Watch the Destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius, Re-Created with Computer Animation (79 AD)

From Open Culture:

The ash-preserved ruins of Pompeii, more than any other source, have provided historians with a window into just what life in that time and place was like. A Day in Pompeii, an exhibition held at the Melbourne Museum in 2009, gave its more than 330,000 visitors a chance to experience Pompeii’s life even more vividly. The exhibition included a 3D theater installation that featured the animation above. Watch it, and you can see Pompeii brought back to life with computer-generated imagery — and then, in snapshots over the course of 48 hours, entombed by Vesuvius again.

A Tourist Map of Occupied Paris, Issued to German Soldiers During WWII

From Slate:

This map, published in October 1940, was used by German troops on leave in occupied Paris. The city, under German control since June of that year, served as a relatively calm location for soldiers to take R&R. Distributed by the city’s military governor, the map directed visiting troops to take in the traditional sights of Paris: “Eiffelturm,” “Notre-Dame,” “Luxembourg Palast.”

Writing in their book A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps, Tim Bryars and Tom Harper point out that “no sites associated by the occupation are marked” on the straightforward tourist map. Bryars and Harper see the Gothic script—a style of font associated with Germany—as “a sufficient statement of control.” One of the landmarks included on the map is a memorial to a past French military victory over Prussia, and Bryars and Harper suggest that troops whose fathers and grandfathers were veterans of that conflict might have visited the site in celebration: “The defeats of the past had been expunged by the decisive victory in the present.”

(via Kottke)

Possible Anne Boleyn portrait found using facial recognition software

From The Guardian:

Pictures of the beguiling queen – who is played by a steely Claire Foy in the hit BBC historical drama Wolf Hall – were roundly destroyed after her death in 1536. The concerted effort to erase her from history was thorough, leaving only a battered lead disc as a contemporary likeness, the Moost Happi medal in the British Museum in London.

But another portrait from the late 16th century has emerged as a likely painting of the queen. Researchers in California used state-of-the-art face recognition to compare the face on the Moost Happi medal with a number of paintings and found a close match with the privately owned Nidd Hall portrait, held at the Bradford Art Galleries and Museums.

The Nidd Hall artwork shows a woman wearing jewellery long thought to be Boleyn’s. But scholars have been divided on the figure’s identity. Some claim the woman is Boleyn’s successor, Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII.

Time Capsule from 1795 Opened

From WBUR:

BOSTON — Early residents of Boston valued a robust press as much as their history and currency if the contents of a time capsule dating back to the years just after the Revolutionary War are any guide.

When conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston gingerly removed items from the box Tuesday, they found five tightly folded newspapers, a medal depicting George Washington, a silver plaque, two dozen coins, including one dating to 1655, and the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

While some of the coins appeared corroded, other items were in good condition and fingerprints could be seen on the silver plaque.

The capsule was embedded in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House when construction began in 1795. It was placed there by Revolutionary era luminaries including Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, governor of Massachusetts at the time.

The contents were shifted to what was believed to be a copper box in 1855 and placed back into the foundation of State House. The box remained there until it was rediscovered last year during an ongoing water filtration project at the building. The box was actually brass, according to conservators.

150th Anniversary of The Raid on Harper’s Ferry

From WVCulture:

On the evening of October 16, 1859, John Brown and twenty- one other men launched an attack on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry,1 the beginning of a long-range plan to destroy the slave system in the South. They were successful in capturing the Arsenal, but soon lost their superior position, due partly to circumstances which delayed the raiding party from leaving the Arsenal and retreating into the mountains above Harpers Ferry. The next day the group was surrounded by the Virginia militia, and on Tuesday morning U. S. Marines, under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, battered down the doors of the engine house in the Armory yard and captured John Brown and his surviving comrades. In the course of the raid ten of Brown’s men were killed; seven, including Brown himself, were captured and later hanged, and five escaped. There is evidence also that several slaves and free Negroes from the Harpers Ferry region participated in the raid; those who were killed or captured were surreptitiously disposed of by the State of Virginia, and those who escaped went quickly and quietly back to their residences in order to avoid detection.2

In The Inner Civil War, George M. Fredrickson describes John Brown as “a narrow-minded and possibly insane religious fanatic.”3 This dismissal of Brown as a lunatic or, at best, a religious fanatic, is common among contemporary historians. It is ironic that the Civil War, which cost 600,000 lives, is today considered a “reasonable” or at least “understandable” event in our history, but John Brown’s raid is disregarded as the bloody act of a “madman.”

In 1859, the raid at Harpers Ferry was taken much more seriously, both by abolitionists and by the defenders of slavery. Several prominent abolitionists aided Brown with money and weapons in his preparations for Harpers Ferry and in his earlier fight in “bleeding Kansas.” Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were asked to join the raiders, and Harriet Tubman agreed to participate but was ill at the time of the raid. And, although the immediate reaction to the raid was shock on the part of the less militant abolitionists, many openly applauded the action and honored the raiders before the year was out. The raid at Harpers Ferry was influential in persuading Northern abolitionists that moral suasion would not be sufficient to end the slave system and that more direct action was necessary.

via Metafilter which has a spirited discussion about John Brown including this quote:

His zeal in the cause of freedom was infinitely superior to mine…
Mine was as the taper light;
his was as the burning sun.
I could live for the slave;
John Brown could die for him.

-Fredrick Douglass

The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

Entertainment has changed a bit:

‘But above all, I remember anxiously getting bleacher seats to see the Diving Horse. As we took our seats, the horse, with a girl named Arnette Webster (clad in a rubber wet suit) on its back, was about to jump from a platform roughly thirty feet high into a pool. I recall staring at the odd sight of a horse standing as calmly as you please on a platform above a pool just like the kind I swam in at my Aunt Anne and Uncle Leo’s house. To a recorded drum roll and cymbal crash, Webster urged the horse forward, and the two fell through space, to make the biggest splash I’d ever seen—even bigger than the cannonballs my uncle could make in his own pool. Wow! And then both horse and rider surfaced, though for the life of me, I can’t recall how they got out of the pool.’

(via Dangerous Minds)