Vatican releases extraordinary tale of a pope, a pirate, and a dead bishop’s treasure

Newly published documents from the Vatican archives have revealed an incredible tale of pirate attacks and corruption involving a 14th century bishop, whose lifelong accumulation of treasure was accosted by pirates on the way to Avignon, France, where Pope Innocent VI was based. One of the pirate ships ran aground and the pirates as well as a portion of the treasure was captured. The pope took the treasure and used it as gifts for royalty and to pay soldiers, courtiers and other staff.

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Archaeologists find evidence of devastating ancient earthquake in mountaintop city of Hippos

Archaeologists have found dramatic evidence of an earthquake that struck a mountaintop town overlooking the Sea of Galilee over 1,700 years ago – a group of skeletons that had been crushed under a collapsed roof when the disaster hit the region in 363 AD.

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The Minaret of Jam – Last Monument of the Lost City of Turquoise Mountain

Standing 65 meters above the valley, the Minaret of Jam is the only surviving monument of Afghanistan’s last great indigenous empire, the lost city of Turquoise Mountain. It remains as a lasting legacy of a period in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived side-by-side in harmony, united by their commonalities rather than divided by their differences.

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The Babylonian map of the world sheds light on ancient perspectives

The discovery of the Babylonian Map of the World provided a valuable insight into the ancient people of Babylon, the way they lived and and the way they viewed the world, while also opening up new questions. What was their purpose in creating this map? Was it intended to be a literal interpretation of the geological world around them, or a representation of the mythological world they believed in? 

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The Madness of Caligula

Caligula is a name synonymous with murder and debauchery. He’s the most infamous Roman emperor of all time, known for his decadence and whimsical madness. Whether he was driven to insanity by the horrific deaths of his family members at the hands of the man who later took him in, driven mad through poisoning, or was suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition or mental illness, we may never know.  

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Inuit folklore kept alive story of missing Franklin expedition to north-west passage

On September 6, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, announced that one of the fabled lost ships of Sir John Franklin’s expedition had been found off Hat Island. The ships HMS Erebus and Terror, which sailed from England in the summer of 1845, were aiming to chart the north-west passage. They disappeared into what is now the Canadian Arctic. While Franklin’s ships vanished without a trace, they were kept alive in the Inuit folklore.

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Gilles de Rais – violent predator or political victim?

Gilles de Rais, was a 15th century French nobleman, Breton baron, and marshal of France. He was known as an accomplished lieutenant to Joan of Arc during the sieges of Orléans and Paris and experienced significant renown and prestige before his eventual downfall, when he was arrested, and later executed, for Satanism, along with the abduction, rape, mutilation, and murder of more than 150 children. But was he really the monster he was made out to be, or was he the unfortunate victim of political betrayal? 

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