Point of No Return? Britain and the Elgin Marbles

Point of No Return? Britain and the Elgin Marbles
Britain’s ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures has caused controversy since they were first brought to London in the early 1800s. Keen to keep the Greeks onside, the debate became highly charged during the Second World War.
Since they were first ‘acquired’ in 1816, Britain has never seriously considered returning the sculptures collectively known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’ to their place of origin. Successive governments have argued that they are better preserved and more accessible in the British Museum,

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Princes, Profits and the Prophet

Princes, Profits and the Prophet
The 18th century was a turbulent period in Javanese history, when local kingdoms, Dutch traders and a mysterious Turk became embroiled in a series of bloody conflicts.
The Dutch side of the story
The Dutch East India Company, the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC), was entangled in a bloody Javanese civil war in the 1750s. The kingdom of Mataram, with its series of capital cities in south-central Java, had been embroiled in major wars since the late 17th century. The VOC blundered into this volatile situation in the hope of winning trade concessions.

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THE BOY WHO STOOD UP TO THE NAZIS

THE BOY WHO STOOD UP TO THE NAZIS
“SINCE THE CONQUEST OF POLAND, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND JEWS HAVE BEEN MURDERED IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE MOST BESTIAL WAY. A CRIME THAT IS UNPARALLELED IN THE WHOLE OF HISTORY.”
In 1937, 19-year-old Hans Scholl was the quintessential Hitler Youth leader – blond, tall and athletic, the epitome of Hitler’s so-called ‘master race’. But after experiencing persecution himself at the hands of the Gestapo, Scholl embarked on an audacious campaign to influence the hearts and minds of ordinary Germans against the brutal Nazi regime. The campaign which became known as the White Rose resistance movement required bravery in the face of a Nazi party police state which rarely spared political dissenters from interrogation, torture and incarceration.

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REMEMBERING JOSEPH MEEK: THE MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAIN MAN

REMEMBERING JOSEPH MEEK: THE MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAIN MAN
On 20 June 1875 came the death of a man who, perhaps more than any other, embodied the gutsy, rugged pioneer spirit of the Old West. Described by one early writer as “a harum-scarum, don’t care sort of man”, he was a fighter and a survivor, a veteran of grizzly bear attacks and a teller of tall tales, and a man who eventually transformed from hard-drinking outdoors adventurer to smooth-talking politician who schmoozed with the US president. His name: Joseph Meek.
Anyone who’s seen The Revenant will have an idea of the brutal world of the 19th Century mountain men. Stanley Vestal, an author who wrote extensively on those distant and savage days, summed things up: “Mountain men were no ordinary frontiersmen, but picked adventurers who challenged the wilderness and mastered it.

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IS CUSTER'S LOST TREASURE STILL OUT THERE?

IS CUSTER'S LOST TREASURE STILL OUT THERE?
The name George Armstrong Custer is destined to always be linked with the brutal circumstances of his death. In June 1876, the cavalry commander and his men engaged in a fierce skirmish with a coalition of Native American tribes, in the Battle of Little Bighorn – a confrontation triggered by ugly territorial disputes between white settlers and the Native Americans. Custer and hundreds of his fellow soldiers were killed, in a bloody fiasco which was soon given a romantic makeover in the annals of American folklore as “Custer's Last Stand”.
But it’s not just the battle itself which has become mythologised. The story of Custer’s Last Stand soon birthed the mystery of Custer’s Lost Treasure, and the prospect of a huge heap of riches buried somewhere in the great American wilderness.

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WHY MAGNA CARTA MATTERS

WHY MAGNA CARTA MATTERS
It’s a dry, tedious legal document from a distant age, almost entirely focused on archaic feudal laws and the snarling grievances of long-dead land barons. Yet somehow, Magna Carta has become an iconic statement on individual liberty and modern civilisation, quoted by the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. In the words of eminent judge Lord Denning, it is “the greatest constitutional document of all time – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.
Think “Magna Carta” and the image that springs to mind is a tyrannical king, the dastardly King John, being shamed into meeting with a group of righteous, democratically-minded subjects on a field in England in the year 1215, and reluctantly signing a set of rules that would lay the foundations for a better, freer nation.

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'Sleeping Beauty' Mummy Buried with Riches and Snacks for the Afterlife

'Sleeping Beauty' Mummy Buried with Riches and Snacks for the Afterlife
About 2,000 years ago, during the time Jesus supposedly walked the Earth, people buried a young woman wearing a silk skirt in a stone grave. They surrounded her body with meals for the afterlife, even placing a bag of pine nuts on her chest.
Now, archaeologists have found the mummified body of that woman, whom they nicknamed Sleeping Beauty given the length of time she's been buried and the riches found with her. These include a beaded belt with a buckle made of jet (a precursor to coal),

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These Skeletons from an Ancient Egypt Cemetery Were Riddled with Cancer

These Skeletons from an Ancient Egypt Cemetery Were Riddled with Cancer
Archaeologists have uncovered six cases of cancer while studying the bodies of ancient Egyptians who were buried long ago in the Dakhleh Oasis. The finds include a toddler with leukemia, a mummified man in his 50s with rectal cancer and individuals with cancer possibly caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
The researchers found these cancer cases while examining the remains of 1,087 ancient Egyptians buried between 3,000 and 1,500 years ago.

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Rare 1,000-Year-Old Amulet with Arabic Blessing Found in Jerusalem

Rare 1,000-Year-Old Amulet with Arabic Blessing Found in Jerusalem
Archaeologists discovered a 1,000-year-old clay amulet about the size of a dime at one of the oldest historical sites in Jerusalem. The tiny amulet belonged to a man named Kareem and is inscribed with a personal prayer, "Kareem trusts in Allah. Lord of the Worlds is Allah."
Teams from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University unearthed the rare ornamental piece beneath the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David, in Jerusalem

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Is This Leonardo Da Vinci's Oldest Surviving Work? It's Doubtful.

Is This Leonardo Da Vinci's Oldest Surviving Work? It's Doubtful.
It's a small piece — merely a square tile depicting a curly-haired Archangel Gabriel — but it may be the oldest surviving artwork by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci.
If verified, this painted and glazed tile may show historians what da Vinci looked like as a teenager. That's because the 1471 creation may, in fact, be a self-portrait da Vinci made — essentially putting his face on the angel's when he was just 18 years old.

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