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.Old sources imply that Hroflur (Rudolf) established a monestary at Baer in Borgarfjordur close to the year 1030. He was called back to England in 1049. There were more attempts at establishing cloisters during the early years of the church. Bishop Magnus Einarsson at Skalholt bought a part of the Westman Islands and attempted the establishment of a monestary there. He was lost in a fire in 1148 and nothing came off his ideas. Jon Loftsson at Oddi built a monestary at Keldur around the year 1190, where he wanted to spend his last years. It was probably abandoned after his death in 1197.
...read moreA force of Royal Marines was landed in Iceland by H.M.S. Berwick and H.M.S. Glasgow on the 10th May and were received in a friendly manner by the inhabitants, though an official protest was made. Three merchant vessels (2 Swedish and 1 Danish) were found there and sent to the United Kingdom. The German Consul and staff and 20 prisoners were taken off.
The face of a medieval knight who was killed 700 years ago has been revealed through state-of-the-art forensic techniques.
The mysterious skeleton was uncovered along with nine other people's remains underneath a chapel at Stirling Castle in 1997.
It is not known whether the man, who was killed during Scotland's Wars of Independence, is English, Scottish or even French, due to the fact the castle changed hands several times....cont
During a Roman Catholic ritual, the remains were interred beneath the altar of Frombork Cathedral in northern Poland, where the astronomer had been the canon (head priest) and where he originally was buried in 1543.
The exact location of his grave had been lost and his remains were not conclusively identified until 2005, through the use of modern DNA testing.
Best known for his treatise "On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres", Copernicus asserted that the earth revolved around the sun - contrary to the medieval belief that the earth was the centre of the universe.
The theory was viewed with suspicion by the Church, and his treatise was not published until 1543, the year of his death.
Eventually the theory became the cornerstone for a future generation of scientists including Kepler and Galileo, but one of its ardent advocates, Italian cleric Giordano Bruno, was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600.
.Now, featuring sensational new archaeological discoveries, Gladiators: Back from the Dead vividly recreates the world of the Roman arena and how six gladiators lived, fought and died.
The programme reveals how the various types of gladiator were trained in special schools, including Retiarii, who fought with nets and tridents, heavyweight Myrmillonis sword fighters, Thracians armed with special 'bent' swords, Secutors (literarily pursuers) who wore special helmets, and the Bestiarii, who fought wild animals.
The programme follows archaeologists and forensic anthropologists as they analyse dozens of Roman skeletons found in Britain over recent years: individuals who evidence shows came from across the Roman Empire.
.Around 80 gladiators have been discovered in what experts are calling the world's only well-preserved gladiator cemetery, in the northern British town of York. The grizzly find, made ahead of modern building works since 2004, includes the skeletons of men who had been killed with swords, axes and hammers - and one who had been bitten by a tiger.
He said that bite marks on one of the skeletons helped to steer the team to its initial theory.
“One of the most significant items of evidence is a large carnivore bite mark — probably inflicted by a lion, tiger or bear — an injury which must have been sustained in an arena context.
.London, England (CNN) -- English archaeologists said Friday they are trying to figure out why 97 babies were buried around a Roman-era villa that may have been used as a brothel.
Because childbirth in Roman times was more dangerous than it is today, infant mortality was high and infant burials are common at Roman villas. However, the massive number found at the site in Buckinghamshire, just northwest of London, is far higher than at any other Roman villa in Britain, the Buckinghamshire County Council said.
Recent examination of the Roman-era bodies shows "the infants almost all died around the time of birth, suggesting this may be an example of deliberate infanticide," the council said.
That was legal in Roman times if the mother was a slave, and a large number of deliberately killed babies may show someone wanted to keep the mothers working, it said.
.A YEWDEN villa in Hambleden will feature in a new BBC 2 history show.
Archaeology series called Digging for Britain, presented by Dr Alice Roberts, has been filming at Buckinghamshire's County Museum in Aylesbury.
A selection of the most impressive Yewden finds are on display in its exhibition called Human: half a million years of life in Buckinghamshire, which runs until July 11.
Yewden Villa was originally excavated in 1912.
The finds from the site are being re-interpreted, by the Romans in the Hambleden Valley community archaeology project, led by Dr Jill Eyers.
The Hambleden site, close to the River Thames, was excavated 100 years ago and identified as a high status Roman villa.
Alfred Heneage Cocks, an archaeologist, reported the findings in 1921. His report, along with photographs, and hundreds of artefacts, pottery and bones were recently rediscovered at Buckinghamshire County Museum.
The records gave precise locations for the infant bodies, which were hidden under walls or buried under courtyards close to each other.
The remains are now being tested for the first time by English Heritage.
The team plans to carry out DNA tests on the skeletons in a bid to establish their sex and possible relationship to each other.
The Hambleden investigation features in a new BBC TV archaeology series, Digging for Britain presented by Dr Alice Roberts, to be broadcast on BBC Two in July and August.
70 years after the Battle of BritainThe Soviet army is this morning moving across Bessarabia, the Romanian border province with the Soviet Union, to grab back the state they have coveted since 1918. First reports suggest that no resistance is being offered, but there is a fear that the Soviet invasion will be so fast that they will overtake retreating Romanian troops and refugees. It is probable that all of Bessarabia will be in Soviet hands by midnight tomorrow.
Hundreds of thousands of Romanian refugees are slowly fleeing the fast-moving tanks and infantry of the Red Army. Soldiers, officials and tax-gatherers who have presided over Bessarabia since the end of the Great War are streaming back to Bucharest alongside ordinary citizens leaving their homes in fear of the Russian invaders.
.The long-lost tombstone of a cartoonist who killed himself after a young Charles Dickens ousted him from The Pickwick Papers project has been found.
Robert Seymour was one of the most prominent illustrators of the early 19th century but ended up an unfortunate footnote in Dickens's career.
His name is set to be restored to prominence when the Charles Dickens Museum in London unveils a commemorative plaque and puts his tombstone on display this month.
The stone was discovered by Stephen Jarvis, who is researching a biography of Seymour, in a giant collection of tombstones in the crypt of St Mary Magdalene Church in Islington.
Mr Jarvis, from Maidenhead, said: “Everybody said the tombstone was missing.” Even church regulars thought it had probably been destroyed..continued
.Seymour was born in Somerset, England in 1798, the second son of Henry Seymour and Elizabeth Bishop. Soon after moving to London Henry Seymour died, leaving his wife, two sons and daughter impoverished. In 1827 his mother died, and Seymour married his cousin Jane Holmes, having two children, Robert and Jane. Robert Seymour died on 20 April, 1836.
After his father died, Robert Seymour was apprenticed as a pattern-drawer to a Mr. Vaughan of Duke Street, Smithfield, London. Influenced by painter Joseph Severn RA, during frequent visits to his uncle Thomas Holmes of Hoxton, Roberts’s ambition to be a professional painter, was achieved at the age of 24, when, in 1822, his painting of a scene from Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, with over 100 figures, was exhibited at the Royal Academy.
He was also commissioned to illustrate the works of Shakespeare; Milton; Cervantes, and Wordsworth. He also produced innumerable portraits, miniatures, landscapes, etc. As can be seen in two Sketchbooks; Windsor; Eaton; Figure Studies; Portraits at the Victoria and Albert Museum. After the rejection of his second Royal Academy submission, he continued to paint in oils and mastered techniques of copper engraving, and began illustrating books for a living...continued
Originally thought to be from around the 11th century, new carbon dating techniques place the Garima Gospels between 330 and 650 AD.
The 1,600 year-old texts are named after a monk, Abba Garima, who arrived in Ethiopia in the fifth century.
According to legend, he copied out the Gospels in just one day after founding the Garima Monastery, near Adwa in the north of the country.
The vividly illustrated pages have been conserved by the Ethiopian Heritage Fund and it is hoped that the two volumes will be made available to visitors to the monastery which is in discussions to start a museum there.
Illustrations of the saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all included in the book along with what may be the first ever Christian illustration of a building, the Temple of the Jews.
The Garima Gospels, which are believed to have magical powers, have never left the monastery.
They were written on goat skin in the early Ethiopian language of Ge'ez and are thought to be the earliest example of book binding still attached to the original pages.
The namesake of the monastery, Abba Garima is believed to have been a Byzantine royal with healing powers who was summoned to Axum by Abba Pantaleon. King Gabra Masqal built for him a monastery near Adwa, where he lived for some 20 years performing miracles and healing the sick. Above the monastery on a hill is a spring where Abba Garima is said to have spat on the spot and started a life form.
The monastery was attacked twice during its history, once by Queen Gudit in the 10th century and a second time in the 1530s by Imam Ahmad Gragn, a Moslem who attacked the monastery with his Turkish muskets.
The first European recorded to have visited the monastery in modern times was Henry Salt, who visited it on 14 September 1805. He was told at the time that the building had been built by Gabra Masqal in 560.
In around 1872 or 1873, Emperor Tekle Giyorgis II of Ethiopia was blinded, and imprisoned with his brother and mother at the Abba Garima Monastery, where he died or was executed some years later.
In 1896, the monastery proved an important location during the Italian invasion when Menelik II spotted the advancing troops from the monastery, which contributed to his decisive victory over the Italians. The following year, Ras Alula died at Abba Garima after being wounded in a battle with his old rival, Ras Hagos of Hamasien. His tomb is located at the rear of the main church.
Beatrice Playne visited the monastery around 1950, and in found that the church had burned down twenty years prior and had been rebuilt before her arrival. Nevertheless, she was shown a number of prized possessions which were centuries old, including a number of illuminated manuscripts "whose ornamental headings struck me as Syrian in style." The last treasured item he was shown was "an ancient spring which, they said, had never failed since the beginning of the world."
.When London last staged the Olympics in 1948, money was so tight, athletes slept in military huts and leftover food went to local hospitals. Tuesday marks two years to the day until the 2012 Games - what lessons can be learned?
There was no showpiece stadium or aquatic centre, no sleek athletes' village smelling of fresh paint and new upholstery.
London's 1948 Olympics instead had to make do and mend, just as the country had done during World War II - was still doing, in fact, as food, clothing, construction materials and petrol were rationed. The city was a bomb site, many of its buildings pockmarked or toppled in the Blitz, the rubble simply brushed into piles.
Organised in less than two years and with a budget of £730,000, it was a pared-down and practical affair. By contrast, the 2012 Games is expected to cost £7.267bn.
Medals were made of oxidised silver instead of gold. And because of food rationing, competing countries contributed provisions. "The Dutch sent over 100 tons of fruit and vegetables for all the teams. Denmark gave 160,000 eggs. Czechoslovakia gave 20,000 mineral water bottles," recalled Olympic librarian Sandy Duncan in a documentary on the BBC Archive website.
.Donald's original artworks, for which he had been paid a few pounds each during his lifetime, now sell for thousands of pounds at leading auction houses such as Sotheby's. Towards the end of his life, the number of designs Donald McGill produced declined, due to his age and ill health. When he died, aged 87, Donald left behind 200 unfinished sketches and postcard designs for the following season. He was an atheist and is buried in an unmarked grave within a private family plot in Streatham Cemetery. In his later years, he was interviewed on television and admitted 'I'm not proud of myself, I always wanted to do something better. I'm really a serious minded man underneath - I would have liked to have done sporting caricatures like Tom Webster or even oil paintings, if I'd had my way'.
.Ultra millionaire sponsorship deals such as those signed by sprinter Usain Bolt, motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi and tennis player Maria Sharapova, are just peanuts compared to the personal fortune amassed by a second century A.D. Roman racer, according to an estimate published in the historical magazine Lapham's Quarterly.
According to Peter Struck, associate professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, an illiterate charioteer named Gaius Appuleius Diocles earned “the staggering sum" of 35,863,120 sesterces (ancient Roman coins) in prize money.
Recorded in a monumental inscription erected in 146 A.D., the figure eclipses the fortunes of all modern sport stars, including golfer Tiger Woods, hailed by Forbes magazine last fall “sports' first billion-dollar man.”
Diocles, “the most eminent of all charioteers,” according to the inscription, was born in Lusitania, in what is now Portugal and south-west Spain, and started his spectacular career in 122 A.D., when he was 18.
Life for a charioteer in Rome wasn’t easy. Often slaves who could eventually buy their freedom, these racers engaged in wild laps of competition at the Circus Maximum, running a total of about 4,000 meters (nearly 2.5 miles).
“After seven savage laps, those who managed not to be upended or killed and finish in the top three took home prizes,” wrote Struck.
.LONDON — After she died earlier this month, a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was called a pauper’s grave.
But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away.
Known to her neighbors as an insistently private woman who loved cats and revealed almost nothing about her past, she has emerged as a heroine in the tortured story of Nazi-occupied France, one of the secret agents who helped prepare the French resistance for the D-Day landings in June 1944.
On Tuesday, the anonymity that Ms. Nearne had cherished in life was denied her in death. A funeral service in Torquay featured a military bugler and piper and an array of uniformed mourners. A red cushion atop her coffin bore her wartime medals. Eulogies celebrated her as one of 39 British women who were parachuted into France as secret agents by the Special Operations Executive, a wartime agency known informally as “Churchill’s secret army,” which recruited more than 14,000 agents to conduct espionage and sabotage behind enemy lines.
Funeral costs were paid by the British Legion, the country’s main veterans’ organization, and by anonymous donors who came forward after the circumstances of Ms. Nearne’s death made front-page news in Britain.
The funeral organizers said that in accordance with her wishes, her ashes would be scattered at sea.
Ms. Nearne, known as Didi, volunteered for work that was as dangerous as any that wartime Britain had to offer: operating a secret radio link from Paris that was used to organize weapons drops to the French resistance and to shuttle messages back and forth between controllers in London and the resistance.
After several narrow escapes, she was arrested by the Gestapo in July 1944 and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, a camp that was primarily intended for women, tens of thousands of whom died there.
Ms. Nearne survived, though other women working for the Special Operations Executive were executed in the Nazi camps.
As she related in postwar debriefings, documented in Britain’s National Archives, the Gestapo tortured her — beating her, stripping her naked, then submerging her repeatedly in a bath of ice-cold water until she began to black out from lack of oxygen. Yet they failed to force her to yield the secrets they sought: her real identity, the names of others working with her in the resistance and the assignments given to her by London. At the time, she was 23.
The account she gave her captors was that she was an innocent and somewhat gullible Frenchwoman named Jacqueline Duterte, and that she had been recruited by a local businessman to transmit radio coded messages that she did not understand.
She recalled one interrogator’s attempts to break her will: “He said, ‘Liar! Spy!’ and hit me on the face. He said, ‘We have ways of making people who don’t want to talk, talk. Come with us.’ ”
From Ravensbruck, Ms. Nearne was shuttled eastward through an archipelago of Nazi death camps, her head shaved. After first refusing to work in the camps, she changed her mind, seeing the work assignments as the only means of survival....continued...