In the comments on an earlier post there has been discussion of an alleged “secret” shown to Mary of Guise, the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, sometime between the death of her husband, King James V of Scotland, in 1542 and her assumption of the regency in 1554 when she visited Rosslyn to confer with Sir William Sinclair. This story is best known from an article by Philip Coppens.
Now, this letter is not obscure, hidden, or unknown. It has been in print for two hundred years, and the full text is below with the relevant passage in bold:
This morning I turned on the Today show only to learn than the former Russian spy who was paid to come to America and have sex with powerful men, Anna Chapman, has received her own Russian television show (on non-Putin-controlled RenTV) devoted to supernatural mysteries, including (of course) extraterrestrials and ancient civilizations. According to media accounts, the show launched in 2011, so I am not sure why she’s granting media interviews to promote it now. Fortunately, the show is in Russian, so I have no idea what it’s saying behind the cheesy special effects.
The BBC’s new Greek mythology family adventure drama Atlantis is designed to take the place of the recently departed series Merlin and to hit the sweet spot between children’s and adult entertainment. I’ll confess that I found the pilot it a bit too far toward the children’s end of the spectrum to be truly enjoyable, but it was a pleasant enough hour if you don’t think about it too hard. I’m willing to give the show a few more episodes to find its grounding, which is about what I gave Merlin before giving up on it.
Fair warning: If you haven’t seen the show or are waiting for the U.S. broadcast in November, you may want to tread lightly over the next few paragraphs, though I don’t think I’m giving away too much that one couldn’t guess from the trailers and a bit of Greek mythic knowledge.
Before we begin, a couple of quick notes:
First, thanks to generous donations from readers of this blog, I have updated the Forum section of the website to the full-featured, unlimited discussion paid service. I encourage everyone to give it a try, and if you have suggestions for additional forums or changes you want to see, just let me know. It’s a work in progress.
Second, I wonder how long it will be before Ancient Aliens starts using the McArthur Genius Grant in its advertising. This week astrophysicist Sara Seager won a McArthur Genius Grant, and she has appeared frequently on Ancient Aliens. Seager has publicly faulted the show for taking her out of context and distorting her comments to support the ancient astronaut theory, but given Ancient Aliens’ fast and loose relationship to the truth, I would not put it past them...
In response to yesterday’s post on Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus, I’ve received a range of feedback that breaks down into a couple of camps: One camp feels I am a radical liberal who is out to get conservatives; another camp feels that it is inappropriate to look for political ideology in a history book; and a third feels that since O’Reilly is a well-known conservative, everyone already knows he will have conservative claims in his book.
One of the themes I’ve discussed frequently is the way pseudo-historians and pop culture hucksters use the past to promote a modern agenda. We’ve seen it in Ancient Aliens’ promotion of religious revival, and in America Unearthed’s strange fixation on the politics of racial demographic change in America. That’s why I think it’s worth highlighting a similar theme in Bill O’Reilly’s latest work of historical pornography, Killing Jesus, which promiscuously uses and abuses facts in pursuit of a political agenda that just happens to coincide with O’Reilly’s own brand of conservative politics.
Given how much of alternative history rests on false, fabricated, or outright non-existent documents, I thought it might be fun to discuss a ninety-year-old case of intellectual fraud that sent the media into a tizzy when a respected professor claimed to have discovered not one but all of the lost books of Livy. The story bears more than a passing similarity to the recent efforts of the Republic of Georgia to concoct a suitable epic past for their country by rewriting ancient Linear A texts as Georgian. Here’s how Time magazine reported the story on September 15, 1924:
You may have noticed some changes around here. I’ve upgraded to the next level of web design tools, which are still in beta, mostly because I had to. The standard Weebly tools that I had been using no longer work right, and Weebly told me that to keep control over design elements like color schemes I have to use beta tools. So, as a result, I have many more tools now. Here are a few of the key changes:
Today I have a few short but silly things to share.
Georgia’s Psychic Scholars
First, I’m sure you’ll remember that last week I wrote about the efforts of Georgian scholars to rewrite the Argonaut myth to support claims about the Georgian origins of Greek culture and Greek myth. Well, did you know that Georgian scholars are also psychics? If you look at this recently published document by Tiblisi University linguist Nana Shengalaia on Tiblisi University professor and “famous Georgian scientist” Gia Kvashilava’s alleged decipherment of Linear A as an early form of the Georgian language, you’ll find something interesting. (Actually, I’m not sure who really wrote the piece since it isn’t particularly clear.)
I am aware of the weird problem with the color of blog headlines. Weebly's blog software seems to have a bug in it that is causing headline links to default to blue even after I set the design style to green. I am working with them to correct the issue, but I don't know how long it will take to fix.
Update: Color problems solved. Apparently, I had to enable beta features since they moved color change support to the new beta version of the editing suite.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.