Reenactors from World War One, the Napoleonic Wars, the post-Marian Roman period and the early Medieval era take to the London tube to promote English Heritage.
Made a friend on the morning commute.
Sir Nicholas Winton is a humanitarian who organized a rescue operation that saved the lives of 669 Jewish Czechoslovakia children from Nazi death camps, and brought them to the safety of Great Britain between the years 1938-1939.
After the war, his efforts remained unknown. But in 1988, Winton’s wife Grete found the scrapbook from 1939 with the complete list of children’s names and photos. Sir Nicholas Winton is sitting in an audience of Jewish Czechoslovakian people who he saved 50 years before.
This post gained more than 100,000 notes in over a day. One of the most powerful things I ever posted.
What’s in store for me in the direction i don’t take?
“… the moments when everything is open, when all options are present, and all is undecided – mere destinies unfolding. Our choices shift into one plane of existence, the extension of every path still available, until we pick the red tie instead of the blue; harbor anger instead of compassion; attempt to fix it or break it; and all our possibilities collapse into the singular of what is, rippling outward from the moment of decision to affect our lives in ways unknown… The noise at the back of our mind wondering anxiously, What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?”
Oldest case of Down’s syndrome from medieval France
- by Colin Barras
The oldest confirmed case of Down’s syndrome has been found: the skeleton of a child who died 1500 years ago in early medieval France. According to the archaeologists, the way the child was buried hints that Down’s syndrome was not necessarily stigmatised in the Middle Ages.
Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that delays a person’s growth and causes intellectual disability. People with Down’s syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21, rather than the usual two. It was described in the 19th century, but has probably existed throughout human history. However there are few cases of Down’s syndrome in the archaeological record.
The new example comes from a 5th- and 6th-century necropolis near a church in Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France. Excavations there have uncovered the remains of 94 people, including the skeleton of a young child with a short and broad skull, a flattened skull base and thin cranial bones. These features are common in people with Down’s syndrome, says Maïté Rivollat at the University of Bordeaux in France, who has studied the skeleton with her colleagues.
"I think the paper makes a convincing case for a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome," says John Starbuck at Indiana University in Indianapolis. He has just analysed a 1500-year-old figurine from the Mexican Tolteca culture that he says depicts someone with Down’s syndrome.
Rivollat’s team has studied the way the child with Down’s syndrome was buried, which hasn’t been possible with other ancient cases of the condition. The child was placed on its back in the tomb, in an east-west orientation with the head at the westward end – in common with all of the dead at the necropolis.
According to Rivollat, this suggests the child was treated no differently in death from other members of the community. That in turn hints that they were not stigmatised while alive.
A similar argument was put forward in a 2011 study that described the 1500-year-old burial in Israel of a man with dwarfism (International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, DOI: 10.1002/oa.1285). The body was buried in a similar manner to others at the site, and archaeologists took that as indicating that the man was treated as a normal member of society.
Starbuck is not convinced by this argument. “It can be very difficult to extrapolate cultural values and behaviour from burials or skeletal remains,” he says.
Journal reference: International Journal of Paleopathology, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.05.004
Interesting article and I’m always fascinated by accounts of learning disabilities before the modern period. However I am skeptical of both the conclusions being drawn from this burial and some of Starbuck’s own conclusions regarding material representations.
The unsatisfying reality is that we will probably never know if likely-seeming paintings and sculptures really represented people with Trisomy 21. You cannot make a diagnosis from a clay sculpture or a 16th century painting. It is guesswork at best and too often the conclusions of academics looking for learning disability ignore the broader context in terms of style and symbolism, assuming that all artistic representations throughout history were intended to be not only realist but accurate enough to support a medical diagnosis.
So I’m re-watching the original Matrix film, and it occurs to me (not for the first time) that Hugo Weaving is a far better actor than many academy award winners. It is Weaving, rather than Keanu Reeves or Lawrence Fishburne, who gives that film its spark and elevates it beyond mere technical wizardry and cod-philosophy. Weaving is mesmerising in the Matrix, particularly in the interrogation scenes: when he tastes Fisburne’s sweat whilst expounding on his theory of humanity as a disease you feel simultaneous revulsion and sympathy towards him. And only Weaving would of taken on (and could pull off) the role of V, expressing the subtlest emotions despite wearing a full face-mask throughout. Even in Captain America Weaving played it with absolute conviction. If he didn’t get cast in mainly sci-fi/fantasy/comic book films Hugo Weaving would be widely acknowledged as possibly the greatest actor of our time.
Today over 100,000 children and adults, use Makaton symbols and signs, either as their main method of communication or as a way to support speech.
Jesus was a homeless Palestinian anarchist who held protests at oppressive temples, advocated for universal health care and redistribution of wealth, before being arrested for terrorism, tortured, and executed for crimes against the state, now go ahead and explain to me why he’d vote conservative. I’ll wait.
You realise most of the words in this post are inaccurate/anachronistic right?