“The great question, then, that I pondered as I watched the floating island with longing eyes and chafed at my bonds and cursed the hetman in my heart, is that of determining what these symbols mean in and of themselves. We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.”
Gene Wolfe, “Natrium,” The Sword of the Lictor, (New York: Tom Dougherty Associates, 1981), pg. 162.
Gene Wolfe getting meta-typographical on us.
The Book of the New Sun
The Sword of the Lictor
10:22 pm |
October 19 2014
| 2 notes
Nearly mint state tetradrachm of Alexander III the Great, minted in Pella, Macedon c. 323-315 BC
This coin shows the head of Herakles right, wearing lion’s skin headress. On the reverse AΛEΞANΔPOY inscription with Zeus seated left, holding eagle and scepter; in left field, bee atop a rose.
The ruins of Pella are located in the current Pella regional unit of Central Macedonia in Greece. The city was founded in 399 BC by King Archelaus (413–399 BC) as the capital of his kingdom, replacing the older palace-city of Aigai. After this, it was the seat of the king Philip II and of Alexander III (the Great), his son. In 168 BC, it was sacked by the Romans, and its treasury transported to Rome. Later, the city was destroyed by an earthquake and eventually was rebuilt over its ruins. By 180 AD, Lucian could describe it in passing as “now insignificant, with very few inhabitants.”
Pella is first mentioned by Herodotus of Halicarnassus (VII, 123) in relation to Xerxes’ campaign and by Thucydides (II, 99,4 and 100,4) in relation to Macedonian expansion and the war against Sitalces, the king of the Thracians. According to Xenophon, in the beginning of the 4th century BC, it was the largest Macedonian city. It attracted Greek artists such the painter Zeuxis, the poet Timotheus of Miletus and the tragic author Euripides who finished his days there writing and producing Archelaus.
More about Pella…
More about the Tetradrachms of Alexander the Great…
Absolutely stunning condition.
Alexander the Great
6:47 pm |
October 18 2014
| 142 notes
Assyrian Foundation Plaque, reign of Tukulti-Ninurta I, c.1243-1207 BC
On gypsum alabaster in cuneiform. The text says:
Tukulti-Ninurta, king of the universe, strong king, king of Assyria, king of kings, lord of lords, rulers of rulers, prince, lord of all, conqueror of the rebellious — those who do not submit (to him and) who are hostile to Ashur —, defeater of the prince of the Qutu as far as the land Mehru, disperser of the forces of the land of the Shubaru and the remote lands Nairi as far as the border of Makan, strong king, capable in battle, the one who shepherds the four quarters at the heels of the god Shamash, I; son of Shalmaneser (I), king of the universe, king of Assyria; son of Adad-narari (I) (who was) also king of the universe and king of Assyria: At that time the temple of the Assyrian Ishtar, my mistress, which Ilu-Shumma, my forefather, the prince, had previously built — that temple had become dilapidated and I cleared away its debris. I changed its site. I founded (it) in another place. I made it more outstanding than ever before. As an addition I built the room of the Shahuru and lofty towers. I completed that temple from top to bottom. I built within a lofty dais (and) an awesome sanctuary for the abode of the goddess Ishtar, my mistress, and I deposited my monumental inscription. May a later prince restore it (and) return my inscribed name to its place. (Then) the goddess Ishtar will listen to his prayers. As for the one who removes my inscription and my name: May the goddess Ishtar, my mistress, extinguish his sovereignty, break his weapon, cause his manhood to dwindle away, (and) hand him over to his enemies.
Tukulti-Ninurta I was a king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian Empire. He succeeded Shalmaneser I, his father, as king and won a major victory against the Hittite Empire at the Battle of Nihriya in the first half of his reign, appropriating Hittite territory in Asia Minor and the Levant. He retained Assyrian control of Urartu, and later defeated Kashtiliash IV, the Kassite king of Babylonia and captured the rival city of Babylon to ensure full Assyrian supremacy over Mesopotamia. Tukilti-Ninurta I set himself up as king of Babylon, thus becoming the first native Mesopotamian to rule there, its previous kings having all been non native Amorites or Kassites. He took on the ancient title “King of Sumer and Akkad” first used by Sargon of Akkad.
6:24 pm |
October 16 2014
| 664 notes
Aryballos (perfume flask) in the shape of a helmeted head
6th Century BC
(Source: The Metropolitan Museum)
12:02 pm |
October 15 2014
| 279 notes
Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan (1885)
Ilya Efimovich Repin
Oil on Canvas
199 x 254 cm
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
11:40 pm |
October 10 2014
| 3 notes