Friday, October 08, 2004

Persepolis Recreated To Premiere Oct 20

"An Iranian documentary filmmaker, Farzin Rezaeian has spent several years researching the Achaemenid palace at Persepolis, resulting in a visually stunning film featuring some of the leading scholars of ancient Persia."

The film, "Persepolis Recreated", will premiere October 20 at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute.

" ?We?re pleased that the film will be shown first at the Oriental Institute because of our strong connection to the archaeology of Iran,? said Matthew Stolper, the John A. Wilson Professor of Assyriology in the Oriental Institute and the College.

"Archaeologists from the Oriental Institute did important work at Persepolis before World War II and continued working in Iran up until 1979. OI scholars who worked on the results of the Persepolis excavations transformed the study of ancient Iranian history and languages. We also have recently resumed our collaboration with colleagues in Iran.

Among the items on display in the Oriental Institute's Persian Gallery are dishes that were smashed by the army of Alexander the Great as he destroyed Persepolis. The film on Persepolis comes at a time of renewed interest in Alexander, with the opening in early November of a major film on the Macedonian warrior?s life and the publication of a new biography."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Cosmetics Ancient Beauty Secret of Persian Empire

Persian Journal : "Based on recent excavations in northwestern Iran, archaeologists now believe that eye makeup has been used Iran since about 4500 B.C. Other archaeological discoveries at Haft-Tappeh in Khuzestan Province indicate that women used to wear lipstick, rouge, and eye makeup in 2000 B.C. in Iran.

Achaemenid era religious texts say that the wives of the king spent a lot of time applying makeup and perfume before meeting the king. The ancient Greeks admired the Achaemenid era Persians for their custom of wearing makeup and attributed the origin of the use of cosmetics to the East.

Iranians used several different types and styles of makeup in the Achaemenid, the Parthian, and the Sassanid eras.

Seven items were used in women's cosmetics in ancient Iran: sormeh (black powder used as eyeliner), henna to dye the hair and hands, qazeh (rouge powder for the cheeks), sefidab (powder to whiten the face), vasmeh (powder to darken and thicken the eyebrows), zarak (yellowish powder used to lighten the hair color), and khal (a beauty spot).

Iranian men also wore cosmetics. The famous Parthian commander Sorena always wore makeup. Some sources have also mentioned that Darius the Great used black eyeliner."

"One Night With The King" to be adapted to film

WebWire "Hadassah: One Night With The King", a historical novel based on the life of the young Jewish girl, Hadassah, the rags-to-riches heroine who went on to become the Biblical Esther, the Queen of Persia (400?322 B.C.) has been adapted for film by screenwriter Stephan Blinn. Complete with suspense, political war conspiracies, and religious intrigue, the epic tale's principle photography was shot in northwestern India. Directed by Michael Sajbel, "One Night With The King" is scheduled for theatrical release March 25.

Iran, Germany Explore Ancient Industrial City

Payvan: "Iranian and German archeologists have started their 5th season of excavations in the ancient industrial city of Erisman, in central Iran, which used to house several metal workshops.

Erisman is considered the largest industrial city of the ancient Persia and experts have already discovered remains of furnaces, architectural structures and potteries.

Erisman is located in Isfahan province, just 10 km away from Natanz. It is spread over a 40 hectare patch of land. Experts believe Erisman had been an industrial hub, where ironsmiths, silversmiths and goldsmiths had a brisk business. "

Modern Medieval-themed Restaurants Stereotype Lifestyle of the Middle Ages

By Mark Schatzker: "Since 1983, when its first 'castle' opened in Kissimmee, Fla., Medieval Times Entertainment Inc. has served over 20 million diners. But there's one problem. Medieval-themed feasts aren't medieval. The vegetable soup (dragon tail soup), bland roast chicken (baby dragon), baked potato (dragon egg), and doughy desserts certainly seem pre-modern, not to mention pre-food-processor. It's like the food is the culinary equivalent of the classic stereotype that casts medieval people as belching, rugged simpletons.

Medieval chefs used spices as enthusiastically as the boy bands of today use hair products. Yes, medieval chefs did serve plain roasted meats, but they also served many meat dishes that featured thick, gooey sauces very heavily flavored with ingredients like ginger, sugar, vinegar, wine, raisins, mace, cloves, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, and honey. "Mawmenny," a typical dish, consisted of ground beef, pork, or mutton boiled in wine, which was then served in a wine-based sauce thickened with pounded chicken and almonds, then flavored with cloves, sugar, and more almonds (this time fried), and then festively colored with an indigo or red dye.

While a Medieval Times castle seats anywhere from 900 to 1,500 people a night, and the Excalibur's Tournament of Kings about 2,000 (a thousand at each seating), no present-day medieval feast comes even close to approaching the enormity of some of the Middle Ages' heavy-hitters. We don't know exactly how many people attended the marriage feast of Henry III's daughter in 1251, but we do know that they gorged on 1,300 deer; 7,000 hens; 170 boars; 60,000 herring; and 68,500 loaves of bread. They ate off rectangular pieces of stale bread called "trenchers" (which were fed to dogs or peasants once the meal was finished)."

I found this article fascinating although I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Medieval Times in Buena Vista, California. Of course I was far more interested in the jousting and display of horsemanship than the meal!

14 skulls found in a pit at Klallam Tribal Grave Yard

Peninsula Daily News: "LOWER ELWHA KLALLAM Tribal Chairwoman Frances G. Charles says a pit containing 14 human skulls has been uncovered at the graving yard site.

The discovery was made last week by archaeologists and tribal members working to complete an archaeological excavation at the waterfront property.

"The skulls were placed very carefully into a pit, and were all teenagers to young adults when buried,'' Charles said."

This article caught my attention because I had the pleasure of stopping by the new Klallam Tribal Center and Art Gallery on my way to Victoria a couple of weeks ago.

Gold Horse Trappings Unearthed in Bulgaria


The Star: A golden wreath, golden horse trappings and sword decorations were among the most impressive objects of the treasure uncovered in a vast Thracian tomb near the town of Shipka, 200 kilometers (120 miles) east of Sofia, Bulgaria. Georgi Kitov, the excavation team leader, said the stone-built tomb of three chambers dates back to the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 4th century B.C. The Thracians lived in what is now Bulgaria between 4,000 B.C. and the 8th century A.D., when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

Coffins shed light on technology of Ancient Greeks

Austrualia News Interactive: "THE discovery of two large limestone coffins dating back 3,000 years could indicate that the ancient Greeks may have been more technologically advanced than previously thought, an archaeologist said today.

Each of the coffins, also known as a sarcophagus, was found in Ancient Corinth and dates back to 900 to 875 BC - a period known as the early Geometric period.

The name derives from the art of the period, mostly found on pots, with its characteristically linear designs and dots and lines forming zigzags and angles.

Guy Sanders, in charge of the digs carried out by the American School of Classical Studies, said the enormous weight of each coffin - 3.33 tonnes and 1.8 tonnes - suggests the ancient Corinthians must have used a mechanical system to lower the sarcophagi into graves instead of sheer muscle power."