History’s Unknown, Part V: Ancient Colors

Raven has been missing!! Sorry guys been busy enjoying my post-Associate’s Degree life. For the past few weeks I been strategizing how best to build up my platform, and the answer that always arrives to me is…WRITE. Just write anything, and post it. So that is my plan, and I begin by continuing my History’s Unknown series.

Yesterday I was speaking with my American history professor (I have now begun my journey for a Bachelor’s degree) about Hernan Cortez’s arrival and eventual conquest of the Aztec Empire, he brought to my attention an Unknown History, the Cochineal Red. It is not mentioned in many history books, and you guys know how much I venerate about the unknown history topics. Usually the discovery of new knowledge leads me. So here we go, with the history of Colors lol 

Beginning with Cochineal insect found near the Colorado River resting on cactus pads. This beetle produces a rare form of red known to us. For thousands of year the old cultures of the New World harvested the Cochineal red. The Aztec warriors painted it on their, their kings accepted large bags of the red dye as tribute from lesser kings. When Cortes visited Tenochtitlan (Mexico) he observed the rich quality of the Cochineal red dye, which was brighter than the European red. 

The red dye used by Europeans prior to their arrival to the New World was dull and faded. Cortes brought the red dye to Spain, and soon the product was in high demand beating. It was worth more than gold and silver. Cochineal red was expensive, and like ancient silk it was reserved for the elite classes. Money and power. The red robes worn by Catholic cardinals and red coats worn by British troops in the American Revolution were made from Cochineal. It also became a common food dye for cakes, pies, ice cream, and cosmetic materials. 

Another rare and rich colorful dye was Tyrian Purple, not to be confused with Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. Produced by the Phoenicians who extracted the dye from the mucus of Murexes, a type of snail found in Tyre. Commonly associated with royalty purple became standard fashion for Rome’s great families and its emperors, and adopted by its successor state the Byzantine Empire. 

Tales from Phoenician mythology state the God Melqart discovered the value of this substance when his dog Tyros returned home with a purple stained tongue from biting Murexes. 

Blonde, still on the topic of colors but on this one I’m including a little information about hair too. Two Norse goddesses, Sif and Freyja were blonde. Freyja is associated with love, beauty, and fertility hence the common association of blonde and beauty. Other European myths speak of fairies with blonde hair. Fairies would steal any human blonde babies from their cribs and switched them with changelings. 

Natural blonde hair is caused by eumelanin, a pigment deficiency. Low levels of sunlight in parts of the world account for the creation of blonde hair. We know loss of sunlight results in loss of Vitamin D, which can not only turn the skin lighter but hair too. Northern Europe is one example of this, where blonde hair is common. 80% of the Scandinavian population is blonde haired. 

Pink, this is my baby sister’s favorite color! So Keely this is for you. We you here pink you think sweetness and romance. Innocence and tenderness. But eroticism and seduction make up the common inception of this color. The term, pink was not used until the 17th century. Pink was not as fashionable as purple was in the Middle Ages. But there was a rise of this color in 13th and 14th century art. And pink was not always a girly color, it was originally referred to boys and blue went to girls. Considered as a masculine color. They say it was stronger, and passionate, and given that pink is a very light red it was a perfect fit for boys.

Black, this my other sister’s favorite color. So this one for Julia. And as a professor of mines said once “girls who wear black are cooler” a true statement. But both my sister’s cool as ice though. The darkest color, its use goes back to the Neolithic cave paintings. Perhaps the oldest color in human history. By the late Middle Ages royals, nobles, clergy, and other officials adopted the use of black in their wardrobes. Two famous historical figures to do this was Edward the Black Prince and my ancestor, Cesare Borgia, but some historians argue it was due to syphilis. Benedictine monks wore black as a meaning of humility and penitence. The reason for black ink was due to the fact it provided the greatest contrast with white paper, hence the reason why black is so formidable to our literature. 

The reason aristocrats and lawmakers adopted black in the 14th century was to show how serious they took their jobs. Furthermore, a series of laws were passed around Europe reserving only the nobility the right to wear exotic colors. The merchant bankers of Italy retaliated by changing to black robes. It was then picked up by the nobility beginning with the Dukes of Milan and Savoy. Seen as a color of power, dignity, humility, and temperance. 

May the Fourth Be with You

What can I say about Star Wars, well a lot, the question is where do I begin. I think its only right to memorialize Carrie Fisher.

The character of Princess Leia is one of the most iconic heroine in both American Cinema and Science Fiction. Her strength and resilience completely outweighed that of Princess Arwen from Lord of the Rings and other damsels in distress. This character was fearless, and created in a time when female characters had been revolutionized. Carrie Fisher was the greatest, and we will forever miss her.

Moving beyond our favorite princess, allow me to very briefly dwell on the failed prequel trilogy. I hated Phantom Menace, and while many hated the politics that went into the prequel storyline I kinda liked it, however, I do agree it could have been more intriguing. As for the actors, you can criticize Hayden Christianson all you want, but remember he was a victim of a failed movie plot, not once but twice, as I got older I released that that script was poorly mishandled. And I don’t mean to shed any hate toward George Lucas as I strongly believed he did everything in his power to deliver a classic movie. Remember all writers suffer a bad project. It happens. 

This years Star Wars Celebration allowed a redemption for not only Hayden but the actor who portrayed Senator and later Emperor Palpatine. Both actors more than deserved to be invited to the Star Wars jubilee.

But to my excitement the real treat came in the form of Battlefront II, the trailer was amazing, and finally we get a storyline. I am not a game master but I do enjoy the campaigns modes of Call of Duty and various other cinematic games. The trailer was epic, the graphics get better with every edition, and again that storyline seems perfect. Now for those who have read the Aftermath series I wonder if the girl portrayed in the story mode is Are Sloane, I hope to see. Much of what I am writing on this blog is off my head lol

This conclude with some theories; no way in hell is Snoke Plaguesis, no way is Rey a Skywalker. I just don’t see it, and its not organic to think or consider the two such familiar characters.
That is all I have, let me get back to this drink, always yours truly, Timothy

May the Fourth be with You

History’s Forgotten Battle: A Preview of the Aftermath to Come

Good morning fans, friends, and loyal Ravenmen, today I, Ravengaddafi release to you an excerpt from my new eBook titled Aftermath to be released August 22nd, 2017 in celebration of the 632nd anniversary of King Richard III’s murder on Bosworth Field.

(The title and written material were copyrighted on April 7th, 2017)

I do not own any images associated in this excerpt.

Here we go…

“April 30, 

We learned the usurper had docked at Port’s Wind with an army of mercenaries in his employ. The King had originally anticipated Richmond Jasper to be a novice with no support in our realm, but unfortunately his arrival drew inspiration from opportunists and lords we thought to be honorable men. However, those traitors were few in number.

The king dispatched envoys throughout the realm carrying orders for every lord, baron, and knight to assemble his men-at-arms. Several of the King’s closest councilors and powerful supporters answered his call for aid faithfully.

May 1st
I was selected to accompany the army as chief chronicler; witness, observe, and record the events of the impending battle. The King was confident in his ability to win, as were his men.

It was decided we would camp at Tannen Field, after scouts reported seeeing Jasper’s army received a warm welcome from the villagers in the county of Hummit. Soon as we settled in word had arrived that Jasper too had taken up a position across the small wooded area, which divided Tannen field. Our King’s ambassadors and Jasper’s met, discussed, and decided the battle would commence the following morning.
On the twenty-third hour of that day, as the camp was sleeping, I sat awake by the fire…I noticed a woman rush out the King’s tent, a whore no doubt. The king kept many mistresses, but I didn’t recognize this woman. Perhaps she was new. In any case as she exited the pavilion, she grabbed one of the guards, pulling him into the pavilion. The second guard stayed his post.

The first guard emerged from the pavilion a few moments later. He whispered something to his fellow guardsman and off he rushed. The girl was about to exit, but the first guard pushed her back in. I heard a squeal, got up from the log I sat upon, and slowly crept forward closer to see what was transpiring. I looked left to see the King’s brother and Lord Hamilton arrive on the scene with some few retainers. I stopped and hid.

I must have hid for over an hour. No one else came in or out of the tent, but the King’s brother and Lord Hamilton. I witnessed the guards carrying the girl off into the unknown. She was gagged and bound, and when the king’s guards returned Hamilton’s retainers slit their throats and took charge over the pavilion, and the King’s brother departed in the direction of his tent. Within the hour I saw him leaving camp altogether with all his retinue and knights, some 6,000 footsoldiers.

May 2nd

The sun was rising, the battle was about to begin. Two armies stretched out in the field, across from one another. No one except myself and Hamilton knew of last night’s events, and the latter’s knowledge of my witness evaded him. There was no sign of the King’s brother…But there sat the king on a white horse at the head of his 8,000-strong army, covered in crown regalia and gold plated armor. Oddly, though his head was covered. His helm shut closed. He said nothing, no speech, no words of motivation to his troops. Only his hand raised up for a brief second, then dropped down in a great strike like lightening to a tree. 

That was the signal, our cavalry raced across the field. We saw the enemy’s response, Jasper called for a shield wall and sent them into position, they slowly crept forward in a defensive stance. I could see the look of confusion on Hamilton’s eyes, I felt the same. “Who sends a shield wall against armored cavalry” I thought this would-be usurper to be a fool. But the joke was on us because as soon as our troops came into contact with the shield wall did a wall of wooden spikes spring from the ground like darts. Big huge darts.

The front line of the cavalry was hit, repelled, broken, and left confused. The horses in the second and third lines crashed into the front, breaking formation. The fourth line panicked due to the fear of the horses who were hysterical. Riders fell to the field as did many of their mounts too. Some riders were even crushed or trampled. Riders from the front line were thrown over and into Jasper’s shield wall, due to the horses falling either face flat from the projectiles or slamming head into shield. The thrown riders were surely hacked to pieces by Jasper’s pikemen.

Many events pertaining to the fighting transpired that day, but eventually we lost the battle, I was captured and imprisoned along with several highborn lords and knights, and it was revealed the man dressed in our King’s armor was not the king. His body had been discovered, after the battle, in the pavilion prepped and ready for burial. At the time no knew how he died. Hamilton was slain in battle, leaving the King’s only brother as witness to the events in the pavilion that night…”