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#1 Ironhand

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Posted 16 April 2003 - 11:41 PM

Ancient Near East .net

>From prehistory to the Muslim conquest of the 7th century CE,
embracing the diverse and exotic lands at the meeting point of three
continents, the Ancient Near East occupies a central position in
archaeology and ancient history, art and religion.

http://www.ancientneareast.net/
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#2 Ironhand

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 01:28 AM

Language tree rooted in Turkey
Evolutionary ideas give farmers credit for Indo-European tongues.
27 November 2003
JOHN WHITFIELD

Languages, like genomes, encode information.
? Corbis

A family tree of Indo-European languages suggests they began to spread and split about 9,000 years ago. The finding hints that farmers in what is now Turkey drove the language boom - and not later Siberian horsemen, as some linguists reckon.

Russell Gray and Quentin Atkinson, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand use the rate at which words change to gauge the age of the tree's roots - just as biologists estimate a species' age from the rate of gene mutations. The differences between words, or DNA sequences, are a measure of how closely languages, or species, are related.

Gray and Atkinson analysed 87 languages from Irish to Afghan. Rather than compare entire dictionaries, they used a list of 200 words that are found in all cultures, such as 'I', 'hunt' and 'sky'. Words are better understood than grammar as a guide to language history; the same sentence structure can arise independently in different tongues.

The resulting tree matches many existing ideas about language development. Spanish and Portuguese come out as sisters, for example - both are cousins to German, and Hindi is a more distant relation to all three.

All other Indo-European languages split off from Hittite, the oldest recorded member of the group, between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago, the pair calculates1.

Around this time, farming techniques began to spread out of Anatolia - now Turkey - across Europe and Asia, archaeological evidence shows. The farmers themselves may have moved, or natives may have adopted words along with agricultural technology.

The conclusion will be controversial, as there is no consensus on where Indo-European languages came from. Some linguists believe that Kurgan horsemen carried them out of central Asia 6,000 years ago. "No matter how we [changed] the analysis or assumptions, we couldn't get a date of around 6,000 years," says Gray.

"This kind of study is exactly what linguistics needs," says April McMahon, who studies the history of languages at the University of Sheffield, UK. It shows how ideas about language evolution can be tested, she says: "Linguists have always been good at coming up with bold hypotheses, but they haven't been terribly good at testing them."

"Linguists have always been good at coming up with bold hypotheses, but they haven't been terribly good at testing them "
April McMahon, University of Sheffield

But the technique is still fraught with difficulties, McMahon warns. There is lots of word-swapping within language groups. English took 'skirt' from the Vikings, for example, but 'shirt' is original. Linguists must separate the shared from the swapped, as any error will affect later studies.

The Kurgan might not be out of the picture entirely, says McMahon - they may have triggered a later wave of languages. "This isn't going to knock the debate on the head," she says.

Biology and linguistics can learn a lot from each other, comments geneticist David Searls of GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. "There may be some fundamental principles of evolution of complex systems, such as languages and organisms," he says.


References
Gray, R. D. & Atkinson, Q. D. Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin. Nature, 426, 435 - 439, doi:10.1038/nature02029 (2003). |Article|
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#3 Ironhand

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 07:39 AM

So I guess the agricultural revolution spawned a linguistic revolution.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#4 Orkin

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 06:59 PM

Good info, IH. :D

Seems once again, contined research drives dates earlier and earlier... They are exaggerating when they identify the Kurgans as a "Siberian" culture; they were Ukrainian. Otherwise, yes, the Hittites are a very good suspect - don't forget that those "farmers" invaded and occupied Babylon for a good long time...

In Search of the Indo-Europeans
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#5 Orkin

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 07:42 PM

BTW, have you seen TLC's series Ancient Egyptians? Very cool, real Egyptian-looking actors, speaking what sounds to be real Egyptian, with stories ripped straight from the papurus. I liked it.
? ?When I can not stand alone, it will be time to die,? he mumbled, through mashed lips. ?But I?d like a flagon of wine.?
- Rogues in the House

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Hyborian re-enactment Yahoo group

#6 Kane

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 12:52 AM

I've managed to catch a couple of episodes of the show. The amount of detail and depth of the research has gotten me hooked. When the Conan rpg comes out, I might use the storu of the twins and the Apis Bull as the starting point for an adventure.

I'd like to see the Discovery Ch. expand on the concept and do other such programs for the Roman Empire, Celts, Babylonians and others. Of course it would depend on if we have as much detailed information on their lives as we do for the Egyptians.
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#7 Crom

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 04:48 AM

BTW, have you seen TLC's series Ancient Egyptians? Very cool, real Egyptian-looking actors, speaking what sounds to be real Egyptian, with stories ripped straight from the papurus. I liked it.

Excellent series. I especially liked the episode about Thutmose III, though the one about the twins was well done.

Kane, there was a good series about the Celts on TLC about a year back.

#8 Kane

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Posted 20 December 2003 - 04:18 PM

Kane, there was a good series about the Celts on TLC about a year back.

Thanks. :D

I'll have to check their site and see if they have it for sale. :)
"I vanquished Law once, I'll conquer yet again--
And force upon Mankind the Freedom he fears--
And dead gods I will again defy?"

#9 Ironhand

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 11:24 AM

Got this off the web --

Amazing Find in an Ancient Tomb

The first step before needed road improvements could be made in the town of Prittlewell, located in the English Channel port of Southend some 35 miles east of London, was a survey of the area by archaeologists from the Museum of London. And the most amazing thing happened: They found a small bit of bronze sticking up out of the mud.

That led to what one archaeologist described as "a once-in-a-lifetime discovery": an almost intact 1,400-year-old Anglo Saxon royal burial chamber that may help historians better understand the Dark Ages. The wood-lined chamber is packed with more than 60 objects, from gold crosses to glass jars and copper-alloy bowls to drinking vessels. The burial treasures were found still hanging on hooks just as they would have been on the burial day.

The find is significant for two reasons: One, it is extremely rare to find an Anglo Saxon burial chamber. Two, it is very well-preserved. "This will open new windows on our understanding of the Dark Ages," senior archaeologist Ian Blair explained to Reuters. "You can draw arrows all over Europe and the near East tracing the origins of the grave goods."

There is just one thing missing from the 13-square-foot burial chamber that once housed a king or a local prince, who has now been nicknamed the "Prince of Prittlewell": the body. Blair suspects that over the centuries, it was eaten away by the acidic soil that leeched into the chamber. That doesn't seem to bother him a bit even though it will make it difficult to identify whose grave it is. "This is as good as it gets for Anglo Saxon burials," he gushed to Reuters. "All the metal objects are in very good condition."

The archaeologists can tell this much in the "who is it?" guessing game: Gold foil crosses were placed on the body to indicate conversion to Christianity. This suggests it could have been either Saebert, who converted in 604 and died in 616, or Sigeberht II who converted in 653.

"To find an intact chamber grave and a moment genuinely frozen in time is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery," Blair said.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#10 budgie

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 07:24 PM

Hopefully one of the Discovery channels will do a good program on this at some time in the near future, interesting stuff indeed..


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#11 Sloth-Amon

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 04:46 PM

wow cool :o

its not everyday that you find the tomb of a christien prince :D


#12 Primeval

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 08:41 PM

wow cool :o 

its not everyday that you find the tomb of a christien prince :D

Well, I would be willing to guess the conversion, as so many of them were, was due to coercion, political/monetary gain, or simply the fact that the Christians were the ones (mostly) recording and "translating" history texts.

"Roll on me like a flood, now, if ye dare! Before your viper fangs drink my life I will reap your multitudes like ripened barley - of your severed heads will I build a tower and of your mangled corpses will I rear up a wall!" - Bran Mak Morn in "Worms of the Earth"


#13 budgie

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 09:31 PM

Personally Im more into the earlier neolithic tombs and chambers dotted around the UK..

I can highly reccommend viditing the Isle of Orkney at the north end of Scotland if you are into that sort of thing.. Neolithic tombs, stone circles, housing and even a bit of Viking vandalism too..
check out places like Skara Brae and the Tomb of Eagles..

Spent an excellent holiday there last summer.. great stuff indeed


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#14 Sloth-Amon

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 07:47 PM

wow cool :o 

its not everyday that you find the tomb of a christien prince :D

Well, I would be willing to guess the conversion, as so many of them were, was due to coercion, political/monetary gain, or simply the fact that the Christians were the ones (mostly) recording and "translating" history texts.

or because his kingdom was invaded by a strong growing british king and was captured and forced to forget about the religions of magic and sorcery thus becoming christien

:blink:


#15 Ironhand

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:06 PM

When pagan royalty converted to Christianity it was usually either politics or out-and-out bribery. Sometimes it was because the wife/queen was a convert and persuaded/badgered her husband into converting. Sometimes it was religious intimidation: you must convert or you're going to hell when you die. Once in a while it was even because of sincere religious conviction. In any case, once a king converted, it was coercion time for the populace.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#16 Primeval

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 10:48 PM

Good points all. Most "conversions" were probably not sincere ones, and the fact that the christians placed their holidays on days that were already "pagan" holidays so it would look like the populace was celebrating the christian holiday points to the fact that the general population still followed their own ways. And as I said, it was the christian monks who did the recording of "history" (their own verison anyway) so the records we have are from that perspective.

My favorite story of conversions gone bad (forgive me for not remembering the name of the monk) was a monk sent by Charlemagne to the Saxons. He wasn't getting very far in his efforts, so he decided to attack one of their sacred symbols, a tree. He tried to chop it down to show that the pagan god could do him no harm. The outraged Saxons then attacked and killed him. Of course, Charlemagne eventually wiped out huge numbers of the Saxons in northern Europe in his zeal to spread christianity (that is, to spread his own power by expanding his empire).

Ok, I had better stop - conversations on religion often turn ugly and this realy doesn't have much to do with our Cimmerian hero :D

"Roll on me like a flood, now, if ye dare! Before your viper fangs drink my life I will reap your multitudes like ripened barley - of your severed heads will I build a tower and of your mangled corpses will I rear up a wall!" - Bran Mak Morn in "Worms of the Earth"


#17 Sloth-Amon

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 12:05 AM

these all reminds me of the story of st. george and the dragon, anybody here ever heard of it?


#18 Orkin

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 08:12 PM

these all reminds me of the story of st. george and the dragon,  anybody here ever heard of it?

Indeed. St. George was on a high rock in the jungle when the dragon came. Thinking quickly, he made a spear out of his dagger and some low-hanging branches. He pierced a poison fruit with the dagger then stabbed the dragon in the mouth, and the dragon died. That's what I know about St George and the dragon. :D
? ?When I can not stand alone, it will be time to die,? he mumbled, through mashed lips. ?But I?d like a flagon of wine.?
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#19 budgie

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 10:35 PM

these all reminds me of the story of st. george and the dragon,  anybody here ever heard of it?

Indeed. St. George was on a high rock in the jungle when the dragon came. Thinking quickly, he made a spear out of his dagger and some low-hanging branches. He pierced a poison fruit with the dagger then stabbed the dragon in the mouth, and the dragon died. That's what I know about St George and the dragon. :D

Wheres the jungles in England?.. (never mind the dragons)

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#20 Sloth-Amon

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 11:10 PM

it is a story about christionizing(sp?)(real word?)

you see, there was this dragon who kept eating all the people in this near by town, and the town had to sacrifice a beutifull woman to the dragon every day and the day came that they were forced to sacrifice the kings daughter, so st. george was going to go slay the dragon, but first george prayed to god for help and promised he would do something in return, so george somehow stabbed the dragon and recued the princess and brang the dragon into the town, but somehow the dragon was still alive, so george promised that he would kill the dragon and end its evil only if the whole town promised to become christian, the king agreed and thus st. george choped off the dragons head!

(i personally love the ending :D )