Lost History

Guinevere Unveiled

By Steven Sora

Although much of the Grail legends are only legends, the story of Guinevere and her family is real. The clan to which she belonged, and led, survive into the present day. Arthurian legends have been told and retold for nearly a thousand years. Personalities have been added, altered, and often misinterpreted. Possibly the most misunderstood is Guinevere. She was no Maid Marion like in the Robin Hood legend. She has been marginalized and worse; the reality that she was a warrior-queen whose assistance might have…

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The Strange Death of Caravaggio

By Steven Sora

One of the world’s most renowned artists and troublemakers had finally gone too far. And this time no one could pro­tect him. Previously, even after being convicted of a brutal murder, he had been allowed to join the Knights of Malta who had become his protectors. That had lasted until he committed another offense the nature of which remained un­known until this century, but it was serious enough to have him booted out of the order. So his erstwhile protectors, the very same Knights of…

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Easter Island Dogma Gets a Rewrite

By Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D.

A modern myth has developed around Easter Island (Rapa Nui) along the following lines. Once upon a time there was an isolated and uninhabited volcanic island in the South Pacific. A thousand or so years ago a group of people from the region of modern French Polynesia stumbled upon this small plot of land (just over 63 square miles) during a sailing voyage. Perhaps they were driven from their homeland by population pressures or political turmoil, or simply blown off course. Whatever the case, they…

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The Legend of Hercules

By Steven Sora

The ‘Pillars of Hercules’ was once the name of the narrow water passage between Europe and Africa. The modern name is the Straits of Gibraltar. A ship heading east would pass from the Atlantic Ocean into the Mediterranean Sea. Cities of the Atlantean coast from Cadiz in Spain to Lixus in Africa traded with cities in the Mediterranean Sea. These seaports may have existed before even the Phoenicians arrived. The tradition is that Hercules founded Cadiz, a flawed hero conceived by a god and a…

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Did the Welsh Discover America?

By Steven Sora

Three hundred and twenty years before Columbus, it is said, a Welsh Prince sailed across the Atlantic and into the Gulf of Mexico. His voyage of discovery and two subsequent returns were not recorded outside of his own homeland, but nevertheless, they were recorded. Like the Vikings whose similar adventures were described in their Sagas, the Welsh voyages were almost always considered fiction. The Vikings sailed in search of new lands; others, including Basque and Breton fishermen, had fished the Grand Banks for cod long…

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The Holy Grail

by Frank Joseph

About 800 years ago, a French poet told of the Grail for the first time. Chretien de Troyes described it as a shining ob­ject and the world’s most precious treasure. “No gem can compare to the Grail,” he wrote. Later, Wolfram von Eschenbach declared that the Grail was a huge emerald owned by a brotherhood of pure-hearted knights, who kept it under guard in a mountain castle. According to the German writer, anyone allowed to approach the Grail when it began to glow received great…

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The Vinland Map Is for Real

By Frank Joseph

Scholars, convinced our continent was hermetically sealed off from the outside world before the arrival of Christo­pher Columbus, have been struck a heavy blow. A map long branded a hoax, because it indicates European awareness of America prior to 1492, has been found to be genuinely pre-Columbian. Last July, world-class experts in document authentication at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts presented the results of their study at Copenhagen’s International Conference on the History of Cartography. According to Rene Larsen, director of the School…

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Knights Templar and the Much-Traveled Head of John the Baptist

By Steven Sora

During the Crusades, the Templars earned a reputation for bringing home treasures that had been hidden away in both Jerusalem’s Temple of Solomon and Constantinople. No one denies the Templars were fierce in battle, often facing enemies vastly superior in size, yet they were often plunderers on land and pirates at sea; and they brought back jewels, bullion, and spices. The Templars uncovered, some believe, the so-called Copper Scroll, which listed sixty-four treasure stashes, but it was the sacred plunder that may have been the…

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An Italian Odyssey: the Case Pro & Con

By Steven Sora

Was ancient Troy not in Turkey—as is commonly believed—but in Italy? A thriving tourist industry in many Italian locations say it is so. Could they have a point, or did Homer’s great epic unfold, not in the Mediterranean region at all, but in Atlantic territories far to the east and north? Heinrich Schliemann’s claims notwithstanding, historians for over a century have had a hard time buying the idea that a Trojan War was fought in Turkey, as the maverick archaeologist insisted. For one thing, the…

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The Icon that Saved Russia

PHILIP COPPENS

The Virgin of Kazan is one of the most revered Russian religious icons. Its disappearance at the time of the Russian Revolution was a catastrophe, but its resurgence and its link with Pope John Paul II and Fatima has confirmed the icon’s mythical status of securing the fate of “Mother Russia.” The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 not only meant a new era for politicians; it also changed the religious land­scape of “Mother Russia”—a once extremely religious country. Communism, after all, had been…

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