To date, written sources are the most informative of all that ancient man ever left behind. If in most cases the finds of the next text or inscription can only confirm the information already known to researchers, then some of them are able, if not to reverse the scientific discourse, then make researchers see previously unknown details in the life and activities of people of the past.
For your attention, there are ancient manuscripts and documents, the discovery of which changed the view of the history of mankind.
The first description of the case when a person was between life and death
In 1740, a French physician named Pierre-Jean du Monchaux recorded the story of his patient, who lost consciousness after bloodletting, and when he regained consciousness, claimed that he saw the light. And he was so pure and bright that the man was sure that he had visited the border of the world of the living and heaven.
Du Monchaux wrote an unusual episode in his book Medical Curiosities. However, this evidence became known only recently, when the French doctor Philippe Charlier bought this book from an antique store literally for a song.
The record of this curious case is of interest not only because it turned out to be the oldest surviving description of the patient’s dying state on the planet. The thing is that when in those days people still explained such cases by religion, but Pierre-Jean du Monchaux approached this process purely professionally.
So, he suggested that a hemorrhage occurred in the patient’s brain. And he turned out to be absolutely right, because this reason is fully confirmed by modern medicine.
Vulgarity in the bathroom
Often, floor mosaics prove to be an excellent source of a wide variety of information from the past. Practice shows that even in bathrooms you can find nothing else but real pearls of ancient folklore. So, in 2018, on the territory of the ancient Turkish city of Antioch ad-Kragum, a bathroom was found, the floor of which was not decorated with ornaments or patterns, but with real dirty jokes not intended for minors.
It turned out that Roman men, while visiting the restroom about 1800 years ago, had the opportunity to read about the adventures of Narcissus and Ganymede – two mythological characters, whose stories, in this case, were reinterpreted into a frankly vulgar context.
To say that archaeologists were shocked by such a find is an understatement, however, from the point of view of science, it also became very useful. After all, it became evidence that the so-called “toilet humor” – both figuratively and literally – existed in ancient times.
Images at Cresswell Crags
The Cruswell Crags Limestone Gorge, located between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in Great Britain, has been famous among historians for a long time. Ancient remains were discovered on its territory, which gave it great historical value. It is also home to the only piece of Ice Age art in the UK.
Now, more recently, in 2019, during a walk by a tourist group, the largest collection of apotrophetic signs was found.
The found engravings date back to a rather extensive period – from the early Middle Ages to the century before last. Researchers have already been able to recognize some of the symbols. We are talking about the so-called signs of witches, which were used to protect people from supernatural evil manifestations.
Since all the ceilings and walls of the caves are covered with such inscriptions, archaeologists assume that the locals were clearly seriously afraid of something that they could not explain.
Nag Hammadi Library
About 1400 years ago, a vessel was buried in Egypt, into which 13 codes were placed containing the Gnostic records of Jesus. And in 1945, near the village of Nag Hammadi, they were found and studied. This find significantly influenced the ideas of researchers about the era of early Christianity, first of all, the Gnostic teachings, which modern religion calls heretical.
Most of the codes written in papyrus were written in Coptic, which was then the language of communication in Egypt. But here is one of them – “The First Apocryphal of Jacob” – for the first time for historians was found in the edition in the ancient Greek language.
Another characteristic feature that interested historians is the presence of small dots, which are used as separators of the text into syllables. This technique is rare and indicates that the author of the scrolls used the heretical gospel to teach the Greek language.
The palimpsest phenomenon is a document on which the original text has been etched and a new one has been written on top. This practice is explained by the fact that in the past writing instruments were, in principle, expensive and rare.
However, in 2018, Dr. Eleanor Sellard, while studying fragments of manuscripts with the texts of the Quran, found a completely unique palimpsest of its kind. And all because the text of the Muslim shrine was written on top of passages from the Bible, written in the Coptic language.
This find can be called truly invaluable due to its uniqueness. The fact is that the palimpsests on which the Quran is written are, in principle, quite rare.
The etching of a Christian document to be applied over the text of the Islamic holy book has never been encountered by researchers until this point. So far, there is no exact date on the dating of these texts – due to the poor condition of the find, it cannot be subjected to carbon analysis. However, the very fact of such an arrangement of the texts is of historical value.
Vows of the ninja
The fact that the legendary Japanese ninja had their own oath has been said for a long time, and the existence of a record of its text – since the second half of the twentieth century. For a long time, such rumors were considered only speculation, because the traditions of the work of real saboteurs, who became real prototypes of mystical warriors, were almost always transmitted verbally.
However, quite recently there was a unique confirmation of the existence of such an oath. In 2018, a unique document was donated to the museum by the Kizu family, who in the past were a ninja clan from the city of Iga.
The donated artifacts represent a collection of one hundred and thirty ancient documents dating back about three centuries, but it is the text of the oath that is considered the most valuable from the point of view of researchers. It was composed by a certain Inosuke Kizu, who expressed gratitude to his mentors for teaching ninjutsu and vowed never to reveal the secrets of the teachings, even to his family members.
In addition, the text also indicates the punishment for violating the above rules. According to him, both the perjurer and all his relatives will suffer from the wrath of higher powers for several centuries.