Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Caracalla, tartan, Bronze Age helmet and WW1

The big news stories I came across today were the earliest depiction of a tartan found and the discovery of a Bronze Age helmet in Canterbury. 

A volunteer metal detectorist (didn’t know that was a word) in Canterbury, UK contacted an archaeology official saying he had found a Celtic bronze helmet.  Such a find would have been very rare for the UK.  The find appeared to consist of a late Iron Age brooch, some burnt bone and the helmet.  The site might have been an area where a cremation burial had taken place.  The nature of the find suggested the helmet was buried inverted and burnt bone may have been placed in it inside a bag secured by the brooch.  The burial might have been isolated or indicative of a burial ground in that area.

Illustration from the 1905 book Celtic Myth and Legend

The second interesting news story has to do with earliest depiction found of a Caledonian warrior.  Caledonia is now modern day Scotland.  A piece of a bronze statue of Emperor Caracalla, known as the conqueror of the Caledonians, has a small figure of what seems to be a Caledonian warrior wearing checkered leggings which appear to be tartan trews.  The statue was found in Morocco.  The Caledonian has a Celtic shield and appears to be bound.  He appears to be a captive of the campaigns of Severus and his son Caracalla.  (Update December 9, 2012: Many academics are disputing this claim that the statue depicts a Caledonian in a tartan.)

Caracalla, 3th century AD
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Caracalla was Roman emperor from 198 to 217 and was known for massacres and persecutions throughout the Empire.

Caracalla and his brother Geta from a 1907 painting

Caracalla snd Geta had been made co-emperors of Rome and even considered dividing it in half.  Their mother stopped the division and soon after Caracalla had Geta killed by Praetorian Guards loyal to him.

 Rondo of Emperor Septimius Severus and his family

I find this rondo to be extremely interesting.  I can’t find any sort of date on it but it shows the Emperor and presumably his wife and two sons, Geta and Caracalla.  One of the two brother’s faces has been smudged out of the artwork.  By whom and why is the question but it’s very interesting considering that the one brother killed the other.  I’ll contact the Berlin, Collection of Classical Antiquities to see if I can find additional information.

Finally, in World War 1 news, I found some very interesting links providing photos and information of Africans who fought in World War One and black Americans who fought in the same conflict.  These photo sites are definitely worth taking a look at since many of the photos are in color.


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