Newsletter: September 12th, 2016
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Projects and Pages for mid September:

big black cube with thousands of people standing around it
Ka'aba in Mecca

EID AL-ADHA: On September 13th - The two biggest Islamic holidays are Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, which falls this week. Eid al-Adha recalls Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac to God, and reminds us all to be willing to sacrifice in a good cause. Muslims sacrifice a sheep and eat one-third of it, giving another third to relatives and neighbors, and the last third to the poor. Eid al-Adha also marks the beginning of the Hajj, when many Muslims visit the sacred Ka'aba in the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

DOCTORS: With Presidential candidates getting sick, we'll review the history of medicine, from the first cancer operations in Egypt, in Africa, to smallpox inoculations in India. Chinese doctors gave us acupuncture and the first cure for malaria. Islamic doctors invented quarantines to keep disease from spreading, and the Jewish doctor Maimonides - working in Egypt - treated depression with music, art, and exercise.

ruined brick walls
Domitian's palace in Rome
(The Domus Flavia)

DOMITIAN: The Roman Emperor Titus - the one who defeated the First Jewish Revolt- dies and his younger brother Domitian becomes emperor. Domitian builds a huge government center on the Palatine Hill in Rome that is the origin of our word "palace", and also probably persecutes the Christians.

BELISARIUS: September 13, 533 AD: The Roman general Belisarius defeats the Vandals and recaptures North Africa for the Roman Empire and the emperor Justinian.

PHILIP AUGUSTUS: September 18th, 1180: When his father Louis VII dies, Philip Augustus becomes king of France. Thanks to the Albigensian Crusade and winning wars against the British, Philip left France much richer than he found it, and much more powerful.

IRAN: September 16th, 1941: Britain and Russia forced the king of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi, to resign because he was trying to stay neutral between Germany and the Allies in World War II. In his place they put Reza's son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who seemed more obedient.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: Celebrate Eid al-Adha if you can, or honor its spirit by giving generously to relatives, neighbors, and the needy. Watch accounts of the Hajj on television.

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New pages this week:

CHICKENS: We've been doing some work on the page about the History of Chickens, originally domesticated in China and India for cock-fighting. Did you know factory egg hatcheries were invented in New Kingdom Egypt (and in China)?

New discoveries this week:

SECOND TEMPLE: Possible floor tiles from the Jewish Second Temple in Jerusalem have been found: they're thin slabs of marble really, in the Roman opus sectile style, like the floor of the Roman Senate House. That's because Herod redecorated the Second Temple - it's not from the original Persian Empire floor.

NERO'S GOLDEN HOUSE: A cool video about the French excavation of what might be the Roman emperor Nero's famous rotating dining room, mentioned by Suetonius and Tacitus - here's more about Nero's Golden House, and the Colosseum and Domitian's palace that replaced it later.

ALASKAN FISH DIET: Seems like every week there's more evidence of how much early humans relied on fish and shellfish for food: this time from Ice Age Alaska, as the ancestors of Native Americans were making their way slowly across from Asia and down the coast of California towards Peru.

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Seasonal food of the week:

LAMB: It's traditional to kill a sheep for Eid al-Adha, so anything with lamb is appropriate. Try these lamb meatballs with plums over rice, or eggplant and ground lamb, or this lamb tagine with sweet potatoes and dried fruit. Serve them with other West Asian treats: hummus, baba ganoush, and roasted chickpeas. For dessert, try making these traditional date-filled cookies.

Also check out our seasonal and budget recipes at Gevirts.com.

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Also check out our seasonal and budget recipes at Gevirts.com.

(Want more like this? Email us to sign up for Quatr.us' email newsletter!)

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Syrian Refugees (September 2015)

History of Iran (August 2015)

Music in Ancient Africa

Women in the Roman Empire

How did people evolve to have eyes?

Riots and the Cancellation of Debts

Why do bees like flowers, and flowers need bees?

Where did chocolate come from?

Why do horses like apples and carrots?


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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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