blog travel

W
e are here to survey the road from Istanbul to Dublin.

Looking down on that road, we see two tragedies, the passing of the pre Muslim kingdoms and empires, and then the fall of the Ottoman Empire, two cultural destruction events.

Whilst preparing for this trip from Istanbul to the UK I discovered this map. When WWI ended germany escaped with a haircut. Islam lost its only major remaining defender, the Ottoman Empire, paving the way for the decline of many societies permitted to develop according to local custom under the shield of the Ottoman Empire. 

Genetic prehistory of Europe:
http://www.eupedia.com/europe/origins_haplogroups_europe.shtml#prehistory

Ancient European pockets genetically:
Far West Czech Republic (Bohemia?)

Haplogroup I2a1 is by far the largest branch of I2 and the one most strongly linked to Neolithic cultures in south-east, south-west and north-west Europe.

Distribution of haplogroup I2a1 (formerly I2a) in Europe

Distribution of haplogroup I2a1 (formerly I2a) in Europe

G2a makes up 5 to 10% of the population of Mediterranean Europe, but is fairly rare in Northern Europe. The only places where haplogroup G2 exceeds 10% of the population in Europe are Cantabria, central and southern Italy (esp. in the Apennines), Sardinia, northern Greece (Thessaly) and Crete - all mountainous and relatively isolated regions. Other regions with frequencies approaching the 10% include Asturias in northern Spain, Auvergne in central France, Switzerland, Sicily, the Aegean Islands, and Cyprus.

Distribution of haplogroup G in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

Distribution of haplogroup G in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

Haplogroup I2a2 (P214)

I2a2 (S33/M436/P214, P216/S30, P217/S23, P218/S32, L35/S150, L37/S153, L181) was known as I1c until 2005 and I2b until 2010. It is associated with the pre-Celto-Germanic people of north-Western Europe, such as the megaliths builders (5000-1200 BCE). The wide variety of STR markers within I2a2 could make it as much as 13,000 years old.

I2a2 is found in all Western Europe, but apparently survived better the Indo-European invasions (=> see R1b) in northern Germany, and was reintroduced by both the La Tène Celtic expansion (5th to 1st century BCE) and the Germanic invasions (3rd to 6th century CE). Nowadays, I2a2 peaks in central and northern Germany (10-20%), the Benelux (10-15%) as well as in northern Sweden. It is also found in 3 to 10% of the inhabitants of Denmark, eastern England, and northern France. It is rarer in Norway, except in the south, where the Danish influence was the strongest historically.

Distribution of haplogroup I2a2 (formerly I2b) in Europe

Distribution of haplogroup I2a2 (formerly I2b) in Europe 

There are two major subclades of I2a2 : I2a2a and I2a2b, the former further subdivided in four subclades:

Note Thuringia here

Waves upon Europe:
I Distribution.jpg


https://vieilleeurope.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/sardinia-vinca-i2a1-beaker-r1b-nuragic-sea-peoples-2/

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/moc/moc08.htm

20131116-205036.jpg

http://dgmweb.net/DNA/Corbin/CorbinDNA-results-HgI2.html

Distribution Map of Haplogroup I, released to the public domain by Hxseek at Wikipedia.

M-26 distribution

http://www.wondermondo.com/Countries/As/India/MadhyaPradesh/Bhimbetka.htm

Acropolis of Alatri

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Acropolis of Alatri Civita
Acropolis of Alatri, internal Porta Maggiore.
Acropolis of Alatri, internal Porta Maggiore.
Location
StatusItaly Italy
Altitude502 m s.l.m.
Dimensions
Area19000 

Coordinates : 41 ° 43'35 "N 13 ° 20'32 "E ( Map )

'Where I found myself in front of the black titanic building, preserved in excellent condition, hardly mattered centuries but only years, I felt admiration for the human force far greater than what I was inspired by the view of the Colosseum... a race could build such walls, it had already possess an important culture and laws ordered "
(Ferdinand Gregorovius)

L ' Acropolis of Alatri , known locally as Civita , is located in the heart of the historical center of Alatri , on top of the hill on which stands the city, 502  s.lm The fortress is surrounded by walls in polygonal , these huge walls , where there are two doors.

Description edit edit wikitext ]

The southeastern section of the walls of the Acropolis

The walls are made ​​of several layers of megaliths polymorphic, coming from the same hill and mated perfectly jointed without the use of lime or cement ( polygonal ); with their perimeter describe a trapezoidal area of 19,000 square meters . They reach the highest elevation in Pizzale , namely the southeast corner: tapered towards the top, is made ​​up of fifteen large overlapping blocks; the cornerstone of the basic features a bas-relief that has been interpreted as a solar orb, probably a tribute to the rising Sun on this side [1] .

Historicizing the construction of the walls is controversial, the French archaeologist Louis Charles François Petit-Radel ( 1,756th - one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six ) laid the foundation of Alatri dating before the Second Cologne Pelasgian, dating to 1539 BC, [2] while the archaeological science has supported the origin ernica and overall restructuring in Roman times, while some scholars place them in the sixth century BC , some four centuries before; archaeologist Filippo Coarelli proposed a dating IV - III century BC [3] .

For the fortification were supposed connections type archaeoastronomical , according to the hypothesis that its perimeter ripercorrerebbe one drawn in the sky from the constellation of Gemini at the summer solstice [4], but the particular perimeter of the walls of the Acropolis is the most likely an adaptation to the natural contour of the hill.

The Acropolis area was restored in 1843 , only a few years before the visit of the writer: the citizens of Alatri, during the visit of Pope Gregory XVI worked for ten days to clean the walls and build an access to the top the ancient city, making the road that runs along the perimeter, which in honor of the Pope was called the Via Gregoriana.


The scope and the excellent preservation of the wall fence aroused great admiration in the German writer Ferdinand Gregorovius .

The Acropolis has two entrances. The two ports have important mathematical property: the height / base is identical with good approximation, the golden section .

In the Middle Ages the Acropolis became part of the town: in it are preserved the ruins of the settlement, which was destroyed in 1326 following the ouster of Francesco de Ceccano, who took office occupying it. On it stand now the cathedral dedicated to St. Paul and the bishopric.

Porta Maggiore change edit wikitext ]

Porta Maggiore. On the right is the protection of the Roman cistern

La Porta Maggiore , located on the southern side of the walls, is 4.5 meters high and 2.68 wide and has a monolithic lintel of surprising size (4,0x5,13x1,3 m, weight estimated at 27 tons ), second in Europe only the Lion Gate of Mycenae . It was built at the same time as access to the city walls. It was closed by a gate or beams, as evidenced by the holes still present in the architrave, and leads into a gallery in dolmen almost 11 meters long. The staircase leading to the port is part of the nineteenth-century remakes.

A side of the door there is a cistern, discovered during recent work that affected Via Gregoriana, believed to be the same epigraph appointed censor Lucio Betilieno Varo among the works he made ​​in achieving the second century BC

Near the port are three niches , whose function would be to contain the statues of the gods protectors of the city.

The lower door change edit wikitext ]

La Porta Minor called Gate or Big Fertility , in the northern region is much smaller (2,12x1,16 m) and leads into a narrow ascending corridor, perfectly preserved, covered with monoliths progressive overhang: a cover system that It is reflected only in the interior of the pyramid of Menfi . The independent researcher Ornello Tofani discovered recently that lil corridor that runs for 17 meters, the equinoxes is entirely crossed by the Sun comes to light via Gregoriana, a clear symbol of fertility (the Sun male organ penetrates the Earth female organ and fruitful).

The name of Port of Dicks (or fertility) is related to engravings that surround the door itself, three fouls , now deteriorated by time, they are also a symbol of fertility. In ancient times, it is believed that such a transition is served for pagan rituals, and the symbol, common to the ancient Romans, it was a good omen for whoever could walk down the steps of the door without stopping. At the top left you can see inscriptions in Oscan .

Portico of Betilieno change edit wikitext ]

Along the slope that develops below the north side of the Acropolis are the remains of a porch that was commissioned by the censor Lucio Betilieno Varo in the second half of the second century BC to connect the acropolis to the hole city (where he currently is Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore).

Work, originally made ​​up of a long colonnaded structure templiforme remain, just for the last stretch, which ran against the wall north of the sacred, part of the stylobatewith the duct system of rainwater, and the bases of some columns . The path ended at the ramp that is still as smooth acropolis.

Photo gallery change edit wikitext ]

  • Porta Maggiore

  •  
  • Inside Porta Maggiore

  •  
  • Lintel Gate Minor (Fertility)

  •  
  • The niches

  •  
  • The porch of Betilieno, at the foot of the Acropolis


http://adventureontravel.com/witches-in-sardinia-random-fact-4/




































































































sdsa
Linkage between Harappa and Jain 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rishabha
Rishabha:
When?
Link to Harrapa?

Also link to 7th jain thitankara

Is Rishabha, the earliest Jain Tirthankara, in any way related to the Indus Valley Civilization?

Lord Rishabha is mentioned with respect in the Rigveda. Also he is attributed an image of bull which is found in abundance in the Harappan Seals. His yogic posture (lotus position) are also found among the seals. If we assume he's related, how would it change our perception about the Indus Valley Civilization?
2 Answers • 4,968 Views
2 ANSWERS
Urvashi JoshiUrvashi JoshiNot using Quora anymore. I have a life.
Jainism entered into the mainstream in the Indian subcontinent in the 7th century BCE during a time when several groups were reacting against Hinduism. Some people wrongly believe that Jainism was born during this time but the truth is that it was already there. 
 
Jainism and Indus Valley civilization: 
 
Latest research and excavation at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa has shown that the Jainism existed five thousand years ago.  Seals of Rishabh Dev in theKayotsarga position(The kayotsarga is a position in which a  monk meditates in either a standing position or a seated position) was found in the ruins of Mohenjo-daro which you have already mentioned in the description. 


Many scholars agree that that Jainism has pre-Aryan roots. The artefacts excavated from Mohenjo-daro suggest the presence of yogic traditons which Jains associate with Rishabh Dev as Hindus associate it with Shiva. Therefore it is fairly obvious for them to suggest that Rishabhdeva is pre-Veda. Some scholars such as J.G.R Forlong have suggestion that when Aryans reached Central India, they found that the Jains were already here. 

(J.G.R Forlong’s Short Studies in the Science of comparative religions: Short studies in the science of comparative religions, embracing all the religions of Asia; : Forlong, James George Roche, d. 1904 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive)
 
Rishabhdeva was believed to belong to the Indus valley civilization and he is reportedly considered as the one who taught the people how to grow crops, tend animals and cook. 
The seals depict him surrounded by animals. 
 
He is mentioned as Kesi, the head of Vatrasana Shramana in the Rigveda, which is further elaborated in the Bhagavata Purana (c. 8th century CE).
( Source:Bharat: An Untold Story)

ALTERNATIVE THEORY: 

The above seal is known as the Pashupati seal and is attributed to lord Shiva or Rudra as described in the Rigveda. The alternate name for the seal is Proto-Shiva seal. It is believed that the person  depicted in the seal is Shiva because of the following reasons: 

1) Lord Shiva was/is worshipped as a 'Mahayogi' (prime ascetic). The yogic posture of the man in the seal  consolidates the fact. 

2) Shiva is mentioned as Pashupati(Lord of animals). Pashupati is a name of Rudra-Shiva in the Atharvaveda (the Rigveda has the related pashupa "protector of cattle" as a name of Pushan). This is explained in detail in the Shiva Puran.  

3) Various Lingams were excavated from Harappan sites. The one in the picture was found at Dholavira. 


Q) How will our change our perception about the Indus valley civilization ?

ANSWER: I used to believe that  the Indus Valley people used to worship Rudra and mother nature based on depictions on  the seals. I made a project on the religion of Indus Valley Civilization people in class XII and when I was researching for it I realized that the swastika symbol was also found on seals which is a symbol associated with Jainism and Buddhism also. It is already acknowledged by scholars that the Indus Valley people  and there were various elaborate rituals associated with worshipping nature(The Great Bath). It is already assumed by a large mass of people that Rishabhadeva was related to the Indus Valley civilization therefore there will be no drastic change in the perception of people.  Religion of the Indus Valley is a subjective matter due to the lack of evidence and it is still being researched.

PS: Feel free to correct my answer or add extra information. If there are any factual errors please notify me.
  
Written 8 Jul, 2014. 1,787 views.
Not only Rishabha but 22 Tirthankaras are worshipped in Indus Valley Civilization. The symbol of Bull point towards worshipping of Rishabha and the abundance of Swastika seals point towards worship of Suparshvanath the 7th Tirthankara. The pashupata seal is infact shows the worship of Tirthankaras as the yogi represent the Tirthankara and the animals the symbols of different Tirthankaras. That is one seal representing many Tirthankaras. 
That which is claimed as shiva linga is not shiva linga infact as the IVC communities are trader community they used the polished stone for polishing for precious metals.



Most Ancient European Towns

Romania

Home > Main Attractions > Traditional Villages

Traditional Villages

The golden glow of the sun against the soft pastel houses; residents going about their business, tending the chickens, their vegetable gardens or sitting on the front porch can make an unforgettable scene. In villages and in the countryside, on lands dominated by ancestral castles, old fortresses and peaceful monasteries, life moves a little slower and follows ancient rhythms of tradition and culture.

Maramures - cattle herderIt’s not unusual to see a farmer bringing his fruits to the marketplace in a horse drawn wagon or to encounter a village festival where the locals perform ancient rites of planting and harvest dressed in colorful traditional costumes. Cold, pure well water beckons the thirsty traveler from the roadside. Men kiss women’s hands in a courtly greeting unchanged for hundreds of years.  Lush vineyards, first planted by Dacians – ancient inhabitants of Romania, yield fine wines. 

In Transylvania, you will find villages clustered around ancient Saxon citadels, edifices that often enclose exquisite churches built by German settlers from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
For more information about Transylvania please visit
www.RomaniaTourism.com/Transylvania.html 

Romania, People, TraditionsA lovely half-hour drive south of the medieval city of Sibiu takes you into the pastoral landscapes of Marginimea Sibiului, one of Transylvania’s best-preserved ethnographic areas. Located at the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains, Marginimea Sibiului (meaning Boundaries of Sibiu) encompasses a string of 18 traditional Romanian villages *, rich in architecture, history and heritage. Age-old traditions, customs and celebrations, as well as the traditional occupation of sheepherding, have been carefully passed down from generation to generation in the villages of this area. Rasinari, dating to 1204, is the oldest, followed by Talmaciu (1318), Orlat (1322) and Saliste (1354). Saliste claims the oldest church, housing beautiful interior frescoes (1674), while Poiana Sibiului’s wooden church was built in 1771. Painting on glass has been a tradition for 200 years in these villages. The Museum of Painted Glass Icons in Sibiel exhibits the largest collection of painted glass icons in Europe - more than 700, as well as furniture and ceramics.
For more information about Sibiu please visit www.RomaniaTourism.com/Sibiu.html

* The 18 villages are: Boita, Sadu, Raul Sadului, Talmaciu, Talmacel. Rasinari, Poplaca, Gura Raului, Orlat, Fantanele, Sibiel, Vale, Saliste, Gales, Tilisca, Rod, Poiana Sibiului and Jina.


Italy: 

Looking for remnants of the lost civilization...

martedì 7 gennaio 2014

The Cyclopean Cities of Ancient Latium

The Cyclopean Cities of Ancient Latium

The countryside around Rome is littered with relics of a past more or less remote. One feels almost a continuity there between the ancient and the modern world, with the ancient Roman ruins being almost a familiar presence as if part of the natural landscape. Yet, one also finds there remains of a much older and mysterious past. Massive cyclopean walls encircle towns and villages, their stones darkened by the passing of centuries and millennia. One can never get used to them, so strange they are in their interlocking geometries and so different from the familiar contours of Roman and Medieval walls. They loom as a relic from an entirely different past of which we know almost nothing.   

The cyclopean walls of Alatri near the Main Gate of the Acropolis (Porta Maggiore). In the foreground, one of the three enigmatic niches called "The Sanctuaries", which probably once contained statues - Photo by Author
The megalithic gate of the Acropolis of Alatri (Porta Maggiore). The walls reach an height of over 15 meters in this point and in proximity of the corner in the walls - Photo by Author
Who built the cyclopean walls and why? 

The small towns of Alatri, Ferentino, Segni, Sezze, Veroli and Arpino, all in the Province of Frosinone, Norba, Cori and Circei in the Province of Latina, Amelia in nearby Umbria, as far as Ansedonia,  Orbetello and Roselle in Tuscany and Alba Fucens in Abruzzo, are entirely surrounded by cyclopean walls that survive to this day in varying states of preservation. They loom even to this day over 15 meters high on the Acropolis of Alatri, and are almost intact over their entire circuit around Ferentino, Segni and Norba. 
  
The stones composing the walls are truly gigantic, each weighting many tons, and as finely fitted together as to leave a few millimeters at most between the joints. But it is their near impossible acute angles and interlocking corners that cause the greatest amazement, as if each stone was individually carved to be a piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.  

Another view of the Walls of Alatri near the Porta San Pietro (Saint Peter's Gate) - Photo by Author
Not much has changed since the time when Ferdinand Gregorovius first described the cyclopean walls of the Acropolis of Alatri as “the most astounding monument of the past in Latium”. It was 1859 when he wrote these words:  “The sight of this marvelous masonry, which equals in size any existing Egyptian building, would amply repay the visitor for the longest and most fatiguing day's journey […] When I walked round this black, Titanic, construction, just in as good preservation now as if years, instead of thousands of years, had passed over them, I was filled with amazement greater than when I first beheld the Colosseum at Rome”. [1]
In over 150 years, very little has changed also in our knowledge of the builders and purpose of these cyclopean structures. The debate on the original builders of Alatri and the cyclopean walls of Latium raged for much of the 19th and the 20th Century. Lacking any other plausible explanation, the construction of the walls was attributed to the Romans of the early Republican period (III – I Century BC) and the whole question was put to rest for almost half a century. Indeed, no other civilization known to historians and archeologists would have had the technical skills and social organization to afford the construction of the miles long walls and to move tens of thousands of stones, some of which weighting in excess of 27 tons. 

Yet, whoever visits the little town of Ferentino, still encircled by its beautiful cyclopean walls, would immediately realize that this attribution is plain nonsense. Here one sees more than in any other place three distinct and clearly recognizable stages of construction: the cyclopean, the Roman and the medieval. The inscription of the Roman censors Aulus Lollius and Marcus Irtius still stands to commemorate the restoration of the walls by the two censors in 180 BC. Of course, the restoration was made with relatively small, square blocks of stone upon the already ruined cyclopean masonry underneath, which served as a 10 meters high foundation for the new roman wall.  Even without the inscription, no reasonable person would ever think that the cyclopean masonry and the brick-like stone wall above could belong to the same period, not to mention having been built by the same people! Yet one still reads in guidebooks and even scholarly studies that the two censors built the whole of the walls of Ferentino, including the cyclopean portion. 

The acropolis of Ferentino, where one can clearly see the three layers of construction: the Cyclopean (bottom), Roman, and the Medieval on top - Photo by Author 
Another view of the cyclopean walls of Ferentino, near the Porta Sanguinaria. The arch above the gate is a Roman addition, as also much of the wall above - Photo by Author
Again at Ferentino one can clearly see the three different layers of construction: Cyclopean (polygonal), Roman (with small sized square blocks) and medieval on top. These layers belong to completely different epochs and denote entirely different construction techniques -Photo by Author
Nor did the Romans ever claim authorship of such a feat as building the walls of Alatri, Norba, Segni or any other of the cyclopean cities of Latium. Quite to the contrary, ancient historians had a tendency to attribute these structures, so similar to the great walls of Tiryns and Mycenae, to mythical ancestors like the Pelasgians. 

If then the walls were not built by the Romans, who built them? More recent scholarship has shown greater openness towards the idea of a pre-Roman date for the cyclopean walls. The pre-roman peoples of the Hernici and the Volsci are therefore sometimes credited for the construction of the walls. Yet, also this attribution, though much more plausible, appears to rest on very thin evidence.  The Hernici formed a league as far back as 495 BC, until their capital, Anagni, was taken by the Romans in 306 BC. Yet one is surprised not to find even the slightest trace of cyclopean walls in Anagni itself, where the walls – which are with good certainty attributed to the Hernici – are rather built with much smaller square blocks. 

Even the ultimate function of the cyclopean walls and acropolises is ultimately shrouded in mystery.  Of course, the immediate thought that comes to mind when seeing a wall is that it might serve some defensive function. Yet, in spite of their grand scale, cyclopean walls would offer very little protection and certainly no better protection than a much more simple structure built of bricks or even wood. Not only are the walls pierced by several gates and lacking towers or any other defensive feature one would expect from a fortification of comparable size, but they even present features that seem to exclude any meaningful defensive function. The author Giulio Magli lists several of this features in his book “I Segreti delle Antiche Città Megalitiche” [Secrets of the Ancient Megalithic Cities]. For instance, the acropolis of Circei lacks any defense on the Northern side, which was therefore entirely open and defenseless towards the mountain. Even the main gate of Norba is too broad, at over 7 meters, to allow any kind of covering unless we imagine a capstone of truly monstrous size as could have never been supported by the side walls (there is ample evidence the builders of the cyclopean walls didn’t know the principles of the arch, or deliberately chose not to use it in their constructions) [2]. These cyclopean walls are much more similar to a sacred precinct, like the themenos of a temple, than to a fortress of any kind. 

The Main Gate (Porta Maggiore) to the ancient city of Norba. Over 7 meters wide, the gate is flanked by a round "tower" to the right of unclear function, which is a masterpiece of polygonal megalithic architecture - Photo by Author 
Another gate in the walls of Norba, facing the cliff, and sormounted by a huge architrave. Also note the very fine texture of the polygonal blocks, each one of which weighting many tons - Photo by Author
This is especially true in the case of the Acropolis of Alatri, undoubtedly the finest of its kind in Italy and among the greatest megalithic realizations in the Mediterranean. Other than the usual absence of any defensive features inside or outside the perimeter of the Acropolis, the only structure inside the precinct of its walls appears to be a large stepped platform. Here is found some of the finest cyclopean masonry in Italy and probably in the world, including a stone with over 15 angles, with joints so tight that they don’t allow even the finest blade to pass between two stones. This platform, called a Hyeron, was clearly an altar of some sort, and is moreover very carefully astronomically and geometrically aligned as to be the virtual center or omphalos of the whole city of Alatri. 

Recent research has shown that the entire city of Alatri was designed after a roughly circular plan, with three concentric walls converging towards the Acropolis. The gates defined a number of axes which show evidence of having been carefully astronomically aligned towards the rising and setting of the Sun at the solstices and equinoxes. A number of stellar alignments also seem to point to the constellation of Gemini, Orion and the Southern Cross, at a time when it was still visible above the horizon in the Northern hemisphere. Also, the golden section was embedded in the design of the Acropolis and its gates. 

The stars may shed new light on the age-old question of the dating of the Acropolis of Alatri: A recent archaeo-astronomical study shows that the Acropolis could not have been built later than 1,270 BC, when the main axis of the city and of the Eastern wall of the Acropolis was aligned to the star Polaris, with the North-West wall aligned to the rising of the Sun on the morning of the Summer equinox and its setting on the Winter solstice.  The same study found evidence of an astronomical clock based on the shadow projected by the sun along the tunnel formed by the lesser gate of the Acropolis, also pointing at a date in the XIII Century BC. [3]

Previous studies had already shown that the shape of the Acropolis almost exactly mirrors the profile of the constellation of Gemini.  Even on a grander scale, the position of the towns of Alatri, Atina, Arpino, Anagni and Ferentino (ancient Antinum) matches the same profile of the constellation of Gemini (or, according to other interpretations that also include several other centers of Lower Latium, the constellation Ursa Maior). [4]

The stepped megalithic Hyeron (altar) on the Acropolis of Segni, also sorrounded by massive cyclopean walls, is a good examples of how the altar on the Acropolis of Alatri would have looked like before the Medieval cathedral was built on top of the older sanctuary. Also at Segni a church was built on top of the original Hyeron, partly reusing the walls of a Roman temple to the Goddess Juno Moneta - Photo by Author
According to tradition, these five cities were founded by a legendary king Saturn (sometimes identified with the God of the same name) and are therefore called “Saturnian Cities”. According to the same legend, the tomb of Saturn was located in the town of Atina, which is also surrounded by imposing cyclopean walls of unknown date. 

Following the renewed interest in the megalithic civilization of Central Italy, even UNESCO has taken an interest in the astronomic alignments of the acropolis of Alatri. [5]
Even UNESCO now acknowledges that the cyclopean walls of Lower Latium may be indeed several centuries older than their assumed dating to the Roman period, and laments the lack of a reliable stratigraphy that may shed more light on their true age. UNESCO defines Alatri as “the most spectacular example of the use of geometry and astronomy in planning” and is considering its inscription as a World Heritage site.

A view of the Hernici Mountains from the Acropolis of Veroli - Photo by Author

References:

[1] Ferdinand Gregorovius, Latian Summers (tr. Dorothea Roberts, 1903),http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/_Texts/ROBLAT/3*.html, accessed January, 2014
[2] Giulio Magli, I Segreti delle Antiche Città Megalitiche, Newton Compton, 2007
[4] Gianluigi Proia and Luigi Cozzi, “Le Città Cosmiche del Lazio”, Mystero n. 33, february 2003, http://www.circei.it/pagina-27.html, accessed January 2014
[5] UNESCO Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy,http://www2.astronomicalheritage.net/index.php/show-entity?identity=27&idsubentity=1, accessed January 2014
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martedì 7 gennaio 2014

The Cyclopean Cities of Ancient Latium

The Cyclopean Cities of Ancient Latium

The countryside around Rome is littered with relics of a past more or less remote. One feels almost a continuity there between the ancient and the modern world, with the ancient Roman ruins being almost a familiar presence as if part of the natural landscape. Yet, one also finds there remains of a much older and mysterious past. Massive cyclopean walls encircle towns and villages, their stones darkened by the passing of centuries and millennia. One can never get used to them, so strange they are in their interlocking geometries and so different from the familiar contours of Roman and Medieval walls. They loom as a relic from an entirely different past of which we know almost nothing.   

The cyclopean walls of Alatri near the Main Gate of the Acropolis (Porta Maggiore). In the foreground, one of the three enigmatic niches called "The Sanctuaries", which probably once contained statues - Photo by Author
The megalithic gate of the Acropolis of Alatri (Porta Maggiore). The walls reach an height of over 15 meters in this point and in proximity of the corner in the walls - Photo by Author
Who built the cyclopean walls and why? 

The small towns of Alatri, Ferentino, Segni, Sezze, Veroli and Arpino, all in the Province of Frosinone, Norba, Cori and Circei in the Province of Latina, Amelia in nearby Umbria, as far as Ansedonia,  Orbetello and Roselle in Tuscany and Alba Fucens in Abruzzo, are entirely surrounded by cyclopean walls that survive to this day in varying states of preservation. They loom even to this day over 15 meters high on the Acropolis of Alatri, and are almost intact over their entire circuit around Ferentino, Segni and Norba. 
  
The stones composing the walls are truly gigantic, each weighting many tons, and as finely fitted together as to leave a few millimeters at most between the joints. But it is their near impossible acute angles and interlocking corners that cause the greatest amazement, as if each stone was individually carved to be a piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.  

Another view of the Walls of Alatri near the Porta San Pietro (Saint Peter's Gate) - Photo by Author
Not much has changed since the time when Ferdinand Gregorovius first described the cyclopean walls of the Acropolis of Alatri as “the most astounding monument of the past in Latium”. It was 1859 when he wrote these words:  “The sight of this marvelous masonry, which equals in size any existing Egyptian building, would amply repay the visitor for the longest and most fatiguing day's journey […] When I walked round this black, Titanic, construction, just in as good preservation now as if years, instead of thousands of years, had passed over them, I was filled with amazement greater than when I first beheld the Colosseum at Rome”. [1]
In over 150 years, very little has changed also in our knowledge of the builders and purpose of these cyclopean structures. The debate on the original builders of Alatri and the cyclopean walls of Latium raged for much of the 19th and the 20th Century. Lacking any other plausible explanation, the construction of the walls was attributed to the Romans of the early Republican period (III – I Century BC) and the whole question was put to rest for almost half a century. Indeed, no other civilization known to historians and archeologists would have had the technical skills and social organization to afford the construction of the miles long walls and to move tens of thousands of stones, some of which weighting in excess of 27 tons. 

Yet, whoever visits the little town of Ferentino, still encircled by its beautiful cyclopean walls, would immediately realize that this attribution is plain nonsense. Here one sees more than in any other place three distinct and clearly recognizable stages of construction: the cyclopean, the Roman and the medieval. The inscription of the Roman censors Aulus Lollius and Marcus Irtius still stands to commemorate the restoration of the walls by the two censors in 180 BC. Of course, the restoration was made with relatively small, square blocks of stone upon the already ruined cyclopean masonry underneath, which served as a 10 meters high foundation for the new roman wall.  Even without the inscription, no reasonable person would ever think that the cyclopean masonry and the brick-like stone wall above could belong to the same period, not to mention having been built by the same people! Yet one still reads in guidebooks and even scholarly studies that the two censors built the whole of the walls of Ferentino, including the cyclopean portion. 

The acropolis of Ferentino, where one can clearly see the three layers of construction: the Cyclopean (bottom), Roman, and the Medieval on top - Photo by Author 
Another view of the cyclopean walls of Ferentino, near the Porta Sanguinaria. The arch above the gate is a Roman addition, as also much of the wall above - Photo by Author
Again at Ferentino one can clearly see the three different layers of construction: Cyclopean (polygonal), Roman (with small sized square blocks) and medieval on top. These layers belong to completely different epochs and denote entirely different construction techniques -Photo by Author
Nor did the Romans ever claim authorship of such a feat as building the walls of Alatri, Norba, Segni or any other of the cyclopean cities of Latium. Quite to the contrary, ancient historians had a tendency to attribute these structures, so similar to the great walls of Tiryns and Mycenae, to mythical ancestors like the Pelasgians. 

If then the walls were not built by the Romans, who built them? More recent scholarship has shown greater openness towards the idea of a pre-Roman date for the cyclopean walls. The pre-roman peoples of the Hernici and the Volsci are therefore sometimes credited for the construction of the walls. Yet, also this attribution, though much more plausible, appears to rest on very thin evidence.  The Hernici formed a league as far back as 495 BC, until their capital, Anagni, was taken by the Romans in 306 BC. Yet one is surprised not to find even the slightest trace of cyclopean walls in Anagni itself, where the walls – which are with good certainty attributed to the Hernici – are rather built with much smaller square blocks. 

Even the ultimate function of the cyclopean walls and acropolises is ultimately shrouded in mystery.  Of course, the immediate thought that comes to mind when seeing a wall is that it might serve some defensive function. Yet, in spite of their grand scale, cyclopean walls would offer very little protection and certainly no better protection than a much more simple structure built of bricks or even wood. Not only are the walls pierced by several gates and lacking towers or any other defensive feature one would expect from a fortification of comparable size, but they even present features that seem to exclude any meaningful defensive function. The author Giulio Magli lists several of this features in his book “I Segreti delle Antiche Città Megalitiche” [Secrets of the Ancient Megalithic Cities]. For instance, the acropolis of Circei lacks any defense on the Northern side, which was therefore entirely open and defenseless towards the mountain. Even the main gate of Norba is too broad, at over 7 meters, to allow any kind of covering unless we imagine a capstone of truly monstrous size as could have never been supported by the side walls (there is ample evidence the builders of the cyclopean walls didn’t know the principles of the arch, or deliberately chose not to use it in their constructions) [2]. These cyclopean walls are much more similar to a sacred precinct, like the themenos of a temple, than to a fortress of any kind. 

The Main Gate (Porta Maggiore) to the ancient city of Norba. Over 7 meters wide, the gate is flanked by a round "tower" to the right of unclear function, which is a masterpiece of polygonal megalithic architecture - Photo by Author 
Another gate in the walls of Norba, facing the cliff, and sormounted by a huge architrave. Also note the very fine texture of the polygonal blocks, each one of which weighting many tons - Photo by Author
This is especially true in the case of the Acropolis of Alatri, undoubtedly the finest of its kind in Italy and among the greatest megalithic realizations in the Mediterranean. Other than the usual absence of any defensive features inside or outside the perimeter of the Acropolis, the only structure inside the precinct of its walls appears to be a large stepped platform. Here is found some of the finest cyclopean masonry in Italy and probably in the world, including a stone with over 15 angles, with joints so tight that they don’t allow even the finest blade to pass between two stones. This platform, called a Hyeron, was clearly an altar of some sort, and is moreover very carefully astronomically and geometrically aligned as to be the virtual center or omphalos of the whole city of Alatri. 

Recent research has shown that the entire city of Alatri was designed after a roughly circular plan, with three concentric walls converging towards the Acropolis. The gates defined a number of axes which show evidence of having been carefully astronomically aligned towards the rising and setting of the Sun at the solstices and equinoxes. A number of stellar alignments also seem to point to the constellation of Gemini, Orion and the Southern Cross, at a time when it was still visible above the horizon in the Northern hemisphere. Also, the golden section was embedded in the design of the Acropolis and its gates. 

The stars may shed new light on the age-old question of the dating of the Acropolis of Alatri: A recent archaeo-astronomical study shows that the Acropolis could not have been built later than 1,270 BC, when the main axis of the city and of the Eastern wall of the Acropolis was aligned to the star Polaris, with the North-West wall aligned to the rising of the Sun on the morning of the Summer equinox and its setting on the Winter solstice.  The same study found evidence of an astronomical clock based on the shadow projected by the sun along the tunnel formed by the lesser gate of the Acropolis, also pointing at a date in the XIII Century BC. [3]

Previous studies had already shown that the shape of the Acropolis almost exactly mirrors the profile of the constellation of Gemini.  Even on a grander scale, the position of the towns of Alatri, Atina, Arpino, Anagni and Ferentino (ancient Antinum) matches the same profile of the constellation of Gemini (or, according to other interpretations that also include several other centers of Lower Latium, the constellation Ursa Maior). [4]

The stepped megalithic Hyeron (altar) on the Acropolis of Segni, also sorrounded by massive cyclopean walls, is a good examples of how the altar on the Acropolis of Alatri would have looked like before the Medieval cathedral was built on top of the older sanctuary. Also at Segni a church was built on top of the original Hyeron, partly reusing the walls of a Roman temple to the Goddess Juno Moneta - Photo by Author
According to tradition, these five cities were founded by a legendary king Saturn (sometimes identified with the God of the same name) and are therefore called “Saturnian Cities”. According to the same legend, the tomb of Saturn was located in the town of Atina, which is also surrounded by imposing cyclopean walls of unknown date. 

Following the renewed interest in the megalithic civilization of Central Italy, even UNESCO has taken an interest in the astronomic alignments of the acropolis of Alatri. [5]
Even UNESCO now acknowledges that the cyclopean walls of Lower Latium may be indeed several centuries older than their assumed dating to the Roman period, and laments the lack of a reliable stratigraphy that may shed more light on their true age. UNESCO defines Alatri as “the most spectacular example of the use of geometry and astronomy in planning” and is considering its inscription as a World Heritage site.

A view of the Hernici Mountains from the Acropolis of Veroli - Photo by Author

References:

[1] Ferdinand Gregorovius, Latian Summers (tr. Dorothea Roberts, 1903),http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/_Texts/ROBLAT/3*.html, accessed January, 2014
[2] Giulio Magli, I Segreti delle Antiche Città Megalitiche, Newton Compton, 2007
[4] Gianluigi Proia and Luigi Cozzi, “Le Città Cosmiche del Lazio”, Mystero n. 33, february 2003, http://www.circei.it/pagina-27.html, accessed January 2014
[5] UNESCO Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy,http://www2.astronomicalheritage.net/index.php/show-entity?identity=27&idsubentity=1, accessed January 2014

Members[edit]

The members include the following cities. The chairmanship of the group rotates between the members.[1][2]



Wlachs
The Bolhovejeni
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/christianization-lithuania.html

Lithuania folklore very clearly insists that the first to introduce smithy were devils and only much later people learned this craft."

http://ausis.gf.vu.lt/eka/mythology/relmyth.html

On vestiges of paganism in Central Asia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengrism

http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/the_mysteries_of_azerbaijan_a_shiite_nation_embraces_its_jews

http://balkhandshambhala.blogspot.com/2013/02/shambhala-kabalah.html

Scandinavia\

http://www15.uta.fi/yky/arkisto/historia/noitanetti/witchtrials.html

Towards a proto indoeuropean religion and culture
http://www.fravahr.org/spip.php?article186

Turkish DNA study
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_history_of_the_Turkish_people

Central Asia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nogais


Caucasus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Jews

Balkans

http://tile.loc.gov/image-services/jp2.py?data=/service/gmd/gmd6/g6801/g6801e/ct001462.jp2&res=2

Ethnic Map of balkans 1861
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Balkans-ethnic_%281861%29.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromanians

Neolithic Italians
http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2015/03/stone-age-italians-defleshed-their-dead

http://www.philipcoppens.com/sardinia.html


S


Sardinia
http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eugenio_Realini/publication/256841692_The_megalithic_complex_of_Monte_Baranta_in_Sardinia_a_pilgrimage_center_of_the_early_Bronze_Age/links/0deec523e85218cbeb000000.pdf

Sardinia[edit]

From the earliest period, Sardinia has been in contact with extra-insular communities in CorsicaLiguriaLombardy, and Provence. Towards the end of the fifth millennium BC an increased exportation of obsidian extended the cultural interaction to the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Ozieri culture (3500-2700 BC) and the Arzachena culture characterize the final phase of the neolithic in Sardinia. The successing chalcolithic (aeneolithic) Abealzu-Filigosa culture (2700-2400 BC) followed the collapse of the great Ozieri civilization. A significant impulse given to metallurgy accompanied vascular production characterized by a disappearance of earlier Ozieri fanciful decoration in favor of blank soberly scribbled surfaces. The Monte Claro culture (2400-2100 BC) reveals scratched ceramics and mighty megalithic walls that are limited to the northern area, suggesting unknown defensive demands that are the sign of the warlike state noticed at the same time in the Mediterranean and that seem to anticipate a strategic conception of territory control which reached a highlight in the Nuragic Age (1600-900 BC).

From the late third millennium BC on, comb-impressed Beaker ware, as well as other Beaker material in Monte Claro contexts, has been found, demonstrating continuing relationships with the western Mediterranean. Elsewhere, Beaker material has been found stratigraphically above Monte Claro and at the end of theChalcolithic period in association with the related Bronze Age Bonnanaro culture (1800-1600 BC), for which C-14 dates calibrate to ca. 2250 BC. Like elsewhere in Europe and in the Mediterranean area, the Bell Beaker culture in Sardinia (2000-1800) is characterized by the typical ceramics decorated with overlaid horizontal bands and associated finds (brassards, V-pierced buttons etc.); it appears likely that Sardinia was the intermediary that brought Beaker materials to Sicily.[26] There is virtually no evidence in Sardinia of external contacts in the early second millennia, apart from late Beakers and close parallels between Bonnannaro pottery and that of the North Italian Polada culture. By the 15th century, international trade returned, making Sardinia an integral part of a commercial network that extended from the Near East to Northwestern Europe, the principal eastern component of this network being Cyprus. Also contacts with the Mycenaean world were established. The cyclopeannuraghes has more or less related cousins like the Mycenaean tholoi, the Corsican Torre, the Talaiots of the Balearic Isles, the Sesi of Sicily, and more (the probably much later Brochs of Scotland are mentioned as well): All these architectural forms have their origins from a common cultural matrix widespread in the Mediterranean, but in Sardinia there was an original and grandiose development that has not be found elsewhere.[27] Indigenous Sardinians appear in the Eastern Mediterranean asSherden, one of the main tribes of the Sea Peoples, and are supposed to be the carriers of some of the eastern material found on the island.

Religion expressed itself around sacred wells, often in association to the megalithic nuraghe, most of them of Beaker signature. The earliest attested water cult site is that at Abini-Teti, where votive offerings dateable to the early Bonnanaro period have been found; votive offerings at the spring of Sos Malavidos-Orani date to later Bonnanaro. This tradition showed local continuity to historic times, as it was at such centers that the Romans found attacking the natives most efficient (Strabo 5.2.7).

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