Posted inCulture, Modern Era

Dalrunes, the Nordic runes that were used until the 20th century in a region of Sweden

Runes are the letters used to write by some Germanic peoples during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, mainly in Scandinavia but also in other areas where these peoples settled. The oldest known runes date back to the 2nd century AD. The first chronologically would be the comb inscription found on the Danish island of Funen, […]

Posted inArt, Culture

The History of the Prinkipo Orphanage, the Largest Wooden Building in Europe

Büyükada is the largest of the nine Princes’ Islands located in the Sea of Marmara, so close to the city of Istanbul that they are considered its neighborhoods. Its barely 5 square kilometers, where motorized vehicles are prohibited, boast some historical monuments, Byzantine churches and monasteries, along with a mosque, an abandoned amusement park, and […]

Posted inCulture, Science

How the Nocturnal Works: the Device that allowed Sailors to tell Time in the Dark (Video)

A nocturnal is a device used to determine local time based on the relative positions of two or more stars in the night sky. Sometimes called a horologium nocturnum (nighttime timepiece) or nocturlabe (in French and occasionally used by English writers), this tool is related to the astrolabe and sundial. Typically constructed of materials like […]

Posted inAncient Rome, Culture, Middle Ages

When the Codex Overtook the Scroll as the Format for Books

Recently, following the article we published about the origins of the books in the Library of Alexandria, a somewhat finicky (and indeed quite mistaken) reader confronted us on a social media platform, asserting that those were not books but rather handwritten scrolls. What he evidently didn’t know is that scrolls are simply one form of […]

Posted inCulture

Abram Gannibal, the African slave who became a military engineer, general of the Russian army and great-grandfather of the writer Alexander Pushkin

There is an episode from the eighteenth century that in a way seems to come from a work of fiction: that of Abram Petrovich Gannibal, an African prince kidnapped by the Otmans but bought by a Russian ambassador who took him to his country, where, after a careful education, he reached high military and political […]