Djibuoti: Punt & Macrobians

We are back one again for the ABC of World history. We have now landed on D and a dice roll determined today I would talk to you about Djibouti which for those of you unaware of its location, it is a country in the Horn of Africa and bordered by Somaliland (that part of Somalia that is desperately trying to be acknowledged a its own state), Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Djibouti has had many names throughout history, been part of many states and nations, and governed by different groups, whether it was the local Somali and Afar peoples, the Islamic empires that took over the north of Africa, or the French colonists in its most recent history. However, officially as the Republic of Djibouti, it has existed since its independence granted by French authorities in 1977. It has a long history as anthologist and archaeologist agree that its strategic location would have been key for the crossing of the early homonym groups, and there is consensus that it has been consistently occupied since at least the Neolithic. I must confess that I was incredibly tempted to start talking about the wonderful archaeological remain that are found around this area or the incredible painting of giraffes in Balho, but today I decided to talk about the uncertain history of Djibouti. Because, you see, its geographical location, means that it is a perfect breeding ground for all those potential places of antiquity we are not entirely sure where they exactly were. So today I will briefly cover the potential role of Djibouti as the land of Punt and Macrobians.

The Land of Punt

The majority of the information we have regarding the so-called Land of Punt comes from the perspective of the ancient Egyptians who left records of their mysterious trading partner in this land of Punt. Where was Punt exactly? Well, its difficult to say, and the lack of consensus means that we are currently working with the space between Egypt and the red Sea all the way down to the Horn of Africa, so, you know just a few places…So where do the records come from? The Egyptians started mentioning gold coming form Punt since the Fourth Dynasty, and the first official expedition to this region was organised in the Fifth dynasty by Pharaoh Sahure (around 25th century BC). But it wasn’t until the reign of Hatshepsut that the most famous expedition is organised and from, we get most of the information we have to date about Punt. Her chroniclers describe the land at length even describing it as a rich area with anything imaginable littering the land, a place worthy of Gods. The descriptions of the trade good that came to the Egyptians through Punt, suggest that the Puntites were well established as a mercantile nation, as they also traded with goods from adjacent areas, suggesting they had developed a solid network. Reliefs of these trading missions by ship can still be found in Hatshepsut’s temple at Dayr al-Bahri. We even have mentions of the Puntite rulers of this time: King Parahu and Queen Ati. However after the reign of Ramses III, it seems the majority of narratives about the land of Punt become so unreal that perhaps indicate a certain level of mythification and legendary romanticism which makes us questioned what happened between these two nations or if previous records had also been exaggerated.

Macrobians

The Macrobian are a people that we have record of thank to Herodotus (c. 484 – 425 BC) the Greek writer and geographer. But, we need to take all we know about Macrobians with a pinch of salt as Herodotus is our main source and from the accounts themselves, these come across as sort of mythological people living in the extremities of the world known to the Greeks. He describes the Macrobians as living somewhere south of Ethiopia, which could fit with the current location of Djibouti. He presents them as tall and handsome people, excellent seafarers and living in a prosperous land, which sort of matches the imagery developed earlier by the Egyptian Pharaoes. Herodotus description of diet (milk and meat), remarks on stature and prowess resonates with the pastoral Somali tribes of the area so, it is likely that if Macrobians was a real place it could be aligned with Djibouti. Another reason to believe this is the same area than Punt and perhaps even the same people is the remark on their wealth and gold, to the point that, probably exaggerating, Herodotus remarks that even their slaves were chained in this metal. The biggest issue that we have with Herodotus Macrobians accounts is that later authors of Greece, refer back to these same people (allegedly the same Macrobians) but then placing them in further remote areas corresponding to locations in India, but this again comes mostly from one source written by Pliny the Elder.

As you can see there is a lot of uncertainty around these areas, and I wish I Could clarify these things a little more for you, however the research on these areas is pretty lacking. In fact there aren’t many sources available in English that talk a bit more in depth about the history of Djibouti and the states prior to its formation that make this such a rich historical land. As usual, eurocentric historical ideas take us away from reachign a better udnerstanding of the world as a whole. So I really hope if nothing else, that this series of ABC World History inspires some of you to go look further south than Gibraltar.

Female Pharaohs: Khentkaus I & Sobekneferu

Today I want to talk about some women often forgotten about in your ordinary history books, and even some academic books depending on the accessibility to materials. These are some of the precursors to later and more famous female pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, and their names are Khentkawes I and Sobekneferu. Why? Because there is such a thing as being cool before being cool – no offence Nefertiti or Cleo. More importantly, these women actually start defining what the reality of female pharaohs was in a much earlier time period, therefore opening the possibility for further historical revisionism and a better understanding of the role of women in ancient history.

Female Pharaoh: More than a Queen

Manetho, the egyptian advisor of the Ptolemies created the royal dynasty system that we use nowadays. There he named 5 female pharaohs, and it is recorded that these existed as early as the 3rd millennium BC.We reckon that there are at least 7 female pharaohs in the Egyptian record, showing that this wasn’t a title exclusive to men. In fact, Aidan Norrie states that the title of pharaoh unlike in the case of traditional European ruling titles, the term pharaoh didn’t have a specific gender assigned. Unfortunately, the fragmentary evidence for these female rulers is a big hinderance to understand their roles and reigns in comparison to those of their male counterparts. Moreover, Joanne Fletcher is of the opinion that this title of pharaoh when associated with women, has traditionally appeared to be downgraded or dismissed despite the blatant exercise of power that these women had. Often, they are referred to as “queens” when, in fact, they were pharaohs in full right.

Continue reading “Female Pharaohs: Khentkaus I & Sobekneferu”

Egypt’s Pyramid Competitor- The Kush(y) Nubian Pyramids

In joining the designated theme of pre-modern non-European civilizations and the informal trend concerning pyramids which seems to have enveloped the blog, we must look no further than Sudan. A subject at first interesting for its similarities to its more infamous neighbor’s architectural style. On closer inspection and with the help of this post’s inspiration, QI, we can see that not only were the Kushite Kingdoms more plentiful in their pyramids but they also strove to distinguish their burial tombs from that of the Egyptian kingdom’s.

Kushite kingdoms?

Apart from sounding like the setting for a Chinese knock off of a Nintendo game, The Kingdoms of Kush rose like a phoenix into independence from the ashes of the Bronze Age and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt in 1070BC. To be geographically precise the kingdoms was situated upon where the White Nile, Blue Nile and you’ve guessed it… the River Atbara meet in what is known today as the politically serene Republic of Sudan. Unfortunately the kingdom did not have such a Kush-y ending as after capture by the Beja Dynasty in the 1st Century AD, Kush was weakened and finally disintegrated due to internal rebellion in 350AD.

Were you paying attention?

Understandably a funny name and geography aren’t why this post was written. To understand the pyramids of which we are concerned, it is important to recognize for you less eagle-eyed readers why i have consistently pluralized ‘Kingdom’ when surely there is only one civilization under discussion? That is indeed the case however within this civilization of Kush we find three very congruent political entities following each-other of which are defined by their designated capitals. Without going into the specifics of each: The first kingdom of Kerma lasted from 2600-1520BC when it was dissolved into the New Kingdom of Egypt. This dissolution would explain the extensive hiatus between the dissolution of the Kerma Kingdom in 1520Bc and the manifestation of the Napata Dynasty  which spanned from 1000-300BC. Directly following the Napata Dynasty after its economic downfall from raids of the occupying Persians in Egypt was the Meroe Dynasty which was described by Herodotus as”A great city, said to be the mother of the city of the other Ethiopians.” This trumped-up description of grandeur is not apt for the dynasty’s downfall in 300AD from military exhaustion and decline in traditional industries like fishing.

Why does this all matter?

Through all these dates and dynastic failings we see a clear distinction when it comes to burial as it was only the Napata and Meroe dynasties which employed the pyramid system unlike the Kerma dynasty and its local burial practices. As such focus shall pertain only to the burial practices of Napata and Meroe origin which can be further explained through the Nubian success over Egypt leading to the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty of Egypt in 760BC. This is important as it meant that the Nubian dynasties of Napata and Meroe were heavily influenced by Egyptian culture, politics, economy and military.

So unoriginal Nubia?

Well yes but not in the detail. Egypt can lay claim to kick starting the pyramid trend but with only 118-138 (2008 source) pyramids to its name, the 255 found in the former Nubian kingdoms puts its neighbor to shame. In saying that, the larger number makes sense when considering how Nubian queens were given separate pyramids to their husbands unlike the Egyptian Pharaohs who preferred to at least be within the same chamber or should I say tomb to their wives like at Giza. This may be because the Egyptians romanticized and were fascinated over death or just because the Nubians were frightened  of their wives who tended to be warrior queens so they tried to have some distance with their spouses before the afterlife. We may never know but it would be nice to see further research into the warrior queens as little is known. The most remarkable difference between Egyptian and Nubian pyramids come from their design as the Nubians preferred stepped courses of horizontally place stone blocks while the Egyptians found the steep inclines and the small bases unfashionable. Add this to the Nubians only reaching to 30 meters with their tallest structure while Egypt quintupled that figure and you have a good excuse for Egyptian pyramid production.

Can I visit?

Sure, i mean as long as you can avoid the SLM and the war in Darfur than go right ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised however if there’s little to see as much of the pyramid sites have either been raided, excavated or blown up. That last one could do with some explaining as Sudanese government air raids haven’t reached that far north. Such destruction takes the form of an Italian combat medic who after his bout of military service in the 1830s tried his hand at treasure hunting. Unfortunately for us Giuseppe Ferlini took “treasure hunting” to mean- blow off the tops of 40 Nubian pyramids  like that of Kandake Amanishakheto which he leveled to the ground until he had his hands on her gold and silver jewelry pieces. In a sort of sweet revenge- when he returned home, no one believed such high quality jewelry could be made in ‘Black Africa” and so his finds reluctantly ended up in German Egyptology museums where it remains today. These weren’t the only finds as archaeologists have since found in the tombs: the remains of bows, quivers of arrows, archers’ thumb rings, horse harnesses, wooden boxes, furniture, pottery, colored glass, rock art, ringing rocks, metal vessels and an entire cow buried with eye ointment included. Not only do these items show links to extensive Meroitic trade with Egypt and the Hellenistic world but also how much the Nubians valued their horses and horseback warfare much like the Eurasian nomads. If this isn’t evidence enough than if you were to journey 120 meters North-West of pyramids K.51-K.55 than you would find 24 graves suggestive of mass upright horse burials.

Hopefully this look into the pyramids of the Kushite kingdom of sparked somewhat of an interest as I guarantee that you would not find a larger concentration of pyramids anywhere else in the world but Sudan. Remember to keep your eye out next time you wander around an Egypt exhibit if you find yourself in Sudan or even Berlin or Munich as there may be a little bit of Nubia right under your nose!

Incest and Royalty: The Reasons and the Effects

Jokes about inbreeding and incest are common in discussions about royalty, for non-historians such jokes can actually be some of the basis of their knowledge about royalty. However why royalty decided to choose incestuous unions and what the effects of such unions are less considered. This is despite incest and inbreeding being apparent across the world and history.

So why did royalty decide to marry relatives? The most simple and common answer was political stability. The offspring of two relatives who had strong individual claims to the throne would have an even stronger claim themselves, which theoretically should lead to an easier pass over of power. This was apparent with Incan emperors who went to the extreme of marrying their sisters, those who had the next best claim, to produce heirs. Thai kings married their half-sisters instead of their full blood sisters for the same reason. Such actions were not restricted to brother-sister marriages. Emperor Claudius married his niece Agrippa the Younger to strengthen his own claim as emperor. In Europe, many royals married cousins, although some, the Habsburgs in particular would have even more incestuous unions to strengthen their dynasties and political stability. Philip II of Spain married his niece Anne of Austria as his fourth wife. Of his three previous marriages one had been to his first cousin and one to his first cousin once removed, only Elizabeth of Valois was more distantly related. Philip IV of Spain married his niece Mariana of Austria and produced the sickly Charles II. While it did produce stability it did have ill effects on their health. However it is important to realise it was not a guarantee of political stability as infighting still would happen within families. The Ptolemy dynasty of Pharaohs is one example, instead of killing rival claimants from other families; they would often kill family members who were claimants.

Another, less common, reason for inbreeding was the ‘sacredness’ that such offspring would have this. This is apparent in societies where royalty were considered to be gods. For Pharaohs, incest meant that the sacred blood line was kept pure, which considering the emphasis placed on Pharaohs being gods was extremely useful. This was to the extent that in Cleopatra’s family tree only six individuals make up her sixteen great grandparents. In Hawaii inbreeding was preferred and sometimes even obligated for royalty. The child of two full blood siblings was considered to have the highest ‘mana’, meaning the most sacred. Avuncular relations, those between an aunt/nephew or uncle/niece were also accepted for similar reasons.

There was also the case that by a certain point with European royalty that almost everyone was related due to such a small pool of people who were considered eligible. However the effects of inbreeding were lessened somewhat as unions were not always within the first degrees of relation. For instance Henry VIII was related to all his wives however he was no closer than third cousins with any of his wives and in the case of Anne of Cleves they were ninth cousins.

The basis of many jokes about royalty and incest are that of the effects they have on the offspring of royalty. Surprisingly there does not always seem to be as many ill effects as one would imagine, especially in the case of brother-sister offspring. Although in some countries there may have been due to reliance on oral history which could mean such issues may not have been recorded. However there are two prominent cases of how disastrous inbreeding could be on health. The first is that of Tutankhamun who has been proved to be the product of incest. Work on his mummified body has shown that images of him in his tomb were far from accurate of what he looked like. Physically he had a club foot, which would have prevented him being able to stand independently; severely limiting activities as a Pharaoh he should’ve been able to participate in such as chariot racing. He also had an extreme overbite and what has been described as ‘feminine hips’. He also suffered from conditions such as Kohler’s disease and epilepsy. These problems are thought to have hastened his early death.

The second is the Habsburg family. While as previously mentioned above, intermarriage was practiced by all the European royal families, the Habsburgs took it up a notch. Family members married other close family members, such as their first cousins and as mentioned above there were several avuncular marriages. Such inbreeding led to the infamous Habsburg jaw which caused severe pain and a number of medical issues that made simple tasks such as eating difficult for those who were inflicted with it such as Charles V and Ferdinand I. The Habsburg jaw can still be seen in the Spanish royal family today, although in a much less exaggerated form. However the real victim of Habsburg inbreeding was Charles II of Spain, whose numerous difficulties are thought to have been the result of this inbreeding. He was unable to speak till the age of four and walk until he was eight. He is now believed to have suffered from two genetic disorders: combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis both of which do not allow the body to properly function. He was also infertile and failed to produce an heir which led to the extinction of the senior branch of the Habsburg family.

Incest was practised widely across the world by royal families, although the reasons and to what extent such incest was practised varies. Similarly the effects that inbreeding had on royalty has also varied, which somewhat challenges our preconceived ideas of what the results would be. Thankfully royalty these days generally don’t practise such close consanguinity.

Saladin

At WU History it is time for out of your comfort zone! So far I have predominately looked at the eighteenth century and the twentieth century with a particular focus on cultural history. This January post would contain a biography of the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin.

Saladin was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria during the twelfth century and is considered to be a very wise and effective ruler according to historians. Saladin came from a Kurdish background and in the Islamic world he was known by another name, Salah al-Din Yusuf. In spite of Saladin becoming s great military leader he was in actual fact more interested in other things during his youth. According to source material Saladin had an interest in religion during his early life rather than taking an interest in military. This is interesting as Saladin lived in an area where there were many religions and customs which included Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Saladin also moved to different places within the Arab region, this first instance occurred soon after his birth where his family moved from Tikrit to Mosul and eventually Damascus in Syria.

Saladin was known for his great military prowess during the Crusades, The forces he led were able to triumph over European forces who came to the Holy land in order to control it during the Battle of Hattin in 1187. As a result of this battle the Muslims recaptured the Holy land, which included Jerusalem. However another crusade resulted when the European forces were defeated by Saladin and his men, known as the Third Crusade. Saladin and his forces were defeated by Richard the Lion heart and his crusaders at the Battle of Arsur in 1191. In spite of Saladin losing his territory he was a good negotiator and was able to make a pact with Richard, enabling Muslim control to remain in Jerusalem.

However before he became famous for the Battle of Hattin his military career started with his uncle, Asad al-Din Shirkuh and was a subordinate of the north Syrian military leader of Mesopotamia, Nur al-Din. He aided and eventually led in conflicts with other Muslim territories. An example of this occurred in Egypt, where Saladin offered his military service over three campaigns. In 1169 he rose through the ranks to become an expeditionary leader, after this his position in Egypt improved to the extent that he brought an end to the Shi’ite Fatimid caliphate, a powerful dynasty that ruled not only Egypt but stretching as far as the Maghreb region, North Africa. Upon capturing Egypt, it generated a lot of wealth for Saladin and using this wealth established a dynasty of his own, the Ayyubid dynasty that covered from Egypt towards parts of Mesopotamia, notably Syria and the Levant coast, bringing many major cities in those regions under his control such as Damascus and Mosul, which united the Muslims of those areas before fighting against crusaders again.

As well as being a good military commander and being skilled in battle, Saladin was a wise ruler and ruled efficiently, particularly when it came to foreign affairs. In spite of being of his army killing many of the crusaders in battle and capturing many others to sell as slaves after the warring disputes over who should rule the Holy land, Saladin did allow Christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem and Christian merchants to trade there without any interferences or hostility even though Saladin and his forces defeated Richard and his forces, ending the Third crusade.

From Bronze To Iron

The Iron Age is conventionally defined by the widespread use of Iron tools and weapons, alongside or replacing bronze ones. The transition happened at different times in different parts of the world as the technology spread. Mesopotamia was fully into the Iron Age by 900 BC. Although Egypt produced iron artifacts, bronze remained dominant there until the conquest by Assyria in 663 BC. The Iron Age started in Central Europe around 500 BC, and in India and China sometime between 1200 and 500 BC.

Before the start of what can be considered an ‘Iron Age’ there would have been some sort of slow gradual transition, especially in the earlier cases. So there are many examples of iron artifacts being produced in small quantities in places that were still far from their Iron Age. The place and time for the discovery of iron smelting is not known, but archaeological evidence seems to point to the Middle East area, during the Bronze Age in the 3rd millennium BC. One of the earliest smelted iron artifacts found is a dagger with an iron blade found in a Hattic tomb in Anatolia, dating from 2500 BC. By about 1500 BC, increasing numbers of smelted iron objects appear in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Egypt. For example, nineteen iron objects were found in the tomb of Egyptian ruler Tutankhamun, who died in 1323 BC, including an iron dagger with a golden hilt and sixteen models of artisan tools.

Iron artifacts still remained a rarity until the 12th century BC. Although iron objects from the Bronze Age were found all across the Eastern Mediterranean, they are almost insignificant in numbers when compared to the quantity of bronze objects during this time. By the 12th century BC, iron smelting and forging, for weapons and tools, was common from Sub-Saharan Africa and through India. As the technology spread, iron came to replace bronze as the dominant metal used for tools and weapons across the Eastern Mediterranean. Iron working was introduced to Greece in the late 11th century BC and the earliest parts seeing the Iron Age in Central Europe are of the Hallstatt culture in the 8th century BC. Throughout the 7th to 6th centuries BC, iron artifacts remained luxury items reserved for an elite. This changed dramatically after 500 BC with the rise of the La Tène culture, from which time iron also becomes common in Northern Europe and Britain. The spread of iron working in Central and Western Europe at this time is heavily associated with the Celtic expansion.

In most of these places, as expected, the transition from Bronze to Iron as the dominant metal was very slow. To begin with Iron was actually a rather poor material for weapons, particularly early on when iron smelting knowledge was weak. Swords would be liable to bend or break. Yet bronze weapon manufacturing had been perfected after many centuries of use, so it would be more efficient and convenient to stay with the tried and tested. However there is an event which straddled the Bronze and Iron Ages, and may be part of an example of a more sudden change from bronze to iron. This event, known as The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition in the Aegean Region, Southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive. There are various theories put forward to explain the reasons behind the collapse, many of them based on Environmental and cultural factors.

There are also many theories that may show that it may be no coincidence that the collapse and the transition to Iron overlapped in this area. One suggests that iron, while inferior to bronze for weapons, was in more plentiful supply and so allowed larger armies of iron users to overwhelm the smaller bronze-using armies. Iron’s advantage was that its ores were very easily accessible. And while the smelting process was more difficult, once learned it would allow mass production of iron items. It didn’t matter if the bronze weapons were as good or better, if you could field ten times as many armed men. However, this argument has been weakened with the finding that the shift to iron may have occurred after the collapse instead of before. Another theory is that the disruption of long distance trade during and after the collapse cut the supplies of tin, making bronze impossible to make. Whichever way the Mediterranean cultures came to their Iron age, it was likely from here that Iron production techniques were passed on to eventually become the norm and gradually move north with the expansion of the Celtic cultures throughout Europe.

A Not-So-Brief History of Makeup

As a makeup enthusiast myself, I’ve always been curious about where the trends began and why we started applying liquids and powders, potions and concoctions, to improve our faces.

A commonplace feature in the everyday woman’s morning routine, you could be forgiven for assuming that makeup and cosmetic enhancement are mere products of postmodern social insecurities. However, you’ll be pleased to know we’re not the only generation to view makeup as an essential to enhance our lives, and while we interpret this enrichment in a vastly different way, the principle remains the same – wanting to look different. From the geisha of Japan to the infamous Elizabeth Taylor look of Cleopatra, makeup has been a vital development of both female and male culture.

Both men and women in ancient Egypt often used eye paint, made from kohl, to accentuate their eyes in an almond shape, as we find evident on Pharaohs funerary masks and sarcophagi. Kohl was a mixture of crushed almonds, antimony, ash, ochre, malachite and copper, materials renowned for their strong pigmentation and healing properties, as kohl was also thought to improve eyesight and act as a barrier against optical ailments and glare from the blinding desert sun. A combination of copper and ore pigment named mesdemet was introduced around 4,000 BC to be worn around the eye to accentuate and attract attention. Also, dyes were formulated from henna and rouge to alter the appearance of hair, skin and nails, for both cosmetic and health purposes. Around 10,000 BC even creams to prevent stretch marks and wrinkles were available to those wishing to improve their chances of a good afterlife by perfecting their current life.

A thousand years later, the Greeks and Chinese associated whiter faces with purity, and as such put rice powder and white lead to use on their skin. In ancient Greece, a form of eyeshadow developed under the name ‘fucus’ because of the prominent green and blue pigments formed by powdered malachite and lapis lazuli. The Chinese utilised their cosmetics to determine social class, the wrong shade of red nail dye could make the biggest difference. An extreme cosmetic improvement we’ve thankfully grown out of is the Chinese way of painting their teeth black and gold dating from 1500 BC. Across the sea in 11th century Japan, girls were using crushed flower petals, rice flours and even bird droppings to beautify the eyes. Wiser cultures, however, would adapt edible materials for beautification that were readily available to all, for example the Greek use of berries to heighten lip and cheek pigmentation.

The Roman world initially objected to the trends coming in from across the Mediterranean as superficial and vain, and even used sacred Egyptian oils for sexual purposes to stain the reputation. However, after an influx of plagues, they began to consider the medicinal uses of makeup in order to ward off the bad spirits, just as they had witnessed Iraqi people painting their faces to keep the evil eye at bay. Butter and barley powder were improvised as a spot prevention mixture around 100 AD, and the age of the Roman baths saw in the age of purifying mud baths.

During the Middle Ages, the Church condemned cosmetics as breeding grounds for vanity, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. However, medieval England maintained the vision that pale skin represented purity, therefore women would often use egg whites on their faces, and as such a resource was widely available, the effects could be felt by many echelons of society. In comparison, the Renaissance period saw the introduction of less readily accessible ingredients, such as arsenic and mercury, in hindsight the most dangerous materials to adhere to ones skin. While the Middle Ages saw the golden age of dyed red hair, the 1500s brought the angelic qualities of bleached blonde hair to public prominence.

Alongside public consumption for personal gains, the theatrical application of cosmetics was the most prolific use under the reign of Queen Victoria, who formally denounced makeup as vulgar and as such theatrical use was the only acceptable means. That is, until the 1900s, where women visited beauty salons in secrecy to avoid others knowing they required products to preserve their youthful looks. While health has remained a significant factor in the use of cosmetics in the past, it has been documented that women used young boy’s urine or ox blood to reduce the appearance of freckles.

The question of a postmodern society’s recent obsession with appearance crumbles in light of this extensive evidence. Whether it be medical or purely cosmetic, society’s priorities can be determined by their dependence on makeup and the reasons behind it.

Bibliography

  1. http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-brief-history-of-makeup/
  2. http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/guide/history-makeup
  3. http://www.essence-of-mineral-makeup.com/eye-shadow-history.html
  4. http://idealbeautyacademy.net/the-history-of-makeup/

Thutmose II: The Puppet-Man Behind the Great Woman

THUTMOSE II (Aa-Jeper-en Ra Dyehut-Mose) is a pretty unknown figure within the history of Ancient Egypt. He was the fourth monarch of the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, son of Thutmose I, father of Thutmose III, and married to Hatshepsut. With this family history, it is easy to fall into oblivion, although truth be told, it seems nothing particularly relevant happened during his reign.

Apparently he reigned at some point between 1493 and 1479 BC. I say apparently because most of the Egyptologists and other experts of the subject do not seem to have a quorum about the length of his rule. Due to the “nothingness” of events while he was in power it has been suggested that his reign was actually a quite short one, some even dare to say that it might have lasted barely three or four years.

Continue reading “Thutmose II: The Puppet-Man Behind the Great Woman”