• Huixtocihuatl-  Goddess of Salt

    Salt has been a source of wealth since ancient times.  The human body must have some form of salt to survive and before the advent of refrigeration it was one of the main ways to preserve food.  Salt was associated with sex and fertility as well for some reason, which has proved fodder for psychoanalysts.  So as a source of wealth and sex, it is natural salt had its own deity.  The Aztecs were no exception. Huixtocihuatl was a fertility goddess who was patron of salt and salt waters.  She was also the patroness of salt making and the discoverer of salt itself.  Huixtocihuatl was the older sister of the…

  • The Festival of Drunkenness

    No, dear reader, this is not Panama City on Spring Break.  This is an actual religious festival from ancient Egypt.  We have discussed how beer played a part in religious festivals, and that the Sumerians actually had a goddess specifically for it. (For more on Nin-kasi, please see this post:  http://www.historynaked.com/nin-kasi-lady-fills-mouth-beer/ )  There was an importance placed on beer in Egyptian culture as well.  The source of this festival is a mythological story of how beer saved the world. The story goes that Re, the sun god, was frankly salty about the “duplicitousness” of mankind and called his children together to discuss it.  A Council of the Gods is called,…

  • Eclipses- Historical Harbingers

    If you’ve been anywhere near the news, you would have seen that a solar eclipse happened in the continental United States yesterday.  I have to admit it was a pretty amazing experience as I was lucky enough to be in the path of totality.  As the sky went dark and the crickets started chirping, I thought about what it must have been like for those in the past.  They didn’t have the benefit of NASA and other scientists telling us that this was normal, the Sun would come back and to wear protective glasses.  How did people through the ages deal with eclipses? One of the first references we have…

  • Insula Tiberina-  The Island in the Middle of the Tiber

    In the center of the Tiber River, the Tiber Island, or Insula Tiberina in Latin, has always been a place connected to the founding of Rome.  Legend says that it was created when Roman citizens expelled Tarquinius Superbus , or Tarquin the Proud in Latin.  Citizens through the wheat sheaves they had stolen from the the king into the river.  Supposedly, the dirt and the silt accumulated around the wheat in the river and formed the island.  Another legend says it was built on the ruins of an ancient ship.  However, these are just legends as the island was present as a crossing place for the Tiber since prehistoric times.…

  • Prester John

      In the time of the crusades, Europeans were looking for any allies in their battles against the Muslims for the Holy Land.  Medieval writings often feature a fabulously wealthy Christian king in the East.  This was Prester John.  He was believed to be a member of the Nestorian Church, which was an independent Eastern Christian church that did not fall under the purview of the patriarch in Constantinople.  He was supposed to be an ally against the Muslims for the crusaders to take advantage of. The story of Prester John was first recorded by Bishop Otto of Freisling Germany in his Chronicon published in 1145.  It was based on…