Rāgarāja, also known as Aizen-Myōō, one of the five Wisdom Kings of Buddhist tradition. He has a fearsome appearance, all red, with a third eye and flaming wild hair.

Japan, Kamakura-Nambokuchô period, 1300s.

Portrait of a woman (potentially Mary Magdalene) by Lucas Cranach the Elder. 

The artist used contradictory symbolism in this painting, making identification a little difficult. Her hair is loose, signalling an unmarried virgin, but her direct gaze was inappropriate for an unmarried woman of a respectable family. Lucas Cranach the Elder was a great German artist painting for 16th-century aristocratic patrons. His paintings had to be respectable, able to be hung in the most eminent homes. That leaves the most likely subject the biblical Mary Magdalene, who was supposedly once a prostitute before converting.

Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum

As you probably guessed, the dress code forbade girls from wearing slacks.

Terracotta head from the city of Ife, potentially depicting a king. The man is wearing an Ife crown. And the subject matter of most Ife art is centered around royal figures and their attendants. So king is a good guess.

Made by the Yoruba of today’s Nigeria, between 1100 and 1300 CE.

Blue, green, and hazel eyes all exist thanks to a genetic mutation; brown was the only eye color present in humans until about 6,000 years ago.

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The United States flag started out with 13 stars, and 13 stripes, for the 13 original states. The flag slowly accumulated stars as new states were added to the Union. In 1959 it reached its present form of 50 stars, with the addition of Hawai’i. For obvious patriotic reasons, it was decided in 1818 that
after a new state had been confirmed by Congress, that state’s star would be officially added to the flag on the next 4th of July.

This led to a fun historical oddity: even though Wyoming and Idaho became states within a week of each other in 1890, their stars were put on a year apart. How did this happen? Well, Idaho became a state on July 3rd, 1890 and Wyoming became a state on July 10th, 1890. Because Wyoming just missed the July 4th deadline, its star was added 1 year later, in 1891.

“Kleptomania” and “kleptocracy” come from the same Greek word,

kléptein, “to steal.” Another descendant of 
kléptein

is
Kléftis.

In modern Greek, Kléftis
were highwaymen turned self-appointed anti-Ottoman insurgents. They were descendants of
Greeks who retreated into the mountains during the 1400s after the Ottomans conquered the Greek-speaking world, and they maintained a war of harassment against the Ottomans until the 1800s and Greek’s independence. Being an insurgent was a family tradition!

Photo

SUMERIANS: 

THE Sumerians were the people of southern Mesopotamia whose civilization flourished between c. 4100-1750 BCE. Their name comes from the region which is frequently – and incorrectly – referred to as a “country”. Sumer was never a cohesive political entity, however, but a region of city-states each with its own king. Sumer was the southern counterpart to the northern region of Akkad whose people gave Sumer its name, meaning “land of the civilized kings”. The Sumerians themselves referred to their region simply as “the land” or “the land of the black-headed people”.

The Sumerians were responsible for many of the most important innovations, inventions, and concepts taken for granted in the present day. They essentially “invented” time by dividing day and night into 12-hour periods, hours into 60 minutes, and minutes into 60 seconds. Their other innovations and inventions include the first schools, the earliest version of the tale of the Great Flood and other biblical narratives, the oldest heroic epic, governmental bureaucracy, monumental architecture, and irrigation techniques.

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