Friday, January 28, 2011

The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek: Superhuman Strength or Supernatural Power?

Situated at Baalbek on a lush, high plain, 53 miles from Beirut in Lebanon, stand the ruins of a group of Roman temples famous for the beauty and grace of their architecture.

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Constructed in the first century A.D., the temples stand on a raised platform and command magnificent views of the countryside below. But it is not only the setting that is spectacular; surrounding the temples is a massive stone wall that baffles experts even today.
At its western end lie three of the largest cut blocks of stone in the world. Transporting and placing them in their horizontal would pose an insurmountable problem even to modern engineers using the most sophisticated machinery technology can provide. Yet these stones have been in position for almost 2,000 years. Despite the technical expertise of the Romans, there is no similar example of such astonishing skill anywhere else in their former empire. The great stones of Baalbek are unique.
Full story by Mr Ghaz
The Mystery of the Stones at Baalbek: Superhuman Strength or Supernatural Power? | Socyberty

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bourbon Treasures, Part One: The War Chest | Socyberty

Bourbon Treasures, Part One: The War Chest

Image via Wikipedia

The escape of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children from the palace of the Tuileries was not only a thrilling episode in the French Revolution, it was also the abode of a major crisis in European history. One of the brothers of Louis XVI, the Comte d’Artois, was making plans by which France had to be invaded from the south by Spain en from the east by the brother of Marie Antoinette, the new Austrian Emperor Leopold II. And they all needed… money!
The Austrian Emperor Leopold II was in a difficult position: there was a war going on with Turkey, Prussia was threatening war against him, his Belgian and Hungarian provinces were revolting. He could not risk a defeat in France. But with the French king out of Paris and at the head of an army, the situation would be different. It was on the success or failure of a flight from revolutionary Paris that the actions of Austria – and the rest of Europe – depended.

Full story:

by Patrick Bernauw

Bourbon Treasures, Part One: The War Chest | Socyberty

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Tomb of Tutankhamun and Its Influence on Popular Culture | Socyberty

by MJ Sunderland

In 1922, the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered by the archaeologist Howard Carter. This was a major event in the history of taste and provoked a craze for Egyptian artefacts, which is sometimes known as ‘Egyptomania’ or ‘Tutmania’. The craze affected cinema, fashion, jewellery and architecture. In particular, the exquisite artefacts of Ancient Egypt were among the major influences on the Art Deco style of design.
Art Deco was a glamorous, decadent style that flourished in the 1920s and 30s: it was the style of the Jazz Age. Art Deco emerged in France, but soon spread around the world, and became especially popular in America. It affected all forms of design, including architecture, interior design and fashion. The Art Deco style is instantly recognisable. It was based on angular forms like trapezoids and zigzags, as well as geometric shapes and sunbursts. Art Deco drew its imagery from a wide range of sources, both modern and historical. It was influenced by modern art, but also by the arts of Africa and Ancient Egypt.
France had been interested in Egyptian artefacts since the time of Napoleon, but the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb inspired French designers to incorporate Egyptian imagery into the new style. The solid gold funerary mask of Tutankhamun uses lustrous materials like gold and lapis lazuli, creating a sharp contrast of colour. It has sinister animal forms – the cobra and the vulture. Artefacts like this appealed on an imaginative level. They revived the romantic fascination with Ancient Egypt. This imagery was immediately incorporated into Art Deco design.

Full article:
The Tomb of Tutankhamun and Its Influence on Popular Culture | Socyberty