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The Lanzi: Bodyguards in Sixteenth-Century Florence

16th c. Engraving of The Lanzi (Lancers) of Cosimo I de Medici (courtesy Uffizi Gallery) By Andrea Gáldy – In sixteenth-century Florence, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici succeeded his murdered predecessor Alessandro in 1537 and, even...

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No Pain, No Gain: On Reading Sappho and Beyond

Gustav Klimt, Music, 1895 (image public domain) By Malia Maxwell – To read the poet Sappho (Archaic Greek, 7th-6th c. BCE) is to embrace painful incompletion. Little of her work remains, and what we do have left carries with it...

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Gehenna: Hell as Metaphor? What and Where was it?

Gehenna: Hell as Metaphor? What and Where was it?

Hell, detail in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Dull Griet, 1561 By Patrick Hunt –  Gehenna is an old Hebrew toponym (place name) that began as a literal, physical location – the Valley of Hinnom – and gradually...

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Light, Blood and Monumentality–Caravaggisti up North

Fig. 2 Caravaggio, The Fortune Teller, ca. 1595,  Capitoline Museums, Rome  (Image in public domain) By Andrea M. Gáldy - Around the mid 1610s, Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588–1629),...

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Paleopathology and the Destruction of Sennacherib’s Army Besieging Jerusalem in II Chronicles 32, II Kings 19

Peter Paul Rubens, The Defeat of Sennacherib, ca.1612-14, Alte Pinakothek, Munich (Image in public domain) By Patrick Hunt – Historians know disease often stalks armies in history. [1] The specter of invisible pathogens...

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The Lanzi: Bodyguards in Sixteenth-Century Florence

By Andrea Gáldy – In sixteenth-century Florence, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici succeeded his murdered predecessor Alessandro in 1537 and, even though the murderer was a close relative, knew very well what he needed to do to stay alive and in office. He had inherited a guard staffed by Italians and headed by Pirro Colonna […]

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No Pain, No Gain: On Reading Sappho and Beyond

By Malia Maxwell – To read the poet Sappho (Archaic Greek, 7th-6th c. BCE) is to embrace painful incompletion. Little of her work remains, and what we do have left carries with it the stain of absence. While no amount of longing for a “completed” text can fill in her fragmented work, a reader of […]

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Gehenna: Hell as Metaphor? What and Where was it?

Gehenna: Hell as Metaphor? What and Where was it?

By Patrick Hunt –  Gehenna is an old Hebrew toponym (place name) that began as a literal, physical location – the Valley of Hinnom – and gradually transformed into a metaphor for hell through various processes including religious defilement. One of the immediate problems of any hermeneutics about Gehenna is the religious literariness of the […]

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Light, Blood and Monumentality–Caravaggisti up North

By Andrea M. Gáldy - Around the mid 1610s, Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588–1629), Gerard van Honthorst (1592–1656) and Dirck van Baburen (c.1592/93–1624) spent time in Italy, particularly in Rome, where they came face to face with Caravaggio’s work. Similar to what happened to Caravaggisti from other parts of Europe, the three young painters from Utrecht […]

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Paleopathology and the Destruction of Sennacherib’s Army Besieging Jerusalem in II Chronicles 32, II Kings 19

By Patrick Hunt – Historians know disease often stalks armies in history. [1] The specter of invisible pathogens haunting ancient warfare may have at times seemed instead like a punitive deity taking sides. Sometimes it’s merely a much simpler question of contagion and the inability to protect against it. While there is insufficient documentation to […]

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Verrocchio: Where Leonardo Obtained His Skills

By Andrea M. Gáldy – The art world likes to regard Leonardo as someone born a genius with pen and brush in his hands and plans for superlative works of art already forming in his brain. Nonetheless, Leonardo like everyone else had to learn his trade. He was apprenticed to a master able to teach him […]

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Medieval Stave Churches of Norway

By P. F. Sommerfeldt – In the 10th-11th century when Norway was transitioning from a pagan Viking land to embrace early Christianity, churches were built out of wood in much the same way ships were constructed. I was recently in Norway (June 2019) on a National Geographic Expedition and marveled at how these churches were […]

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Otzi the Iceman’s Medicine Kit Included Sloe Berries (Prunus Spinosa)

Otzi the Iceman’s Medicine Kit Included Sloe Berries (Prunus Spinosa)

By Patrick Hunt – Otzi the Iceman from the Alpine Tyrol, found at the Similaun-Tisjoch summit of the Otztal Alps in 1991, is now the most famous “mummy” of all time, eclipsing the mummy of Ramses II from New Kingdom Egypt (circa 1300 BCE) not only in what science can reveal from examining his preserved […]

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Long Live Leonardo (at 500)

By Andrea M. Gáldy –  Leonardo is dead, but he has never been as popular as now. Almost exactly 500 years ago, he died in France. By then, Leonardo had long left his native Vinci, had been apprenticed to Verrocchio in Florence and had spent time working in Rome, Milan and Venice as well as […]

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Giovanni Battista Piranesi: Pioneer Archaeologist and Engraver

By P. F. Sommerfeldt – Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78) is well known as a Neoclassical engraver of Roman monuments and shadowed architectural fantasies (such as invented or imaginary carcere or “prisons”). But his work as a pioneer in archaeology is not as familiar, although his work provides ample details about the state of Roman ruins […]

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