Dog days of August

Just an FYI: For the month of August, I’m going to enjoy a little bit of summer respite by posting some forgotten goodies from the archives on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The BTG Facebook page will still have its daily postings in case you need a fix AND there are 3 Sharing Saturday posts scheduled. Pssst. The one scheduled for August 15 is really cool.

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Tales From The Crypts

appian-way3

Resharing this post from March, 2009. If you ever get a chance to visit Rome, do be sure to check out the catacombs a few miles outside the city.

Spanning over 350 miles in length and still possessing original sections of bone-rattling cobbles, the Appian Way was once famous for displaying the crucified remains of Spartacus’ army. While still popular, visitors instead choose to see another type of remains called the catacombs.

catacomb-of-vigna-cassia

Catacomb of Vigna Cassia, courtesy of PCAS

Under Roman rule, it was illegal to bury the dead inside city walls. But while the Romans cremated their dead, early Christians did not have this option and faced the problem of finding land for burials. This problem was solved by digging deep within the soft tufa rock prevalent around Rome, allowing tunneled layers of rectangular niches to be easily carved out. Experts have estimated that at one time, there were approximately thirty-six active catacomb sites up to 90 miles in length and holding between 500,000 and 750,000 remains.(1)

After Christianity became the official state religion in 394 A.D., the need for catacomb burials  slowly declined (2) and site locations were forgotten until rediscovery in the 16th century. Today, there is a continual swarm of tourists visiting any one of the three major catacombs on Via Appia: St. Callixtus, San Sebastiano and Santa Domatilla. Continue reading

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Hidden cemetery treasures of Paris

Today’s Sharing Saturday post is a photo essay exploring some of the funkier headstones in Parisian cemeteries.

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Dolls from another time

Fernando

Waiting patiently….the Fernando columbarium site

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Jewish symbols – Part 4

Jewish Symbols 4

And finally, my all time favorites, the burning bush and the tree of life.

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Jewish symbols – Part 3

Jewish Symbols 3

One of my favorites, the rams’ heads, representing a shofar which is blown during Rosh Hashanah. Those of us who attended Sunday School will remember the story of Joshua when he blew the shofar to bring down the walls of Jericho.

And yes, Jericho existed.

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Visiting the ancestral home

Today’s Sharing Saturday post comes from Genealogy Today, and explores the ups and downs of visiting one’s ancestral home.

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