)

  • (1) "parents disfigure their children at birth"
  • nothing permanent from Hunland - grasslands of horses
  • Gyor, Hungary: found hundreds of Hun skulls found, all disfigured,
  • elongated skulls from bandages wrapped around tightly from birth.
  • Being Asian and deformed made them terrifying savages
  • (2) [30:05] - Hun tactics: can explain Roman loss at Utus
  • archers break up ranks,
  • then infantry rush in with the lasso and the net,
  • devastates infantry - no answer to these tactics

(2) The diet

  • [45:50] Marcellinus sees the menu
  • put meat between saddle and horse, so that the rough treatment during a long ride would tenderize the meat,
  • A test is made today with a horse ridden for 6 hours
  • The meat has some tenderness. This story seems true.
  • the salt would kill bacteria and preserve the meat
  • and at the end of the day it would be edible.
  • This is a version of steak tartare.

Priscus (ca. 410 - ca. 472)

  • (1) 441 - Attacks Niassus in Serbia, an armed fortress with gold inside.
  • He used a battering ram to smash through city wall
  • The tree trunk had a metal cap, covered by a wooden frame
  • will work with a meter-thick stone wall
  • the more dead, the better for his reputation
  • (2) [38:00] Along with peace envoy of Constantinople,
  • Priscus visits Attila.
  • finds wooden huts in his HQ at the Tisza river, and
  • stone-built bath complex - same as in roman culture -
  • key characteristic of a Roman city adopted by the Huns
  • a man who loves his family, an affectionate father, a modest person
  • But that does not contradict his psychopathy.
  • (3) [55:50] Death in 453 AD
  • He takes a new bride, and he's dead the next morning.
  • The scourge of God dead from a nosebleed.
  • Stuporous state, bloody mouth, no vomitus,
  • heavy drinking hurts the liver
  • blood vessels feeding into the liver expand and fill up even more
  • vessels in the throat lead into one of the main veins running into the liver
  • too much pressure in vessels makes them rupture -
  • He chokes on his own blood

Jordanes, a Roman writer (fl. 551)

  • 445 - Bleda, Attila's brother, goes hunting and never comes back
  • Jordanes calls it homicide
  • He is a "psychopathic killer"

Sidonius Apollinaris, Gallic poet (430-489)

  • [48:10] At Reims, Attila full of "spite revenge hatred destruction"
  • Attila beheads Archbishop Nicasius.
  • 451 - Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.
  • Attila meets the Romans head-on near Metz.
  • Aetius defeats Attila - made to stand and fight, not use guerilla warfare
  • 100,000 dead in one day

The saddles

  • Saddles were high in front and back - kept the rider in place while he turned this way and that and released his arrows

447 - Attila wipes out the Romans at the Battle of the Utus in Bulgaria

  • [27:45] "Not enough men to half a million" - face-saving explanation
  • Calculate real size of Atilla's army with animal husbandry - number of horses on their grazing lands - 150,000 horses - each man likely had 5 horses - gives army of 30,000 - a modest army - [John Mann]
  • Attila outnumbered 4 to 1, not the Romans
  • Romans are no longer the disciplined force that conquered the world.
  • Most troops are barbarian mercenaries.

Romans hire Huns as mercenaries

  • Huns moved on Roman towns for gold.
  • 437 - ethnic cleansing of the Burgundians at request of Romans
  • 20,000 Burgundians die
  • Attila to impress the Romans with his ability to destroy if not not paid
  • He's a pillager, not an empire builder
The destruction of Worms and the Burgundian kingdom by the Huns were subjects of heroic legends incorporated in the Nibelungenlied—on which Wagner based his Ring Cycle—where King Gunther (Gundahar) and Queen Brünhild hold their court at Worms, and Siegfried comes to woo Kriemhild. (In Old Norse, the names are GunnarBrynhild, and Gudrún.) The Etzel of the Nibelungenlied is based on Attila the Hun

Psychological warfare takes the biggest prize of all

  • [19:60] Constantinople, capital of Eastern Empire, home of 500,000
  • Fort Knox of the ancient world
  • walls 4 yards thick
  • fields, moat, defensive wall, expanse, main defensive wall
  • but his terrifying reputation has reached them.
  • throw 2 tons of gold to make him go away - 6,000 pounds of gold -
  • That's $100 million in modern terms
  • revenge on deserters - handed over to him - impaled -
  • Demonstrates "brutal and sadistic cruelty"
  • This is a Mafia-style protection racket

His violence is not directed to any end. He destroys for destruction's sake.
"Attila is at the top of the scale of psychopathic behavior."

Creativity: Attila doesn't solve problems. He doesn't build anything. He doesn't leave anything behind.

psycho killer

goal driven killer
      * Attila
       * Pablo Escobar                                  * Caligula

                                                                     * Genghis Khan

  low <-- Creativity --> high

Ancients Behaving Badly : 3 - Julius Caesar
  • Maria Wyke, PhD, University College, London
  • Michael Rieder, MD, University of Western Ontario
  • Victoria Lywood, Forensic Artist
  • Neil Faulkner, PhD, Historian
  • John Serrati, PhD, McGill University
  • Mike Harber, International Javelin Competitor [no chyron]
  • Richard McGlachlan, University of Western Ontario
"When he isn't in bed with other men's wives,
he's always up for some genocide."

In history's mass-murderers, "Caesar is up there will Hitler and Stalin." - Faulkner

A childhood of shame

  • His parents were aristocrats, but
  • he grew up in seedy, brothel-lined alleyways of Subura (SVBVRA).
  • If the Palatine Hill was Park Avenue, Subura was the Bronx.
  • Aware of his famiy's glorious past, and his current downfall.
  • Consul Sulla is a childhood hero.

Sex as a route to power

  • Joins the army at age 20
  • Distinguishes himself in battle in Greece,
  • but that's not what people talk about.
  • sex with the king Nicomedes of Bithynia in northern Turkey
  • The story of his passivity haunts him, "The Queen of Bithynia."
  • To prove he's a man, he will seduce every woman he meets.
  • Catullus: he came down with something bad.
    • syphillis - came to Europe with the conquistadors
    • herpes - would leave marks that would be noticed,
    • gonorrhea - would leave marks that would be noticed,
    • chlamydia - no lasting harm for a man
  • Dominates women, and so dominates their husbands
  • Had "four wives of his own" [Wikipedia: "three"]

Captured by pirates

  • The "Cilician Pirates," a major problem for the Romans
  • 75 BC - Pirates captured him on the way to Rhodes for oratory study
  • demand a ransom of 20 silver talents - $130,000
  • Caesar laughs - worth 50 talents at least
  • orders the priates around
  • promises to return and kill them - pirates laugh
  • crucifies them, but cuts their throats first - merciful
  • [ this gave him amazing street cred.]

Genocide is a way to Wealth

  • He becomes a lawyer, a hotshot
  • 60 BC - elected consul
  • The First Triumvirate (59-53)
  • In debt for his political career, he allies with Crassus and Pompey.
  • despite having had both their wives
  • Caesar's share is Gaul, of which he becomes Governor
  • but he's still in debt, so he goes to war.
  • money in pillaged treasure and slaves
  • The Gallic Wars (58-50) make him rich
    • Bibracte (58) - home of Helvetii, bravest Gauls
    • incendiary arrows have been found,
    • wire cage holds a sticky substance that causes fires
    • pilum, a javelin with terrible effect on shields, short distances
    • Avaricum (52) - 39,000 slaughtered - resistance is futile
    • Caesar's "men fight just as well when they stink of perfume."
    • Alesia (52) - 50,000 - circumvallations - 90,000 dead Gauls
    • the starving civilians show a means-to-an-end calculation
    • orders hand of 2,000 Gauls chopped off.as another warning
    • He writes the story of his conquest
    • Obsession with detail - he must control his image
  • Eventually kills 20 percent of Gaul, OR "a third of the population."

49 - 45 BC - Caesar's Civil War

  • [46:00] He is free of debt
  • But his Triumvirate has broken down
  • Enemies want to try him for war crimes
  • if he crosses with his army, he's launching a coup
  • 49 - makes a jest, "Let's roll the dice" (alea jacta est)
  • Did he have the mind of a gambler?
  • At age 50, did he believe he was on borrowed time?
  • After four years, he defeats Pompey.
  • Sex with Cleopatra, and the wife of king of Mauritania

Caesar's "Epilepsy" [according to McGlachlan]

  • Blackouts, fainting spells, fits
  • The pig tapeworm causing cysticercosis, endemic to Egupt
  • and seen in mummies, it causes a "bad horror movie"
    • giant worm in belly,
    • produces eggs,
    • small worms are born,
    • they migrate to the brain,
    • produce cysts in the brain,
    • creating seizures
  • Caesar is helpless.
  • Psychologically, he's no longer in control.

Dictator for life - age 56.

  • Mark Anthony twice offers Caesar a crown, in public,
  • Caesar refuses it, learns the crowd does not want a king.
  • [55:20] So he will just act like a king
  • new calendar with himself as a month
  • statues of himself put in corridors with the old kings
  • his image on a coin - living - was breaking all the rules.
  • "The sexual exploits that got him to the top would come back to haunt him."
  • Sleept with the wife of Cassius.
  • and he slept with the mother of Brutus.
  • Then comes the 23 dagger blows on the Ides of March,
  • which is not good for the conspirators,
  • for it turns out that the people loved their all-conquering hero.
  • They put his statue in the Pantheon, abode of the gods,
  • first person to receive this honor since Romulus, 700 years before.
Although Martius was the third month of the Julian calendar, in the oldest Roman calendar it was the first month of the year. The holidays observed by the Romans from the first through the Ides [the 15th] often reflect their origin as new year celebrations


"Caesar's violence is directed toward building an empire with himself in the center."

psycho killer

goal driven killer

    * Caligula

                                                           * Genghis Khan
                                                           * Julius Caesar
  Sexual Dominance

Ancients Behaving Badly : 4 - Hannibal
  • Patrick Hunt, PhD, Stanford University [wind breaker]
  • Neil Faulkner, PhD, Historian [ green tee shirt ]
  • Adrian Goldsworthy, PhD, Historian and Military Writer [ green jacket ]
  • Stephen Cheung, MD, Brock University, Ontario, Canada
  • Jeff Archibald, Forensic Engineer
  • Lee Parker, Snake Handler
"Was Hannibal a great general, or just a ruthless killer?"
Precis of Hannibal's Wars on Rome

218 Hannibal (age 30) crosses the Alps.
11/218 Ticinus River - Hannibal defeats P. C. Scipio.
12/218 Trebia River - Hannibal defeats Sempronius Longus.
  Hannibal devastates Etruria, which Romans abandoned.
06/217 Lake Trasimene - Hannibal defeats Gaius Flaminius
  Fabius uses his Fabian strategy on Hannibal
08/216 Cannae - Hannibal defeats Varro & Paullus -
50,000-75,000 Romans/allies killed upon encirclement but he declines to march on Rome.
212 Hannibal captures Tarentum - except the port
203 Hannibal leaves Italy, called back to Carthage
202 Zama - Scipio Africanus wins in Carthage
182 Hannibal's suicide
146 Roman sack of Carthage.
200-118 Polybius - The Histories, concerning 220-146
Childhood in a land of human sacrifice
  • Annual sacrifices in temples of Carthage.
  • Hannibal put hands in blood and swore vengeance on Rome.
  • He was 9 years old.
  • Were there any human sacrifices?
  • Story: child sacrifice in 500 BC of 500 children of elite families
  • Was this just Roman spin?
  • Excavations in the Tophet, part of Carthage,
  • found charred bones of 30,000 young boys.
  • If this was a cemetery, not a sacrifice, where are the girls? (Hunt)
  • If Hannibal had put his hands in human blood, the effect is profound.
War Crimes in Spain
  • Siege of Saguntum - people surrender, he says he will let them go, then he kills all the men - "today we call that a war crime."
Obsession in the Alps
  • [14:45] Getting to Rome by sea is no longer an option.
  • 218 BC - Forced march of 1,500 miles for four months for his mercenaries
  • 50,000 soldiers, plus camp followers, wives and children
  • 37 elephants - designed to frighten people who never seen them
  • Rafts get elephants across the Rhone
  • Now in October, he must cross the Alps.
  • His exact route is not known. but recent evidence points to
  • the Col de Clapier, 8000 ft. above sea level and below freezing
  • the men dressed in light linens.
  • [23:45] with oxygen at 25% the volume of sea level
  • In a cold chamber today, grip strength at this temp falls by 40%.
  • Elephants turn a one week crossing of the Alps into two weeks.
  • Loses half of his 50,000 men and most of his elephants
  • Hannibal ignores the misery and death of his men.
  • His god, Baal, was a god of mountains and storms
  • "Hannibal" = "grace of Baal" or "favor of Baal"
  • So his vision overpowers his experience in the Alps.
  • It was obvious that he blundered in the Alps, but he would not quit.
Romans defeated by their own political obsessions
  • [34:00] 218 BC - Hannibal defeats Romans in two skirmishes.
  • Rome is not the superpower it would become.
  • Hannibal is brutal - If any man deserts, his family is executed
  • He is setting examples for his troops
  • 216 BC - Hannibal reaches Cannae with 40,000 troops.
  • The Roman army is run by the two consuls at the time,
  • each commanding on alternate days
  • each wanting to win on his day so he would get credit
  • So Hannibal wins because his opponents are fools
  • He suckers the Romans into attacking, then surrounds them.
  • Slashes ham-strings of defeated Romans so they can't run away.
  • Romans dig holes and commit suicide by "drowning in the dirt."
  • Today it is "Campo di Sangue," the field of blood.
Why not besiege Rome? Why not create siege weapons?
  • [45:00] Obsessed with super weapons like Hitler with rockets.
  • Like elephants
  • thought catapulting snakes onto ships was a super weapon.
  • Tests show 80% of snakes would survive to shock their victims.
  • Lack of diplomatic skills meant that he made no allies in Italy
  • Now war turns into a long, slow stalemate.
  • Hannibal spent 13years trying to conquer Rome, and he failed.
  • 203 - Romans launch surprise attack on Carthage.
  • Hannibal is recalled to Africa.
  • At Zama, turns to his favorite super-weapon, the war-elephant.
  • He gives them alcohol and stabs them in the ankles
  • but the Romans just open up gaps and let them run through.
The verdict on Hannibal.
  • He is a colossal failure, yet history says he is a genius.
  • [55:30] He fought a major battle on his home turf, and lost.
  • How can that be?
    • "If you describe Hannibal as a great military leader, and you beat him, it makes you look even better." -- Patrick Hunt.
  • Our best account comes from Polybius, writing 70 years later.
    • He says he talked to veterans. So his reliability is questionable.
    • Why would Polybius lie?
    • He was paid by the family of Scipio, the man who defeated Hannibal.
    • So Polybius was the Scipio family spin doctor.
  • "The verdict: Hannibal's not nearly the military genius history has made him out to be."
Hannibal Anti-Climax
  • Becomes a mercenary.
  • Kills himself in Bithynia (Turkey) rather than be taken by Romans.
Romans obliterated Carthage, leaving only the Hannibal that suited them.

psycho killer

goal driven killer

                                                         * Hannibal
* Julius Caesar                               * William Wallace (d 1305)
* Genghis Khan
  Obsessive Behavior

Ancients Behaving Badly : 5 - Genghis Khan
  • John Mann, Historian & Author
  • Lukas Novotny, horsevack archer and bowmaker
  • Robert Mason, Archaeologist, University of Toronto [arm tattoos]
  • Fred Galvan, tactical paramedic
  • Jeff Skochko, Special Effects Supervisor
  • Qasim Ayub, PhD, Sanger Institute, Cambridge
From Nothing
  • He (1160-1227) creaed the largest empire in the world
  • From the pacific to Europe, 8 million square miles
  • Massacres males, adults and children, rapes the women
  • extreme tales in The Secret History of the Mongols,
  • commissioned by his sons, so accuracy is questionable
  • His tribe defeated by the Tartars,
  • he was cast out to live in a tent on the desert,
  • and he began by killing his own brother.
  • Befriends Jamuka, son of a powerful war lord - blood brothers
  • a composite bow, time-consuming to make and hard to string
  • the English longbow had been around for a thousands of years
  • wiped out knights in the 14th century
  • but Mongol bow penetrates 2 inches farther into armor
  • the shorter bow won't hit the horse while shooting forward and backwards
  • armor - silk shirt under armor prevents arrow penetration,
  • the silk wrapping itself around the arrowhead
4 Years of Civil War
  • Disappears for 20 years, then reappears
  • All Mongols must demonstrate loayalty to him,
  • after five years, he destroys the Tartar army and kills every Tartar male
  • insatiable appetite for conquered queens
  • Finally, comes to conflict with Jamuka,
  • each of his men lighting five fires makes the army seem so huge
  • that Jamuka's army deserts him
  • yet they are killed - no value in a traitor.
Genghis is all-powerful, not the Tribes
  • Time to conquer the world.
  • Shah Muhammad II's Islamic kingdom of central Asia
  • throw prisoners in a moat to make a human bridge
  • batters through walls 15 inches thick with a trebuchet.
  • Creates governments, laws, literacy, in all his conquests
  • Ruling his conquests is what makes Genghis so interesting
  • Conquer the sophistcated Chinese Tanguts, who broke a loyalty oath to him
  • He uses the fire bomb, which he got from the Tanguts.
  • But it's 1227, he is 60 and dying, perhaps from typhoid, his last order being the genocide of the Tanguts.
DNA Tests validate his sexual conquests
  • 8% of Asian men have identical microsatellites,
  • meaning a common ancestor who lived 1,000 years ago
  • and the biggest cluster was in Mongolia,
  • making Genghis Khan the most likely ancestor.
  • This is 32 million people today, one in every 200.

psycho killer

goal driven killer

       * Caligula

                                                                    * Julius Caesar
                                                                    * Genghis Khan

  low <-- Sexual Dominance--> high

Ancients Behaving Badly : 6 - Alexander the Great
  • Michael Scott, PhD, Darwin College, Cambridge
  • Robert Mason, Archaeologist, University of Toronto [arm tattoos]
  • Rahim Valani, MD, Toronto East General Hospital
"Alexander the Annihilator"

Alexander was a mama's boy who barely knew his father.

  • Phillip II (382-336) had a drinking problem, 7 wives, many children
  • often gone on military campaigns
  • Olympias (375-316) - hot-tempered, wants him to be next king - you're special
  • Alexander writes her every day
  • Theater at Vergins, Phillip II assasinated by bodyguard, Pausanias
  • Pausanias was killed before he can talk.
  • Alexander acts ostentatiously at the funeral
  • places crown on the corpse
  • has the tomb encased in gold - he's plahing all the angles
  • Olympias kills Philip's last wife and her male child
Rumors begin
  • Was Alexander illegitimate?
  • Did Alexander have a part in Phillip'sdeath?
  • Didn't Alexadner, the illegitimage, have most to gain from death?
Historiography of Alexander
  • a tyrant in a hurry, operating outside normal rules of morality
  • Deeds of Alexander, written by his personal historian,
  • Deeds - now lost, but available to ancient historians
  • Plutarch - charismatic leader brings civilization to the barbarians
  • Curtius - idealistic conqueror who becomes a delusional dictator
His looks
  • true appearance may not be so godlike
  • scoliosis, always looking to the side
  • four inches shorter than average man of 5 feet 7
Alexander changes the rules
  • [age 20] Thebes has walls 8 feet thick
    • uses the ballista, new bunker-busting siege engine, at Thebes
    • fired out of range of the city's archers and catapults
    • 6,000 thebans slaughered; 30,000 sold into slavery
  • "Behind his good looks, Alexander is Saddam Hussein." - Ibeji
  • [19:25] makes a pilgrimage to Troy - for his hero, Achilles
  • Granicus - wins in blood massacre, survivors sold into slavery
  • diverts north to Gordium - to be lord of asia - slashes with sword
  • [28:35] 332 - Tyre - extends roadway from mainland to the island -
    • no longer isolated - causway allow ballista -
    • kills 8,000 and crucifies 2,000
    • brutality, rape women and kill prisoners - shocks asia
  • Asia now belongs to him
Egypt welcomes Alexander
  • distant oasis - in the sands - oracle of Amon at Siwa oasis
  • have the guilty for my father's death been punished ?
  • - yes, they have. case closed
  • will he conquer the entire world?
  • - o, pie deon - o dear son - o pie dios - son of a god
331 - Gaugamela - outnumbered 5-1,
  • cavalry with infanry in a phalanx, armed with the sarissa
  • a razor-sharp spear 18 feet long
  • men four rows back have their spears showing, like a hedgehog
  • evens up the odds for an outnumbered force
  • But the hedgehog only deflects 20% of arrow fire
  • power has gone to his head - pay price for arrogance
Alexander goes native - [ what pathology is that? ]
  • [41:12] Enters Babylon in triumph
  • Persepolis treasure - 180,000 talents of gold and silver - 4 billion dollars
  • he drinks too much, he's an ugly drunk
  • "Let's burn down the palace of Darius" - Drunk Alexander agrees
  • most beautiful building in the world
  • named cities after himself - 57 -
    • also named cities after his horse and his dog
    • 20th century dictators did this - stalingrad
  • Angers his troops with his needs to be special,
    • adopts alien customs
    • persians in army, to court, dress, customs
    • grumbling men enrages him
    • Persian bride
    • Proskynesis.
A paranoid drunk, he attacks his own friends
  • Philotas bragged after the role of his father, Permenion,
  • one of Alexander's strategic masters
  • Both were then accused of trying to assassinate Alexander
  • murders them - his own general - shows psychopathic behavior
  • Cleitus, an old friend, killed for rebuking Alexander's rage
  • now there is regret.
  • more assassination plots
Until he provokes a mutiny
  • [52:50] - progress eastward slows
  • At the border of India, he massacres towns, after promising not to
  • At the Hydaspes River, men rebel - why are we still here?
  • We set out to punish Persia, not conquer the world.
  • A divine omen says, "Go home"
  • Alexander returns through the desert of Gedrosia in southern Iran.
  • one of the most forbidding places on earth -
  • Men eat thieir horses, walk on foot
  • loses 25,000 men - 3/4 of his force [ wikipedia - 1/ 3 ]
  • Gets back to Persia and executes governors
  • 324 - Hephaestion dies of a fever - doctor executed - he never recovers
323 - Death
  • After a night of binge drinking in Babylon
  • 12 days of a fever
  • Arrian - loses legs, arms, speaking, ascending paralysis
  • malaria?
  • typhoid fever - contaminated food or water -
    • ascending paralysis,
    • blood vessels dilate,
    • lose blood pressure,
    • become comatose,
    • die
  • blood-thirsty megalomaniac
  • In the East, he is a Villain.

a pattern of excessive and needless cruelty without remorse, some some features of a psychopathic killer, but he is not all about bloodlust. Much violence is goal directed.

Alexander and Napoleon:

  • pursue their own aims,
  • want to conquer the world;
  • can't get enough glory,
  • believe they are right
psycho killer

goal driven killer

   * Caligula

                                                      * Alexander                  
                                                      * Napoleon                  

   * Genghis Khan
  Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Ancients Behaving Badly : 7 - Nero
  • Timothy B. Erickson, MD, University of Illinois Medical Center Chicago
  • Paul Swayze, Engineer
  • Robert Mason, Archaeologist, University of Toronto [arm tattoos]
  • Fred Galvan, Paramedic
  • Matthew Ponting, PhD, University of Liverpool

Nero Claudius Drusus AND Antonia Minor

Claudius, Emperor of Rome

AND Valeria Messalina (23-59, 3rd wife; cousin of Nero)

Claudia Octavia (40-62, age 22)

Britannicus (41-55, dies at age 13).

Germanicus, father of Caligula

Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder

Caligula (maternal uncle of Nero).

Nero Caesar (6-31, a nobody)

Agrippina the Younger (niece & 4th wife of Emperor Claudius)
grows up believing that murder and incest are the norm;
prepared to use all means to get to the center of power.

AND Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus.

Nero, Emperor of Rome
(37-68, age 30; reign 54-68)

AND Claudius (grand-uncle and stepfather of Nero;
uncle of Caligula) - Emperor (41-54)

Agripinna makes Claudius adopt Nero, and make him heir ahead of his own son Britannicus.

Tacitus and Suetonius, the gossip columnists of their day

Did they villanize Nero to make their own later emperoros look good?

Agrippina the Younger, Puppet-Master

  • 51 - [ Nero was proclaimed an adult at the age of 14 ]
  • Agrippina is impatient for power (sources)
  • As a result of her sexual politics,
  • Nero is now in line to become Emperor
  • 53 - Has Nero marry his stepsister, Claudia Octavia.
  • Claudius eats a dish of poisoned mushrooms.
  • 54 - Nero is crowned Emperor at age 17.
  • At 18, Nero falls for an ex-slave girl, Poppaea Sabina.
  • Agrippina threatens to replace him with Britannicus,
  • YET - 54 - Divorces Octavia, Marries Poppea.
  • Outraged public takes to the streets to protest treatment of Octavia.
55- Death of Britannicus
  • Britannicus dead, foaming at the mouth from wine cut with water.
    • cyanide - fruit pits - need a lot - does not dissolve in water
    • strychnine - muscle spasms, like rabies - bitter, would be tasted
    • water hemlock - most toxic plant - dissolves in water - perfect - causes seizures and convulsions, easy to pass off as epilepsy
The Puppet cuts the strings.
  • [17:10] - 59 AD, age 25 - Suetonius tells the story.
  • Nero intends to kill his mother, making it look like an accident.
  • A boat rigged with a canopy to crush her to death.
  • [25:45] She escapes with a shoulder injury.
  • A messenger tells Nero is was just an accident.
  • Nero quickly pretends that the messenger tried to kill him
  • then he kills the messenger.
  • sends Praetorian Guard to kill Agrippina, who ordered the messenger.
"The circumstances that surround Agrippina's death are uncertain due to historical contradictions and anti-Nero bias. All surviving stories of Agrippina's death contradict themselves and each other, and are generally fantastical."
  • 62 - Has Octavia killed.
Nero fulfills his dream of everybody loving him, the center of attention
  • [33:35] addicted to the crowd, needs adulation, his pathology
  • 64 AD - The great fire of Rome - for six days
  • Plays a Lament for the Fall of Troy on the lyre
  • He's mourning the death of Rome, but people don't understand
  • but he is not psychotic - this is his shining moment
  • Blames Christans, who refuse to sacrifice to the emperor
  • scourge - whip weighted with spiked metal balls
  • [43:20] Chirstians dressed up in lion skins and torn apart
  • tied to stakes, coated with tqr, human torches
  • moves the public to pity.
A clever money scam
  • rebuilds Rome, starting with his palaces
  • no evidence he is psychotic
  • running out of money
  • The denarius is 100% silver
  • dilutes the metal inside the coin, but leaves surface pure silver
  • test samples of inside the coin - 20% copper
  • first systematic debasement of the coin of the empire.
Murder finally finds Nero
  • plot of senators to kill him, discovered, executed
  • Poppea pregnant wants more attention
  • Nero kicks them to death
  • Goes to Greece for dramatic competitions, wins awards
  • roman senate - he is an enemy of the state
  • [55:15] Fred slave helps Nero kill himself
  • law, damnatio memoriae, first ever, remove all traces of him


Nero had to be the center of attention, and he was ruthless and immoral.

psycho killer

goal driven killer

   * Caligula

                                                           * Nero
                                                           * Mussolini

   * Julius Caesar
  Histrionic Personality Disorder

Ancients Behaving Badly : 8 - Cleopatra
  • Bob Bianchi, PhD, Egyptologist [ full bushy beard]
  • Michael Scott, PhD, Darwin College, Cambridge [sweater around neck]
  • Fred Galvan, Paramedic
  • Gayle Gibson, Egyptologist
  • Timothy B. Erickson, MD, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center
  • Mel Usselman, PhD, University of Western Ontario
  • Bry Loyst, Curator, Indian River Reptile Zoo, Ontario

"The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek and refused to speak Egyptian, which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents such as the Rosetta Stone. By contrast, Cleopatra did learn to speak Egyptian and represented herself as the reincarnation of an Egyptian goddess, Isis."

"Numbering the Ptolemies is a modern invention; the Greeks distinguished them by epithet (nickname). The number given here is the present consensus, but there has been some disagreement in the nineteenth century about which of the later Ptolemies should be counted as reigning. Since older sources may give a number one higher or lower, epithets are the most reliable way of determining which Ptolemy is being referred to in any given case."

ALSO - Dates are uncertain.

The Ptolemies have ruled Egypt for 300 years.

Incest and murder are parts of this Ptolemid family

80-58 Ptolemy XII Auletes (father), Pharaoh  
69 Cleopatra VII Philopator born (has 4 siblings)  
58 Berenice IV, daughter, forces out Auletes
Auletes flees to Rome with Cleopatra
57-56 Berenice IV takes throne, sole ruler
Berenice has her husband strangled
Berenice kills her mother
55-51 Ptolemy XII, Pharaoh (second reign)
Ptolemy XII murders daughter Berenice.
51 Death of Ptolemy XII  

That set the pattern for Cleopatra herself

51 Ptolemy XIII, age 10, becomes Pharaoh.
Cleopatra marries him, becomes co-ruler.
49 Ptolemy XIII coup sends Cleopatra into exile 20
48 (October 2) Caesar arrives in Egypt
Cleopatra seeks his protection in Alexandria.
(Story of the rolled-up carpet)
47 Ptolemy XIII & Arsinoe besiege Caesar (smart!)
Battle of Nile - Caesar wins; Ptolemy XIII dies
Arsinoe exiled to Temple of Artemis, Ephesus.
Cleopatra to Rome with Caesar, has a son.
44 Caesar assassinated
Cleopatra makes Ptolemy XIV, rival, vanish.
41 Kills Arsinoe IV, sister, on temple steps.
Cleopatra is sole ruler.
Winters with Mark Antony (who's "gone native")
(Arrives by boat, dressed as Aphrodite)
(The story of the pearl in the vinegar)
31 Actium - O. defeats Mark Antony & Cleopatra  
30 08/01 - Mark Antony suicide (age 53)
08/12 - Cleopatra suicide
30 Ptolemy XV (Caesarion @ 17) - last pharaoh.  

Cleopatra's childhood

"Cleopatra's witnessing of the assassination of her own sister has a profound psychologic effect on her. She knows that life is cheap. She knows that you accumulate power at all costs, even if it means killing your own family." - Mallott

[Mallott says something similar about Caligula. So what makes them so different?]

Another lesson: "If you want to succeed, you need powerful friends."

The stories about Cleopatra's sexuality

They're true. That's the only she asset she had in getting Julius Caesar to go to war in Egypt to win the throne for her. "For Cleopatra, it's sex or death." -- Scott.

The roll in the carpet

October 48 BC. Temperatures average in the 70s. Probably did not happen. She could not be carried half a mile because the heat inside the carpet would be debilitating. After 20 minutes of testing, the temperature inside the carpet is 97 F, and the model's temperature is 99 degrees.

Her beauty

  • Ancient ladies used makeup that included atropine (from belladonna) which dilates the pupil. This is "a sign of desire."
  • Lip gloss made of fat mixed with ocher or berry juice.
  • Women's lips swell up during orgasm, and lip gloss imitates that.
  • On coins, considered the best likenesses, she is quite unattractive. Plutarch says she was not a striking beauty.
  • Good in bed, spoke multiple languages, magnetic personality.
Deaths of siblings
  • Ptolemy XIII - drowns in the Nile, his golden armor dragging him down
  • Ptolemy XIV just vanishes from the historical record. Josephus says she had him poisoned.
  • Arsinoe - killed on the steps of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.
  • These killings, done without remorse, show psychopathy.-- Mallott
Could she have poisoned her brother? Toxicology reviews her options
  • she would have all the botanicals, and the metals, like arsenic
  • rhododendron would take a large amount
  • henbane, used in small amounts in cosmetics, would be available to her. It causes tachycardia, seizure, convulsions and then a slow death.
  • aconite, or wolf's bane, (aconitum), an extract of monkshood, is lethal in small amount, death after vomiting and diarrhea. It is hard to detect. It is called "the queen of all poisons."
Cleopatra and Mark Antony (42 years old)
  • We can say this was "the greatest love story of all time."
  • Appeared to him as Aphrodite on a barge - more histrionics.
  • Each tries to outdo the other, an example being the story of the pearl, which is not true. The pearl will dissolve in vinegar, but it would take to long for her to drink it just after dissolving it.
Killing her last rival
  • As long as Arsinoe is alive, Cleopatra's throne is not secure.
  • Cleopatra had a carving made of her made showing her own favor from Isis.
  • But no favor shown to Arsinoe, and no respect to Artemis.
  • This is "a crime that scandalized the whole of Rome."
  • Archaeologists think they have found Arsinoe's tomb at Ephesus,
  • dating from her time, woman body, decorated with Egyptian motifs.
  • Cleopatra "had won the game of survival in the Ptolemaic dynasty.".
  • But here "we see a pattern of clear psychopathic behavior." -- Mallott
The Roman view of this Affair
  • Mark Antony has gone native.
  • Octavian sells the war to Rome as a war against a dangerous threat, Cleopatra, the whore queen. The worse she is, the more justified he is.
  • Octavian beats Mark Antony by drawing his large ships into the open sea.
  • In the middle of the battle, Cleopatra deserts her lover and flees.
  • Mark Antony leaves his navy in the lurch by following her.
  • They both hide out in Alexandria, where Mark Antony dies in her arms.
  • Cleopatra fears public display and execution in Rome.
Suicide by snake bite
  • Octavian takes her prisoner.
  • In North Africa, she has two deadly snakes, the viper and the cobra.
  • The African viper - death is slow and painful
  • The Egyptian cobra is the best - venom of one cobra can kill 30 people, but you have to antagonize it to make it strike you. Death will ensue in minutes.
  • "A knife would be too easy."
  • "Theatricality is a central aspect of her personality."

psycho killer

goal driven killer
* Attila
* Caligula

                                                 * Cleopatra
                                                 * Catherine the Great
* Julius Caesar
* Genghis Khan
  Histrionic Personality Disorder -
deep need to be admired by large audiences

Serials - Barbarians II: The Vandals
Season 2, Episode 1
[ Wikipedia stub ]
[H2 HD]
Produced by Gardner Film for HISTORY
© 2006 A&E Television Networks
Narrator: Bob Boving
"Clancy Brown narrated both seasons."
The Rhine
  • Empties to North Sea in the Netherlands
  • the Rhineland (areas of wesern Germany)
  • Franco-German border
  • Swiss-German border
  • Swiss- Liechtenstein border
  • Swiss-Austrian border
  • begins in Switzerland

Emperor Honorious (393-423)

"Even by the standards of the rapidly declining Western Empire, Honorius's reign was precarious and chaotic."

Emperor Valentinian III (425-455)

  • 419 born
  • 423-425 Caesar in the West
  • 425-455 Emperor in the West

"His reign was marked by the ongoing dismemberment of the Western Empire."

Father: Constantius III (Emperor 421 for 7 months)
Mother: Galla Placidia, Regent for Valentinian (421-437)
Wife: Licinia Eudoxia.
Daughters: Eudocia and Placidia.
assassinated by Petronius Maximus.

 Petronius Maximus (455, 3 months).

The Vandals sweep west and settle on the Spanish coast.

  • The Vandals, a Germanic tribe, move west, fleeing the Huns
  • more refugees than warriors, the smallest group of barbarians
  • they get stopped at the impassable Rhine River
  • until New Year's Eve, 406 AD, when the Rhine is frozen over.
  • They enter Gaul, ravage it for two years,
  • They live a primitive life, eating roots until
  • Honorious sends the Visigoths to fight them [WHY?]
  • Roman cruelty traumatizes Gaiseric, son of a chieftan and a slave girl
  • They are forced south into Spain.
  • 428 - They become a sea power (out of nothing)
  • Become accomplished ship builders on Spanish coast
  • led by Gaiseric (Genseric), King of the Vandals (428–477) .
  • Huneric was his son.
Is the story of the Vandals the story of Aetius vs. Boniface?
  • [11:05] The capital of the western Roman Empire was Ravenna
  • 428 - Valentinian III is nine years old; Galla is his Regent Empress.
  • "It is a court poisoned with intrigue and deadly plots."
  • Galla's main general, Flavius Aetius, was an ambitious man.
  • "His grab for power sets in motion 100 years of misery for Rome."
  • Africa was the richest province of the Roman Empire.
  • Where the grain came from, and olive oil
  • General Boniface is the governor of Africa,
  • Aetius tells Galla that Boniface plans to take Africa independent
  • So she, quite innocently, asks Bonfiface to come to Ravenna
  • while Aetius tells him that Galla will kill him if he makes the trip
  • 428 - so Boniface invited Gaiseric into Africa as an ally
  • [19:45] - 429 - The largest seagoing migration of barbarians
The double-dealing fallout is the Vandal Empire.
  • Galla finds out that Aetius had deceived Boniface
  • She strips him of his rank, startint a civil war
  • Boniface learns that his enemy was Aetius, not the Empress.
  • Boniface reneges on collaboration with Gaiseric!
  • The Vandals go to war against the Romans.
  • 430 - Vandals siege Hippo Regius (Hippone) in modern-day Algeria
  • [Hippo = Punic ûbôn 'harbor,' Regius = of the King]
  • where St. Augustine, a popular orthodox bishop
  • prayed for relief from the Vandals, who were Arian Christians.
  • There is no harvest for a year
  • Hunger pangs ripple across the Empire
  • Some Romans in Africa, who are Arians, welcome the Vandals.
  • This is Holy War.
  • 431 [?]- Hippo becomes 1st capital of Vandal Empire.
  • 435 - Galla offers him a treaty, and he sends Huneric to Ravenna.
With Carthage as its capitol.
  • [31:50] Carthage is the wealthiest, most sophisticated city in Africa.
  • 439 - Vandals conquer Carthage in one day.
  • They takes most of the Roman fleet in the victory.
  • They wage Arian war upon the Catholics.
  • 440 - Vandals raid Sicily, Rome's only source of grain.
  • 442 - Valentinian III recognizes Vandalia, offers Placidia to Huneric.
  • Rome accepts Vandal military dominance in north Africa.
Now, the double dealing dooms Rome.
  • 455 - "Once again, Gaiseric benefits from court intrigues."
  • [41:25] Valentinian III assassinated by Petronius Maximus who
    • expects to wed Valentian III's widow, the Empress Eudoxia
    • and to force Placidia to marry his own son.
  • Eudoxia will sacrifice everything to avoid this dishonor
    • sends message to Gaiseric to come to her rescue.
  • Incompetent Maximus allows Vandal fleet to sail into port of Ostia
  • Citizens of Rome prepare for evacuation.
  • Petronius Maximus, after 11 weeks in power, stoned by a mob.
  • No Roman army opposes them
    • only Pope Leo (440-461), who had faced down Attila in 452,
    • Wants Gaiseric to spare the people, and he agrees.
  • 455 - - The Sack of Rome (2nd of 3 sacks).
  • Devastation and looting are total - earlier: Visigoths in 410.
  • ca. 460 - Humeric marries Eudocia in Africa
  • legitimizing the Vandal royal family.
  • Eastern empire ransoms Eudoxia and Placida, leaving Eudocia.
  • Gaiseric is choking the life out of the western Roman Empire.
The Eastern Empire fails in its first attack on the Vandals
  • [51:50] Leo I (Leo the Thracian), emperor of the east, 457-474
  • 468 - Leo sends Basiliscus to lose against the Vandals
  • It's a large and expensive naval expedition.
  • It was to be a three-part pincer movement.
  • The Romans take the upper had in the fighting.
  • Gaiseric asks for 5 days of peace to prepare surrender.
  • He is waiting for the winds to shift.
  • Then he sends fire ships into the harbor of tightly-packed Roman ships.
  • Basiliscus is disgraced by the defeat.
  • 477 - Gaiseric dies at age 88.
  • Humeric takes charge.
But suceeds on the second try.
  • Persecution of Catholics continues "for nearly a century."
  • Carthage is an Arian stronghold.
  • Justinian I, eastern emperor (527-565)
  • 534 - His general, Belisarius, defeats the Vandals in two quick battles.
  • Vandal royal line taken to Constantinople to be spat upon by the crowd.
  • The Vandals vanish from history, leaving only their name.
  • Showed how to make yourself into a state from nothing.

Serials - Battles BC
[ sub-menu ] - home page at THC - Wikipedia - [ top-menu ]
"The show was known for its very gritty nature, visual effects similar to the film 300 and its highly choreographed fight scenes with various weapons."
Season 1
Produced by Four in Hand Entertainment Group, Inc.
© 2009 A&E Television Networks.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Hannibal: The Annihilator 03/09/2009 Ticinus - Cannae - Zama
2 David: Giant Slayer 03/16/2009  
3 Joshua: Epic Slaughter 03/23/2009 Jericho, Bethel & Ai, Gibeon
4 Caesar: Super Siege 03/30/2009 Battle of Alesia
5 Moses: Death Chase 04/13/2009  
6 Alexander: Lord of War 04/19/2009 Battle of the Hydaspes
7 Ramses: Raging Chariots 04/26/2009 Ramesses at Kadesh
8 Judgment Day at Marathon 05/01/2009  
  • Richard A. Gabriel, PhD, Distinguished Professor,
    • Royal Military College of Canada
  • David George, PhD, Director, Institute of Mediterranean Archaeology
    • [ no Wikipedia page, odd given his ubiquity - college page ]
  • Mark Schwartz, PhD, Dept of Anthropology, Grand Valley State University
Narrator: Ted Marcoux
Critique - "This series is a joke, right?" (reddit)

Battles BC: 1.1 - Hannibal: The Annihilator
  • Steven Weingartner, Author,
    • Chariots Like a Whirlwind: The Epic of Chariot Warfare (2007).
  • Matthew Gonzales, Assistant Professor of Classics, Saint Anselm College
This show glorifies Hannibal.
Ancients Behaving Badly says the opposite, where he was a loser dressed up to make Romans look better.

Some unknown ambassador to the Carthaginians

  • grabs his toga, a fold in each hand, and gestures as he says, "Rome offers you peace or war. Choose. It matters not to Rome."

Publius Cornelius Scipio (died 211) Roman general

Sempronius Longus (260-210) Roman consul during 2nd Punic War.

Gnaeus Servilius Geminus (died 216) Roman consul

Gaius Flaminius Nepos, consul in 217 with Geminus.

Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator (280-203)

His cognomen Verrucosus ("warty"), from a wart above his upper lip

His agnomen [nickname] Cunctator (cognate to cunctation) means "delayer", from his strategy deploying the troops in the 2nd Punic War.

the father of guerrilla warfare due to his novel strategy of targeting enemy supply lines in light of being largely outnumbered.

No one mentions Sun-Tzu?

Lucius Aemilius Paullus , Roman consul

Gaius Terentius Varro, Roman consul

Punic - Latin Punicus (or Poenicus), for "Carthaginian", from Phoenician ancestry

Hamilcar Barca (275-228 BC)


The First Punic War (261-241 BC)

  • Hamilcar Barca's war - his kids were too young.
  • Killed 400,000 - 15% of military manpower of Italy.
  • It was a draw but limited Carthage, a commercial power, to a navy of 100 ships
  • But the Carthaginians make a fortune on silver mines in Spain.
  • Carthaginian rule in Spain is based on fire, the sword, and crucifixion.
  • Crucifixion is the penalty for a general who loses a battle.
  • They build up their land forces, rather than build another navy.
  • Hamilcar Barca really hates the Romans.
  • Hannibal grows up in military camps and learns he must punish his own.
  • Hannibal eats, sleeps, and fights with the men.
Interbellum (241-219)
  • 228 - Hamilcar suddenly dies, maybe assassinated.
  • 222 - Hasdrubal the Splendid, who took over, is assassinated.
  • 222 - Hannibal, at 26, controls the Carthaginian army.
  • He swears on the altar of Baal to spend his life in destroying Rome .
  • 219 - Hannibal defeats the Saguntines at the Siege of Saguntum in Spain.
  • Kills all the Roman males, sold women and children into slavery.
  • This will trigger the Second Punic War.

The Second Punic War (218-201 BC)

Hannibal marches into Italy with little trouble.

  • To attack Rome, Hannibal must go by land, having no navy.
  • The Romans block him at the Rhone.
  • Scipio skirmishes with scouting parties, not finding Hannibal's main army.
  • He had forced Hannibal to go through the Alps to reach Rome.
  • It was not a great strategic decision, it was circumstance.
  • He has an army of 9.000 cavalry and 37 elephants in the freezing cold.
  • Gauls offer supplies, but lead him to a narrow gorge, where a trap is sprung.
  • When Hannibal reaches the plains of Italy, he has lost a third of his army.
Hannibal's strategy.
  • He was relying on replenishing his army when he got to Italy.
  • Knowing he would suffer loses, he wanted the Gauls, Celts, and some Roman states, to join him.
  • The elephants were PR - to impress the locals with his power.
    • NOTE: Claudius and the elephant in Britain?
  • His numbers swell to 40,000 and is met by 40,000 Romans. A diverse army versus a uniform army.
  • The pilum. scutum shield, falcata
11/218 - Little skirmish at the Ticinus River.
  • Scipio was wounded.
  • Replaced with Sempronius Longus, a man with a temper.
  • His one year term as army commander is almost up and he is thirsty for glory.
  • Hannibal "knew Sempronius was a hothead and he played him like a fiddle."

12/218 - Disaster at the Trebia River.

  • Hannibal sends a party to raid the Roman camp early in the morning.
  • Sempronius sends his force across the River to await Hannibal in formation.
  • Hannibal attacks with his elephants which destroy the formation.
  • The elephants are impervious to spears.
  • He surrounds the Romans on three sides.
  • Using specially trained horses, Hannibal has hidden a cavalry in tall grass.
  • 30,000 Romans are killed,
  • the worse defeat since the defeat by the Gauls 125 years earlier.

217 - March through the Arno marshes into central Italy [no Wikipedia article].

  • Rome raises a new army
  • Rome has two new consuls: Gnaeus Geminus and Gaius Flaminius.
  • Romans divide their forces and leave the Arno marshes unprotected,
  • since only a crazy man would go there, which Hannibal does.
  • He is stung in the eye, gets infected, and goes blind in that eye.
    • BUT - "From here Hannibal's men had to cross some unforgiving land, and chose the worst way at first. Straight through a swamp. Some stories say that Hannibal was stung in the eye by a mosquito here, losing vision forever in that eye. But it is not certain if that is true." [ Historum ]
  • But he makes it down to Tuscany and devastates the landscape.
  • He is telling Roman allies this is what you can expect.
    • "Arriving in Etruria in the spring of 217 BC, Hannibal decided to lure the main Roman army under Flaminius, into a pitched battle, by devastating the region Flaminius had been sent to protect."
Hannibal's strategy.

  • His plan is to destroy as many Romans as he can and
  • force the Roman Senate to sue for peace
  • He cannot do that with siege warfare.
  • He must draw the Romans out of their cities and onto the battlefield.

06/21/217 - Battle of Lake Trasimene.

Hannibal defeats Flaminius.

  • Finally, Flaminius takes the bait.
  • Hannibal heads south through a defile which gives him an idea.
  • He sets up fires in the defile to mimic a camp.
  • The scouts of Flaminius tell him the defile is too narrow for an ambush.
  • Flaminius heads into the defile, "one of the greatest traps in warfare."
  • "the largest ambush in military history."
  • "In the prelude to the battle, earliest strategic turning movement."
Tale of the Tallies: Hannibal wins with a kill ratio of 10:1.

Ticinus = 2,000 men
Trebia = 30,000 men
Trasimene = 15,000 men - including Flaminius.

Rome appoints a dictator, Quintus Fabius Maximus.

  • He arranges an army of 90,000, the largest in Roman history.
  • Since Hannibal cannot win, there is no point to try defeat him in the field.
  • The Fabian strategy: do not engage the enemy in head-to-head combat.
  • Harass them.
  • This violates Hannibal's main idea of open warfare.
  • Hannibal can never get resupplied.
  • The tactics of Fabian are perfect. It did not give Hannibal the war he wanted.
  • But the impatient Roman Senate forces Fabius to resign after six months.

Paullus and Varro are sent to defeat Hannibal as quickly as possible.

They takes turns commanding on different days.

Varro sends 80,000 to attack Hannibal. "Most massive Roman fighting force ever to take the field at one time."

08/216 - Battle of Cannae - Hannibal defeats the Romans in SE Italy.

It is one of the greatest tactical feats in military history and as one of the worst defeats in Roman history.

  • Hannibal arranges his army in a semi-circle, never used before,
  • then his cavalry comes in
  • Hannibal knew that his center would collapse, but his flanks would hold.
  • The Romans beat back the semi-circle, thinking they are winning, and commit more troops to the center. The Romans go deeper and deeper into a v-shaped line, They get packed together. Could not lift swords. The African phalanxes turn in toward the middle and crush the Romans from the sides.
  • This is the first double envelopment in the history of warfare.
  • Hannibal's brother comes from the rear and the Romans are boxed in.
  • Roman maniple can move forward or back; they cannot turn and envelop.
  • Rome is annihilated - 70,000 Romans butchered in a single day. Six hours.
Now is the the time for Hannibal to lose his nerve.
  • Cannae is the end of Hannibal's success.
  • Maharbal, commander of the Nubidian cavalry, urges Hannibal to march on Rome immediately.
  • But Hannibal refuses.
  • Maharbal explains, "Hannibal, you know how to conquer, but you don't know how to use your victories."
  • He is 260 miles from Rome. That may be too far, even for him.
  • Hannibal tries a peace after Cannae, but the Romans refuse.
  • [Has Hannibal lost his mind?]
  • The Romans outlaw the word peace.
  • They return to the Fabian strategy of outlasting him, not defeating him.
Hannibal abandons his quest and returns to Carthage.
  • "You don't get any points in warfare for trying."
  • 202 - Battle of Zama - Romans defeat Carthaginians in Africa.
  • The Carthaginian senate sued for peace,
  • Now Rome agrees, but on humiliating terms
  • Thus ends the 17-year war.
  • Hannibal poisons himself.

Hannibal's war may have been the impetus that turned Rome into an Empire.

Battles BC: 1.2 - David: Giant Slayer
  • Steven Weingartner, Author,
    • Chariots Like a Whirlwind: The Epic of Chariot Warfare (2007).
  • Catering (breakfast) Life in the Food Chain
  • Catering (lunch) Boyz in the Kitchen
  • Bathsheba - Berenice Noriega
"Behind the heroic legend, lies a tale of relentless ambition, ... violent murder, ... conquests on the battlefield ... and in the bedroom. David's quest will ultimately unite a people, but not before it tears a country apart."

Saul (suicide at Mt. Gilboa) married Ahinoam, daughter of Ahimaaz.

Jesse ("God Exists") of Bethlehem married Nitzevet (Talmud)

Later rabbinic traditions name Jesse as one of four ancient Israelites who died without sin, the other three being Benjamin, Chileab and Amram.

Abner - cousin of Saul

Hadadezer - king of Aram fought David - no mention of this in Wikipedia.

Ahitophel -->  Eliam --> Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite.

David's children

  • Bathsheba:  Solomon (Shlomo).
  • Maachah (Maacah): Absalom and Tamar.
  • Ahinoam "the Jezreelitess": Amnon - heir-apparent, who rapes Tamar.

Tamai, King of Geshur (independent kingdom in Israel), was father of Maachah

Interesting: the father of Israel is shown as a bloodthirsty opportunist, like a Mafia don, who would do anything to get his desires, including betraying his own people -- Gabriel.

Saul was the first king of a United Kingdom of Israel and Judah.

David makes his name in the wars against the Philistines.
  • 1015 BC - David and Goliath duel in the Israelite- Philistine war
  • "200 years since the Exodus"
  • Israelites no longer call the land Canaan; now it is Israel.
  • David becomes weapons bearer to King Saul.
  • "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten-thousands." Oops.
  • Saul becomes jealous of David's quick renown.
  • (11:45) Saul is alarmed at the friendship of David and Jonathan
  • So Saul sends men to kill David.

David unites with the Philistines against Saul of Israel.

  • David flees to Judah with a band of "desperate men," outlaws and traitors.
  • David allies with the Philistines, who raid Israelite villages.
  • Philistines test David by having him raid Israelite villages - he passes.
  • At Mt. Gilboa, Philistines kill Saul and his sons -- except Ishbaal.
  • Ishbaal and his commander, Abner, are a future threat.
  • The Philistines make David king of Judah.
  • David sets up his gigud, band of 600 outlaws, over all towns of Judah.

David launches a civil war against Ishbaal to become king of all Israel.

  • (21:30) Joab, David's nephew, defeats Ishbaal, last son of Saul.
  • With victory, David becomes a Godfather and whacks his enemies. (Schwartz)
  • Abner, Ishbaal's commander, assassinated
  • Ishbaal assassinated in his sleep.
  • The Sicilian way: kill your assassins to prove you are innocent. (Gabriel)
  • David kills the assassins of Ishbaal - to prove he was not involved.
  • David crucifies Saul's last 7 grandsons - staked out in the sun
  • David is never blamed for any of his murders.
David expands Israel into an Empire.
  • Betrays Philistines, who put him in power,
  • He defeats them in bloody battles and takes their charioteers.
  • Captures Jerusalem and makes it his capital.
  • 3 eastern states - Edom, Moab, Ammon - control "the King's Highway"
  • Edom - Exterminates males, enslaves women and children.
  • Moab - "He measured them with the line" - a fancy-ass extermination.
  • (32:25) Ammon - "capital at Rabbah," modern Ammon - holds out
  • with Aram ( modern Syria) with its king, Hadadezer, as an ally.
  • Joab attacks Rabbah, fights to a draw out of a trap - an amazing feat.
  • David invades Aram with "all Israel," bypassing Ammon.
  • (42:15) at the Battle of Helam, he drives the Arameans back,
  • then Hadadezer faces revolts from his vassal states.
  • David takes advantage of their divided troops and defeat Aram.
  • Empire: Euphrates to the Sinai, Mediterranean to Jordanian mountains
  • leaving only the Ammonites at Rabbah as a loose end.
David and Bathsheba
  • Wanting to conquer Ammon, but distracted by Bathsheba,
  • David sends his consigliere, Joab, to wage war against Ammon.
  • Rabbah (Rabbath Ammon) is the capital of Ammon (today's Ammon, Jordan).
  • Bathsheba get pregnant
  • David summons Uriah from the siege of Rabbah for sex with Bathsheba.
  • Uriah won't do it while his compatriots are in danger.
  • David sends a note to Joab to have Uriah smitten in battle.
  • So again the Mafia don has his consigliere do his dirty work. (Gabriel)
  • (54:05) Bathsheba's baby dies as punishment for sin.
  • David joins Joab in taking Rabbah - lest Joab get the credit.
  • David "set the people to the mold," making slaves to tear down their walls
  • David's Empire is complete - but his own people, unhappy, revolt.
Now David's Empire is threatened from within.
  • Absalom kills his brother, starting a rift between him and David.
  • This rift evolves into a full-fledged rebellion.
  • Absalom was "the most handsome man in the kingdom."
  • Absalom fights David at the Battle of the Wood of Ephraim.
  • Absalom's beautiful long hair gets caught in tree branches.
  • Joab kills Absalom, even though David had ordered him spared.
  • Politically, Joab, the true consigliere, did the right thing.
  • David dies peacefully in bed at the age of 110
  • When Solomon becomes king, he orders the murder of Joab.
  • Like his father before him, he eliminates threats when he finds them.

So there is no difference between the characters of these Hebrews and the Herods later - in their intent on killing off any rivals - even children.

Battles BC: 1.3 - Joshua: Epic Slaughter
  • Steven Weingartner, Author,
    • Chariots Like a Whirlwind: The Epic of Chariot Warfare (2007).
  • Caterers (breakfast) Life in the Food Chain
  • Caterers (lunch) Boyz in the Kitchen
  • Rahab - Christiana Leucas.
   | Aram
c | Ammon
a |
n |
a | Moab
a |
n | Edom
   | [Jordan
   | valley]
In this entire episode, the only date given is the 14th century BC - the1300s.

Joshua, by Biblical chronology, lived 1355-1245 BC (LBA). 

"The story of the battle is not supported by the archaeological evidence, and almost all scholars agree that the Book of Joshua holds little historical value."

"The combination of archaeological evidence and analysis of the composition history and theological purposes of the Book of Joshua lies behind the judgement of archaeologist William G. Dever that the battle of Jericho 'seems invented out of whole cloth.'"
Interesting, then, that Gabriel gets so much out of that invention

"Joshua's military might is first described in the Bible during the great exodus campaign out of Egypt in the 14th century BC."

First skirmish with the Amalekites shows weaknesses in their army.

40 Years at Kadesh-Barnea

  • The Israelites are a "light infantry guerillas."
  • They can't fight a chariot army.
  • Build up an army of 8,000
War with the Ammonites
  • Bypass a direct attack on fortified cities of Canaan
  • Go SE, then north through the Jordan Valley
  • Edom and Moab allow the Israelites to pass through
  • Israelites defeat Ammon.

"Several other tribes in the Jordan Valley"

  • kill king Og of Bashan, slaughter all people.
  • Brutality is needed so as not to leave a enemy at their rear.
  • Moses dies
(10:10) The situation
  • Must control mountain chain running up center of country.
  • Canaanite armies are chariot-heavy
  • Israel, light infantry, best suited for hit and run tactics over rugged terrain

Jericho - all four experts agree about the red cord:

  • Jericho is a city of about 2,500 people.
  • It has 500 defenders. Joshua has an army of 8,000.
  • Jericho is "the first step in an Israeli war of extermination"
  • A few spies get info about the terror in the city from Rahab.
  • The only reason for strangers in the city was a brothel
  • They climb down her red cord to get back to Joshua- this in the Bible
  • (21:00) Rahab's red cord in the window is outside the walls
  • Only reason for that is to infiltrate 60 commandos over six days.
  • Their entrance was masked by the shouts of those marching around the city.
  • At the blowing of the horn, the commandos overwhelmed the few guards at the gates, and threw them open.
  • The Israeli army then took the city.
  • The walls tumbling down is "metaphorical."
Richard Gabriel (24:00)
What [Joshua] does next has actually horrified people who read the Bible. He puts the entire city to the sword. The term in Hebrew is colhan nesema [sic.]. To go up upon the city and kill every breathing thing. This is a war of extermination. Joshua is sending a message. to the other kings of Canaan: this is your fate if you do not leave. They kill every living thing and then they burn the city. *** [Good tactician and strategist, Joshua is ] also a god-intoxicated man. He's prepared to visit this horror on a completely innocent population... to achieve the promise of Yahweh....".

Bethel and Ai, towns on a strategic spine of Canaan.

  • Psychology determined Jericho.
  • Strategy determined his next target, Bethel, which protects a pass.
  • A small reconnaissance team comes across Ai, an uninhabited ruin.
  • It tells Joshua that Bethel and Ai will be easy to defeat.
  • So there's no need to send the whole army up there.
  • Joshua sends a small force of 600.
  • They are ambushed and killed by the hidden army of Bethel.
  • A few escape in panic.
  • Joshua's mistake - taking operational suggestions from scouts.
  • Ai is his first defeat.

Will this defeat blunt the psychological shock wave he had sent at Jericho?

  • (31:40) Joshua sets up camp in a valley not visible from Ai
  • The Bethelites (who seem to have moved into Ai) can't see him.
  • Now comes "tactical brilliance"
  • Joshua sends 1,000 men to line up outside the ruin of Ai.
  • The Bethelites at Ai come out of the ruin to attack, thinking it an easy job.
  • The Israelites retreat, pursued by the Bethelites
  • Joshua's hidden troops burn the Bethelite camp in Ai to the ground
  • His 5,000 hidden troops defeat the Bethelites, trapped on both sides.
  • (41:40) Joshua orders another extermination.
  • He hung the king of Bethel from a tree.
Joshua has regained the initiative.

[ NOTE: Now "Jerusalem," where no Hebrew has sat foot. What gives?

Jerusalem is Urušalim in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba (1330s BC)

"Jerusalem" means "foundation (Sumerian yeru, 'settlement'/Semitic yry' 'to found, to lay a cornerstone') of the god Shalem"; the god Shalem was thus the original tutelary deity of the Bronze Age city

The form Yerushalem or Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the Book of Joshua. According to a Midrash, the name is a combination of Yhwh Yir'eh ("God will see to it", the name given by Abraham to the sacrificial place for his son) and the town "Shalem"

So both Sumerians and Jews named the town for a pagan God.

Shalim is the god of dusk, and Shahar as god of the dawn. Shalim is Venus or the "Evening Star," and Shahar, the "Morning Star" ]

The strategic city of Gibeon - is to be defended!

  • Now he must conquer the whole spine of the Jordan valley.
  • Joshua takes mercenaries from other states along that spine,
  • people who have no loyalty to the Canaanites.
  • Their crops and flocks give him an operational advantage.
  • Gibeon, another strategic city, now full of fear, becomes an ally.
  • Adonizedek is Jebusite king of Jerusalem.
  • At request of Adonizedek, 5 other kings of Canaan besiege Gibeon.
  • These "Amorite kings" have 15,000 men - infantry and chariots.
  • Gibeon asks Joshua for help, and he climbs a mountain in the dark in silence.

    Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: "O Sun, stand still over Gibeon. O Moon, over the Valley of Aijalon". So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped ... There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man. (Josh. 10:12-14)

  • Joshua surprise attacks the Canaanites,
  • It is dawn, and the Canaanites are blinded by the sun.
  • (54:10) Joshua is attacking downhill,
  • Wholesale slaughter until sunset,
  • then up at dawn to continue the pursuit.
  • This is another extermination.
  • Israelites had moved 30 miles in 48 hours, 2/3 of the time in combat.
  • "One of the greatest and most-studied battles in the history of the world."
  • Joshua controls the spine.
The death of Joshua.
  • Joshua failed to capture all of Canaan.
  • He never had enough troops.
  • He dies a bitter man and is buried on "Angry Mountain."
  • No one attends his funeral.
  • "an unfitting end for one of history's great commanders" (Gabriel)
Steven Weingartner (59:00)
"The story of Jericho has been burned into the human consciousness. When you think about the wholesale slaughter of civilian populations, presumably with God's blessing, it raises some deep questions about what that says about the Bible."

Joshua's successor is General Giáp.

No one mentions Sun-Tzu?
  • Giáp is closing in on Saigon, encircling the city,
  • which remembers his slaughter of civilians in the Tet offensive 7 years earlier.
  • He had operatives in Saigon spreading rumors of horrors to come.
Nothing has changed for the Jews in 3,500 years.
David George (1:00)
Ancient Canaan comprises what is today Israel and the occupied territories. The land disputes are still ongoing. Blood is still being shed. 3,500 years after Joshua first led the Israelites into what was to be their Biblical home, a legacy of violence endures in the promised land.
And the Bible is still invoked:
"Take the story of the conquest of Canaan, for example: a legend about a “righteous” nation seizing a great country from a people who did not deserve it. It has implications for the establishment of the current state of Israel." -- Salon, Feb.,2001.

Battles BC: 1.4 - Caesar: Super Siege
The Siege of Alesia - 52 B.C. [ wiki ]
  • Matthew Gonzales, classics, Saint Anselm College

(1) After a 300 history of mutual slaughter. Gauls had sacked Rome in the 3rd century.

(2) For six years Caesar had been trying to subdue Gaul into a province. Now he had 50,000 troops. Caesar had no military experience until he entered Gaul, and he left us his memoirs. He had a professional army and the Gauls did not. He had to defeat hundreds of little armies, and he became ruthless in doing so. It was a reign of terror.

(3) Vercingetorix united all the tribes under his leadership. He had fought in the Roman legions, being a calvary man in Caesar's army.

He leads 70,000 soldiers into Orleans and do their own terror on 5,000 civilians. Vercingetorix knows he cannot have one all-out battle with Caesar, he had to pick at him. He has the Gauls torch their own towns and countryside -- scorched earth.

52 BC - Vercingetorix attacks Dijon. He loves the broadsword, the Romans the gladius, a stabbing weapon.

(4) Then Vercingetorix retreats. He chases Caesar to block him from going into Italy, but he's too late. There is a skirmish. Vercingetorix withdraws into his main supply base, Alesia, hoping that Caesar will go on to Rome, and they will take up the battle later. But Caesar follows him and surrounds the city with 50,000 men. Now he is trapped, and guerilla war is no longer possible.

The modern city is Alise-sainte-Reine. 5 miles in circumference surrounded by a wall six feet high. Sits on a small hill 1500 feet above a valley Two rivers along either side. There are 5,000 people there.

The siege works created by Caesar are just ingenious, and they had never been used before.

  • Catapult the onager,
  • the ballista (stone thrower)
Caesar decides to keep them imprisoned and starve them.
  • trench, 20 feet deep and 20 feet wide.
  • another trench, 15 feet wide, 8 feet deep - flooded with water,
  • another dry pit
  • wall, 10 miles in circumference,12 feet high with watch towers every 80 yards and sharpened sticks below [circumvallation].
  • then more trenches, anti-personnel devices, death traps - cippi at bottom of trenches, sharpened wooden spikes, stimuli - iron spikes, trees knocked down

Previously, had slaughtered lots of Germans, build 400 foot long suspension bridge over the Rhine, then, after killing 430,000 in an act of butchery, he crosses back over the Rhine and destroyed the bridge. The lesson: the Rhine is nothing.

(5) Vercingetorix sends all his 15,000 cavalry to get reinforcements from Gaul. Critical decision. Now he can't harass the Romans who can build the siege works at their leisure.

(6) Then Caesar builds

  • another wall around the first wall, 20 miles long 400 yards away, the first to keep Vercingetorix in, the second to keep out any returning cavalry, and between which he will make the base for his 50,000 troops with a 30 day grain supply. [Contra-vallation]

(7) Gauls consider cannibalism, but Vercingetorix rejects it. He expels the women and children from the city, giving them to the Romans, but Caesar rejects them, so they have to return, but Vercingetorix will not let them back in - they remain in no-man's land. Finally, Vercingetorix relents and lets them back in. Caesar has won another war of wills.

(8) 60,000 relief army lead by Comminus, another Gaul who had once fought with Caesar. He fights Romans "on the outside." Caesar sends calvary, then reinforcements with perfect timing to drive the Gauls back to the hills, massacring the archers who had supported the cavalry. The Gauls assault ends in disgrace.

Vercingetorix somehow coordinates a night-time attack with Comminus. Romans repel the Gauls, using stones thrown from the wall. "In between the walls," Vercingetorix is pummeled. Huh? They got in? All the Gauls must retreat. Absolute genius, this Caesar. Gauls are starving. Find a weak spot in the wall, where the river runs through, go in the woods to hide, then attack the next day. Vercingetorix mounts and inside and outside attack. Caesar sends troops to stop up the hold in the wall, and the Gauls cannot get through fast enough. Gauls tear at the wall with mural hooks. (This is backwards, the defenders use hooks.) Caesar puts on his red cloak, commands four cohorts into the fray, preventing the Roman line from breaking. Caesar is the victor in this hard to visualize battle.

(8) Caesar spares the Gauls who had fought him, a big change for him. But Vercingetorix had to pay. October 1, 52 BC - Vercingetorix surrenders. Basic tactical error - scraps guerilla war method for a defense of a town. He's executed. Rome won't fight the Gauls for another 400 years.

(9) Sherman of the march through Georgia uses the tactics that Caesar used, and he won.

(10) Allowed Romanization of western Europe, so the Gauls thought of themselves as Romans.

Battles BC - 1.5 - Moses: Death Chase
  • Steven Weingartner, Author,
    • Chariots Like a Whirlwind: The Epic of Chariot Warfare (2007).
"Moses is on the warpath to the promised land."

(01:20) "Good reading of Exodus reveals a first-rate military mind. Moses practiced deception as great as any other man in military history."

So let's retell the story from the soldier's point-of-view.

"Real question. Who are the Israelites? Why are they in Egypt? Why doesn't Pharaoh want them to leave?"

(1) The Israelites as the Habiru, a tribe of warriors and thieves.

(10:50) 14th century BC., the Israelites leave Canaan and enter Egypt.

They lived in Goshen for 200 years. Theory that they played a major part in the military defense of Egypt. If the Israelites are the Habiru, a group of merchants, construction workers, and farmers as well as ferocious warriors. If so, they are in Goshen to defend Egypt from attacks from the north. They are mercenary soldiers stationed at the border as a trip-wire and known for their military skill.

Pharaoh Seti fears the Hebrews, mighty warriors, might join the rebellious Canaanites.

  • [English] So he "enslaves" the Israelites to make bricks for the cities.
  • [Hebrew] Israelites were set to labor (avadim), meaning construction worker, or "corvée laborers" [corvee] who built public works projects, No mention of slaves. But this is a demotion
The Pharaoh is likely Ramesses II.
  • [English] The Israelites stripped Egypt of gold and silver, with the approval of the Egyptians, whose minds were changed by God. This is not believable.
  • [Hebrew] Nitzael means "to strip" or "to despoil." Whatever was given was being taken at the point of a sword. So the exit was not peaceful. Some think the Hebrews sacked a city on the way out. That is why Pharaoh changed his mind. He felt betrayed.

(19:45) Egypt is a land of "store-cities" and "cattle-raising estates." Provisions all around. Sack an estate. It's not a peaceful exit.

If you read the Hebrew, the Israelites were "armed to the teeth."

(2) Pillars of Smoke and Fire.

Heading toward Goshen, Moses finds them being pursued by Egyptians. He tells his generals to get off the road and head into the desert -- which must have seemed crazy to them. But Moses knows the desert. Moses "shows a level of military sophistication that is truly amazing. He uses his understanding of desert terrain to defeat the most powerful army of the time."

The pillars of smoke and fire are "common command and control devices used commonly by Egyptian armies of the day." At night, the brazier in uncovered; by day, it is half covered, producing smoke.

Alexander adopted this technique when he conquered Egypt.

So at night, the Egyptians, now pursuing the Israelites, see the pillar of fire and know that the Israelites are making camp.

But the fire is closest to Pharaoh, relative to the Israeli camp. It appears that the Israelites are headed in the wrong direction, back to Egypt. Or they are "astray in the land," lost and confused. They are stupid.

"Moses is about to perform a magic trick, make 25,000 Israelites disappear before the Egyptians' eyes."

Moses has turned his people around, so that the fire is at the rear of the column. The purpose is "both to deceive and blind the Egyptians."

Soldiers learn "night discipline," do not look into a bright light. It can take up to an hour before you can see again. So all the Egyptians could see is the bright light, while the Israelites, leaving the fire there, escaped.

The Israelites escaped across the Sea of Reeds, which Moses knew well, that at a certain time of day it can be crossed on foot. They cross where it is a tidal swamp, 20 miles south of the Mediterranean..

  • The wind is blowing from the southeast, out of the deserts of the Sudan
  • The tide rolls out, pulling the water north,
  • For a short time, the swamp there is empty of water.

When the Egyptians get there, the tide is rolling in. The chariots get stuck in the muddy swamp.

(3) Moses and his Praetorian Guard.

(32:50) 3 months later, Amalekites ambush from behind.

Under Joshua, the Israelites win, with Moses signalling from a mountain top.

But they cannot enter Canaan at this time. They need a larger, better-trained army. So Moses leads them south into the Sinai. The Cainites live there, and there are large copper and bronze mines, so maybe he went there for weapons.

[Not the later Cainites, the antinomian and Gnostic sect.]

The Israelites are angry and horrified by this lowly desert living. Where is that milk and honey? We see only sand and marsh water and spooky mountains lit by green flames.

When Moses finds the golden calf, he sends the Levis from tent to tent to destroy their brothers-- 3,500 in total. Moses is now "a divine dictator. No more debate."

Now to invade Canaan , he conscripts an army from the Israelites. It takes two years to train them into a mirror image of the Egyptian army, minus the chariots.

(44:00) Are we now ready to take the promised land? Reach Kadesh-Barnea. 12 miles from Canaan, meet with Moses. Scouts come back: "It's impossible."

Moses agrees, and waits 2 generations - 40 years.

(4) Jordan Valley campaign of extermination

It would be too much to attack the Canaanite strongholds directly, so he goes through the Jordan river valley to get to Canaan.

Strategy should dictate tactics.

But there he encounters the Ammonites. Joshua commands the army and wins.

Then Edom, Moab, Gilead. It's brutal slaughter, Why? The Israelites want to live in Canaan, not the Jordan Valley, so they do not want to leave a hostile force there at their back as they move forward. So, extermination. "Ruthless, yes, also practical."

(5) Mastery requires betrayal.

(53:45) Now the Midianites, a former ally for 40 years.

His wife [Zipporah, daughter of Reuel/Jethro, priest/prince of Midian] was a Midianite.

They have Midianite gods, and Israelis began to worship them. Yahweh says, kill them all, under Phinehas (or Phineas). He can't kill the women and children. He marches them back to camp. Moses is furious. They are all executed.

[the story of Balaam,
Heresy of Peor - gives a little different story - he only kills two.]

But these Jordan valley tribes are nothing compared to the Canaanites to come.

"Best now to train the army for the horror they will face in the future."

Then the ritual cleansing of the soldiers begins. PTSD.

(6) Death of Moses.

God says Moses can see Canaan from Mt. Nebo, but can't enter it. Once Moses had been angry and struck a rock with his staff. Lack of faith. That can't be it. What's going on here? Some speculate that the people rose up and killed Moses. This is because the Biblical reason is so absurd.

Analogy of outwitting without fighting: 1877 - Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce Indian tribe against Gen. Sturgis forcing him back to a reservation. A thousand mile trek.


Battles BC: 1.6 - Alexander: Lord of War
  • Steven Weingartner, Author,
    • Chariots Like a Whirlwind: The Epic of Chariot Warfare (2007).
    • [gray hair, blue shirt]
  • Matthew Gonzales, Assistant Professor of Classics, Saint Anselm College
    • [mustache and goatee, red shirt]
TO DO: Distinguish heavy cavalry from light cavalry.


331 - "Battle of Arbela"- the Battle of Gaugamela - changes the world - Alexander becomes emperor of all Persia.

Greece to Egypt to Afghanistan and five years later, he wants a new challenge.

325 - All that's between Alexander and India are two rivers, Indus and Hydaspes, and 750,000 soldiers.

He started two years earlier building boats to cross the Indus.

King Ambi, ruler of Taxila, a land in between the two rivers, near their sources, just north of Punjab. Alexander crosses the Indus and takes Taxila without opposition.

He reaches the Hydaspes with his break-down and re-build boats.: frames, animal skins, and buckets of tar.

Now he faces Porus of Paurava, a man matching Alexander in pride. He is over six feet tall, a giant by fourth-century standards.

Alexander offers diplomacy, but Porus declines.

Elephants - 200 war elephants, each taking 10 years to train. They respond to name-calls and to whistles, and they fought.

How get across the Hydaspes -- wide, deep, rapid -- without becoming a sitting duck. When in doubt, deceive and dissemble.

  • Great shipments of grain begin to arrive at his camp, as if the crossing will not take place until the next season, after a harvest.
  • Then move troops up and down the river, as if looking for a place to cross,
  • So Porus starts following him up and down. Alexander returns to camp. So Porus posts pickets on the river.
  • Light fires and make noise each night.
  • Now Alexander can move his army around on his side of the bank without provoking a tactical move by his enemy.
  • Then Alexander leads troops from camp at night, and Porus barely notices.

Now, about to cross the river, Alexander will find that the river has surprises of its own.

(17:45) A surprise two months in the making.

Three years earlier, they had fought the Central Asian nomads at Bactria and Sogdiana in modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are not nation-states, just tribal units -- just like today. They are guerilla fighters, archers mounted on horses who hit and run. Alexander reconfigures his army from the phalanx to light cavalry with archers in order to defeat them. It's this army he takes into India.

India was 16 kingdoms, all fighting each other. War was the normal state of affairs. They derive from the Aryans, dark people who were ferocious warriors with chariots, like those in Afghanistan today.

Alexander crosses the wild river. Stormy night, pitch black, raging current, rain, but this is all to Alexander's advantage -- it keeps down the noise and keeps Porus's pickets under cover.

But what he thinks is one island in the midst of the river is the first of two islands. Behind the visible island is a hidden island. Two more crossings, not one more. This was from a tactical error on his part, not enough reconnaissance. By dawn, they gain the other bank. The pickets pick it up, and Porus gets word.

But Alexander has divided his troops. A "fixing" or "pinning" force remains on the other side. Which is the main force? Which is the feint?

326 - "The Battle of the Hydaspes River - one of history's most brutal battles"

Porus decides, send a small contingent against Alexander. He leads a force of chariots and heavy cavalry. So Alexander sends his light cavalry to harass Porus, his fighters who learned their skills fighting in the eastern part of Persia.


Alexander's horse-mounted archers do hit and run. He takes the steam out of the Indian cavalry attack. Bunches them together, and then launches his heavy cavalry.

The elephants spooked the Greek horses. They had to be blinded

[Lots of tactical talk.]

(43:30) Alexander follows Porus's movements of his troop and by deception and surprise destroys his cavalry.

It's the "schwerpunkt" - critical point of the battle - Alexander is always at the point where the battle shifts, and he can improvise a new plan with ease while "being right out there with your guys." A rare talent.

The Indian army was not used to fighting in the rainy season. Their large bows, which had to be positioned in the ground, became useless.

[Lots of tactical talk.]


After seven hours, Alexander wins, but lets Porus live and keep his kingdom.

Alexander has what Napoleon called, the "coup d'oeil," the strike of the eye, the battle to glance at a battlefield and create a tactical plan that is to his advantage

But then the Indian lords abandon their rivalry and joined against Alexander.

His men realize that he is on a suicide mission. They've had enough. They return to Babylon, where he apparently dies of malaria, gets embalmed like a Pharaoh and placed in a crystal casket.

Schwartzkopf's "left-hook" strategy was Alexander's technique of a feint to disguise the real attack. He pretended to attack the Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait from the south, then attacked with his main force from hundreds of miles due west. Ground war in Desert Storm over in 100 hours..

In eleven years and over 20,000 miles, Alexander never lost a battle.

Why wasn't enough enough? There was no central Greece, only tribes fighting each other for glory.


Battles BC: 1.7 - Ramses: Raging Chariots

The Battle of Kadesh, 1274 BC
17,000 Hittites vs 20,000 Egyptians (or 24,000)
  • Steven Weingartner, Author,
    • Chariots Like a Whirlwind: The Epic of Chariot Warfare (2007).
  • Matthew Gonzales, classics, Saint Anselm College

(1) After the Hyksos period, Egyptians had better weapons, saw the need to expand north into the buffer area of the Amarru, and were thirsting for revenge. There had been skirmishes between Egypt and the Hittites for 30 years.

(2) The chariot is improved over the already superior Hittite chariot

  • move axle and wheel from center to rear
  • replace 4-spoke wheel with 6-spoke wheel which can takes speeds of 12mph
  • attach pole from the horses to chariot with a moveable U-joint
The chariot had
  • a driver,
  • an archer, and
  • a runner, who defended and attacked with a bronze sickle sword.

You never sends tanks into battle without infantry support.

New Egyptian strategy, attack first, ask questions later. Made for Ramesses. Turn to the north for revenge and buffer land,

So how do chariots fight? Does one line attack the other? A little thinking shows that to be impossible. Horses will not charge a phalanx of infantry with spears. So the chariots engage indirectly in a swirling motion, each attempting to get around another one, en passant so the archer can kill the enemies.

(3) The Hittite chariots were large and slower than the Egyptian, with their axles in the middle. This allowed the chariot to carry all three principals, giving them an advantage over the Egyptians who were limited by an easily exhausted runner.

The Hittites had earlier conquered Mitanni. They inherited Kikkuli, the Mitanni horse trainer. He wrote a training manual allowing horses to pull a larger chariot with three men.

Hittites had a composite bow made of wood, horn, and ox tendon - a formidable weapon.

(4) Then a bizarre event happened in Egypt which would lead to war by chain reactions.

Tutankhamun died in 1323. His widow believed he had been poisoned. So she did not want to marry an Egyptian. The royal blood flowed through the woman not the man, so she could have married a commoner if she wished.

There had been turmoil for years between the monotheists and the polytheists. "A terrible bloody time in Egypt. Civil war erupts throughout Egypt, resulting in thousands of deaths." The polytheists had greater power and they were enemies of Tut's widow.

Her solution? Bring down the Egyptian kingdom. She writes to Suppiluliuma, asking for one of his sons to marry and become Pharaoh When her enemies hear of this, which is insane to them, they ambush the Hittite son and kill him. This angers Suppiluliuma. He resumes war against Egypt over the valuable Amarry region.

But in 1322 Suppiluliuma is killed by a plague that sweeps across Hatti, probably introduced by Egyptian prisoners.

Skirmishes die down.

(5) Ramesses II comes to the throne. He decides to attack with four divisions, which are divided up at Biblos, south of Kadesh

  • Amun, Ra, P'tah, heading in a line toward Kadesh
  • Seti - coming up the coast

each with 6000 soldiers, 5.000 infantry, and 500 chariots. Idea is a pincer movement. The Hittites head south to met them.

Kadesh has casement walls faced with limestone, A successful battering ram against stone would not appear until the 8th century. So it was virtually impregnable.

(6) REALITIES: This march takes a 40 days for 24,000 men over 500 miles. You will lose 17% to injuries - sprains, broken bones, accidental deaths.

(7) He sets up camp with his 3 divisions, 10 miles south of Kadesh, near the forest of Robaui. But his 3 divisions are spread out over 15 miles.

Ramesses takes a pet lion with him, which he uses to intimidate some Shasu Bedouins they come across, who tell him that Muwatalli is 100 miles to the north in Aleppo, whereas he are already in the vicinity of Kadesh. This is a classic intelligence operation.

So Ramesses, impulsive, marches up to Kadesh.

When the battle field changes rapidly, one can confuse operational success with strategic goals. You change your strategic goals. This happened to Ramesses. Given the opportunity to take Kadesh, he took it, and so fell into the ambush.

(8) Muwatali springs his trap. After Ramesses leaves two divisions in the dust Muwatalli emerges from the orchard, surprises the divisions and decimates the Ptah division. Muwatali's move is brilliant. He had taken 2,000 Hittite chariots stealthily 2 1/2 miles down the Orontes River to hide in the orchards. He takes the Ra division in the flank and lays it to waste.

It is Ramesses's fault.

Some say the key to Muwatalli's success is the three-man chariot because of the horses trained for long endurance. He did not exhaust the runners, the chariot's main defense. "The ancient world had never seen chariots like the Hittites brought to Kadesh."

Ramesses watches the carnage from his camp with the Amun division. Muwatalli heads north toward them and engages in an infantry battle. The Hittites maul the Egyptians, and many of Ramesses's elite chariot teams desert him. Then the Hittites stop engaging in order to loot the camp. But that's not the real problem. 1,000 Hittite chariots and 10,000 infantry are waiting in reserve on the east side of Kadesh. "To have 10,000 infantry doing nothing doesn't make much sense." Muwatalli does not deploy them. This will prove costly.

(9) Ramesses takes his elite infantry and marches into the fray. It's an infantry battle, and the Hittites begin to fight furiously.

Still, Muwatalli does nothing. His decision will determine history. Hittite attack bogs down. Colossal mystery to scholars.

Then the Seti division appears with 5,000 infantry and 500 chariots. They reinforce Ramesses. Because of the crowded battlefield, Ramesses's chariots can maneuver more easily than the Hittites.

Finally Muwatalli acts, but he sends 1,000 chariots, not his infantry. They have a very hard time maneuvering in the Egyptian half-built camp.

Then the Ptah division attacks from the rear. now the Hittites are in a vise.

Muwatalli had made a major mistake. You don't throw good troops after bad. You don't send more troops to avoid a defeat only to exploit a victory.

A bad day for all of them.

(10) Muwatalli sends a message, let's disengage now. Ramesses agrees. Then records the battle as a great victory.

One last thing. Gather all the commanders of the chariots that deserted, makes them kneel, and Ramesses personally beheads them, the sons of some of the most powerful men in Egypt.

Custer fell into a trap similar to the one that befell Ramesses. He was chasing a group of Indians when he failed to detect the main force. He defeated a small force, then prepared to raid a small Indian village, then the main force took him in the flank.

1252 BC - Egyptians and Hittites ally to fight Iraq. Alliance for a century.

Battles BC: 1.8 - Judgement Day at Marathon
  • Matthew Gonzales, classics, Saint Anselm College


Persia was the largest empire the world had known -- in land, in population, in languages, and cultures.


(1) - 540 - Earlier Athens had fought Sparta. If the US marines had their own country, that would be Sparta. The Spartans helped the Athenians get rid of Hippias, then they would not go home. The Athenians had to turn to the Persian Empire to help them. Persia agrees if the Athenians make a sacred offer of earth and water, which meant, to the Persians, that Persia owns Athens. For the Athenians who invented mathematics, philosophy, and logic, "this was just a silly little ritual that meant nothing."

But Sparta attacked before Persia could help. Athenians defeat Sparta on their own. So the agreement with Persia was null and void, and they told that to Darius I (522-486), who sent demands for taxes.

"Throughout history, alliances often have unintended consequences, but few have the magnitude of the treaty between Persia and Athens." It sets off centuries of conflict between the East and the West. [Schwartz]

(2) 540 BC - Persia absorbs Greek colonies in Ionia.

500 BC - The Greek states in Ionia rebel and Athens sent troops. They burn Sardis to the ground and a Temple to Cybele. Persians suppress the revolt.

Persians defeat Ionian Revolt - 499 - 493

Darius I vowed revenge. A servant whispers in his ear, thrice during dinner, "Sire, remember the Athenians." Bur first, the Indians. Egyptians, and Scythians need attending to.

First Persian Invasion of Greece - 492-490

Miltiades had been a tyrant of a Greek city-state in Ionia, once forced into the military service of Persia in the attack on the Scythians. He was in charge of the bridges over the Danube which were the Persians' way out. When Persia learned that he wanted to burn the bridges after the Persians, Miltiades had to flee for Athens. The Athenians arrested Miltiades for tyranny and put him in jail for two years. Under a sentence of death.

[Goof Lord! What keeps Miltiades going?]


(2) 490 BC - Marathon.

(1) Datis, the Persian commander, decides on a land campaign, instead of a naval attack directly on Athens.

(2) The Persians island hopped across the Aegean, taking Euboea, then land at Schoinias Beach on Marathon Bay beach in Attica, then cross the Great Marsh to Marathon just north of Athens.

They brought tons of marble on their ships for a triumphal monument.

(3) Now, when the Persians attacked Greece, Athenians seek advice from Miltiades.

(4) Athenian democracy extends to the army.

The Athenians had to vote on what to do. The 5 to 5 tie-breaker is Callimachus, the polemarch, a ceremonial position in the Athenian army. Miltiades convinces him and the Athenians vote to attack, 10,000 will head east to the plains of Marathon. The Persian force is colossal. Persians pioneered integrating horse cavalry and infantry into a one-two punch.

(5) Being way outmanned, Miltiades goes defensive. He blocks up the Vrana Valley with a phalanx of troops. To the flanks of his phalanx, he piles up trees to keep the cavalry out.

The Persians had chosen the battlefield, but the Athenians chose the terrain. "Terrain, terrain, terrain."

[WTF! Are we at Vrana or Marathon?
Is Marathon ambiguous? The beach area and the crevice between mountains? ]

First, an arrow barrage. It is ineffectual. The Greeks stand up and taunt the Persians.

(6) For what happens next, we have only one source, Herodotus. So many later historians have many theories of their own. "Herodotus is more like the world's first blogger than an objective historian, blending events, anecdotes, myths, hearsay into a great story." (Schwartz)

So Persians frontal attack on the phalanx. The Athenians take the attack and go on the offensive.

  • The hoplon is a revolutionary innovation in warfare. It is a wooden bowl covered in bronze that is impervious to arrows and sword blows. Its "Argive grip" is a loop in the center and a grip at the edge, two loops, which hold the entire forearm against the shield, making it a device to push people back.
  • Their spear is the dory, 7 feet long, not for throwing but for piercing.
  • lightweight lamellar armor, made of bonded strips of linen and leather
  • some wear cuirasses, bronze plates sculpted to look like a torso
  • bronze helmets with distinctive horsehair plumes
  • greaves protect their lower legs

So the Greeks did not run at the arrow barrage.

The Persian light infantry doesn't have their usual cavalry support, so its sickle swords and wicker shields against a wall of bronze. They make no progress and retreat. Now the heavy infantry, the Immortals. They march into battle in complete silence. Miltiades changes tactics. He still has a disadvantage, his area wider than he has troops to cover, He weakens his center to move troops to the edges, a huge gamble. Then he advances out of the protected valley. He needs his phalanx to have room to maneuver, but not so far that the Persians can surround him.

The Immortals move in.

Next, "an apocalypse of violence."

Athenians are beaten back in the center. The flanks hold strong, But they counterattack, then the wings close in on the sides and slaughter the Persians.

(52:30) Persians cannot maneuver. Persians panic. Flee to the beach.

6,000 Persian dead; 200 Athenians dead, among them Callimachus.

Marathon: some say, first example of a "pincer movement," or a "double envelopment," but not true. Miltiades just used one force, so he does not completely envelop the enemy.

After some rest, they attack the retreating Persians, capture seven boats.

Herodotus's story of Greek who has his hands chopped off grabbing boats and then bites them hold them at the beach.

The Persians head for Athens, 62 miles by sea.

An Athenian runs 26 miles to Athens, yells Nike, and drops dead.

Miltiades does a forced night march back to Athens, which is in danger.

Datis enters Athens harbor with 600 ships, but turns around and sails back to Persia.

Athenians build the Parthenon. 192 figures, one for each Athenian slain at Marathon.

Darius is furious.

Coming up - Xerxes and Thermopylae where Leonidas recapitulates Miltiades.

Marathon defines what it is to be Western and Greek rather than Eastern and Persian.

Serials - Dawn of the Apocalypse
[ sub-menu ] - home page at AHC - Wikipedia - [ top-menu ]
A BBC/TLC Co-Production © MMXV
# Title Date Subjects
1 The Greek Grave. 02/22/2015  
2 The Fall of Sodom and Gomorrah 03/01/2015  
3 Mystery of the Maya 03/08/2015  
4 Dark Age of Egypt. 03/15/2015  

Dawn of the Apocalypse: 1 - The Greek Grave
  • Prof Floyd McCoy, University of Hawaii
  • Dr Colin MacDonald, Curator, Knossos 1990-1999
  • Prof Christos Doumas, Archaeological Society of Athens
  • Dr Dale Dominey-Howes, Kingston University
  • Prof Costas Synolakis, University of Southern California [tsunami expert]
  • Prof Steve Sparks, University of Bristol
  • Dr Mike Rampino, New York University [ Shiva Hypothesis ]
  • Prof Mike Baillie, [Dendrochronology], The Queen's University of Belfast
Narrator: Ralph Gunderman.
disaster-theorie, minoan-theorie,
... the first great civilization of Europe collapsed. Desperate and bewildered, the ancient Minoans resorted to sacrificing their own children. What could have brought them to this terrible end?"

The Eruption on Thera? What if it was twice as large as previously thought?
What were the socio-political consequences?

Some Major Volcanos Often Referenced

Mt. Thera, Island of Santorini, Greece 1610 B.C. 7
Mt. Tambora, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia 1815 7
Krakatoa, Sunda Strait, Indonesia 1883 6
Mount St. Helens, state of Washington 1980 5
Mount Pinatubo, Luzon, Philippines 1991 6


  • Sophisticated bonze age culture, centered in Knossos on Crete.
  • flourished from approximately 2000 to 1450 BC
  • running water
  • Europe's first paved roads
  • vast trading empire with a powerful navy
Thera/Santorini erupts - 62 miles north of Crete
  • Minoans thought they understood nature - and then -
  • Eruption lasts for four days
  • (1) textured pumice blew up in a plume, blanketed island 33 feet deep
  • (2) horizontal avalanches of pumice and hot ash
  • (3) big rocks - lava flows - from island blasted to bits
  • (4) torrential rainstorms with lightning
  • (5) giant waves - tsunami - Krakatoa (1883)
  • (6) dust, ash and sulphurous gas, sulfur dioxide
  • (7) droplets of sulfuric acid veil the sunlight; mean years of ruined harvests
  • (8) Climate change
  • 1816 - after Tambora Indonesia - "the year without the sun"
  • frost in Germany mass starvation
Other cities besides Knossos
  • all that remains is a necklace of islands surrounding the vast caldera
  • ]16:10] City of Akrotiri
  • Akrotiri on Thera - buried - 1960s found - pumice 30 feet deep
  • preserved buildings three-stories high
  • no human remains - 2000-3000 people abandoned the town
  • harbor town of Palaikastro (Palekastro) on Crete - tsunami waves trapped inside the bay, then travel up the river.
Recent Unexpected Finds
  • 1997 - fossilized sea shells - forams (foraminifera) - found in a saltwater marsh - in a core of mud coming from deeper water offshore - deposited by a tsunami
  • frescos buried in the ash of Akrotiri show an island inside another island with a ring of water around it, and a huge city on the island
  • on Thera, 400 pots in a warehouse - industrial scale; lead discs of Minoan weights & measures
  • Thera was a major Minoan marketplace - their trading hub is vaporized
  • fossilized algae high on slopes of Thera - from a shallow sea an an island inside the caldera - means the eruption was larger than original estimates
  • the bogs of Ireland - tree slices record climate over 7000 years -
  • each year a ring of growth -
  • good year thick rigs, bad years hard to measure -
  • in one sample, Irish oak, buried in peat bog, 3500 years ago -
  • then 1628 BC growth slows down 1627 BC - 1616 BC - no summer growth
  • increased coldness, or wetness, or both
  • ice sheets of Greenland -
  • annual layers of snow, capture contents of the atmosphere -
  • sulfur as sulfuric acid - 3500 years ago
  • that snow is half a mile deep - layer of sulfuric acid ,
  • embedded in it were tiny shards of volcanic ash, from Thera -
  • so Crete harvest failed catastrophically
Some Minoans lived on after the Eruption
  • Clay tables from 50 years after have Minoan writing
  • Only later did mainland Greeks take over
  • [56:00] ritual vases decorated with sea creatures, starfish, octopus,
  • new awareness of power of sea incorporated into religion -
  • statue of gold and ivory found in a humble building in Palaikastro
  • rigid hierarchy of Crete has been devastated
  • no belief in divine authority in Knossos
  • order has been changed into chaos
And descended into sheer savagery
  • the local people sacrifice their most valued possessions to the gods
  • skulls of 5 children, murdered at Knossos
  • "while the Empire is collapsing, in the mid-fifteenth century BC"
  • great knife slicing marks - meat sliced off the bones,
  • a storage jar with cut-mark bones and an edible barbaros snail -
  • likely cooked together
  • "ritual cannibalism."

Dawn of the Apocalypse: 4 - Dark Age of Egypt
  • Prof Fekri Hassan, University College, London
  • Dr Hala Barakat, Botanist, University of Cairo [Mrs. Hassan]
  • Dr Gaballah Ali Gaballah, Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities
    • [ aka Gaballa Ali Gaballa - google ]
  • Prof Donald Redford, Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr Mira Bar-Matthews, Geological Survey of Israel
  • Dr Gerald Bond, Geologist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Prof Peter deMenocal, Geologist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Narrator: Ralph Gunderman
Old Kingdom of Egypt 2,686 - 2,181 505
1st Intermediate Period 2,181 - 2,055 126

Theory: the Old Kingdom collapsed due to famine.

  • conventional view - fight between rival dynasties began in 2,181 BC.
  • 1971 - Feki Hassan discovers the tomb of Ankhtifi.
  • He was a local governor in Upper Egypt
  • stone carvings of horrendous famines, suffering of ordinary people,
  • and eating their children - description of actual events, not mythology
  • So Old Kingdom was destroyed by a famine and reversion to cannibalism
  • Gaballah rejects this view - it is exaggerated rhetoric
Ankhtifi (or Ankhtify) was a nomarch of Hierakonpolis and a supporter of the pharaoh in Herakleopolis Magna (10th dynasty), which was locked in a conflict with the Theban based 11th Dynasty kingdom for control of Egypt. Hence, Ankhtifi was possibly a rival to the Theban rulers Mentuhotep I and Intef I. He lived during the First Intermediate Period, after the Egyptian Old Kingdom state had collapsed, and at a time when chaos, hunger and famine stalked the land.

[14:50 ] More famine in Delta

  • Nile Delta excavations at end of Old Kingdom (2100).
  • 1996 - poor burials under reed matting packed tightly
  • 9,000 bodies - few if any grave goods - very poor - extreme poverty
  • everything is breaking down - evidence "in dirt archaeology" -
  • Did something go wrong with the Nile? Need more proof
Ancient Records of the Nile
  • 7th c AD - Arabs conquer Egypt.
  • Arab records for 1000 years - lots of variation -
  • 1 in 5 floods was a bad flood - small drop disastrous ramifications -
  • 1791-1792 - the Niles flood was a meter or two below average, meaning
  • starvation and riots, so Napoleon conquered the debilitated country
Upper Egypt campfires
  • Hala digs in upper Egypt for Old Kingdom for evidence of campfires
  • firewood acacia tree - no longer found in desert - so it was growing,
  • and this means underground water, oases
[29:45] Israeli caverns
  • Mira calculates record of climate
  • ratio of heavy to light oxygen in the water in stalactite limestone
  • more light means wet period, more heavy means dry period
  • 4200 years old (2185 BC) - unusual 20% drop in rainfall -
  • this is climate change - largest event over the last 5000 years
  • Fekri thinks climate change destroyed Old Kingdom - within a few decades.
Iceland glaciers
  • find glacier pieces, streaked with black ash, floating in the sea
  • As the icebergs drift south, they melt, the ash falls to the ocean floor
  • where mud covers it up
  • Those icebergs floating south means there was a cold period
  • And a 1500 year cycle of mini ice ages, each lasting 100 years
  • one ice age was 4200 years (2185 BC)
  • extreme ice age in Europe at the time of Egyptian famine -
  • We find the ash in Greenland, Americas, Indonesia
  • colder and dryer - suffering most acute in Egypt
[45:50] More famine found
  • Robert Redford, 1999 excavation
  • skeletons under a temple wall; destruction is everywhere like a massacre
  • 18 corpses contorted in dramatic positions-
  • males thrown over a wall - two males with pig in middle
  • a fallen teenager with rat in hand & decapitated
  • these 18 murdered and not buried
  • For they had no relatives to retrieve bodies -
  • no one cared about them - place abandoned -
  • global climate changed - also in Egypt?-
[54:20] Lake Birket Qarum
  • Lake Birket Qarum is fed by the Nile and rose and fell with the Nile flood.
  • Mud sediments at the bottom go back years
  • but no mud dates back to the Old Kingdom.
  • The lake had dried up totally at the end of the Old Kingdom
  • clinching evidence - low nile floods turned land to dust. famines over Egypt
The Doctor of Baghdad
  • doctor of Bagdad witnessed a Cairo famine in 1200 AD -
  • poor hunger ate corpses carrion dogs filth children -
  • no sentimentality in the account

Series - Engineering an Empire
"It originally ran for one full season of weekly episodes" -- 14 over 3 years
[ sub-menu ] - Wikipedia page - [ top-menu ]
[H2 HD]
History Television Network Productions
© 2006 A&E Television Networks.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Rome 09/13/2005 Rome
2 Egypt. 10/09/2006 Egypt
3 Greece. 10/16/2006 Greece
4 Greece: The Age of Alexander. 10/23/2006 Macedon
10 The Persians. 12/04/2006 Persia
13 The Byzantines 12/25/2006 Byzantine
14 Da Vinci's World 01/08/2007 Italy
Narrator: Michael Carroll
Host : Peter Weller, Syracuse University

"hosted by Peter Weller, famous for his acting role as RoboCop
but also a lecturer at Syracuse University,
where he completed his Master's in Roman and Renaissance Art."

Engineering an Empire - 2 - Egypt
  • Zahi Hawass, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt
  • Mahmoud Khodier, Egyptologist
  • Charles van Siclen, The American Research Center in Egypt
  • Michael Jones, The American Research Center in Egypt
  • Salima Ikram, American University in Cairo
  • Stephen P. Harvey, The University of Chicago
  • Lawrence Berman, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Ann Macy Roth, New York University
  • Colleen Manassa, Yale University

notes put into the main chronology.

Engineering an Empire - 3 - Greece


  • Barry Strauss, Cornel University
  • George Zarkadakis, Focus Magazine
    • [ Author, The Mystery of Mind () mentioned in other series ]
  • Clairy Palyvou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Theodosios P. Tassios, Technical University of Athens
  • Christopher Ratté [Ratte] , New York University
  • Richard Billows, Columbia University
  • Lothar Haselberger, University of Pennsylvania

1300 - 1100 - Mycenaeans lay foundation of Greek civilization

  • <14:45> Their citadel walls - ten-ton blocks - post and lintel
  • Lion's gate - corbelled arch with cobbling & counterweights
  • corbel dome - one step further - used for tombs (tholos)
  • circular form used on in tombs - symbolism of circle and death
  • constant pressure from outwards to inwards needed for stability
  • that is the earthen dome built on the outside around the tholos.
  • all other architecture is straight lines only.

1100 - 800 - Dark Ages

800 - 500 BC - Rise of the 100 City-States ruled by Tyrants

  • <27:00> Samos
  • Polycrates (570-522) ruled Samos, taxing passing ships
  • Had a fortress and walls, but water was from Mt. Castro, 900 feet high
  • an aqueduct could be severed by an occupying enemy.
  • Eupalinos dug an underground tunnel from mountain to the city
  • Digging from both ends simultaneously, like the Chunnel.
  • Completed at a slight gradient, 24 inches of difference between ends
  • Discrepancy of 1/8th of a percent of the 3,500 foot length.
  • Stepped off right triangle around mountian with hypotenuse for tunnel?
  • Dig two tunnels, one work tunnel and one water-carrying tunnel
  • [ ??? don't really understand why ]

480 - Athens discards tyrany, invents democracy

  • <02:30> Themistocles, ruler of Athens (493-471)
  • [480 - also year Spartans held the pass at Thermopylae]
  • 09/480 - 480 - Themistocles's Fleet of Triremes
  • Strait of Salamis, Persian Empire attacks Greece
  • Themistocles found fatal flaw in Persian might, their navy
  • Persian religion regarded saltwater as demonic
  • Persia preferred diplomacy, intimidation, and buying traders.
  • His triremes will go eight-nine knots.
  • Themistocles, the trickster, lured Persians into narrow Salamis straits -
  • He sent a fake traitor to tell them to attack at Salamis at dawn.
  • After victory, Themistocles's ambition started the cycle all over again.
  • 471 - Ostracism of Themistocles, flees to Persia, where he died.
  • <37:00> Pericles, strategos of Athens (461- 429)
  • inaugurates Golden Age of Athens (448-430)
  • But the tragedy - Pericles was also an imperialist
  • 478 - Athens created the Delian League for mutual defense
  • 447-432 - Pericles builds Parthenon, most expensive building
  • excavate marble, transport it, then lift it to top of Acropolis
  • with levers, ropes, and pulleys, making a crane.
  • <46:30> Temples of the day: hexastyle construction [6 x 13 columns]
  • Parthenon larger octastyle, 8 x 17 columns
  • Each column, 11 drums perfectly carved to stack atop each other
  • each drum having 4 bosses, used for ropes in lifting, then cut off
  • Since no mortar used, setting stones required extreme precision
  • Optical illusions - there are no straight lines in the Parthenon
  • entasis: the column bows out in center, bows back at the top
  • These curves cancel out the apparent curve seen if they were straight
  • Purpose of the Parthenon to house the fantastic statue of Athena
  • Enemies attack Pericles, starting with his hetaera, Aspasia,
  • whom he kissed in public.

431 - Sparta begins its war against Athenian Empire

  • <56:30> overcrowded Athens devastated by plague & Pericles dies
  • 404 - Athens falls to Sparta
  • Greek culture will be taken to the world by two Macedonians.


Engineering an Empire - 4 - Greece: Age of Alexander

Philip II changes warfare with engineering

  • added the corps of engineers
  • to the phalanx, adds the sarissa (18-foot long pike) making a tank of men
  • gastrophetes - belly shooter - cross bow stronger than any man's arms
  • oxybeles - torsion catapult - bolt shooter - twisting ropes for tension
  • catapult - means skin penetrator - has pelt in the name

Philip II lets his conquered peoples carry on.

Hellenism is the assimilation of conquered cities to Greek culture. The first international culture of commerce and scholarship.

  • City planning based on the grid.
  • The agora - the marketplace
  • The stoa - indoor mall for conversations
  • Theater was a Greek invention, going along with democracy.

Ptolemy I makes great contributions to it.

  • The Lighthouse of Alexandria
  • The Museum and Library of Alexandria.
  • Any ships arriving are asked if they have any books to copy. They get the copy, Alexandria keeps the original.
  • The Museum was a think tank.
  • Lighthouse destroyed in 1300 AD by an earthquake.

Theater of Epidaurus is the best preserved.

  • theatron - the viewing area carved from the side of a hill
  • orchestra - the circular area for dancing, music, and performing
  • the skene - building behind the orchestra for storage and used for backdrops
  • "spectacular acoustics"
    • "the astonishing acoustic properties [result from] the advanced design: the rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify high-frequency sounds from the stage"

Ptolemy II (285-246) married his sister, Arsinoe II, to conform to Egyptian custom. Ptolemy II was "Philadelphus" (Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος: "Ptolemy the sibling-loving").

Hero of Alexandria - first century AD

  • invented the steam engine - the aeolipile.
  • because of slavery, there was no economic need for it

Eratosthenes got the circumference of the earth within 1%.

Engineering an Empire - 10 - Persia

notes put into the main chronology.

Serials - Lost Worlds

Lost Worlds - Ramses' Egyptian Empire
Season 1, Episode 8
[H2 HD]
Produced by Atlantic Productions for HISTORY
© 2006 A&E Television Networks, LLC.
  • Professor Kent Weeks, Director, Theban Mapping Project
  • Charles van Siclen III, Egyptologist
  • Dr Kathlyn Cooney, Stanford University
  • Dr Peter Brand, University of Memphis
  • Denys Stocks, Ancient Technological Consultant
  • Dr Per Storemyr, Conservation Scientist
  • Dr Elizabeth Bloxham, University College London
Narrator: Corey Johnson
Ramesses II will make his mark by building.

Every pharaoh had to make his mark at Karnak, to show his love for Amon-Ra.

To build the hypostyle hall at Karnak, they did not use cranes to lift the stones; they raised the ground itself. Mud brick ramps used to bring up a level of blocks, then more dirt brought up, the floor heightened, and another layer is put down.

Stone pounders and copper chisels, flints for scoring.

The slope of the ramp was 7 degrees. To get to the top it had to be two football fields long, over which the rocks were moved.

Notches in the stones for pieces of wood to hold two stones together.

They had six colors: red, yellow, green blue, white, black.

The temples were not open to the public. They were homes for the Gods, where the Pharaoh went to make offerings to them, which act made him powerful.

In the painted scenes, the gods are inside looking out, and the pharaoh is coming in from the outside.

Silsila quarries for sandstone.

When the Nile flooded, the blocks could be brought right up to the temple.

(Kathlyn) Every day, the kings, as chief priest, had to go into the temple sanctuary in order to

  • clothe the god
  • feed the god
  • anoint the god
  • read the god a number of texts to awaken him and give him new life
  • sacredly close up the shrine
  • leave no footprints behind



(32:30) Opet Festival, marking the Nile flood.

Temple at Luxor

Simple stone age pounders for precision work.

(42:00) Mortuary temple - the Ramasseum - 70 foot tall stature, now in ruins

Battle of Kadesh at the Orontes River - his images made the truth, not what happened.

Abu Simbel - to make himself a god - cut from living rock. To intimidate the Nubians, where all the gold came from.

Sun hits the inner sanctuary on two days year. Where Ramesses sits with three other gods.

(52:15) KV-5 in the Valley of the Kings, largest tomb complex, 125 chambers Earthquakes and floods for 3200 years have erased all the decorations.

To make the sarcophagus, use rods of wood spun by ropes to dig out holes in the stone. POWER TOOLS!


Serials - Sex in the Ancient World

Sex in the Ancient World : Egyptian Erotica
Season 1, Episode 2
copyright by A&E Television Networks
"Egypt is the untold story of the ancient world."

Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy is the largest collection in the world outside Cairo. Papyrus 55001 is The Turin Erotic Papyrus - 12 men and women in sexual positions.

Unlike Greece and Rome, historians have covered up how the Egyptians thought about sex, that you had to be a sexual being,

Mutilated statue of Min, god of fertility, at the British Museum. The penis has been removed.

For a wall etching of him, the penis was covered up with the exhibit title, "Temple Scene of Usertesen I dancing before Min."

Possibly the oldest sexual graffito in the world at a temple for Queen Hatshepsut. It's in a cave. The site is blocked to keep visitors out. Made by a craftsman of the tomb possibly, Queen Hatshepsut in bent over and a man is taking her from behind, maybe by Senenmut, her steward and lover. She's wearing the Nemes headdress, a sign of royalty,

The artist was showing his distaste for a female king, which went against the laws of Mart.

It's similar to one of the 12 positions in the Turin papyrus.

In contrast to Greece and Rome, Egyptian sexual imagery is much more coded. Beginning of new life starts with birth, so the afterlife involves sex.

Lotus flower is symbol of resurrection.

Sexuality, music, and drunkenness all go together.

On clothes chest, Tutankhamun sits on a chair, shooting a bow and arrow. His wife sits below him, at his knees, holding an arrow, ready for him to shoot. The word, seti, meaning shooting, also means ejaculate.

Hunting was a common metaphor for sex in the ancient world.

"Traveling through the marshes" is an Egyptian euphemism for having sex.

Images in the temple hidden from public, only for the priest.

One hieroglyphic is the phallus, dripping semen.

Gods performed sexual acts to create the world. While they are discreet in representing human sex, they can be quite pornographic with the gods.

Auto-fellatio of earth god Geb shows how self-sustaining and fertile is the earth.

All the men in the Turin papyrus are greatly endowed as is Geb.

Temples of Abydos. Chapel of Tar Socar. Mummiform Osiris with Isis as a bird on his erect phallus. The phallus has been chipped out.

Bes is the god of fertility. Saqqara, the city of the dead. Bes chambers decorated with images of Bes and naked ladies. Perhaps for people who needed help in conceiving, Rites have to be performed at childbirth. Bes is a bit of a comic character.

Tattoos in ancient Egypt were for the most erotic parts of the female body. One image shows a tattoo of Bes. Another has a belt of dots, a sign of sexuality on the buttocks of a female statuette. She had no feet so once she's placed in the tomb, she can't run away and take her fertility with her.

tattoos on the belly of a woman giving birth.

Hathor was goddess of physical and spiritual love.

Goddesses dancing with a sistra for music.

Deir el medina - a village of commoners - above the Valley of the Kings. Turin papyrus came from here. "Calm now is the desire of my skin," says a woman, bent over, taken from behind by a man, on an ostracon of a worker in the village.

Another ostraca shows a man having sex with a female, facing her, and she has her legs wrapped around his shoulders. It is "beautifully drawn."

Love poetry men and women wrote to each other.

Favorite male fantasy - young woman rising naked and wet from the river Nile.

Turin: sex on a chariot, her hair pulled by the old man. Hair was very erotic. Most Egyptians shared their heads because of lice and were bald. Wore elaborate wigs.

One text says, Put your hair on and lets go to bed.

Lotus flowers over the head mean the women are opiated.

One girl looks in a mirror as she puts on lipstick, and she sits on an amphora, turned upside down so that its point is entering her, and a man sits at her feet, and she says, "You give me nothing, so I have to rely on this."

Was this an ancient brothel?

Who was the Turn papyrus made for? Was it pornographic?

Serials - Planet Egypt
[ sub-menu ] - [ top-menu ]
[H2 HD, 48 minutes]
Produced by Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion, Cologne
for History
© 2011 ZDF and A&E Television Networks, LLC..
Narrator: Mark Rossman
# Title Date Subjects
1 Birth of an Empire 10/09/2011 the Narmer Palette
2 Pharaohs at War 10/09/2011 Thutmose III : Battle of Megiddo
3 Temples of Power 10/16/2011 Amenhotep III & Akhenaten
4 Quest for Eternity 10/16/2011 Ramses II & his Temples

Planet Egypt: 1 - Birth of an Empire
  • Recent study shows that King Narmer was the great unifier of upper and lower Egypt, not a fraud who inflated his own importance.
  • Narmer was in 3100 or 3000 BC.
  • Before him, Dynasty 0 - "we are learning about only in the last 10 - 15 years."
Why is there a question?
  • <01:10> Did Narmer create the United Kingdom?
  • For such a great king, he sure had a modest tomb at Abydos.
    For the next 3,000 years, every Pharaoh depicted himself as a victor in battle, even if he never fought a war. Was Narmer the first of this tradition?
  • <15:30> In 1898, the Narmer Palette found at Hierakonpolis (aka Nekhen)
  • It was an important Dynasty 0 city in the upper kingdom.
  • "one of the greatest settlements in the world," 10,000 living and trading peacefully.
  • Does well-established Hierakonpolis suggest the conquest never occurred?

Ancestors of the Egyptians

  • A cave in Gilf Kebir (Gilf El-Kebir) plateau in the Sahara found recently
  • Dates to 7,000 BC
  • Perhaps the oldest prehistoric painting on its walls - silhouette figures of dancers and animals -- antelopes, ostriches, giraffes.
  • At the time, the area was a savannah on the shore of a lake.
  • Giant herds roamed the savannah for the hunter/gatherers
  • When the rain stopped, the region became desert; people moved to the Nile.

Geography determined Egypt's boundaries

  • <27:45> Isle of Elephantine marked Egypt's southern border.
  • Sopdet was the goddess of the Nile floods, "the donor of the cool water"
  • Narmer led ceremonies to get the favor of the goddess.
  • Source of Nile not found until the 19th century.
    • The Blue Nile, 60% of volume, arises in mountains of Ethiopia.
    • The White Nile arises in Sudan.
    • They merge at Khartoum to form the longest river in the world.
  • Annual flood, 7 to 26 feet deposits, makes the most fertile land on earth.
  • <36:30> Nile provides
    • mud for huts and palaces
    • papyrus for the first paper.
    • transportation in a land without roads.
  • Wooden boats modeled on papyrus boats, wooden planks sewn together with papyrus ropes - they can be disassembled.
  • Palette shows Narmer opening an artificial sluice.
  • 3 seasons - flood, planting, harvest - feeds 1 million at Dynasty 0.

So is there a verdict on the Palette - history or metaphor?

  • <46:00> "The images remain cryptic."
  • There was a war. Too many details to be purely symbolic.
  • An ancient quote found - there was a shipment of oil in the year that Narmer defeated "the papyrus people."
  • This resolves the mystery: the palette does recount an historical war
  • "When the north refuses to succumb to the rule of the south, King Narmer plans for war."
  • Warfare is not only violence, but psychology - humiliating the enemy.
  • The elite of the south want to import luxury goods from the Middle East, and these go through the north.
  • <56:30> "Egypt has become the first territorial state in history, the first empire."
  • The two crowns are united into one.
  • The Dynastic Period begins.
  • Later divided in districts, 22 nomes in the north, 20 in the south.

Planet Egypt: 2 - Pharaohs at War
Foreigners were envious of the wealth of Egypt.
  • <0:01:20> 1648 - The Hyksos take Nile Delta for 100 years
  • They had advanced war chariots
  • Egyptians were conquered by people they despised.
  • Ahmose I routed the Hyksos with his own war chariots
  • Founded the New Kingdom in 1550.

Thutmose III would be Egypt's greatest general.

  • Hatshepsut, his aunt, his regent, c. 1473–1458 BC (18th Dynasty)
  • aspires to rule for life, has her own coterie
  • removes her breasts and wears the ceremonial beard on her portrait
  • She the first transsexual (!)
  • Thebes one of the biggest cities in the world
  • wealth from trade and tribute from subdued territories
Now come the envious Mitanni.
  • The Mitanni ally with the Canaanite vassals of Egypt
  • Thutmose, who wants war, builds up his army
    • He has Nubian archers in his army.
    • He has chariots improved on the Hyksos design,
    • which, like ships, could be dismantled and carried overland
  • <29:15> Then Hatshepsut, who wanted peace, dies
  • Thutmose devises a strategy used by later Pharaohs
    • pre-emptive strike,
    • defeat the enemy,
    • expand the empire,
    • stabilize borders,
    • but don't get overextended.
  • Thutmose III prepares his route ahead to time with water stops.
  • Canaanites retreat to Megiddo, a fortress atop a mountain, commanding the Jezreel Valley.
  • Crossing the Carmel mountains in the narrow Aruna pass, he rejects advice of his generals.
  • <41:00> Surprise attack defeats king of Kadesh, who retreats.
  • But Thutmose's men stop to loot, allowing the Canaanites to escape,
  • necessitating a 7 month siege instead of a one-day conquest.
  • Thutmose captures Megiddo.
  • He spares the enemy kings, again ignoring his generals
  • but he makes them swear an oath to him and he takes their children hostage,
  • beginning a three-century practice.
  • Occupy and rule rather than destroy.
10 years later: war with the Mitanni who want revenge.
  • <52:00> Shows Egyptian ocean-going seaworthiness
  • Ships that can be disassembled and put back together.
  • 550 miles from Egypt, he crosses the Euphrates.
  • But the Mitanni retreat.
  • Now, Thutmose destroys their cities.
  • He declares victory at the outer boundary of his empire.
  • In his temple reliefs, he depicts his enemies as human beings.
  • "His 54 year reign over 3 millions people was unprecedented and brilliant."

Planet Egypt: 3 - Temples of Power
  • Amenhotep III began the rebellion of his son, Akhenaten.
The Temple of Amun-Ra had attained great wealth and power.
  • Egypt was paradise on earth.
  • The people attributed that to their thousand gods.
  • If you neglect the gods, they die, and chaos rises.
  • Amun-Ra had become the supreme god
  • His temple at Karnak was part of the monumental city of Thebes.
  • At the Opet Festival, the statue of the god mingled with the people.
  • 80,000 temple workers at Karnak.
  • The priests protect the god, and the god protects the people.
  • Gifts flooded in, especially after a war and the enemy pays tribute.
Amenhotep III (1391-1353) moves to replace Amon-Ra with Aten.
  • He has no war to fight, the traditional path to glory.
  • So he elevates himself to a god.
  • <25:15> On the west of the Nile, he builds his "funerary temple."
  • It's the largest construction in Egypt since the Pyramids.
  • 1,000 statues of himself at his Temple.
  • Also intimate scenes from his personal life - unique.
  • He elevates Aten over Amon-Ra.
  • Aten the sun disk is everywhere and needs no special priesthood.
  • New temple to Aten, open to the sky,
  • unlike Amon-Ra, with transition from light to dark toward holy of holies.
  • His son will have a difficult act to follow.
Akhenaten (1353-1336) completes his father's work.
  • How do you outshine a man who is a god?
  • <36:30> closes Temple of Amon-Ra
  • His supporters raid the Temple and steal all the valuables
  • He bans the god, and strikes his name from the walls
  • No more mythology
  • Priests of Amon-Ra sentenced to hard labor
  • All taxes to Aten
  • Massive building program with smaller blocks, the talatats.
Then, an abrupt change of mind.
  • 1347 - abandons Thebes for a new city in the desert, Akhetaten
  • It had never belonged to any other god
  • <48:00> New kind of realistic art depicting the royal family
  • He had no interest in the commoners, who secretly keep to the old gods.
  • A cemetery of babies may indicate an epidemic.
  • City abandoned after he dies and torn down,
  • using the talatats as filler -- a godsend for archaeologists today
  • <56:45> Amon-Ra priests come back with their buried statuettes
  • and remove Akhenaten's name from all the walls.

Planet Egypt: 4 - Quest for Eternity
  • Ramesses II (1279-1213) and the Egyptian obsession with death.
  • This is all INSANITY.
  • "He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the  Egyptian Empire." [Wikipedia]
Layout - west to east (???)
  • Valley of the Kings, "a few kilometers from Thebes."
  • Set Maat (Place of the World Order), secluded worker's compound
  • Abydos - city of Osiris
  • the Nile
  • Thebes - 50,000 citizens [ modern Luxor ]
  • Temple of Karnak, home to Amon-Ra, the imperial god
Ideas of the Afterlife
  • If corpses last forever in the desert, why not life?
  • If the sun rises and sets forever, why not life?
  • First tombs at Abydos
  • Mummification perfected around 1500 BC
  • The afterlife is just like this life, with need for food, beer, and servants
  • But clay copies of objects work just as well - like cloves of garlic
  • [ Then why won't copies of servants do just as well? ]
  • Cover tomb with a sand hill, symbol of the resurrection - the primeval mound
Building the Tombs
  • <15:45> Primeval mounds repeated yearly when Nile flood goes down.
  • <22:45> Ramesses II - Egypt’s most elaborate tomb builder
  • Ramose, the scribe, becomes Ramesses's tomb builder
  • Ramose's wife, Mutemwiya, visits the work site.
  • Must hide the body from tomb robbers - no mummy, no afterlife.
  • <31:45> Thousands of pottery shards, pretty much all that is left,
  • clay and limestone fragments, once notebooks and sketch pads
  • Tomb robbing is an inside job, getting information from the workers
  • Steal jewelry, break coffin, destroy the body - means no afterlife.
An interruption for War - Kadesh, 1274
  • Muwatalli II, the Hittite, marches south to Kadesh in Syria
  • These are the frontiers of the Egyptian Empire
  • Meanwhile, tomb work goes on - every detail must be exactly right.
  • If the Pharaoh does not enter the afterlife, it brings chaos to the land.
  • Hence, the need for perfect paintings and writings.
  • "The Valley of the Kings is more than a graveyard. It is the engine that drives the world."
  • <43:15> Ramesses withdraws from Kadesh and returns in triumph.
  • It works because the Hittites also withdrew.
  • This leads later to the world's first peace treaty.
Back to the Afterlife
  • Ramesses also has a "funerary temple," different from his crypt!
  • His tomb is the largest in the Valley of the Kings.
  • For the pure of heart, the afterlife continues much as this life.
  • Of course, there is also work there - dig canals, plant fields.
  • BUT ushabtis, little clay models of servants, do all the work.
  • Need dozens of them. Hundreds?
  • "The afterlife is open to all who prepare for it."
  • <55:15> Now, another vast tomb - for all his dead sons.
  • Ramesses is almost 90 when he dies.
  • His tomb is ready.

Serials - Clash of the Gods.
[sub-menu] - [ Wikipedia ] - [ top-menu ]
Season 1
[H2 HD]
Produced by KPI, a unit of Lightworks Producing Group for History
© 2009 A&E Television Networks, LLC.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Zeus. 8/03/2009  
2 Hercules. 8/10/2009  
3 Hades. 8/17/2009  
4 Minotaur. 8/24/2009  
5 Medusa. 8/31/2009  
6 Odysseus - Curse of the Sea. 8/31/2009  
7 Odysseus - Warrior's Revenge. 9/21/2009  
8 Beowulf. 9/28/2009  
Experts at Universities
  • David George, St Anselm College
  • David Gilman Romano, University of Pennsylvania
  • Brian Rose, University of Pennsylvania
  • Peter Struck, University of Pennsylvania
  • Kristina Milnor, Barnard College
  • Michael Fontaine, Cornell University
  • Rebecca Kennedy, Union College
  • Renaud Gagne, McGill University
  • Sarah lles Johnston, The Ohio State University
  • Emily M. Allen, Rutgers University
  • John Davenport, Fordham University
  • Thomas Finan, Saint Louis University
  • Helga Luthers, University of Colorado
  • Dimitra Fimi, Cardiff University
  • Tracey-Anne Cooper, St. John's University
  • Michael Cosmopoulos, University of Missouri
  • Michael Drout, Wheaton College
  • Ioannis Mylonopoulous, Columbia University
  • Barry Strauss, Cornell University
Experts at Other Institutions
  • Charlie Bethel, Oral Historian
  • John Rennie, (7th) Editor-in-Chief, Scientific American.
  • Angus Wainwright, Archaeologist, National Trust UK
  • Clive Finlayson, The Gibraltar Museum
  • Charles Barker, Rose Maru Trust [ ship-building-methods ]
Experts with Books
  • Robert Bittlestone, Author, Odysseus Unbound ()
  • Scott Huler, Author
    • No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through The Odyssey (2008)
  • Scott A. Leonard, Co-Author,
    • Myth and Knowing: An Introduction to World Mythology (2003)
    • expert on the Santorini Blast
  • Dennis R. MacDonald,
    • The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (2000)
    • Does the New Testament Imitate Homer? Four Cases from the Acts of the Apostles (2003)
    • Christianizing Homer: The Odyssey, Plato, and the Acts of Andrew (1994)
    • "MacDonald's work regarding the New Testament writings and Homeric epics has not attained mainstream support in New Testament studies and is contrary to modern form criticism." - Wikipedia
  • Tony Perrottet, Author, The Naked Olympics ()
  • Tom Stone, Greek Historian
    • Zeus: A Journey Through Greece in the Footsteps of a God (2008)
    • Curse of the Minotaur ()
  • Barry Strauss, Author, The Trojan War: A New History ()
  • Steven Wilk, Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon () - [wrestler]
  • George Zarkadakis, [ Huffington Post bio , web-page ]
    • Author, The Mystery of Mind () - [ NO INFO WHATSOEVER ]
    • [ not Mystery of the Mind: A Critical Study of Consciousness and the Human Brain (1975) by Wilder Penfield ]
Narrator: Stan Bernard

Clash of the Gods : 1 - Zeus

700 BC - Hesiod, Theogony

  • Story of a dynastic family that winds up with a well-ordered world.
  • If you control the sky, you control the world -- that power belonged to Zeus, the king of the gods, and the guarantor of justice.
  • He has the lightning bolt.
  • Greek worship: do what was required to keep the gods from squashing you.
[First generation of Gods: Ouranos (Uranus) and Gaia. - parents of the Titans ]

The Titan Cronus is a god who fears for his sons.

    Cronus is not Chronos, often identified in antiquity, the identification becoming more widespread during the Renaissance, giving rise to the allegory of "Father Time" wielding the harvesting scythe.

  • Cronus is King of the Titans, an older order of gods, not too bright.
  • He mates with his sister, Rhea.
  • He worries about his sons replacing him.
  • So he swallows alive his first five offspring:
  • Demeter, HestiaHeraHades and Poseidon
  • Being immortal, they do not die.
  • Cannibalism was deplorable to the Greeks, who voice their fears.

Rhea has a plan.

  • She gives birth to Zeus in secret in a cave on Crete.
  • Shields were banged on the walls to cover the baby's cries.
  • A cave on Crete was an ancient pilgrimage site.
  • The cave had shields on the wall.
  • She wraps a rock in a baby blanket, and he gulps it down.
  • Zeus is spirited away and put "into the folds of the earth."
  • "A chosen son, hidden to save his life."
  • Like Moses and Jesus, who are both hidden away from killers.

Zeus assembles his army to dethrone Cronus.

  • Zeus drugs Cronus's cup of mead.
  • Cronus vomits up the egg-shaped stone first,
  • now the cornerstone of the Temple of Delphi.
  • Then he vomits up the five siblings, ready to join Zeus.

The Twelve Olympians:

Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Hephaestus, Hermes, Hera, Demeter, Athena, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite,
and either Hestia, or Dionysus.

Hades and Persephone sometimes part of the twelve Olympians (from the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although Hades was excluded, who resided in the underworld and never visited Olympus.

  • Zeus needs more muscle.
  • the Hundred Handers, whom Cronos locked down in Tartarus.
  • They are grateful to Zeus for their liberation.
  • Cyclopes give Zeus the power of lightning.
  • Lightning bolts are five times the temperature of the sun.
  • The Titans are on Mt. Othrys.
  • The plain of Thessaly is the site for the battle.
The eruption that explains everything

In 1600-1500 BC, there was a volcanic eruption, the Minoan eruption of Thera/Santorini.

Effects felt as far away as California. "The single largest seismic event on earth in the last 27,000 years." 50,000 Hiroshima bombs.

"An explosion that powerful would have annihilated much of the Greek world" and been, for them, the wrath of the gods.

These myths were not written down in a vacuum.

The Titans have one last weapon, Typhon from Tartarus.

Zeus defeats him and sends the Titans down to Tartarus.

They descended there through the volcanic crater on Mt. Etna in Sicily. That explained all the lava flows that continued.

2003 - a lost temple discovered at the base of Mt. Olympus in the city of Dion and dedicated to Zeus. Dion means Zeus. Dion goes back to the 400s BC, the golden age of Greek mythology,

There is a statue with the inscription, "Zeus, the Highest."

Some say that is proof of monotheism for the Greeks at an early date. Philosophies begin to develop saying there is one god, and all the stories are about various aspects of it. -- ANY EXAMPLES? NAMES? DATES?

Zeus may have been the only god that mattered.

Now, Zeus is a god who fears for his sons.

  • (36:50) Greek gods have faults.
  • Zeus was fatally flawed. He had an uncontrollable sex drive.
  • He loves mortal woman and he will use a disguise.
  • Metis ("practical wisdom"), the goddess, becomes his first wife.
  • He is told that she will bear a child who will one day seize his throne.
  • He swallows his wife alive.
  • History repeated.
  • But Zeus is stronger and wiser.
  • Greeks often placed their thoughts in their stomachs.

Hera assembles an army to dethrone Zeus.

  • (44:10) Now Zeus needs a new wife, his sister, Hera, the most powerful goddess. They are equals.
  • She is jealous, but that doesn't stop him.
  • So every Greek town had its own hometown love child.
  • Athens, Thebes, Magnesia, Macedonia - all named after children of Zeus.
  • Hera gathers Olympians and plots a revolution.
  • Together, we can defeat Zeus.
  • He awakes from a nap, tied down in his bed.
  • Betrayed by the siblings he once saved - Zeus needs revenge.
  • The Hundred Handers rescue him, and the Olympians run for cover.
  • Hera will hang from the sky by golden chains.
  • Apollo and Poseidon are condemned to build the walls of Troy.

Zeus and the Flood

(54:00) After humans engage in cannibalism, he vows to destroy the human race.

He brings a catastrophic flood for nine days and nights, reaching the peak of Mt. Parnassus.

The human race perishes, except for two humans who have built an ark - Deucalion and Pyrrha.

In the last decade, research has shown: as the last ice age ended 7,000 years ago run off from melting glaciers surged into the Black Sea basin, violently submerging 170,000 square miles of dry land.

Could this disaster have spawned the story of Zeus's flood?

Theory in Secrets of the Bible: The Great Flood, which
places this event at 7,200 years ago - so, 5,200 BC as origin of memory for Noah's flood

One more challenger - Jesus Christ.

  • In the ancient world, Zeus was subordinate to only one force, Fate.
From Wikipedia:

Deucalion was the son of Prometheus; ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione, or Pronoia.

The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, so he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering.

Zeus unleashed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean. Deucalion, with the aid of his father Prometheus, was saved from this deluge by building a chest.

Like the Biblical Noah and the Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses his device to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha.

Clash of the Gods : 2 - Hercules
"This is the truth behind the myth of Hercules."


  • was the Babe Ruth of his day - womanizer, drinker, athlete
  • Son of Zeus and Alcmene,
  • his nemesis being Hera,
  • who cannot kill him because he is fated to become immortal.
  • While still a baby, Hercules kills two snakes Hera sent to kill him.

"So goes the myth. But what is the link to reality?"

  • 02/2004 - under a house in Thebes is found an altar to Hercules
  • Around it hundreds of ceramic vases, and small statuary,
  • all portraying Hercules.
  • This find was linked to a a text from 2500 years ago
  • that described the site at Thebes, the birthplace of Hercules.
  • It says this shine was built on the spot of Hercules's birth.

Hercules comes of age - never knowing happiness.

  • He is too strong for his own good - accidentally hurting people
  • Schizophrenic - unable to form emotional contacts with anyone
  • His father, Zeus, having no interest in protecting him from Hera
  • Hercules marries a princess,
  • Hera send him madness in his sleep,
  • believing that his wife and children are enemies, he kills him,
  • waking up from his madness with "blood guilt."

Only the Oracle of Delphi can help him absolve his guilt.

  • [14:00] She sits over an intersection of fault lines, recently discovered,
  • breathes ethylene fumes and pronounces that
  • Hercules must complete tasks given by his cousin, Eurystheus,
  • who is the king of Mycenae and his rival.
  • But this is a trick.
  • The labors are assigned by Hera, designed to crush him.
  • Their purpose is to purify him. [21:15]

Labors 1-6: challenges of Nature - Rid Greece of all its monsters.

  • 1 - The lion of animal instincts is impervious to his arrows.
  • 1 - By brute force, Hercules subdues the lion and wears its skin.
  • 2 - Hydra heads grow back two for one - un-killable lust for pleasure.
  • 2 - Cauterizing the stumps with a torch prevents them growing back.
  • 2 - Poisons his arrows by dipping them in the Hydra's blood.
  • 2 -"Toxon" is "bow" so "toxic in English preserves the legend of Hercules."
  • 3 - golden stag of Artemis that can outrun an arrow
  • 4 - a man-eating boar he captures alive
  • 5 - clean out the Augean stables of manure in one day
  • 5 -This requires menial labor.
  • 5 - But he diverts two great rivers to wash out the stables. [Clever!]
  • 6 - Birds represent mankind's unreachable goals.
  • 6 - He used poisoned arrows to drive off the man-eating birds.

Hercules was a model for the ideal man. Did he actually exist?

  • [ONE] Some myth versions say he came from Tiryns,
  • the home of a great warrior, connected to the gods
  • who served the king of Mycenae, although he is unnamed.
  • So is Eurystheus being a king of Mycenae just a coincidence?
  • [TWO] Olympia, where Olympics were founded in 776 BC
  • As close as a mortal could get to the gods
  • Parallels between the feats of the Games and the Labors
  • Hercules founded the Olympics after one of his labors.
  • Reliefs from the walls of Olympia depict his 12 labors.
  • The track at Olympia was the length of 600 steps of Hercules.
  • Hercules stands for perseverance.

Labors 7-9: beyond Greece to confront foreign enemies:

  • 7 - Greece beginning to colonize areas.
  • 7 - Reports coming back about monsters out there.
  • 7 - The Cretan Bull is code for Crete's dominance over mainland Greece.
  • 7 - Hercules will change that. Steals the bull and sails it back home.
  • 7 - Hercules has won his war against Nature.
  • 8 - the mares of Diomedes, tyrannical king of Bistonia.
  • 8 - horses trained to eat flesh of enemies.
  • 8 - the message is - the evil you create will ultimately destroy you.
  • 8 - the first labor where Hercules kills someone.
  • 9 - Hercules kills again, slaying the Amazons. [44:00]

Labors 10-12: to the edge of the earth, into an abyss of death.

Labor 10: Capture the cattle of the Geryon.

  • The Geryon, a grandson of Medusa, has 3 heads and 3 sets of legs.
  • Hercules must enter the Atlantic Ocean to get there,
  • must slice in half the mountain that closed up the Mediterranean.
  • kills Geryon with poisoned arrows and claims the cattle
  • The Straits of Gibraltar were the Straits of Hercules.
  • Artifacts of Hercules [800 BC to 400 BC] found in caves in the straits.
  • ancient sailors may have prayed there before entering the unknown.

Labor 11: Apples of the Hesperides - Christian parallels

  • apples
  • garden
  • dangerous serpent
  • early Christians identified apple of Hesperides and tree of life
  • apples - symbol of Hera's marriage to Zeus
  • wanders for years to find them and reaches Atlas at the end of the earth
  • the apples he seeks belong to the goddess, Hera.
  • Hercules holds up the world while Atlas retrieves them.
  • Atlas tried to renege on the deal, but Hercules outwits him.
  • He has avenged Hera by stealing her apples.

Labor 12: Capture Cerberus, the guardian of the underworld.

  • He must get into and out of Hades, never done before
  • Cerberus keeps the dead from coming out.
  • Real ancient fear was the dead coming back.
  • Must overpower the beast with nothing but his fists.
  • a Greek hero could break the cycle of life and death.

Resurrection of Hercules - Christian parallel [55:15]

  • Death is his only escape from the curse of Hera.
  • Hercules builds a funeral pyre for himself
  • but his soul ascends to heaven
  • His mortal flesh burns away, with all his guilt.
  • Self-sacrifice.
  • Hera relents.
  • Hercules is resurrected after his self-sacrifice.
  • He joins the Olympians as an immortal god
The Twelve Labors of Hercules:

Clash of the Gods : 3 - Hades
5 commercial breaks of 3:30 each = 17:30 out of 60 minutes

(1) The Olympians revolt against the Titans and Cronus

  • Cronus told in prophecy that one of his children would murder him.
  • So he ate all his kids and they grew up in his stomach.
  • Zeus escaped and returned to free his trapped siblings.
  • They overthrow the Titans.

(2) The Olympian males divide up the world

  • 3 males drew lots for their territories;
  • Zeus got the heavens,
  • Poseidon the sea, and
  • Hades, who drew the shortest lot, got the Underworld.
  • Hades, the eldest, by primogeniture, should have had first choice.

(3) Hades is the Christian three rolled into one:

  • The Fields of Asphodel - wandering around, dreary and gloomy (Limbo)
  • Tartarus - place of horrendous punishment (Hell),
  • Tartarus mentioned in 2 Peter.
  • The Islands of the Blessed - carefree and pleasant life forever (Heaven).
  • In all, one's fate depends upon one's conduct - just like Christianity.

(4) Hades takes a bride.

"In Greek mythology, when a young maiden is plucking flowers in a meadow, something bad is about to happen." (Gagne)

  • Persephone was one day picking flowers in a field.
  • The earth breaks open and Hades takes her down to the Underworld..
  • Demeter, her mother, aghast, withdrew from fertilizing the land.
  • Earth descends into a deep winter.
  • By the time Zeus gets her freed, there is a problem.
  • She had eaten three seeds from a pomegranate Hades had given her.
  • That was all Hades needed.
  • So she has to spend three months Below, and this is winter.
  • She enters and leaves Hades through a cave at Eleusis.

(5) Habitants of Hades

  • Cerberus, the three-headed dog,
  • the Hundred-Handed Ones.
  • Charon, the boatman,
  • Charon had to be paid. Coin in mouth of the dead. Laws made people treat the dead correctly. Else their ghosts, wander the earth as if it were Hades.
  • Charon became The Grim Reaper.
  • "In Greece, any soul who tried to cheat death was a menace to society."
  • Any dead spirit around would try to suck the life out of the living.
  • Voodoo dolls of ghosts in tiny coffins etched with curses against the living to be tormented by the dead -- discomfit my competitor in leather tanning.

(6) There is an in-between class - the restless dead

  • never made it to Hades
  • died too younng,
  • died violently,
  • people without proper burial ,
  • restless, unhappy, and angry ghosts
  • easy to get one of them to do something nasty for you

(7) "So goes the myth. But could it be based on reality" [27:00]

  • Diros is the cave network in Greece.
  • A maze of rivers and caverns matching description of Hades.
  • The first humans living in Greece lived in caves.
  • Caved remained sacred after Greeks moved out to farms.

(8) Hades in worship.

  • One could not speak the name of Hades. [Like Yahweh?]
  • No temples or statues for Hades.
  • Closest is the Eleusinian Mysteries, who had a well-respected initiation designed to take away the sting of death.
  • Socrates, Plato, Cicero.
  • At Eleusis, is an inscription, "To the God and the Goddess."
  • Eleusinian initiates go to the Isles of the Blessed
  • The Eleusinian Mysteries, a large cult based on death,
  • may have paved the way for Christianity,
  • "a cult revolving around the defeat of death."

(9) No one can outwit death.

  • Sisyphus - first soul to defy the will of Hades.
  • Told his wife not to bury him.
  • So his soul will be stuck in a no-man's land.
  • Then he complains to Persephone about his widow's mistreatment.
  • She gives him permission to return to earth to scold his wife.
  • Then he has no intention of returning to Hades.
  • He has done the impossible.
  • Hades drags Sisyphus back to the Underworld.
  • Sisyphus sent to Tartarus, to push his boulder up each day.
    [ HUH? Logistics? If you are not buried, then you don't have a coin. So how do you get to Hades in order to complain about your wife? ]

(10) But that does not stop people from trying.

    "... you can't be a truly Greek hero unless you've been to the Underworld and back." -- Sarah Iles Johnston.

  • Orpheus loses his beauttiful bride, Eurydice,
  • pushed into a pit of poisonous vipers by a satyr (pure appetite).
  • Orpheus goes to Hades
  • He spellbinds Charon and Cerberus with his lyre
  • In Greek, the word for song means "magical incantation."
  • Hades cannot understand lost love because he is immortal.
  • Yet the music of Orpheus gives him a sense of that.
  • Hades weeps and relents.
  • Orpheus can walk out of Hades with Eurydice if he does not look at her.
  • But then, the looking back and losing her forever.
  • "Orpheus travels deep into the wilderness and sings to everyone he meets about the tragedy of death."



(11) "This is the myth, but what is the connection to reality?"

  • Recent discoveries over the last two centuries.
  • Gold leaf lips with verses placed on lips of the dead as if the dead were speaking.
  • Said to be from poems of Orpheus.
  • The gold lips are directions to the underworld from one who has been there.
  • "Passports to the underworld."
  • Orpheus had learned about the underworld, and wrote these poems as an instruction manual for life after death.

(12) The ultimate conflict is in the Book of Revelation.

  • Jesus conquers the Underworld at the End of Days and frees the souls there.
  • A re-writing of the Gospel of Nicodemus is the Descensus Christi.
  • Christ confronts Hades, opens the gates, and leads the souls to Paradise.
  • In Hades, he preaches to the dead souls - reject Hades for the new savior.
  • Revelation tells of the final moments of Hades.
  • During the Last Judgement, Christ will cast Hades into a lake of fire.

Clash of the Gods : 4 - Minotaur

King Minos' sin led to archetypal conflict of Reason vs. Barbarism

  • King Minos had to sacrifice his best bull each year to Poseidon.
  • One year he fails to do so - because the bull is so magnificent.
  • Poseidon makes his wife, Queen Pasiphae (Pasiphaë ), lust for a bull
  • She climbs into "a cow costume" and lingers in the pasture
  • eventually suceeding in one of the most forbidden sex acts
  • After which, she has a man with a bull head, the Minotaur.
  • Minotaur = "Minos" + "tauros," even though father was not Minos.
  • Bull generally represents male potency, fertility, and power

The Minotaur so infuriated Minos that he weaponized the beast.

  1. [13:20] A weapon against any challenge to his power.
  2. Daedalus builds a prison for him, the labyrinth,
  3. a winding maze with stairways and cells, but no hallways,
  4. dark and disorienting, impossible to navigate.
  5. with the Minotaur imprisoned inside the Labyrinth.
  6. The Minotaur as animal instincts, contrary to Reason.
  7. Labyrinth: a dark mind which we constantly explore, the animal nature

"But is it more than just a myth?"

  • The Cave of Messara, ancient underground quarry on Crete,
  • with passages that wind for miles, may have been inspiration
  • Tourists today walk to the center, leaving cables behind him
  • But "most experts think the myth is older than the cave."
  • [ Wikipedia - Messara Plain --> Gortyn. ]

Later, Athens gave Minos an excuse for barbarism.

  • [21:40] In Athens, athletes gather for an early version of the Olympics,
  • Prince Androgeos, son of Minos, wins all of the contests,
  • and the losers, frenzied by drink, kill Androgeos.
  • Minos, with his great navy, has power over Athens, and
  • demands that Athens send him 14 virgins every nine years,
  • all - 7 men and 7 women - to be fed to the Minotaur,
  • when the full moon appears on an equinox in its 9-year cycle

"So goes the myth, but what is the connection to reality?"

  • The story symbolizes an ancient conflict of the LBA.
  • Crete, with its great navy, dominated the Aegean.
  • Athens and Sparta must wait for the classical period.
  • The minotaur represented the tyranny of Crete.
  • The labyrinth was Crete's nearly inescable power.
  • The victims symbolized the suffering of Athens.
  • The myths made the Cretans seem barbaric and evil.
  • And it worked.

Meanwhile, 50 miles from Athens, Theseus is born

  • Theseus - an "older order of heroes," strong, brave, and brilliant
  • son of a Greek princess and two fathers, Aegeus and Poseidon,
  • which was a common practice at the time, dual fatherhood
  • King Aegeus buries sword and sandals for Theseus when he is ready
  • and he is ready for the 3rd tribute time to the Cretans
  • when he is the Prince of Athens and lifts the rock.
  • [32:20] The Athenians sail to Knossos, the home of the Minotaur.
  • Father tells him to hoist white sails if he is safe on the way back.

Knossos, the capital of Crete, is full of barbaric superstition

  • Knossos was a great power between 1700 and 1450 BC
  • with 100,000 people and a vast palace at Knossos,
  • which had 1,000 rooms and five stories in some places.
  • with may passageways and no halls,
  • another possible inspiration for the labyrinth.
  • It violated symmetry, and "the Greeks liked symmetry."
  • Many frescoes in the palace based on bull worship
  • Knossos has the oldest throne room in Europe - 3500 years ago.
  • An inscription in archaic language mentions King Minos,
  • a table depicts an offering to "the mistress of the labyrinth,"
  • perhaps Ariadne, daughter of Minos, priestess of the Temple.

Theseus arrives for his entombment in the Labyrinth

  • In love with Theseus, Aridane asks Daedalus how to escape.
  • In Old English translations, "clue" means "a ball of twine."
  • This is Reason, a simple answer for an impossible situation.
  • She gives the clue to Theseus, and he promises to marry her.
  • Theseus leads into the maze, unrolling the twine as he advances.
  • The Minotaur hears the screams, ready for his next meal.

"So goes the myth, but what is the link to reality?"

  • [46:30] Tension of Athens and Thebes in Bronze Age is well-documented.
  • The real Cretans may have sacrificed humans and eaten them.
  • At Knossos, inscriptions of human offerings to the gods,
  • a female servant and ten males
  • 1979: 300 bones of children unearthed at Knossos with murder marks
  • 25% had the fine cut marks used to cut flesh from bone
  • There was butchery here, even cannibalism. Hard to argue otherwise.
  • Sheep bones also slashed in the same way as the children.

Theseus kills the Minotaur and escapes with his comrades.

  • Theseus cannot find his way by sight.
  • The grunts and growls of the minotaur are his compass
  • He finds the beast half-asleep,
  • [54:30] corners him, and kills him.
  • He sails away, taking Ariadne, but fails to raise the white sail.
  • King Aegeus, seeing the black sail, throws himself into the sea.
  • Story gives no motives for that - just youthful forgetfulness.
  • Theseus is liberator of Athens and its new King.

This is the defining moment of Greek mythology : Reason over Barbarism.


Clash of the Gods : 5 - Medusa
Discover the Meaning behind one of the greatest stories ever told - the Hunt for the Head of Medusa

(1) A Gorgon ("terrible") was a monster inspired by a dead body.

  • broad, wide-open eyes
  • marks on the face
  • the bloated face itself
  • pulled-back skin, showing the teeth
  • the tongue protruding
  • Same image among Aztecs, Egyptians (Bes), India (Rahu, cause of eclipse), SE Asia (Rangda, kidnaps children)
  • For the Greeks, represent the physical embodiment of death

(2) Athena, the goddess of War, was the patron of Athens.

  • She is a virgin goddess
  • 430 BC - The Parthenon - place of the Virgin - towers over Athens
  • within it, a statue of Athena, 40 feet high, carved out of ivory and gold.

(3) Medusa was a priestess of Athena

  • a great beauty with long flowing hair
  • desired by all men and gods,
  • but she's vowed to chastity to the virgin goddess.
  • She's a symbol of purity
  • All priestesses of Athena are devoted to the service of the goddess.

(4) Athena turns Medusa into a Gorgon

  • Poseidon ravages the Virgin Priestess inside the Temple.
  • As a rape victim, not suitable for marriage.
  • As a non-virgin, no longer suitable for the Temple.
  • Athena blames the victim, not Poseidon.
  • Athena is "one of the guys. She's going to side with the men." [Struck]
  • [13:30] Athena turns Medusa into a Gorgon,
  • turning her hair a mass of poison snakes.
  • But with this twist - the sight of her turns a person into stone.
  • She will no longer have any relationship to another human being.
  • She is totally alone.

(5) Paradoxically, this makes her valuable.

  • (13:32) She is in solitary confinement for the rest of her life.
  • Banished to a remote and desolate island for eternity.
  • But her head is the ultimate weapon - it will still turn people to stone.
  • Many men go in search of her.
  • And, having looked at her, fill up a garden of stone.

(6) Meanwhile, King Acrisius, fearing a son, abandons Danaë - twice.

  • (22:15) Argos ruled by a tyrant, Acrisius, who has no male heir.
  • [He is the great-grandson of Danaus.]
  • He has only a daughter, Danaë.
  • A prophetess says that a child of Danaë will kill him.
  • Acrisius walls Danaë up in a tower with little food.
  • Idea is to kill her without blood on his hands.
  • But then Acrisius sees light in the tower,
  • Acrisius sees her as a mother to a son, Perseus, a demigod.
  • Acrisius puts them in a boat and abandons them on the sea.

(7) The Father of Perseus is Zeus,

  • who came to Danaë in a shower of gold.
  • The Perseid meteor shower in August is most impressive in the sky.
  • This may be source for Zeus's shower of gold.

(8) Meanwhile, Another king desires Danaë.

  • (31:45) Danaë and Perseus wash up on the island, Serifos.
  • Perseus grows up there into a young man.
  • King of Serifos wants Danaë for himself.
  • And he wants to get rid of Perseus.
  • So he demands a gift from all men on island, on pain of banishment.
  • Knowing that poor Perseus can't comply and will be banished.
  • Perseus vows to bring the King the head of Medusa.
  • While Perseus is gone, the King determines to marry Danaë.

(9) Perseus must have weapons to conquer Medusa.

  • He prays. Zeus sends Hermes with a pair of winged sandals.
  • Hermes says that the Stygian nymphs have weapons,
  • but only the three Graeae sisters know where they are.
  • (44:00) withered hags since their birth, who share a single eyeball.
  • The moon doesn't shine on their island.
  • Perseus steals the eye as they pass it around,
  • and, while they panic, demands to know where the nymphs are
  • The Stygian nymphs live on the River Styx. [DUH!]
  • He tosses the eye on the sand and flies off.

(10) "This is the myth, but how does it connect to reality?"

  • "Since dawn of civilization, mankind has looked to the heavens to explain the past, present, and future."
  • Perseus makes a hero with a curved sword and the head of a gorgon.
  • Second brightest star in Perseus is Algol,
  • which forms a point on the head of Medusa
  • an eclipsing binary star,
  • It dims and brightens, as the stars circle one another,
  • It's a three-day cycle, going dim every third day.
  • This is the stealing of the eye.

(11) The Stygian nymphs give him

  • the sword of Zeus [an adamantine sword (a Harpe) ],
  • a polished shield from Athena, and
  • the helmet of Hades [Hades' helm of darkness]
  • [and from somewhere, a knapsack (kibisis) ].

(12) Perseus kills Medusa.

  • (54:10) Perseus creeps backward into Medusa's lair,
  • looking at her image on his shield.
  • He closes his eyes, swings his sword, beheads her,
  • her head rolling on the floor.
  • He bags it.

(13) Perseus kills the King of Serifos and saves his mother.

  • Perseus flies home to confront "the lecherous king of Serifos."
  • Drops of blood fall to the earth, creating hundreds of poisonous snakes
  • Perseus gets back to Serifos on the royal wedding day.
  • King Acrisius, the father who feared him, is there.
  • "King, I have brought you your gift."
  • Petrifies the King of Serifos and the bystander, Acrisius.
  • The prophecy is fulfilled.
  • Danaë saved by her son.

(14) Presents the head to Athena, who originally created the monster.

  • Becomes an icon on Athena's breastplate.
  • "Athena has the first and the last laugh."

(15) Perseus founded the bronze-age civilization of Mycenae.

Clash of the Gods : 6 - Odysseus - Curse of the Sea
"This is the real story of Odysseus"

Character of Odysseus ("man of pain") in the Odyssey.

  • ordinary man, not a superhero, demigod, or monster
  • thinking man - defeats brute strength with wit and cunning
  • never gives up - nothing can defeat him
  • curious about foreign places - like the Greeks who were colonizers
  • and always receiving reports of monsters from returning sailors
  • honor bound to bring his men home (12 ships)
  • a modern analogue is James Bond.

The Journey

  • 565 nautical miles, Troy to Ithaca, a voyage of a few weeks
  • fleet of 12 ships, crew of 600

    Archaeological Evidence

  • Troy - 19c: large palace with large walls, close to the coast, burned down, with arrowheads and unburied bodies.
  • <15:00> 1988 - scuba divers find a ship off Sicily,
  • dated to 500 BC by dendrochronology,
  • the largest ancient ship ever discovered
  • 2008: the entire ship is pulled out of the sea
  • taken to Portsmouth, England and found to match Homer's description.
  • made with matisse and tenon, held together with rope,
  • unlike northern European ships.
Ismaros, a costal city.
  • <22:30> goal is revenge on an old enemy
  • fiercest warriors in the known world - guerilla warfare their speciality,
  • his men fall asleep on the beach, and 72 are slaughtered
  • "first in a series of deadly mistakes by Odysseus and his crew"
  • moral - always be prepared

Lotus Eaters of North Africa [drug-theorie]

  • a hurricane drives the men to this island off the coast of Africa
  • lotus makes men so happy they forget home,
  • Greece knew the poppy, opium, and hashish
  • moral - humans like intoxication, so watch the self-indulgence

Island of Polyphemus, the Cyclops.

  • <31:30> sets off with 12 men and a bag of wine
  • Greek wine was strong, like fortified wine, diluted with water when drunk.
  • They eat the food in the cave, but they do not leave before Cyclops returns.
  • Odysseus wants the gift that land-dwellers give to visitors from the high seas.
  • Cyclops eats 2 sailers - cannibalism was barbarism.
  • After his cannibal meal, he drinks the undiluted wine.
  • Cyclops shuts the cave with a large stone and passes out.
  • Odysseus pierces his eye while he sleeps.
  • Cyclops screams, "Nobody" is hurting me, after his eye is gouged out.
  • Going out under the sheep shows cleverness.
  • Odysseus taunts the Cyclops with his true name, which was not wise,
  • It was a desire for kleos, the fame and renown of a hero.
  • <53:45> Poseidon, father of Cyclops, drives Odysseus off course with storm.
Archaeological Evidence
  • In cyclopia, a newborn has one large eye in the center of his forehead.
  • Cyclopia caused by alkaloid toxins, found in some herbs, given to the mother during gestation.
  • Ancient Greek medical men prescribed these herbs to patients.
  • A volcano can be imaged as a giant man with one large eye.
  • the skull of an elephant has one big opening in the middle, looking like the socket of one big eye.
Aeolus, king of the winds, on the island Aeolia
  • gives Odysseus a bag of the winds that could blow him off course
  • On the 10th day, Ithaca appears on the horizon.
  • After 10 days awake, Odysseus falls asleep.
  • his men think it is treasure, open it, and get blown back to Aeolia
  • With Odysseus cursed by the gods, Aeolus refuses to help him again.

Harbor of the giant cannibals

  • A "mysterious harbor"
  • Loses hundreds of men, all but one ship, to Poseidon's curse.

Clash of the Gods : 7 - Odysseus - Warrior's Revenge

Circe [drug-theorie].

  • <10:30> Circe and her maids turn men into pigs.
  • Led astray by food and flesh.
  • Hermes gives Odysseus moly, a drug to protect him from Circe's charms.
  • She turns his men back, so he stays with her for a year.
  • He is duty bound to get them home, a man like any other man.

The Nekyia, the Journey to Hades

  • <19:15> Circe told Odysseus that Tiresias had good advice for him.
  • [ His shade descended to the Asphodel Meadows, the first level of Hades. ]
  • The Greek underworld is "misty and cool" and murky.
  • Tiresias tells him not to eat the cattle of Helios
    • MacDonald: Gospel of Mark is based on the Odyssey
    • suffering hero
    • carpenters
    • Both have a ceremonial meal
    • As their men sleep, they agonize over their encounter with death
    • Both go to Hades and return

The Sirens [drug-theorie].

  • Strapped to the mast while his men row with plugged up ears.
    • Recent Archaeology:
    • Italy's Lu Galli Islands, once called Le Sirenuse, traditional settings.
    • In 2004, German scientists investigated the islands
    • makes a natural megaphone which projects local sound to the sea.
    • Not human voices, but the calls of monk seals.

Scylla and Charybdis.

  • <31:00> A better course than the Clashing Rocks, the Symplegades.
  • Meanwhile, Pennelope is unweaving her tapestry each night.
  • A narrow channel is flanked by Scylla and Charybdis, a whirlpool.
  • Scylla, a six-headed monster, eats six men.
  • Moral - sometimes sacrifice is necessary
    • Recent Archaeology:
    • mid-1800s, bodies of large beasts wash ashore, giant squids
    • "Overnight, fiction became fact."
    • Modern oceanographers have discovered that
    • Between Messina and Italy, two seas meet,
    • Tyrrhenian and Ionian, and their interface is a vicious whirlpool.

The cattle of Helios.

  • He stops at the island of Helios to rest his exhausted crew.
  • His starving crew disobeys him and slaughters the cattle.
  • Helios asks Zeus for punishment, who sends a storm upon them,
  • sinking Odysseus's ship and killing his men,
  • leaving him alone to wash up on a beach
  • for he alone ate no cattle.

Calypso [drug-theorie].

  • <43:30> [ washed ashore on the island of Ogygia, ]
  • where he spends 7 years with Calypso and her nymphs,
  • She offers him immortality if he will stay with her forever.
  • But he must fulfill his fate as a man.
  • He builds a boat, "mast, rudder, and gunwales" ("gunnels")
  • carpentry a valued skill, both intellectual and physical, for the Greeks.

Home to Ithaca.

    • Archaeology: Ithaca was not its modern-day namesake, Ithaki.
    • the Island Kefalonia, a three island group, is the best match for Ithaca, which was a four island group the furthest out to sea in the west.
    • In 2006, drilling showed that a break in the island had no bedrock below it, and if the sea flowed through it in the past, we would have four islands.
    • After 20 years from home, Odysseus arrives home
    • <54:40> "The sun is blotted out of the sky" on that day.
    • Astronomical clues give that date as April 16, 1178 BC.
  • The 108 suitors are out of patience with Penelope.
  • He disguises himself as a beggar.
  • After all the suitors fail, Odysseus strings his left-behind bow,
  • shoots through all the twelve axe-handles,
  • then kills all the suitors.
  • Pennelope asks for their marriage bed to be brought to the porch,
  • Odysseus built the bed himself out of a tree rooted in the ground.

Clash of the Gods : 8 - Beowulf
Thesis: "Beowulf is a story based on fact."

The text

  • Beowulf, 7th- 8th century England ( Wikipedia - 750 - 1050 )
  • oldest story in the English language

Beowulf's first adversary - Grendel.

  • Grendel is descended from the line of Cain, "a fiend out of hell."
  • only description is that he brings darkness with him
  • He attacks the warriors of Denmark when they feast in their mead halls
  • For 12 years, rips 30 bodies apart, dismembers them, and eats his fill
  • He does not attack Hrothgar, the Danish King, protected by God himself.
  • Beowulf, a warrior with a band of men, wants "lof," glory.
  • He traps Grendel in a mead hall, but Grendel bloodies his men,
  • ripping them apart, drinking blood, throwing them on the ground.

[9:30] "This is the myth. But what is the link to reality?"

  • At Sutton Hoo, 90 miles north of London is an ancient burial mound
  • evidence of bodies mangled and murdered in a brutal ways,
  • heads lopped off, buried in strange positions, a shaming way
  • A-S criminals sentenced to death for defying the king?
  • King maintained order with violent, public executions.

And finally Beowulf wins.

  • Grendel has skin impervious to arrows and swords.
  • Then heads for Beowulf.
  • [14:50] Beowulf attacks with his hands, rips off Grendel's shoulder
  • so that Grendel dies of blood loss in the snow
  • and Beowulf has a trophy -- a disembodied monster arm.

With victory, a grim reality.

  • He has his glory, along with many warriors to bury.
  • Ancient burial - warrior and his goods placed in ship, sunk at sea.
  • That is - gold and silver, ornaments and weapons - buried completely.
  • Valuables destroyed in a society with few of them.

Also verified by archaeology

  • Today "hundreds of mysterious mounds" in northern Europe.
  • 1939 - remains of a ship found at Sutton Hoo from the time of the poem.
  • More than a ship, a tomb of an unknown ruler.
  • The richest grave from the Dark Ages of Northern Europe.
  • Items look like objects described in Beowulf.
  • [23:05] 6th century Heorot Hall found in Denmark - time of the events.
  • The Legendary Sagas (1100-1400 AD) about Hrothgar of 5th-6th century.
  • These are "fact based accounts of the northern world."

Beowulf's second adversary - Grendel's grieving mother.

  • She enters a hall and massacres men - Beowulf is not there.
  • All his men that he had saved are now dead.
  • With Hrothgar and his men, Beowulf follows the blood trail to Mother.
  • She lives at the bottom of the Haunted Mere,
  • an icy lake swarming with poisonous snakes and sea dragons,
  • [34:00] Beowulf fights her on the ice.
  • Before he falls under the ice, his men give him a special sword
  • he rises up into her lair and finds his special sword is useless
  • Then he sees an ancient sword, forged by giants, on her wall,
  • and with this really magic weapon, he severs her head.
  • Beowulf goes to Hrothgar's court, shocking them who thought him dead.
  • He has found glory in Denmark.

... is a Metaphor for changing times

  • Paganism is dying with Grendel and his mother.
  • 700 AD - Pope Gregory I sends St. Augustine to convert the Anglo-Saxons
  • and to convert their existing temples to a new use.
  • Convert the King and the people will follow.
  • The Beowulf poem celebrates some ancient virtues.

Beowulf takes time out to fight a human adversary

  • Beowulf heads back to Geatland (Wikipedia - Götaland)
  • [44:40] This is south of their rivals, the Swedes,
  • whom he fights on frozen Lake Vanern (Vänern), largest lake in Sweden
  • Beowulf wins the throne of Geatland, which he declines.
  • 530 AD - there was an ice battle near Earnaness, Sweden.
  • which old Norse sagas describe - and they are based on fact.
  • "Once again, the historical record seems to match the myth."
  • Beowulf rules Geatland in peace for many decades.
  • [HUH? How did we get from Geatland, declined, to Geatland, accepted?]

Beowulf's third adversary - the Dragon of Earnaness.

  • Beowulf is an aging king who has ruled in peace for 50 years.
  • In his cave, a dragon hoards gold - symbols of human greed.
  • An escaping slave boy enters the cave, steals dragon's favorite cup.
  • Dragon sets off for revenge, ravaging the countryside.
  • Dragon burns down Beowulf's own home.
  • [53:50] Beowulf leads his men into his final battle.
  • This is his last stand against evil.
  • Beowulf, among his men, has a young man, Wiglaf, who admires him
  • They enter the dragon's lair and the dragon attacks.
  • All his men, except Wiglaf, run for fear.

"So goes the myth, but what is the connection to reality?"

  • The dragon is a universal creature of ultimate power, ferocity, mystery.
    • hard scales
    • long serpentine bodies
    • long pointed tails
    • long necks ending in a horned head
    • breathe fire
    • fly on wings
  • Coincidence? Or was there a common real-world inspiration?
  • Did someone see an exposed T-Rex in the Gobi Desert?
  • "dinosaur fossils discovered around the globe since man's earliest days."

The death of Beowulf

  • Beowulf avoids its scaly skin and stabs it mortally in the belly.
  • But it bites him in the neck before it dies
  • And Beowulf dies, giving all his property to Wiglaf. (All his grave-goods?)
  • Beowulf has a funeral pyre.

Serials - The Roman Invasion of Britain.
[ sub-menu ] - Wikipedia page - Smithsonian page. - [ top-menu ]
Smithsonian Channel
© Green Bay Media Ltd. 2009.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Onslaught 09/12/2010  
2 Revolt 09/19/2010 Boudican Revolt
3 Dominion 09/26/2010  
Persona Experts:
  • Guy de la Bédoyère [Bedoyere], Archaeologist and Historian
  • Prof David Mattingly, Archaeologist and Historian
  • Dr Paul Sealey, Archaeologist and Historian, expert on Boudican uprising
  • Dr Kate Gilliver, Military Historian
Presenter: Bettany Hughes, Historian

The Roman Invasion of Britain: 1 - Onslaught

Into from Wikipedia on Roman Britain.

Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 and 54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars. The Britons had been overrun or culturally assimilated by the Celtic tribes during the British Iron Age and had aided Caesar's enemies. He received tribute, installed a friendly king over the Trinovantes, and returned to Gaul. Planned invasions under Augustus were called off in 34, 27, and 25 BC. In AD 40, Caligula assembled 200,000 men at the Channel only to have them gather seashells. Three years later, Claudius directed four legions to invade Britain and restore an exiled king over the Atrebates. The Romans defeated the Catuvellauni but then organized their conquests as the Province of Britain (Provincia Britannia).

43 AD - Claudius [Emperor #4 - 41-54, born in Gaul ], seen as disabled, an idiot, would show everyone by succeeding where Caesar had failed, in the conquest of Britain, to which he sends several legions under Aulus Plautius, a man related to Claudius by marriage.

Rome is founded on aggressive campaigning, conquest, and triumph.

Advantages of taking England

  • grain and timber
  • metals - gold, silver, lead
  • human for enslavement
  • no strong national identity
  • warring tribes who never work together

They spoke variations of a Celtic language, a predecessor of Welsh.

Din Lligwy in north Wales - well-preserved iron-age settlement.

Aulus underestimated the Brits.

The Roman soldiers were afraid of the natives in this Ferox Provincia, where the English Channel was full of monsters, but a former slave, Narcissus, gives them a pep talk.

The Roman landing would benefit from a twist of fate.

The Catuvellauni, heaving heard of the rebellion amongst the Romans, cancelled their plans for an attack, and so the Roman landed on the beach with no hindrance.

The native chiefs were the brothers,

They may have landed at Richborough, which would have been on the beach then, though now it is miles from the sea. There is massive Roman fort there.

Scouting parties found no natives, who were planning guerilla warfare.

There were no bridges

The Batavians swam across the Medway River, fully armored, where they attacked the chariot horses and the chariots. Then the Romans found a place upriver where they could ford it. They engaged the natives and probably killed Togodumnus, "who disappears from the historical record at this time."

The survivors fled to Camulodunum

[ CAMVLODVNVM, now Colchester in Essex), a fortified village with rivers on three sides. Camulodunon meant "The Stronghold of Camulus", the British God of War. ]

Aulus has the town surrounded, but he holds back from taking it. He sends word to Rome, and Claudius himself travels to Britain just for this conquest. He makes an entrance mounted on an elephant.

The capture of Camulodunum was the high point of Claudius's career. His troops call him, "Imperator."

Three legions set off to conquer the rest of England. A future emperor, Vespasian (#9), led a legion into the West. Another went north, the third in the middle to Shropshire.

[ Vespasian was Emperor #9 - 69-79. His renown came from his military success: he was legate of Legio II Augusta during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43and subjugated Judaea during the Jewish rebellion of 66. A legatus is a general in the Roman army. ]

Vespasian fought the Durotriges tribe in Dorset. His bloodiest battle with them was at the Maiden Castle. Mass slaughter. Many tribal leaders had no stomach for this, and eleven tribes surrendered, like the Iceni in East Anglia, whose leader, Prasutagus, got what the thought was a good deal - nominal independence.

Aulus promises autonomy to the British tribes, but the Romans renege on this (not explained).

47 AD - Publius Ostorius Scapula (died 52) relieves Plautus. Vast parts of southern Britain under Roman control. Scapula made a stupid mistake. He demanded that all tribes submit to Rome and surrender their weapons. In Iron Age cultures, your sword was your manhood.

The Iceni revolted. They lost. Victory for Scapula. .

Now he aims for Wales. The tribes that troubled him:

He said in public that he wanted to wipe the Silures off the face of the earth. They were allied with Caratacus, who becomes the de facto leader of the tribes

Lots of fighting ensues. This is the Roman's Vietnam War. Caratacus, at last, makes a tactical withdrawal. He took a stand against the legion following them. He made his last stand at the hill of Caer Caradoc (Caer Caradog).

"Pushed into action by his troops, Scapula showed what a capable general he was." He used the "testudo formation" of soldiers with shields held high to storm the British citadel even with men dropping rocks on them.

But the Brigantes betray Caratacus and hand him over to the Romans. He's taken to Rome with his family for a public execution.

Bettany takes a book from a shelf and thumbs through the pages.

"What happened when Caratacus arrived in Rome has to be one of the most vivid stories in classical history."

Bettany is shown reading Tacitus in Latin - Book XII, Chapter XXXVII.

Tacitus tells of the speech he made which saved his life by painting Claudius as merciful. Caratacus got a villa and a pension and was never heard from again.

Unlike what happened to

More fighting in Britain, especially with the Silures, who attack a Roman unit setting up a fort, and massacre them. This is rare. Scapula died, "a man worn out with care."

Aulus Didius Gallus was the next governor of Britannia (52-57). He has to fight the Brigantes, they who gave up Caratacus to Rome. The Romans, from top to bottom, were incredibly arrogant toward the "Brittunculi" -- "pathetic, little Brits."

60 AD - East Anglia, land of the Iceni, revolts a second time, and a woman comes to the fore, Boadicea (Boudica),

queen of the British Iceni tribe, a Celtic tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

They razed three British cities.

We know more now about why Rome was not defeated.

The Roman Invasion of Britain: 2 - Revolt

Boudica (Boudicca, Boadicea, Buddug)  (d. AD 60 or 61) was queen of the British Iceni tribe, a Celtic tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus - a Roman general best known as the commander who defeated the rebellion of Boudica.

Poenius Postumus was praefectus castrorum of the Roman Legion II Augusta, stationed in Britain during the rebellion of Boudica in 61 AD. In the general area of Exeter with his troops, he ignored the call to join the governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, in putting down the rebellion. Hearing of the Roman victory at the Battle of Watling Street, having denied his troops a share in the glory, he fell on his sword.

Gnaeus Julius Agricola (40 – 23, 93) was a Gallo-Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. Written by his son-in-law Tacitus, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae is the primary source for most of what is known about him, along with detailed archaeological evidence from northern Britain. *** He completed the conquest of Wales and northern England, and led his army to the far north of Scotland, establishing forts across much of the Lowlands. He was recalled from Britain in 85 after an unusually lengthy service, and thereafter retired from military and public life.

(1:20) The guerilla war against the Romans that began in 43 lasted for 17 years [ until 60 AD ].

The Romans were acting like carpetbaggers, moving in as conquerors, abusing and humiliating.

AD 60 - Among the Iceni in East Anglia - Prasutagus dies, who had first made peace with Rome. In order to alleviate Roman oppression, he changed his will, leaving only half of his estate to his daughters, and giving the other half to Nero, but the Romans decide to shock and humiliate the Brits once again. They have his widow, Boudica, publicly flogged, and his virgin daughters raped. Then the soldiers embark on an orgy of rape and looting. These people won't even think about getting revenge.

At the town's museum today can be found decapitated skulls of the natives.

The Trinovantes met with the Iceni and drew up a list of towns to attack.


Camulodunum (modern Colchester) is a colonia, a settlement of retired legionary veterans, 3,000 - 4,000 of them. It was the capital for the Trinovantes until the Romans took it in 43 AD. Now the sacrilegious Temple to Claudius, the god, sat in the center of the city. But it was completely undefended. No walls or ditch.

60 - Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, the new governor of Provincia Brittanica, was away at the time. His spies told him that the HQ of the Druids was on the isle of Mona (Anglesey Island) in Wales. The Druids were warrior-priests whom the Romans despised. He took troops there to fight them.

The Boudican Revolt.

Meanwhile, Boudica razed three cities to the ground:

  1. Camulodunum.
  2. The trading settlement, Londinium, which Paulinus was too weak to save
  3. Then Verulamium (St Albans).

There is evidence of her burning down Camulodunum. Daub is a mixture of mud, clay, straw, manure, used for building. In a cross-section of the ground there, there is a layer of gravel, representing Roman roads, and above that a layer of daub that has been burned into pottery. Normally,it just returned to mud. This is evidence of great heat. This cross-section can be viewed through a pane of glass in the basement of the George Hotel.

The Brits did to the Romans, at those towns, what the Romans had been doing to them. It was "an orgy of psycho-sexual destruction."


Paulinus heads to the Midlands, to meet up with the bulk of his army. He has the 14th Legion and part of the 20th. About 6,000 men, far less than the Boudican hordes. He sets up on rising ground with a woods behind him, so he cannot be ambushed.

Boudica arrives, but her men are a horde of complacent drunks.

He lured Boudica into a trap -- a pitched battle.

The Romans stand firm, not flinching, while the screaming hordes attack. They launch a volley of javelins. They advance, and it was carnage.

The Brits put their wagon train to the rear, so that their women and kids could watch their success in battle.

Boudica dies shortly after this disaster, "either through illness or because she took poison.".

Boudica poisoned herself, and Postumus, having denied his men a share in the victory, fell on his sword [Wikipedia]

That was the end of the Revolt.

The Romans show no mercy to the Brits. They wage terror in East Anglia. Systematic destruction, including Norfolk and Suffolk. Kate says,

"It's not actually unusual after a revolt to carry out very heavy reprisals against the population. It happened in Germany. It happened in Gaul. It happened in Polonia. It happened in Judea. And it's to set an example."

But with all this vengeance, the Romans lose sight of their purpose - to exploit the natural resources of Britain.


77 - Gnaeus Julius Agricola become governor.

He believed that Pax Romana was best for everyone. He sought friendly relations with the Brits and to romanize them. The Brits began wearing togas, having their children learn Roman culture, and speaking Latin.

'Tacitus is scathing in this matter. The Britons are gradually drawn into those amenities which makes vice agreeable -- arcades, bath houses, sumptuous feasts -- and this is what they call civilization, although it's really another feature of enslavement."

They draw the town leaders into the system, and they have helpers in keeping control.

After 150 years of Romanization, there are cives, townsmen, the Brits having taken a liking to urban life. Massive building. After a thousand years of agriculture, suddenly the Britons have a new way to live. Local government in the Roman Empire is based upon towns.

(45:00) Bath is a two thousand year old example of that Roman luxury. The whole complex, with its temple, was dedicated to a composite god Sulis Minerva.

Viroconium (village in Shropshire) is a part of a network of civitates across Britain. Amenities of the cities

  • olive oil lamps burning into the night
  • central heating - so the walls and floor are warm to the touch
  • public pay toilets

75 - Silurres lay down their arms.

Caerwent in south Wales, north of the Bristol Channel. There are Roman ruins there today, identified by a stone now in the local church: CIVIT SILURUM. The Silures created the town, and they were the first to attack the Romans back in the day.

ca. 100 - all tribes of southern Britain conquered.

In Scotland, the Picts (painted ones) refuse to surrender for the next 350 years.

Eventually, the Romans agree and pull back their armies.

130 - Hadrian's wall finished.

It is 73 miles long, has gates and gate houses that serve for customs and taxation.

There was an Antonine wall later, but it was abandoned.

Was it all wonderful for all the people?

(57:20 end)

The Roman Invasion of Britain: 3 - Dominion
For many Britons, life was brutish and short. Why did Roman rule last so long, and what finally brought it down?

Provincia Britannia - the 10% and the 90%.

(01:18) 300 years of Roman rule has been seen as a success.

The Britons had glass and pottery. In the Middle Ages, it was only a trickle. You have to get to 1600 before the quantity of manufactured goods exceeds what was made in Roman times

Eynesford in Kent - Lullingstone Roman Villa, found in 1939 . Dozens of rooms, central heat, frescoes on the floor, the life of the 10%.

"Let them hate, provided that they fear," was the Roman attitude to the 90%.

Lavender, apples, turnips, and peas - Roman imports, along with leprosy and the stress of the oppressed.

Why did Rome have a disproportionate number of troops stationed in Britain? In the 2nd century, 10% of the entire Roman army was in Britain, which was 4% of the Empire. If you are an Emperor, you fear rivals, especially if they have troops ready at hand. Britain is at least across the water.

Caerleon in south Wales - Isca - remains of a military base with an amphitheater. Barrack blocks for 320 men are left of the barracks for 5,000 men.

The army kept track of who the people were, where they went, what they owed, where they went, how big their families were. Constant stream of revenue back to Rome. (YIKES!) The Romans turned taxation into a fine art.

Aulus Plautius. first governor, spend his time in a guerilla war, but he managed to search for exploitable resources.


(17:45) Pumsaint village, in the heart of Carmarthenshire - the Dolaucothi gold mines, last used commercially in the 1930s. They are in a dense forest. The Roman built aqueducts to bring 2.5 million gallons of water a day up a hill to sluice it down the hill, washing away the soil, so they could get to the gold-bearing quartz. Or they would build bonfires against the rocks to crack them. Or do both. Those same techniques were used up to Victorian times, when at last explosives came in.

BUT THEN the site was run with slave labor, making a network of deep tunnels in the hills. They worked in darkness, or with fire billowing smoke, fearing whipping if they stopped for a moment, and the arsenopyrites got into their systems - arsenic.

Slaves = "living tools." [Aristotle]

Each man, ten carloads of shale, get one carload of quartz, giving a pebble of gold.

Downside of City Life.

Britons found city life stressful. Despite the magnificent buildings and plumbing, towns were not as successful in Britain as in other provinces. After 300, some start to shrink.

In the British Museum are the "curse tablets." Strips of lead engraved with pleas to the gods in Latin, but composed by the Britons.

Against Trettia Maria: "I curse her mind, her memory, her life, her liver and her lungs, all mixed up together."

These tablets tell us three things:

  1. Theft was ripe at this time,
  2. Natives invoked their own gods like Sulis, not Roman gods
  3. The people did not trust the Romans or their gods to keep control.

Pressure on Rome.

3rd century [???] - barbarian invasions split empire in east and west, each with its own ruler.

[ Theodosius I 379-395 (#67) was last to rule united east and west. - wiki ]

Must start removing troops from Britain to put out fires elsewhere.

(32:45) Roman Power unravels in Britain.

286 - Mausaeus Carausius commanded the Roman fleet patrolling the English Channel. He was there to fight pirates, and he earned the admiration of fellow soldiers. He declares himself Emperor of northern Gaul and all of Britannia.

He minted silver coins, rare in Rome, with messages, like Expectate Veni, Come, the Awaited One and The Savior of Britain.

Allectus, his finance minister, assassinated him and seized power for himself.

Constantius Chlorus, "ruler of the Western Empire," Emperor #54, killed Allectus. Things were almost back to normal, except that Britain was divided into four parts in order to better keep governors in control and prevent one from attaining the power of a Carausius.

[So divide and conquer is for the empire itself, not just its subject peoples.]

Then Chlorus made an attempt to conquer Scotland. He failed [ wiki -- a successful punitive campaign against the Picts beyond the Antonine Wall ] and returned to Eburacum (York), where he died. His troops declared that his son would be the new emperor - Constantine the Great (#57).

As Constantine the Great, he made Christianity the Roman religion, but this changed the status of Emperors forever, They could not longer be god-men. They were just weak men.

[ 367 - The Great Conspiracy - at Wikipedia ]

All at once, 3 marauding parties invaded Britain:

Valentinian [ Emperor Valentinian I ] sent one of his best men, Count Theodosius, a general, to find out whey they had a coordinated attack, and in three months, Theodosius found the traitors at Hadrian's wall [ who had revolted and let the Picts come in. ].

"This would be the last time that the heat of imperial power would ever be felt in Britannia." [Bettany]

c. 410 - The Romans withdraw from Britain.

(48:30) Britain, once with too many soldiers, now had too few.

407 - A would-be Emperor, Constantine III, withdrew what was left of the Roman garrison and set off for the Continent,

Barbarian hordes were circling the country.

408 - a mini-revolt, Constantine's officials were expelled. No Britain was defending itself. Romans decide to let it go.

Britain devolved back into tribal barbarism. With no taxes collected, no need for an economy, no need for money, no need for markets, no need for towns.

The final withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410, after which the native kingdoms are considered to have formed Sub-Roman Britain. [wiki]

Disagreement on the precise moment when Roman Britain came to and end.

But the most romantic finale came in

493 - Ambrosius Aurelianus defeated a large Saxon army at Mt. Badon, wherever that may be. He's the source for King Arthur.


Serials - The Universe: Ancient Mysteries Solved
[sub-menu ] - History home page - Wikipedia - Amazon - [ top-menu ]
Season 8
# Title Date Subjects
1 Stonehenge 03/01/2014
2 Pyramids 03/08/2014
3 Heavenly Destruction. 03/15/2014 Sodom and Gomorrah

The Universe: Ancient Mysteries Solved
"Heavenly Destruction
Season 8, Episode 3
[sodom-theorie, disaster-theorie]
Produced by Flight 33 Productions, LLC
for H2™ Network
© 2014 A&E Television Networks, LLC.
  • Julye Bidmead, Historian of Religion,
    • Chapman University
  • Laura Danly, Astronomer, Griffith Observatory

  • Alex Filippenko, Astrophysicist, UC Berkeley
  • Jeffrey Goodman, Geologist/Archaeologist
  • Tyler Nordgren, Astronomer, University of Redlands
  • Dan Durda, Planetary Scientist
  • John F. Wilson, Religious Historian,
    • Pepperdine University
  • Robert Mullins, Archaeologist, Azusa Pacific University
  • Marcelo Gleiser, Physicist, Dartmouth College
  • Robert Hermes, Scientist, Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • Michael Mischna, Planetary Scientist
Narrator: Erik Thompson (American version).
   Tall El-Hammam

| Bab edh-dhra
"The Bible tells of events where we are now realizing can be matched up with historical events that we can go back and verify." - Goodman

Asteroids are of two kinds:

iron and nickel asteroid - survives atmosphere, makes a crater

"stony cosmic rock" - hits the brick wall of the atmosphere, generating a "cosmic airburst" and fiery debris - most common to hit the earth.

Sodom and Gomorrah location - Biblical description

  • Patriarchs stood on a mountaintop
  • northwest of Jericho, 50 miles from the north beach of the Dead Sea,
  • and looked down at the plain.
  • The Dead Sea separates Jordan from Canaan.
  • They looked down at "the valley of Canaan,"
  • where the "plain of Jordan" was "well-watered"
  • They looked at "the Kikar of the Jordan"
  • kikar, meaning "circular disk"
  • There is a disc around Jericho.
  • The Five Cities of the Plain:

Sodom and Gomorrah - modern archaeology

14 cities found there in the kikkar - northeast of the Dead Sea

Tall El-Hammam (Tall el-Hammeh) most likely was Sodom

  • 8 miles northeast of the Dead Sea
  • largest of ruins,
  • covers 100 acres,
  • 40 foot stone walls,
  • massive city gates,
  • a maze of streets,
  • lined with mud structures.

Around the dead sea, "encrusted salt formations and sculptures that actually look like people."

Sin of Sodom

  • Not sodomy, but lack of hospitality to the angelic strangers
  • Typically, nomads were more hospitable than city-dwellers.
  • Ezekiel - wicked - too much to eat, heartless, didn't take care of the poor

Archaeology finds evidence of catastrophe at Tall el-Hammam. (18:07)

  • Abraham and Lot's time period: - 1750 - 1650 BC
  • Middle Bronze Age
  • At that time level's layer is found "a four foot layer of spongy ash"
  • some sort of fiery catastrophe
  • "a sulfur-laden burn level"
  • human bones, violently mixed among smashed mud bricks and stones
  • bones "jumbled, hyperextended, and twisted"
  • bones also charred
  • city not occupied again for 500 years, in the Iron Age
  • ergo, a massive inferno made the city uninhabitable for generations

Extreme heat that produced Trinitite

  • No volcano, earthquake, or sacking of the city by enemies
  • no impact crater in the entire Mid-East
  • this is heat that vaporizes things
  • no gas fire
  • pottery shards with a green glaze, when glazing was 800 years away
  • extreme heat at over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, then quickly cooled
  • The glaze resembles Trinitite, the glass from the 1945 Trinity site explosion.
  • So it may have been an airburst event.

What we know of an "airburst event"

  • the fireball makes big bubble that collapses in on itself,
  • creating the stem,
  • all the debris rises through the stem into the fireball,
  • melts as droplets and falls back down
  • ergo, Trinitite pieces, shiny surface on top, beaded bottom
  • little beads dropped out of the sky first
  • and "the shiny top is a glomeration of all the beads that were still melted" (Robert Hermes)
  • similar glass in Sahara desert in Libya from an airburst event 30 MYA
  • desert sand turned into glass
  • also pieces of Trinitite itself in addition the the glazed pottery
  • and "a taffy-like material thrown out immediately by the blast"
  • "All Trinitite does not look the same."
  • "brimstone and fire from heaven" - brimstone meant yellow fire
  • "dense smoke rose up from the cities like smoke in a furnace" - a mushroom cloud

Recent Airbursts over Russia (31:20)

1908 - Tunguska, Siberia, 200-foot wide asteroid comes in at Mach 60

  • explodes with energy of 2 or 3 megatons
  • most rock disintegrates, so no crater
  • shock wave topples 80 million trees over 800 square mile area

2013 - Chelyabinsk - February 15, 2013 - 50 foot asteroid explodes

  • 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb
  • This event is "beautifully documented"
  • huge sonic boom
  • 1500 people injured from broken glass.


(41:20) Lot escapes to mountains near Zoar, which should be a short distance from Sodom -- and so north of the Dead Sea

BUT - Two other candidates proposed for Sodom and Gomorrah ...

  • Byzantine Church of St. George in Madaba Jordan has a floor fresco
  • The Madaba Map, mosaic map written in Greek in 6th century
  • the oldest map of the Biblical region
  • which gives locations of major Christian pilgrimage cities
  • and puts Jerusalem and Jericho where they are today
  • "Sodom and Gomorrah are oddly missing from the eroded mosaic."
  • but Zoar is south of the Dead Sea, 30 miles from Tall El-Hammam
  • Near Zoar, is the phrase, "sanctuary of St. L____" perhaps St. Lot
  • The sanctuary is on a mountainside, behind which is a cave
  • Could that be Zoar, where Lot took refuge during the fire storm?

are south of the Dead Sea (48:10)

  • Bab Edh-Dhra, a fortified early bronze age city of 1000,
  • is 10 miles from the sanctuary of St. Lot
  • There are 4 more settlements south of Bab Edh-Dhra
  • This gives us exactly five cities in a group,
  • whereas Tell el-Hammam is in a cluster of 14 cities
  • So Bab Edh-Dhra could be Sodom. It has a thick layer of ash
  • 8 miles south of Bab is Numeira, with more ash and skeletal remains
  • Could Numeira be Gomorrah?
  • But they were destroyed 300 years apart,
  • Numeira in a great destruction, very rapidly,
  • but Bab Edh-Dhra was destroyed over a hundred years.
  • So the chronology is off.
  • "In order to make the story work, they both have to be destroyed in the same manner at the same time." -- Bidmead


Does Zoar on the map rule out the northern cities around Tell el-Hammam?

People must make decisions without conclusive evidence. You won't find a sign, saying, "This is Zoar." -- John F. Wilson

So there's still debate about the locations of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Let's relive in the event in all its glory (55:35)

  • Now we have another date range: Between 2300 and 1700 BC
  • an asteroid barrels down from space,
  • hit the atmosphere with dozens of megatons of energy
  • 200 times more powerful than Hiroshima
  • mushroom cloud of rock and dirt in the atmosphere
  • rock raining down cause devastation and fire
  • mud brick walls, straw or thatched wood construction charred
  • spontaneous ignition
  • vaporization of bodies, at least incinerated
  • Lot's wife charred to ash
  • Scorches the landscape, making it uninhabitable for hundreds of years

So "the science of the universe gives us a new way of looking at an ancient story."


Eve's fruit was not an apple until 500 AD, when Latin translation gave us a pun.

Was it originally a fig? Whose leaves were used for the cover-up?

Ponce de Leon after the Fountain of Youth from descriptions by Prester John. Sought it in the Gulf of Mexico, plausible because Noah's Flood changed the geography of the world from the original time of Eden.


The origin of the term “lullaby” comes from the words “Lilith abi” which means “Lilith, go away.” In some versions of Jewish folklore Lilith was considered a succubus, a female demon, who seduced men in their sleep. When she bore children from her nighttime sexual encounters, she killed them. -- examiner.com.


1875 - George Smith (1840–1876), translating Gilgamesh, finds the Snake. In Sumeria, the Snake-Goddess, Tiamat, created the world in seven days as a Garden.

All the myths of Genesis are Sumerian.

The gods of the older religion become demons in the new.


Our north star is Polaris, but for Egyptians, it was Thuban. The northern shaft of the Great Pyramid pointed right at it.

In Rome, December 25 was "the feast of the unvanquished sun" for Sol Invictus. Chosen as birth date in 4th c. [ disputed by some ]

[The End]