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Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries (British History)
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Further musings on the Ora Maritima by Avienus who purportedly wrote it in the 4th century A.D. making use of 'archaic documents'

Ora Maritima ("The Sea Coast") was a poem written by Avienus claimed to contain borrowings from the 6th-century BC Massiliote Periplus.[1][2] This poeticised periplus resulted in a confused amateur's account of the coastal regions of the known world. His editor A. Berthelot demonstrated that Avienus' land-measurements were derived from Roman itineraries but inverted some sequences.

which turns out to have a fifteenth, rather than fourth, century provenance

The whole text derives from a single manuscript source, used for the editio princeps published at Venice in 1488
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Mick Harper
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It is turning out that, when it comes to all 'Classical' texts, the race is on to find anything that's pre-Renaissance. Rather ironic in a way since, when it comes to 'Christian' texts, the race is on to find anything pre-Norman. The Reckoning when the Last Trump sounds shall verily be something not to be around when it does.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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The Czechs' most valuable national treasure, after their crown jewels, is a reliquary (re)discovered in 1985

St. Maurus reliquary is a Romanesque reliquary exhibited in the castle of Bečov nad Teplou in the west of the Czech Republic. It is considered to be the second most important historical artefact in the Czech territory after the Czech Crown Jewels




According to Wiki the reliquary's provenance is 1838, the date it was acquired by the Beaufort-Spontin family

The reliquary was created for Florennes Abbey in Belgium in the first quarter of the 13th century to hold the purported skeletal remains of St. Maurus, St. John the Baptist, and St. Timothy.... After the sacking of Florennes the reliquary was placed in the local church and later bought by Duke Alfred de Beaufort-Spontin in 1838.


By 1888, the Beauforts transported it to their castle estate in Bečov.

The house of Beaufort cooperated with the Nazi Party during World War II and was forced to leave the country in 1945. Shortly before the end of the war, the reliquary was buried beneath the floor in the chapel and effectively forgotten.

But it wasn't forgotten. The family knew exactly where it was and, a century after bringing it home, wanted it brought to America where they were now living

In 1984, American businessman Danny Douglas approached Czechoslovak authorities (via the embassy in Vienna) with an offer to pay 250,000 USD for the right to excavate and export abroad an otherwise unidentified object “which nobody here misses anyway”. From the fragments of information provided, the authorities initiated a search operation to verify the nature of the "object" and find it. This operation was led by JUDr. František Maryška, the head of Federal investigation bureau at that time. From the fragments of information provided his team was able to narrow the investigation to 5 possible locations and 3 weeks before the business was to be performed they were able to identify that the "object" must be located in Bečov Castle or surrounding area.

Police officers arrived to the location with a large team of men and with metal detectors and were searching all the surroundings, digging several holes in garden and outside the castle. Since the weather was bad and Douglas was not worried about snow or frozen earth they concluded that the object must be inside. So they started with the search inside on places where a hidden room was anticipated or where such an object might fit. When searching the floor in the old castle chapel they identified that a large metallic object was below and after removing the wooden boards they discovered the St. Maurus reliquary on 5 November 1985.
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Mick Harper
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It's a very clever scam but I can't work out who made any money out of it. There doesn't seem to be a political angle either even though Czechoslovakia came crashing down about St Maurus's newly discovered ears.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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No date can be verified for the reliquary. There are no records of it during the missing 600 years i.e. from the thirteenth century when it was allegedly made to 1838, the date of its acquisition.

But several facts point to a nineteenth-century product. After a gap of forty years -- from 1945 to the date of its discovery, 1985 -- which were reportedly spent under the floor of the chapel on the Beaufort estate, the reliquary had decayed and extensive restoration work needed to be carried out. This presented problems.

1. Nothing else like it exists so the restorers have nothing comparable to go on
2. Everyone's forgotten or never learned medieval goldsmith techniques and filigree decoration
3. As above, this time the problem is with enamel

The restoration work means it is pointless to attempt to authenticate/ date the reliquary. It was completely disassembled! Photographs were taken so it could be put back together, though not as before of course. As it's considered to be unique, no-one will know the difference(s) anyway..
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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The collection, of 133 vintage bottles of wine, also discovered at the castle, 'under the floorboards' was valued at 1.256 million dollars.

https://bit.ly/3aN08Nk
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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According to a tour guide the reliquary of Saint Maurus contains fragments from the bodies of Saint Maurus, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Timothy. However, according to the guide recent DNA studies show that there were five people in the chest, two of whom were dated to the third century AD. (Common Era sacred chronology). Saint Maurus dates to third century or earlier according to the guide. Maurus remains mysterious. I cant find the science to back up the dating in the guide.

Romanesque eh? Third century bones eh? The one thing that won't be suggested by anyone, is that it is Roman.
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Mick Harper
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The collection, of 133 vintage bottles of wine, also discovered at the castle, 'under the floorboards' was valued at 1.256 million dollars.

Oh. This puts paid to my scam theory, which I will now adumbrate in case someone wants to use it in the future

1. You find an impecunious noble family with a castle behind the Iron Curtain
2. You come up with your McGuffin
3. You then visit the castle and hide the McGuffin under the floorboards
4. You write to the government offering a large but not unfeasibly large sum for the rights to search for lost gear leaving just enough clues as to where it is
5. The government naturally hotfoots to the place(s) and finds the McGuffin
6. After Helsinki the government is signed up to various Restoration of Property protocols and has to pay the family
7. The family give you half.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Experimental. Cant make this out clearly.


Triptych of Florennes




If you think of these as something like Roman emperors, the wings top left signify the eagle or "Aquila". The aquila was the bird of Jupiter. In Roman times the eagle was a symbol of strength and courage, and immortality. The Legions carried an eagle standard into battle. the birds could ascend above the storm, (of battle), and were a messenger of the gods. Notice the sun halos, surrounding the figures. It is Roman state religion.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Why's it got an onion dome up top?
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I think you mean an opium poppy


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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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The sacred chronologists have rather crudely covered this this up.

Halo=Good

Elagabalus or Heliogabalus = Bad

Elagabalus developed a reputation among his contemporaries for extreme eccentricity, decadence, and zealotry.[9] This tradition has persisted, and with writers of the early modern age he suffers one of the worst reputations among Roman emperors. Edward Gibbon, for example, wrote that Elagabalus "abandoned himself to the grossest pleasures with ungoverned fury".[10] According to Barthold Georg Niebuhr, "The name Elagabalus is branded in history above all others" because of his "unspeakably disgusting life".[11] An example of a modern historian's assessment would be Adrian Goldsworthy's: "Elagabalus was not a tyrant, but he was an incompetent, probably the least able emperor Rome had ever had."
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Hatty
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The Beaufort-Spontins seem to have strewn their belongings around various palaces though provenance is not always clear. The last owner's sister, Eleonora, left her tiara, easier to pack than a wine cellar, behind. Or just take the gems avec

The main material of the tiara is yelllow 14C gold covered by a thick layer of silver and with 540 pieces of cut diamonds/brilliants attached, dating back to around the mid-19th century. The hallmark is not visible, possibly placed under the protective chip. The tiara consists of two parts that can be unfolded to strips and it could be easily placed in a jewellery casket that has not been preserved though. There were gems of various forms to be applied on top of the tiara that went with the tiara, so that it could have been used for various social events. It is assumed these replaceable sets included the biggest and highest quality stones - diamonds, natural coloured stones, or pearls whose value was several times higher than the price of the preserved tiara. The jewellery work was done on the tiara between 1860 and 1880 within the territory of Central Europe (probably Austria-Hungary, Germany or Belgium).

An expert opinion given at the end of 2016 determined the tiara value to be nearly CZK 2 000 000.

I worry about the 'hidden' hallmark but anyway the family didn't get any joy out of the authorities, the tiara is state property though now displayed as part of the castle treasures.

She might have left it in Křimice with her sister married to Jaroslav Lobkowicz. Together with other items it was later moved to the Kozel Chateau. In 1960, Eleonora tried unsuccessfully to get back the property deposited in Czechoslovakia. The tiara was stored in a paper box at the Kozel Chateau for a long time as it was considered to be a cheap theatre prop. In the 1980s, an expert from the Starožitnost ("Antique") state enterprise was asked to give an opinion and stated it was a valuable item made of platinum and fitted with diamonds.

https://www.zamek-becov.cz/en/Treasures-of-Becov/Tiara-of-Eleonora-Beaufort-Spontin

Platinum? Is it the same item?
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Mick Harper
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In an account full of red flags, someone posting something up about how valuable something is and expressing it in a currency that he or she would know nobody would understand is redder than most. People think these things are trivial, people are never trivial when posting on Wiki (or wherever). Two million Czech crowns is today about £70,000. Is that a lot or a little and what did the poster wish to obscure? A lot or a little? Because there's another little tip-off

The hallmark is not visible, possibly placed under the protective chip.

Does the writer wish to reassure us or alert us? He's the expert, why doesn't he tell us whether this is unusual or not? Similarly the phrase "around the mid-19th century" is not neutral. Mid already conveys around. I know, I know -- it's trivial (except nobody is trivial when etc etc). It introduces the next oddity because the mid-century refers to

covered by a thick layer of silver and with 540 pieces of cut diamonds/brilliants attached

so why, after a detour about all the fabulous stuff on top of the tiara do we return to this

The jewellery work was done on the tiara between 1860 and 1880 within the territory of Central Europe (probably Austria-Hungary, Germany or Belgium).

It's ambiguous but since the fabulous stuff has all disappeared so nobody knows where it came from, what are we talking about? As Hatty pointed out, there are some platinum and diamonds unaccounted for. Or paste. 1860 is around mid-century but 1860-80 definitely is not.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:
I think you mean an opium poppy


The opium poppy appears on Roman coins,.eg Coins with Augustus and Hadrian. Some think Marcus Aurelius the philosopher emperor was an addict, others that he just used.
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