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Caracalla (Facial Reconstruction)

Caracalla (Facial Reconstruction)



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Guy Uses Modern Software To Restore The Faces Of Julius Caesar And 23 Other People From Ancient History

Roman General And Statesman Julius Caesar

For many of us, history used to be a bit of a boring topic in school. But, over the years, it has become clear that it wasn’t the topic itself, but the way it was presented—it just didn’t appeal to the younger audience.

Now, if someone was to show the 10-year-old me pictures of reconstructed faces of famous people from antiquity, which were restored using the miracle of modern technology, then I would have been much more interested in studying the past!

Speaking of which, Alessandro Tomasi is doing that exact thing—reconstructing the faces of famous people from ancient times, and so far, he’s done quite a few of them!

Greek Philosopher Socrates

So, Alessandro Tomasi is a 20-year-old Italian-Lebanese artist and student from Florence, Italy who has recently started reconstructing the faces of historical figures of the distant past.

By reconstructing, we mean that he has practically taken a bust of said historical figure and did some technical wizardry to make them look like real people.

He has so far done a number of historical personas, like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Homer, Cleopatra, Hannibal Barca, Emperor Elegabalus, Septimus Severus, Herodotus, and many others.

Greek Historian Herodotus

When asked how he came up with the idea to start reconstructing faces of historical figures, he explained that he has always been interested in history—Greco-Roman and Phoenician history, in particular—and that he launched this little facial reconstruction project after seeing others do it online:

“I decided to start doing these reconstructions after coming across other reconstructions on the internet, which have obviously been done by people with absolutely no knowledge about genetics or history. Other than the fact that it is very interesting for me to bring busts to life, the main reason I started making them is basically a response to the other historically inaccurate ones I saw.”

Greek Philosopher Aristotle

Tomasi explained that he uses two bits of software for the face reconstruction: Photoshop and Artbreeder. Photoshop is (probably) self-explanatory, but Artbreeder is an online tool that makes use of machine learning to control and manipulate portraits. In Tomasi’s case, Artbreeder is used to create the base, while the rest of it (the majority) is work with Photoshop.

“Now, the most important part, the way I choose the color of the skin, eye color, etc. is by reading population genetics studies and trying my best to relate them to the genealogy of the historical figure I am reconstructing the face of,” elaborated Tomasi.

He continued: “I also refer to physical descriptions of the figures I am working on, written by ancient historians like Suetonius and Pliny the Elder. However, it is important to keep in mind that many of the descriptions in these ancient texts aren’t necessarily reliable as many were not written contemporarily to the persons they were describing.”

“Also, we have to remember that most statues did not appear as we see them now, as they were originally colored and as a result, some traces of the colors and pigmentations can still be traced, which also helps as a reference, but in most cases, it is not possible to use this method as a reference.”

Roman Statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero

As is common with art, facial reconstruction doesn’t come easy. And it’s not just the meticulous work regarding the study of all the genealogies and genetics, as explained Tomasi:

“I would say the biggest challenge is trying to find the right bust to work from. I always try to find busts made during the lifetime of the person I am reconstructing the face of when I can, to be as accurate as possible.”

So far, Hannibal Barca is Tomasi’s favorite project as it was extremely interesting for him to bring such a fascinating historical figure back to life, though he also said that he really likes how Cicero turned out too.

Carthaginian General And Statesman Hannibal Barca

King Of Macedon Alexander The Great

Roman Emperor And Philosopher Marcus Aurelius

Poet Homer

Greek Stoic Philosopher Chrysippus Of Soli

Greek Philosopher Plato

Greek Philosopher Antisthenes

Roman Emperor Hadrian

Egyptian Ruler Cleopatra

Greek Philosopher And Mathematician Pythagoras

Greco-Phoenician Philosopher, Mathematician And Astronomer Thales Of Miletus

Roman Emperor Caracalla

Roman Emperor Elagabalus

Greco-Phoenician Philosopher Zeno Of Citium

Roman General And Statesman Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus

Greek Statesmen, Orator And General Pericles

Greek Philosopher Parmenides Of Elea

Roman Emperor Septimius Severus

Greek General And Historian Thucydides


The Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla)

The Baths of Caracalla are about a 10 minute walk from the Circus Maximus, away from central Rome, on the ancient Appian Way. Construction was begun by Emperor Septimus Severus and the work was finished about 10 years later by his son and successor, Caracalla, in 216. The complex was Rome’s second largest public baths, and was mentioned as one of the seven wonders of Rome.

At the Baths of Caracalla, Romans relaxed in a series of small baths in a calidarium (hot room), tepidarium (lukewarm room) and a frigidarium (cold room). They heated the rooms using a hypocaust, an under-floor heating system, and the water was supplied by an aqueduct.

There was also a huge swimming pool and several large halls for athletics training. In the complex there were many smaller side rooms for things like oiling or meeting, and some small saunas. Outside there were two libraries, and an athletics track in the large courtyard. The capacity was around 1600 people at a time, and up to 8000 people would visit on any given day. Suffice to say that it was definitely an important social hub for ancient Romans.

The baths were used from 216AD until the 6th century when Ostrogoths cut off Rome’s water supply, which obviously proved to be somewhat of an issue. Over the years of disuse, the baths crumbled the ceilings caved in and the marble tiles were looted. Many of the statues and the large marble fountains were moved to museums and other Italian cities so you won’t find any ancient treasures on display today.

Instead you can walk through part of the baths through the frigidarium, the large halls either side, and the former swimming pool. The tepidarium and calidarium are off limits, but you can catch glimpses of them through the fallen archways in the frigidarium.

And thanks to new technology, you don’t have to use your imagination to picture the grandeur of the baths – you can see it for yourself.

The Virtual Reality Tour

So how does the virtual reality at the Baths of Caracalla work?

When you arrive just ask at the ticket desk and you’ll be given a set of goggles which have a small tablet inside. Using the dials on the goggles you can select where you are on the map. Numbered signs dotted about the complex tell you which option to select, and the menu navigation is pretty intuitive.

Peer through the goggles and the room you’re standing in will be transformed into its former glory. In a flash, the tiled polished marble walls return, the shattered mosaics at the side of the halls are complete, and as you look up to the ceiling, vaulted arched and windows are back in their original place.

The digital reconstruction places you in the centre of each room, but it’s sensitive to the direction you face so you can look around the whole room, up and down, and the reconstruction moves with you. A fairly unobtrusive commentary tells you the history of the baths and specifics about each area. For example, I looked after the kids while the husband listened to his commentary and I didn’t notice it blaring out. You’re not going to be deafened by lots of people using it at the same time.

The only issue may be for those who wear glasses – you might have to either remove your glasses or hold the goggles slightly away from your face.

What to see at the Baths of Caracalla

The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at the Baths of Caracalla is their size. The walls are still about 30m high and the complex must have been one of the grandest public buildings in Rome in its heyday.

Once you’ve got your VR goggles, you can enter the baths. You begin your tour walking through one of two large halls, or palaestra. These would have been pillared, with a rectangular area in the centre open to the sky. Colourful mosaics covered the floors and remnants of these are found in patches around the hall, still in remarkably good condition.

It’s thought that these palaestra were used as possible gym areas as mosaics of athletes were found in one of them (the mosaics are now in the Vatican Museums). Vast domes would have been over the doorways leading to other parts of the baths as you can see in the above photo.

The palaestra leads into the frigidarium, which would have been one of the largest rooms at the Baths of Caracalla. When you look through the VR goggles, you can see the large red marble fountain that separated the frigidarium from the swimming pool.

In this part of the reconstruction you can hear from Seneca (an advisor to Nero) lamenting the noise that emanated from the baths daily. To be fair, it does sound as though the baths were a bit of a nuisance to the neighbours!

To your right would have been access to the tepidarium and calidarium. Unfortunately you can’t go into these areas but they would have been hugely impressive, especially the circular, windowed calidarium, which stood several stories high and had a domed ceiling.

Continue through the frigidarium and you’ll find another hall, the mirror image of the one you began the tour in. Again, it’s thought that this room was used for athletics training. A huge statue, the Farnese Bull, once stood in the centre of this hall. The statue survives to this day and can be found in the National Archaeological museum in Naples, but you can see the reconstruction through your goggles. The Farnese Bull is the largest sculpture ever found from ancient times.

Don’t forget to find some of the marble decoration still clinging to the walls and look for more mosaic fragments.

The next room that you’ll come to is an old changing room. This is where you’ll see the most complete examples of the mosaic flooring. The changing rooms would have been a couple of stories high and the remnants of the stairs can be seen at the back of the room.

The changing rooms lead through to the natatio, or swimming pool. Olympic-sized and open-roofed, huge bronze mirrors would have reflected sunlight into the pool, where Romans relaxed after spending time in the hot and cold baths. They played games here too – look out for the game chiselled into one of the pool slabs.

This reconstruction shows the far side of the swimming pool. You can see the alcoves where the statues once stood in my photo immediately above.

After you’ve look around the baths, take a walk around the peaceful gardens outside. There are more ruined buildings to see out here, like the libraries, and you can just sit quietly (if your children let you) and take in the ruins.

Our verdict

The Baths of Caracalla are surprisingly quiet. They’re not really that far off the tourist trail and it was nice to visit somewhere that wasn’t absolutely stuffed with other tourists.

Even if you don’t hire the VR goggles you can still appreciate the ruins, but we thought the VR really added to the tour. The Cub looked through the goggles but honestly, at 4 she’s a little young to fully understand or be that interested! She was much happier just running around with her brother. But the VR is definitely something that will help to pique the interest of older children and teens.

Perhaps we’re just unimaginative philistines, but we hope that virtual reality technology gets rolled out across more ancient sites. For us it really added to the experience, and allowed us to understand so much more about the Baths. It also made the site much more memorable – personally I can remember many more details about the Baths of Caracalla than I can about the Forum, for example.

We didn’t find that the virtual reality detracted from the ruins either. You can still take in the amazing ruins without staring at screens for too long.


Guy Uses Modern Software To Restore The Faces Of Julius Caesar And 23 Other People From Ancient History

Roman General And Statesman Julius Caesar

For many of us, history used to be a bit of a boring topic in school. But, over the years, it has become clear that it wasn’t the topic itself, but the way it was presented—it just didn’t appeal to the younger audience.

Now, if someone was to show the 10-year-old me pictures of reconstructed faces of famous people from antiquity, which were restored using the miracle of modern technology, then I would have been much more interested in studying the past!

Speaking of which, Alessandro Tomasi is doing that exact thing—reconstructing the faces of famous people from ancient times, and so far, he’s done quite a few of them!

Greek Philosopher Socrates

So, Alessandro Tomasi is a 20-year-old Italian-Lebanese artist and student from Florence, Italy who has recently started reconstructing the faces of historical figures of the distant past.

By reconstructing, we mean that he has practically taken a bust of said historical figure and did some technical wizardry to make them look like real people.

He has so far done a number of historical personas, like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Homer, Cleopatra, Hannibal Barca, Emperor Elegabalus, Septimus Severus, Herodotus, and many others.

Greek Historian Herodotus

When asked how he came up with the idea to start reconstructing faces of historical figures, he explained that he has always been interested in history—Greco-Roman and Phoenician history, in particular—and that he launched this little facial reconstruction project after seeing others do it online:

“I decided to start doing these reconstructions after coming across other reconstructions on the internet, which have obviously been done by people with absolutely no knowledge about genetics or history. Other than the fact that it is very interesting for me to bring busts to life, the main reason I started making them is basically a response to the other historically inaccurate ones I saw.”

Greek Philosopher Aristotle

Tomasi explained that he uses two bits of software for the face reconstruction: Photoshop and Artbreeder. Photoshop is (probably) self-explanatory, but Artbreeder is an online tool that makes use of machine learning to control and manipulate portraits. In Tomasi’s case, Artbreeder is used to create the base, while the rest of it (the majority) is work with Photoshop.

“Now, the most important part, the way I choose the color of the skin, eye color, etc. is by reading population genetics studies and trying my best to relate them to the genealogy of the historical figure I am reconstructing the face of,” elaborated Tomasi.

He continued: “I also refer to physical descriptions of the figures I am working on, written by ancient historians like Suetonius and Pliny the Elder. However, it is important to keep in mind that many of the descriptions in these ancient texts aren’t necessarily reliable as many were not written contemporarily to the persons they were describing.”

“Also, we have to remember that most statues did not appear as we see them now, as they were originally colored and as a result, some traces of the colors and pigmentations can still be traced, which also helps as a reference, but in most cases, it is not possible to use this method as a reference.”

Roman Statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero

As is common with art, facial reconstruction doesn’t come easy. And it’s not just the meticulous work regarding the study of all the genealogies and genetics, as explained Tomasi:

“I would say the biggest challenge is trying to find the right bust to work from. I always try to find busts made during the lifetime of the person I am reconstructing the face of when I can, to be as accurate as possible.”

So far, Hannibal Barca is Tomasi’s favorite project as it was extremely interesting for him to bring such a fascinating historical figure back to life, though he also said that he really likes how Cicero turned out too.

Carthaginian General And Statesman Hannibal Barca

King Of Macedon Alexander The Great

Roman Emperor And Philosopher Marcus Aurelius

Poet Homer

Greek Stoic Philosopher Chrysippus Of Soli

Greek Philosopher Plato

Greek Philosopher Antisthenes

Roman Emperor Hadrian

Egyptian Ruler Cleopatra

Greek Philosopher And Mathematician Pythagoras

Greco-Phoenician Philosopher, Mathematician And Astronomer Thales Of Miletus

Roman Emperor Caracalla

Roman Emperor Elagabalus

Greco-Phoenician Philosopher Zeno Of Citium

Roman General And Statesman Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus

Greek Statesmen, Orator And General Pericles

Greek Philosopher Parmenides Of Elea

Roman Emperor Septimius Severus

Greek General And Historian Thucydides


Reconstruction of bust of Roman emperor Caracalla. [819x566]

This is really cool, adds some life to these statues. Do you know where I can find more reconstructions like this?

I would sub to a sub with just these for sure

Weren't most of them colored back in the day and time just turned them to the white we know? Could be totally wrong idk

Yea, I agree. It kinda feels like you are actually seeing the person, I would sub to a sub like this.

A bit dark-featured for pre-Moor conquest, though?

The first time I saw that reconstruction, I was amazed by how Caracalla looks far less aggressive and angry once being given true colours.

Well we're still talking about the guy that murdered his own brother by himself in the arms of their mom, but that makes it quite the achievement.

Then again the coloration doesn't have the human triggers for reading anger in it, like being red in the face, so that might be part of it as well

Well we're still talking about the guy that murdered his own brother by himself in the arms of their mom, but that makes it quite the achievement.

I still can't get over the fact that someone told him he should take the title "Getticus" (something like "conqueror of Geta") after he killed his brother. That's the snarkiest thing I've ever heard.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Collapse of the Baths

The Baths of Caracalla were in consistent use for over 300 years. They had been repaired, redecorated, restored, and refurbished over this long period of time. The last recorded alterations were done in the time of Theodoric (493-526). Baths were still very popular and considered a necessity. The amount of effort to keep them functioning throughout this period is astonishing. The Baths' demise came from the inability to maintain the aqueducts water supply. This is the result of the siege of the Goths in 537 when the aqueducts were cut and very few were opened again afterward. The abandonment of the Baths ultimately began its extended journey into antiquity and ruins.

It is unclear just exactly what became of the baths between its downfall and its rediscovery, however it is known that most of the sculptures and stone were mined and taken by vandals for other purposes. Based on the actions of the architects during the renaissance, who used the Roman forum as a foundation for quarries to rebuild, it is reasonable to conclude that the same actions were employed in the Baths during that same time period. There were also a series of earthquakes in the middle ages that caused much destruction. Despite the many obstacles the Baths faced, it remains one of the most well preserved ruins in Rome today.

It is no easy task to put the puzzle pieces back together of where recovered statues were once placed within the buildings. It wasn't until the 1540's when Alessandro Farnese, who served as Pope Paul III, began excavating the ruins of the baths in search of ancient statues to place in the Farnese Palace. The Farnese family were very important local aristocrats at the time and it was during these excavations that the Herakles Farnese and the Punishment of Dirke were recovered. Much of the marble that had once decorated the baths were also collected. They were able to have two of the marble basin's relocated to the piazza in front of the grand palazzo. Construction of the palazzo began in 1514 and was worked on until 1589. In fact, much of the structure of the palazzo is made from materials taken from the Baths of Caracalla as well as the Coliseum.

"Thermae of Caracalla Pool at Piazza Farnese" by Chris 73 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

In 1748 the baths were divided among a number of proprietors and were eventually passed along and leased by Count Girolamo Egidio di Velo in 1824. Di Velo was a very wealthy man from Vicenza who's passion was collecting objects from antiquity. He received permits to excavate the baths in search of items to decorate his home and the tomb of Palladio. What he actually uncovered was detailed floor mosaics of famous athletes of the time. These mosaics were located in the semi-circular apses just off the Palaestrae. His goal of exporting the mosaics were delayed by the Director of Antiquities, Carlo Fea, who emphasized that the mosaics were an important part of the baths and belonged to the Papal State. Eventually di Velo succeeded in exporting the mosaics and after his death his collections were passed along to the Museo Civico of Vicenza. It wasn't until the late 19th century that systematic excavations were more thoroughly and carefully done. After that, restoration and preservation were the main goals of the Department of Antiquities.


Baths of Caracalla, Tiled Mosaics of the Apodyterium, Rome, Italy, Copyright LuraPhotography

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy, Copyright LuraPhotography

Baths of Caracalla, Frigidarium, Rome, Italy, Copyright LuraPhotography

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy, Copyright LuraPhotography

Marvin, Miranda. "Freestanding Sculptures from the Baths of Caracalla." American Journal of

Archaeology Vol. 87, No. 3(1983): 347-84. Archaeological Institute of America, July 1983. Web.
29 Apr. 2014. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/504802>.


Elagabalus

Many Roman emperors led notorious lifestyles, but Emperor Elagabalus was one who appears to be transgender. Born in Emesa in Syria, Varius Avitus Bassianus as Elagabalus was initially known, reigned from 218 until 222 AD. While in power, the teenage emperor enjoyed bisexual relationships and cross-dressing. Sources also hint that he may not have been comfortable with his birth gender.

When the head Praetorian Macrinus murdered Emperor Caracalla in 217AD, Caracalla&rsquos Aunt and Elagabalus&rsquos grandmother, Julia Maesa began to take steps to restore the Severan dynasty. She removed Elagabalus from Rome to the safety of Emesa, while she plotted with senators and soldiers loyal to Caracalla to remove the new emperor and restore the Severans. To seal the deal, she made Elagabalus&rsquos mother swear he was Caracalla&rsquos son. This lie cemented the alliance, and in 218AD, Maesa&rsquos allies overthrew Macrinus and Elagabalus became Emperor.

Adopting Caracalla&rsquos official name: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, the fourteen-year-old emperor began to make his mark- in entirely the wrong way. He suffixed his official title with ‘Elagabalus&rsquo, the Latinized version of the Syrian sun god, Elah Gabal, of whom he was a hereditary priest. Elagabalus then made Elah Gabal the new head of the Roman pantheon- viciously enforcing his worship. The teenage emperor was crass and ineffectual- and his reputation was made worse by his private peccadillos.

According to his contemporary, the historian Cassius Dio, Elagabalus loved nothing more than dressing up as a woman. Decked in wigs, makeup, and fashionable frocks, he made a sexual nuisance of himself around Rome- and the imperial palace. He married five times- once to a male athlete called Aurelius Zoticus.

But his most enduring relationship was with his charioteer, a slave named Hierocles. Herodian, another contemporary, recalled how the emperor &ldquodelighted to be called the mistress, the wife, the queen of Hierocles.&rdquo He also describes how Elagabalus offered money to any physician who could give him female genitalia.

In 222 AD, the Praetorian Guard assassinated the eighteen-year-old Elagabalus an event arranged by his grandmother as a form of dynastic damage limitation. His cousin, Severus Alexander was installed as emperor in his place. Some historians have suggested that the accounts of Dio and Herodian were designed to damn his memory. However, Elagabalus did that well enough as the emperor without salacious details from his private life. It seems, from the particulars of the descriptions that Elagabalus was indeed frustrated by his gender.


No, Jesus was not a “NonWhite” refugee who would have voted for …

Note added in June 2020:The archbishop of Canterbury claimed Jesus was “nonwhite”. Under such a definition so would Homer, Caesar, Alexander, Socrates, Aristotle, etc. (East) Mediterraneans were more alike, quite remote from Northern Europeans.

“To pass for a Jew or a Nabatean [“Arabes”], a Roman had to pierce his ears or get circumcized, but to pass for a Gaul he needed to put chalk on his face…” [rephrased] Petronius, Satiricon.

Note added in December 2019:Since I wrote this piece we got overwhelming DNA evidence during 2019 that levantines had indistinguishable DNA from that of Imperial Romans.

Note added in December 2017: We have indication from period literature that Levantines and East Meds looked indistinguishable from Greeks and Romans (as well as emerging genetic evidence) — but markedly different from Northern Europeans. So the idea of qualifying Levantines(Jews and Western Syrians) as “nonwhite” has a yuuuuge cultural effect: it means reclassifying the entire Western Canon before the Renaissance as “nonwhite” (Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, the church fathers s.a. Christostomos, etc.) which solves much of the current cultural wars.

The absurdity culminates when one realizes that so many pillars of the Western Canon as Thales, Zeno of Citium, Lucian, Posidonius, Antiochus of Ascalon, Clitomachus, Libanius, Ammianus Marcellinus, Publilius Sirus, (as well as Steve Jobs) etc. were of Levantine stock. (This doesn’t count the Cilicians, Capadocians, Commagenians, Carians, Phrygians, Lycians, etc.).

Note added in July 2017: We now know pretty much how inhabitants of the Levant looked at the time from my colleague Pierre Zalloua’s series of studies (a combination of J2a (some J2b like yours truly), R1a, R1b, E1b1b (Mediterranean) and J1 of the Northern Levant subclade).

T he problem with identity politics is that they are fully ignorant of, among other things, history and genetics. And they must be as blind visually as they are intellectually. How did Judeans and Galileans look like at the time of Christ? Not according to your politically driven classifications and not according to some BS in a 2001 article in Scientific American (based on “scientific” reconstruction of facial features and skin tone from … bones). And don’t assume that Jesus would have voted for neocon hawks, Salafi regime promoters, rent seeking “educated” bureaucrats and state-worshipping IYIs (intellectual yet idiots) — simply, Jesus wanted a separation of the holy and the profane, (see my article here).

No, Jesus was not a “Middle Eastern”, that is like inhabitants of the olive-oil free swath of land from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. Near East (Eastern Mediterranean) is not the nonMediterranean or antiMediterranean Middle East (I wonder which idiot made that classification the correct heuristic is use of olive oil). Jesus looked like a typical Mediterranean, that is, just like a Southern European, and quite standard at that, as we will see below. The inhabitants of the cities around the Mediterranean, by his time, were already quite similar in looks, even if they didn’t speak the same languages, and (as today, in many cases) much different from those that reside say, a hundred miles inside. And we know how Western speakers of Semitic languages looked like, which is no different from today’s Western Syrians: like Southern Europeans like generic Roman citizens (although most Jews were technically not citizens at the time of Jesus). Strikingly, Western Syrians (a.k.a. urban Syrians) still look the same today — in my experience they are usually indistinguishable from the Ionian Greeks, Cretans, or Cypriots who are in identity politics called “white”.

First, before we look at the genetic data, let’s consider Jesus’s contemporaries. Josephus (left) would be the closest thing we can find, as we are quite sure that he was a resident of Galilee. Jesus was from Nazareth (close to Tyre, actually many parts of Galilee were owned by Phoenician kings) his parent went Judea so he could be born there the Roman inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (King of the Judeans) was meant to be ironic since a Nazarean cannot be so. So let us look at how Phoenicians looked like [added: we now have the Phoenician DNA]

Who else than Hannibal, another Western Semite who preceded him by two centuries? I am showing a Southern Italian statue of him his looks on the statue seem to be corroborated by coins issued when he was alive (but again, both could be wrong). Next look at the Syrians from Homs (Emesa).

Julia Maesa (Homs), her grandson the Roman Emperor Elagabalus (Homs)

In addition to the celebrities, we have hundreds and hundreds of funereal busts from the region revealing how people looked like.

Comment 1. I have a heuristic. If people eat the same, they look the same and use similar body language. Western Turks eat the same as Levantines, Greeks and look the same. The Middle East, say Saudi Arabia has no ratatouille, tyme, oregano, olive oil, hummus, ouzo/raki/pastis/arak, pizza (lahmajun/man2ousheh) etc.

Comment 2. My late father was a medical doctor and a true polymath. He did a PhD in anthropology based on blood types with Jacques Ruffié later at the College de France — it fit his work since he was initially a haematologist. But (something I inherited) he was a closet historian, interested in origins of tribes and population settlements. Ruffié, with Cavalli-Sforza, later started the field of genetic geography.

Blood types/diseases are statistically more robust than genetic studies because of lower noise, smaller dimensionality. I recall as a young child listening to Ruffié and my father discounting the “Semitic” vs “Aryan” thesis: it doesn’t hold compared to the Mediterranean/nonMediterranean one. I remember vividly a conversation with Ruffié saying: “Il y a de l’oligocéphale et du dolichocéphale”, referring to head shapes, the latter type he called “Armenian”, that is his general term for tribes from the Asia Minor Caucasus region.

Comment 3. The Mediterranean was a unit throughout history: it took less time to sail from Athens to Alexandria than it did to travel in the hinterland. Furthermore, the cities of the Mediterranean are often distinct from the surrounding areas: trading urban areas, for instance, have Armenian, Jewish, and Greek Orthodox quarters, but rarely the countryside (outside of some valleys near a large city).

This idea of the Mediterranean as unit was revived by Sarkozy when he was the French president (he is partly Separdic from Saloniki and has read his Duby) it had been abandoned in favor of “Europe” partly because it had been associated with Mussolini, who (sort of) separated the North (Germanic) from the olive oil, but largely when Islam showed no desire to integrate with the rest. Within Islam, countries like Algeria (who got rid of its Salafists by sending some them to France, and many to the grave) are eager to reembrace their Mediterranean identity.


This is how the voice of Bugs Bunny trained WW2 aerial gunners

Posted On January 28, 2019 18:43:14

During World War II, Hollywood joined in the war effort, big time. Then-actor — and future president — Ronald Reagan helped train pilots on how to recognize the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” as one of the more prominent examples, but many others took part.

One was Mel Blanc. You never saw him. But you probably heard him. He was the voice of Bugs Bunny. Well, Bugs did his part for the war effort in some cartoons, including one that Warner Brothers pulled due to offensive stereotypes of the Japanese. America’s favorite “wascally wabbit” is an honorary Marine as a result of his service on the screen.

Mel Blanc in 1976. (Photo by Alan Light via Wikimedia Commons)

But Blanc did more than just entertain. He also helped train some of the soldiers who were putting it all out there. Specifically, he helped train the gunners on heavy bombers. The B-17 Flying Fortresses had a lot of gun positions. Some of the ten-man crew manning them had other jobs (like the bombardier, the navigator, and the radio operator). Others just had to shoot.

No matter what, though, they needed to know how to aim their guns so that some Nazi or Japanese fighter didn’t shoot their bomber down. In a 14-minute film, Blanc portrays a waist gunner on one Flying Fortress who starts out with some bad habits. Over that course of time, the trainees were given a crash course and the bare essentials needed to know how to aim their machine gun.

An Axis plane heads on its final dive thanks to Blanc’s character. (Youtube screenshot)

You can see this 14-minute film below.

Articles

What did the ancients look like?

In some cases we may never know, if we are lucky we are left with statues busts, but even then, artists often took liberties and for propaganda reasons may have made them prettier/uglier. Sometimes the artists were making portraits centuries after the fact or based on secondhand reports.

Nevertheless, humans are visual animals and can't help but be curious. In the cases of some Egyptian mummies we are very lucky. Many of them are so well-preserved that they can be reconstructed in 3D.


A famous bust of King Pyrrhus with a detailed painting.

I was lucky to come across this online article.

"This is the image of Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra's sister Arsinoe, according to experts.
The 3D computer model is based on what are believed to be remains of Arsinoe found in Ephesus, Turkey.
The reconstruction, by researchers at the University of Dundee, will be shown on Cleopatra - Portrait Of A Killer on BBC1 tonight."


"Artistic rendering of Hephaestion based on a bronze portrait head, as of September 2007 housed in The Prado Museum, Madrid."

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hephaestion]Hephaestion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

Hephaestion, artwork based on a bronze statue.

Alexander the Great? Apparently he was clean shaven, and is described as having dirty blonde hair. I remember also reading or hearing somewhere that he had a lion-like face, with eyes far apart and a wide nose. Also, he had one eye a different color from the other? Odd.


Watch the video: Ενέσιμη αναδόμηση προσώπου (August 2022).