The Muses









The Muses:

Anne Hathaway as Calliope
      Emmy Rossum as Clio
      Kat Dennings as Eutrepe
      Willa Holland as Erato
      Alexandra Daddario as Melpomene
      Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Polyhymnia
      Anna Kendrick as Terpsichore
Crystal Reed as Thalia
Emily Browning as Urania

Gilgamesh Taming a Lion, Palace of Khorsabad, Iraq



Gilgamesh Taming a Lion, Palace of Khorsabad, Iraq, c.700 BCE, Currently in the Louvre

O Mighty King, remember now that only gods stay in eternal watch.

Humans come then go, that is the way fate decreed on the Tablets of Destiny.

So someday you will depart, but till that distant day sing, and dance.

Eat your fill of warm cooked food and cool jugs of beer.

Cherish the children your love gave life.

Bathe away life’s dirt in warm drawn waters.

Pass the time in joy with your chosen wife.

On the Tablets of Destiny it is decreed

For you to enjoy short pleasures for your short days.

-Siduri to Gilgamesh, from the “Epic of Gilgamesh” tablets, complied roughly 700 BCE from stories and writings going back to c. 3000 BCE.

Ancient Customer-Feedback Technology



Ancient customer-feedback technology

“Ever left an angry customer complaint? This 3750-year-old cuneiform tablet suggests you’re part of a very long tradition.The clay message was sent from someone
called Nanni to an Ea-nasir in ancient Mesopotamia, protesting about the low quality of copper ingots offered during a trade with Nanni’s messenger. Nanni demands that his money be returned post-haste.”What do you take me for, that you treat
somebody like me with such contempt?” writes a suitably enraged Nanni according to Leo Oppenheim’s translation in Letters from Mesopotamia. The tablet came to the attention of internet forum Reddit at the weekend, when someone described it as an early “customer service complaint email”.

Copper was a commonly traded material in the Persian Gulf during this period, and there was a sizeable copper industry in the ancient civilisation of Dilmun in eastern Arabia. As many large firms today will know, the bigger the business, the harder it can be to keep up with customer expectations.”

A Glance at the Cult of Mithras in the Roman Empire

A Glance at the Cult of Mithras in the Roman Empire


“They also offered strange sacrifices of their own at Olympus, and celebrated there certain secret rites, among which those of Mithras continue to the present time, having been first instituted by them.”

-Plutarch, Life of Pompey 24 (translation via uchicago).

A quick look at: the cult of Mithras in the Roman Empire.

The cult of Mithras first became evident in Rome towards the late 1st century AD. Having originated in Persia, during the next two centuries, it spread to the frontiers of the Western empire. It is referred to as a Roman “mystery” cult, for an initiation ceremony was required in joining, and the members kept the activities and liturgy of the cult strictly secret. Due to the highly secretive nature of the cult, our evidence for it is essentially entirely archaeological. Except for a few mentions here and there, such as the Plutarch quote given above, there is extremely little literary evidence relating to the cult. Evidently, (and unfortunately for us), the members seemed to not have ‘blabbed’.

We do know a few things about the cult, however. Made to resemble a cave, worship occurred in temples called mithraea. Approximately 100 of these mithraea are preserved for us across the empire. Typically, the long sides will be lined by dining couches, leaving a narrow aisle. At the end of this aisle will be a cult image depicting Mithras sacrificing a bull (a fairly typical example is given at the top of the post). Here, Mithras is shown in eastern costume, with a Phrygian cap. He slits the neck of a bull, and spills its blood, which a dog licks up. For comparison, see this example from from the Louvre. The caves would have been dark, though occasionally ceilings will have holes pierced to allow some light to enter. The cult seemed to have been particularly popular with the army.

Shown artefact courtesy of & currently located at the La Cour d’Or museum in Metz, France Photo taken by Vassil, via the Wiki Commons.

Recommended further reading: Manfred Clauss, The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries (Taylor & Francis, 2001).