Europe Mythology

Giant’s Causeway, N. Ireland

According to legend the volcanic feature was built by the Irish giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

After being challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner, Fionn constructed the Causeway over the sea to reach him. 

Actually the same immense lava flow that created the causeway also formed the basalt columns at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish Island of Staffa, which may have influenced the story.

The Causeway is made up of approximately 40,000 basalt columns formed 50-60 million years ago from a massive eruption of lava as it cooled and cracked which formed a pattern.

Europe Greece Mythology

Erechtheion, Athens Acropolis

The caryatids stand outside the 5th century BCE temple built to honor Athena and Poseidon between 421 and 406 BCE.

The temple stands at the north end of the Acropolis built on a rocky outcrop which was first inhabited around 6,000 years ago.

The caryatids, six female figures, can be found on the southside supporting a porch.

The sculptures there today are replicas, five of the originals are in the Acropolis Museum, the sixth having been taken to London by Lord Elgin, and now resides in the British Museum.

Digs Europe People Rome

Pompeii, Italy

The city of Pompeii was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79CE under 13-20 feet of pumice and ash.

The city was preserved by the ash which kept out the air and moisture until its excavation, which began in 1748.

Today it is preserved as an open air museum where tourists can walk through the remains of the forum, temples, brothels, shops and homes.

It is through these ruins and the human body cavities found therein that we know what the Romans looked like because their culture cremated rather than buried.

Europe Greece

The Charioteer of Delphi

The Charioteer of Delphi is among the best-preserved examples of classical bronze sculpture.  Dating from around 470 BCE at 5’ 11” tall, the classic statue resides in the Delphi Museum.

Originally a wall with small garrisons every mile or so, the sculpture depicts a chariot driver at the moment when he attains victory at a race, holding the reins in his right hand.  

A small temple dedicated to the god Mithras, popular on the Roman frontiers and perhaps originating as far eastern as today’s Iran.  

Europe Rome

Segovia Aqueduct, Spain

Believed to have been constructed on the orders of Emperors Domitian and Trajan around 50-100 CE the Segovia Aqueduct is one of the best preserved Roman aqueducts and a symbol of Segovia.

Originally built to carry water from the Frio River to the city, it is still in use today.

Actually an aqueduct-bridge the Segovia Aqueduct was designated a World Heritage Site in 1985.

Europe Rome

Hadrain’s Wall

Roman Emperor Hadrian established a system of walls around the then extensive Roman Empire.  Pulling back (south) from the land of the Picts, he established a border that ran 73 miles across Britain.

Originally a wall with small garrisons every mile or so, the best remaining mile castle is at Swarthy Hill, sitting on a small hill, it has clear views across to Scotland.

The main frontier was a ditch to the north, then a wall, then another ditch with two raised mounds on either side to the south of the wall.  One of the crossing points, complete with gateway, is preserved to the south of the fort, at Benwell in the western suburbs of Newcastle.

Among the most visible remaining infantry forts can be found at the eastern end of the wall while two well preserved mile castles remain in this area at Castle Nick.

The original frontier was based on a road which ran south of the wall and was guarded by a series if forts, the beds preserved,of which is Vindolanda.  This fort has also yielded significant materials and archives of the Roman unit stationed here.  

A small temple dedicated to the god Mithras, popular on the Roman frontiers and perhaps originating as far eastern as today’s Iran.  

Europe Middle East


Pergamum, modern Bergama was the royal capital of Philetarios (343-263BCE) who founded the Attalid dynasty in 282 BCE.  With it were a number of monuments commemorating the Attalid victory. The best known was the Tru,Peter, better known as the Dying Gaul, of which a later copy is in Rome. The colonnades and gateway which remain bears the inscription “King Eumenes to the victory bearing Athena”.  The gateway is decorated with trophies of war.  

A library once stood here which had a copy of  Pheidias’ colossal gold and ivory statue of Athen Parthenos dating to 440 BCE.

The sanctuary of Athena dominated the skyline of the acropolis along with a stepped altar of Zeus constructed by EU, ends II, which evokes the Attalid victory over the Gauls, just as the Parthenon’s decoration celebrated Greek victory over the Persians.

The east side of Pergamon held royal palaces.

In 133 BCE Attalos III bequeathed the city to Rome and Hadrian constructed a massive temple to his father, Trajan, northwest of the sanctuary of Athena.

A sanctuary to the healing god, Asklepios, was constructed in the lower part of the city.

Europe Greece

Knossos, Minoan Palace

The distinctive material culture on Crete is named Minoan, after its mythical King, Minos.  Considerable reconstructions were made by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans after his excavations in early 20th century, which give an idea of the opulence of Minoan buildings.

The first settlers arrived at Knossos around 7000 BCE, establishing their Homes. What would later become known as the Minoan Palace.  Though the term palace is misleading as in addition to being a residence archaeology suggests it had also an economic, religious, creative and administrative focus.  Extensive archives of clay tablets were found.

The architecture of the palace seems to have been designed from the central court outward, with the central court serving as a focus for the ceremonial activities of the palace.  Several entrances exist paved with large blocks of locally quarried gypsum.

The palace supported specialist artisans who produced wall paintings.

The era ended violently in the middle of the second millennium BCE when any sites on Crete, including the palace at Knossos, were destroyed by fire.

After excavations at Knossos, Evans wanted visitors to appreciate the magnificence of Minoan architecture and art, accordingly he commissioned reconstructions to be made for the remains and restoration of the wall paintings which depicted men and women in various activities including bull leaping and cult ceremonies.

Europe Prehistoric


The site of Stonehenge and it’s surrounding area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The area around Stonehenge was already considered ancient by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.  Stories about Stonehenge mainly center upon the stones themselves.  How it was built and why.  The first project around Stonehenge involved digging a circular ditch about 330 feet across around 3000 BCE.  The term “henge” itself is from an ancient Saxon word meaning “hanging”.  Perhaps this was for the lintels sitting atop the upright stones or the ditch enclosures.

The first configuration of Stonehenge lasted nearly 500 years.  Between 2600-2400 BCE it assumed its present form, or one that would be recognizable today with the erection of the major upright stones and lintels.  The sparseness lintels were brought from Marlborough Downs, about 20 miles away.

Over many centuries the bluestones were rearranged several times.  Ritual activity stopped for several millennia from around 1600 BCE.

The question of the purpose of Stonehenge has baffled archaeologists for centuries.  In the 1960s a new theory was advanced, that it was some kind of calendar or observatory, which are now considered off the mark.  Prehistoric people often aligned their monuments with annual celestial events.

Stonehenge is a world famous attraction with more than 800,000 tourists visit it a year. This led to its inclusion in the South West England universal stamp issue for international postage. Universal stamps are produced for tourists and feature iconic buildings and landmarks from around the country.

Europe Mythology

Free Kindle Books 10

More free Kindle books. Simply ‘buy for $0.00‘ and they’ll be sent to your Amazon account.

Interpreting Greek Tragedy
Trojan Women of Euripides
The Moors in Spain

Art Europe Prehistoric


The Rock Carvings in Tanum are located in an area on the west coast of Sweden, in an area known as Bohuslan, which contains the densest concentration of Bronze Age rock art in Scandinavia.  Several hundred engravings are known around Tanum, and more are believed to be buried under the soil and moss.  Though many of the engravings are now filled with red or white paint to be more visible, originally, they had no color to set them off from the surrounding rock.

The Bronze Age artists used stone hammers and points to grind and peck the rock surfaces to make these carvings. Thousands of ship engravings have been found, with upward curving bows and sterns.  Engravings of humans are male, they carry weapons, ride chariots, pull plows.  Animals such as cattle, horses, deer, canines and birds also appear, along with abstract designs such as wheels and spirals which may symbolize the sun.  Many of the engravings depict scenes for everyday life such as farming or hunting while others show rituals and processions and battle axes show the status of warriors in Bronze Age society.

Various interpretations have been advanced; did they tell stories for future generations?  Did they express relations between the worlds of the living and deities or myths?

The Rock Carvings of Tanum were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

Europe Prehistoric


Preserved by rising waters inundating the site, Iron Age Biskupin was exposed when the water level dropped.  A local teacher notified archaeologists who began excavating the following year.  Outlines of structures were gradually emerging and photos from an observation balloon revealed the plan of the settlement.

Biskupin settlement

Dwellings, workshops, stables and storerooms ran in parallel rows with common walls, each unit about 26’x30′ with a central hearth of stone.

Several hundred people may have lived very close together with eleven log streets separating the houses and another road surrounding the inhabited area.  A rampart of wooden cribs filled with earth and stone encircled the area which may have been about 525’x660′.  

Biskupin art and pottery

Through dendrochronology we know Biskupin dates from around 747-722BCE as more than half the wood was cut in the winter of 738-737 BCE.  First the streets and houses were laid out, then the houses were built and the timber cribs for the ramparts were constructed.

Biskupin weapons and jewelry

A single gate gave access to fields and pastures where the inhabitants cultivated wheat, millet and tended herds of livestock.  They made iron and bronze tools, pottery and they wove woolen cloth.  

Europe Far East Mythology

Free Kindle Books 9

Here are a couple more free Kindle books. You can simply ‘buy for $0.00‘ and they’ll be sent to your Amazon account.

A Bowl for a Coin

English Fairy Tales

Atlantis: the Antediluvian World

It’s another opportunity to read some basic information.

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Europe Mythology North America People

Free Kindle Books 7

Here are a couple more free Kindle books. You can simply ‘buy for $0.00‘ and they’ll be sent to your Amazon account.

Vlad the Impaler

The Argonautica

Old Indian Legends

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Europe General Middle East Mythology

Free Kindle Books 5

Here are a couple more free Kindle books. You can simply ‘buy for $0.00‘ and they’ll be sent to your Amazon account.

The Sumerians

The Children of Odin

Renaissance Futurities

It’s another opportunity to read some basic information.

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Art Europe Prehistoric

Prehistoric Goddess Figures

They had large hips, pendulous breasts and by today’s standards would be considered – obese?  They are still being discovered today.  Some date as far back as 40,000 BCE, some as young as 6,000 BCE.  

Found throughout Eurasia with most from Europe, the original meaning of these female figurines is not known, though it is frequently suggested they may have served a ritual or symbolic function.  The statues are among the earliest examples of figurative art.

Archaeologists call them goddess figures, fertility talisman, revered mothers.  Better known examples are depicted on stamps.  From the Goddess of Willendorf; dated to 24,000 years old, this well-endowed upper paleolithic statue was found in Austria and depicted on a 3D stamp in 2008.

Another well-known figure is from Catal Huyuk, a Neolithic archaeological site in Turkey.  Seated, she is believed to date from 7,500 BCE and was found in the late 1950s- early 1960s.  Another was found in 2016 but has not been depicted on a stamp . . . yet.

The Lady of the Waters is from Malta and is also seated.  Though not as well know as the others mentioned here, there has been a book written about her in 1992, The Goddess of Malta.  Dating from 5,800-2,500 BCE, the figure was found in Skorba Temple Complex.

These female figurines dating from the Upper Paleolithic are called “Venus Figurines” in reference to Venue, the Roman goddess of beauty.  This came abut because early 20th century prehistorians assumed the figures represented the ancient ideal of beauty and/or fertility.

Europe People

Leonardo da Vinci – The Universal Man

Here’s another interesting stamp exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci, a man of many talents. The link follows:

Leonardo da Vinci

From the site:

“A philatelic retrospective on Leonardo da Vinci’s life, works, times and influence, from his childhood in Italy to his death in France.”

I recommend viewing it but make sure you’ve got at least an hour free to do it.

Europe General Mythology Rome

Free Kindle Books 4

Here are a couple more free Kindle books. You can simply ‘buy for $0.00‘ and they’ll be sent to your Amazon account.

Roman Britain


Viking Tales

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Europe Prehistoric

Carnac, France

The standing stones of Carnac can be seen from the road travelled by Tour de France bicyclists as they pass.  Dozens of ancient sites are in the area and the menhirs (standing stones) of Carnac are estimated to be more than 5000 years old.

Carnac Stone

Similar standing stone arrangements are found throughout Europe dating from the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods.  Although archaeologists believe they were used for some ritualistic purpose it is not known what their use actually was.  It is doubtful they had anything to do with astronomical events.

Carnac Stone Alignment

There are about a dozen alignments of standing stones in the Carnac area, the longest has ten rows of stones with more than 1100 stretching for a distance of more than one mile.

Europe General Meso-America Mythology People Rome

Free Kindle Books 3

Here are a couple more free Kindle books. You can simply ‘buy for $0.00‘ and they’ll be sent to your Amazon account.

Mayan Civilization

Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius

Lemuria, The Lost Continent of the Pacific

It’s another opportunity to read some basic information.

And, they’re free!