Here’s What a Sunrise On Mars ‘Sounds’ Like

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Here’s What a Sunrise on Mars ‘Sounds’ Like

A venerable rover helps make music

Astronomy In 2022 Might Hallmark unequivocal Disclosure

originally posted by: Dwoodward85
a reply to: andre18

Disclosure is coming in 2010, 2016, before the end of the decade, within the next decade, within the next twenty years, by 2050 we will know if we are alone…and on and on and on, this is literally what we hear/read time and again and it never happens. Why do people think that all of a sudden NASA or the government would suddenly turn around and say “Yep (insert date) is the year we’ll tell them the truth) and to those who think the Government wont or cannot stop this data being public here is a scene for you –

Information is collected. The Government is and always is watching. They realise something that might reveal aliens or information they will not allow to be revealed decide that for National Security reasons the information cannot become public.

C’mon we all know how this goes, you don’t have to watch an episode of the X-Files to know that if the government doesn’t want you to know then you’re not going to know and this won’t change.

Aliens are a crock. Nonsense.

The Earth is a ball, flying through space – exposed to aliens who come from ‘outer space’! We humans are scared of aliens who watch our planet, and visit the Earth, and abduct humans from Earth, since aliens study humans, and breed with humans. Humanity is in grave peril of extinction, ‘so NASA’s tryin’ hard to figure out a way humans can stop them alien invaders, who may wish to destroy our Earth, some day!

It’s only a belief in Earth being a ball, defenseless as a newborn baby, thrown out to the wolves (ie: aliens). Nobody to protect it from endless, unknown dangers, found in ‘outer space’ !

If you are aware of the Earth being flat, and protected, and space is mainly formed of myths, held up aside the few fragments of reality…….you’d realize how ‘aliens’ are a fantasy tale…

European NGO Teaches Migrants How to Lie to Gain Asylum

As bent on the destruction of our republic as the American Left is, they are only outdone by the European Left as Western civilization on balance continues to commit slow, steady suicide

As reported by The Gateway Pundit, documentarians Lauren Southern and Caolan Robertson have just released new recordings that should shock every Westerner concerned about the future of their country.

Taking a page from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas in the U.S., the undercover recordings appear to reveal the director of a major non-governmental organization (NGO) in Europe telling Southern and Robertson how she coaches migrants to lie and claim they are persecuted Christians when interdicted by border security authorities.

Ariel Ricker, who serves as the executive director of Advocates Abroad, admitted that the Eurocentric asylum process was “simply theater,” as TGP’s Cassandra Fairbanks reports.

“This is all like a big theatre production, everyone has a part to play and a refugee has to act the part of the refugee in trauma for the interviewers, but it is extremely difficult to do this because unless they are taught how to be this character, this actor, then they go about it usually the opposite way,” Ricker says.

Her NGO provides migrant and refugees legal and humanitarian aid in seeking asylum in Europe. The NGO has 388 staff members principally tasked with preparing refugees and migrants for their interviews for asylum.

Last year, the organization worked with some 15,000 refugees. As Southern’s crew notes, however, the NGO recently campaigned with a dozen British members of parliament (MPs) where they raised $100,000 in donations.

Understanding the root cause of the migrant crisis: George Soros’ Organizations Work Tirelessly to Flood the European Continent with Illegal Migrants and Soros Looking to Make Obscene Profits From Funding European ‘Forced Migration’

In the video, Ricker tells the undercover documentary makers that he even teaches migrants how and when to ‘cry’ — to “act the party” of a “refugee in trauma.” She even teaches them how to vomit for extra emotional impact.

“Oh yeah, yeah. I see it like, I tell them that this is acting, all of this is acting […] it’s all acting as though this is theatre. So for them to get through they must act their part in the theatre and that is the refugee in trauma, because these EASO officers are so fu**ing stupid all they know is what’s written on the paper, EASO says ‘this is refugee in trauma, they have these characteristics’ so we coach people how to have these characteristics,” Ricker admits unwittingly.

‘Of course’ they are involved with human traffickers

European asylum laws are about as liberal as those in the United States, so it’s not a matter of EASO officers being “stupid,” it’s a matter of them following instructions handed down to them by respective governments.

In any event, the Advocates Abroad leader also explained that her organization interacts with the migrants to instruct them on acting the part of the hapless refugee, as the migrant plays the role of the EASO officer to get a better perspective.

In addition, they teach migrants how to be Christian — how to pray, for example (or pretend to).

“They also ask like whats your favorite holiday, some people say, like, Christmas and but, like, we explain you cannot just say this because this is not a sufficient answer, you have to say, you have to say it a certain way which is like ‘December 25th which is Christmas, which is the birthday of our Lord and Savior,’” Ricker explains.

Advocates Abroad has gotten it all down to a science — the group has developed a “formula” instructing migrants what they should say and how they should act.

Ricker also appears to admit that she’s been involved with human smuggling as well.

“So, the leader [of ERCI] was properly involved with smugglers?” an undercover journalist asked. Riker responds with confidence, “Of course they were, I mean, we all are to some degree, like, there’s no question of that.”

Westerners are compassionate by their nature but we are being taking advantage of by those who are flooding our countries with foreign cultures who have no plans to assimilate. That will lead to perpetual clashes in the very near future. Watch:

The Destruction of Europe: Muslim Migrants Are A Trojan Horse (And They Will Come to America Next)


George Soros Letter Reveals Globalist Plan to Destroy the First World with Global Migrant Invasions

As the Left continues to lose the battle for America’s soul, its greatest champions are going full-out in an attempt to turn the tide any way they can – even if it means destroying the country.

One of the vilest among them is billionaire George Soros, a Hungarian-born U.S. citizen who now seeks to demolish the country that gave him his riches along with its allies.

As reported by Breitbart London, Soros publicly confirmed that, yes, he seeks to essentially wipe out all European borders following an accusation made last week by the prime mister of his birth country, Viktor Orban (who, unlike Soros, actually has to deal with the tens of thousands of second- and third-world migrants streaming into his country and other European nations – while Soros lives free of such inconveniences in his $10 million mansion / castle outside of New York City).

[For years now], Orban has accused Soros of deliberately encouraging the migrant crisis now engulfing the continent.

“This invasion is driven, on the one hand, by people smugglers, and on the other by those (human rights) activists who support everything that weakens the nation-state,” Orban said. “This Western mindset and this activist network is perhaps best represented by George Soros.”

‘Let’s take down all borders’

Following Orban’s statement, Soros sent an email to Bloomberg Business, in which he claimed that his foundations actually help “uphold European values,” while Orban’s actions in bolstering the Hungarian border and thus impeding a huge influx of migrants “undermine those values.”

“His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” Soros added. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”

In 2015, Orban accused pro-immigration non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of “drawing a living from the immigration crisis.” He singled out those funded by Soros, who is a strong supporter of transnational bodies like the European Union and the United Nations.

Also, his Open Society Foundation (OSF) provides assistance for pro-immigration activists, and he is well-known in the U.S. and internationally for supporting “progressive” (read far-Left) causes like the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation and the Center for American Progress.

In fact, the OSF website notes:

“We believe that migration and asylum policy should be grounded in economic and demographic realities, not driven by temporary political considerations or popular misconceptions.

“In Europe, many of our civil society partners are raising their voices demanding a common European approach in line with international human rights commitments.”

In an interview, Orban said that immigration and multiculturalism were working in tandem to change the face and traditions of Europe, it’s “Christian roots” in particular, all while creating “parallel societies”.

The source of evil? George Soros’ NGOs Work Tirelessly to Flood the European Continent with Illegal Migrants

‘No one has voted on this’

As reported by Breitbart London, Orban said that Europeans should “stick to our Christian values” and “Europe can be saved,” but only if citizens “take seriously the traditions, the Christian roots and all the values that are the basis of the civilisation of Europe.”

“What sort of Europe do we want to have? Parallel societies? Muslim communities living together with the Christian community?” he asked, adding that there is also an anti-democratic aspect to what’s taking place.

“Nobody has voted for what is going on, so the quality of European democracy is in question.”

“Millions of migrants are coming to the European Union,” he said, noting that European countries are neglecting various treaties that respect national boundaries.

In recent days, has reported that the migration policies of Germany were so upsetting the country’s population that some analysts are predicting widespread anarchy or even civil war.

Hansjoerg Mueller of the Alternative for Germany party also said the country may be on its way to becoming a “banana republic without any government.”

By J. D. Heyes / References:;;

George Soros Letter Reveals Globalist Plan to Destroy the First World with Global Migrant Invasions

As the Left continues to lose the battle for America’s soul, its greatest champions are going full-out in an attempt to turn the tide an… As the Left continues to lose the battle for America’s soul, its greatest champions are going full-out in an attempt to turn the tide any way they can – even if it means destroying the country. Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2018

It’s been a year, hasn’t it? It started with losing Le Guin, and it’s hard to say it’s improved since then. But books? Those were good. We picked some favorites in the middle of the year, and now we’ve picked even more—some titles make a second appearance on this list, but as is usually the case, the second half of the year packed in a lot of winners. If your TBR stack isn’t already teetering, it will be after you read this list.

What did you love in this year’s reading?

In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard is a short novel. At around 50,000 words, it’s scarcely longer than a novella. And yet, of all the (many) books I’ve read in the last year, it’s the one that’s left the deepest impression: the one that cuts sharpest, and deepest, and most true. At the simplest level, it’s a variant on Beauty and the Beast, the complex—and complicated—interplay of necessity, agency, and affection between a scholar and a dragon. De Bodard’s prose is precise, elegantly beautiful, and her characters and worldbuilding are devastatingly brilliant. In the Vanishers’ Palace is a story about how the world is shit, but how it’s still possible to be kind. It’s a book I can’t help but love, and one that I expect I’ll return to many times in the years to come.

–Liz Bourke

If you’ve never read anything by Anna-Marie McLemore, Blanca & Roja is a fantastic place to start. Inspired by “Snow White,” “Rose Red,” and “Swan Lake,” and lush with Latinx mythology subtext, this is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful young adult magical realism novel. In each generation of del Cisnes are born two sisters: one who will grow up into a woman and lead a normal life and another who will turned into a swan and stolen away by a local bevy. Everyone has assumes Roja will be taken by the swans, but Blanca will do anything to protect her sister. When two teenagers—nonbinary Page and reluctant prince Yearling—emerge from the woods, their liven entangle with the sisters. And since it’s written by McLemore, you know it’s poetic and powerful and devastating all at once.

Bo Bolander’s The Only Harmless Great Thing is one of those stories I can’t let go of. It haunts me all these months later. It’s my number one most recommended novella. My own copy has been passed around since April. Bolander’s story, inspired by Topsy the elephant, radium girls, ray cats, and the atomic priesthood, is cutting and calculating, but not cold or cruel. It’s a tale of loss and love, of vitriol and spite, of need and want, of everything that is and should never be.

Although they are, content-wise, very different, Witchmark by C.L. Polk and Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier have the same vibe. Witchmark tells the story of Miles, a doctor with secret magic powers, and Hunter, the otherworldly supernatural hunk of a man who he falls for as they uncover a murder and mass conspiracy. Isle of Blood and Stone is a young adult novel about three friends, King Ulises, Lady Mercedes, and mapmaker Elias, who set off on a quest to find man who is supposed to be dead. Lucier and Polk’s stories are light and airy and full of romance and adventure, but beneath their playful surfaces lie deeper truths about colonialism, abuses of power, and systemic oppression. There is far more to these two books than meets the eye.

–Alex Brown

Admittedly, this one’s a bit of a cheat: Writer Brian K. Vaughan, artist Marcos Martin, and colorist Muntsa Vicente’s five-issue comic Barrier came out digitally back 2016 (and you can still pick it up that way, paying whatever you want via Panel Syndicate). But I’m sneaking it in because Image Comics physically published it in 2018—and over the past two years, the book has only grown more powerful and poignant. Written in both English and Spanish—with no translations for either—Barrier follows Liddy, a South Texas rancher, and Oscar, a refugee who’s endured a brutal journey from Honduras and now finds himself on Liddy’s land. That’s already a good setup to examine issues of illegal immigration… and the aliens haven’t even shown up yet. To say much more would be to give away Barrier’s potent surprises, but things get creepy, dark, and sharply insightful. Page after page, Liddy and Oscar’s journey is intense and inventive—and, in 2018, it’s also heartbreakingly relevant.

Thankfully, Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart, Steven Erikson’s novel about Earth’s first contact with extraterrestrials, isn’t nearly as stilted or self-serious as its goofy title. Erikson’s setup is simple: Aliens show up, promptly abduct science-fiction author Samantha August, and then start… well, fixing stuff. Endangered species find their habitats restored. Humans realize they can no longer physically harm each other. And a plan for an engine that runs on clean, inexhaustible energy shows up on hard drives across the world. Meanwhile, August hangs out in orbit, speaking with a clever alien A.I. about humanity’s catastrophic past and unknown future. Erikson’s impassioned novel doesn’t bother to conceal its examinations of contemporary issues—the book’s characters include barely disguised, and rarely complimentary, counterparts for the Koch brothers, Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin—and it’s all the better for it. As August decries and defends humanity, and as those on Earth grapple with unimaginable changes, Erikson mines The Day the Earth Stood Still and Star Trek to suggest that old-school sci-fi optimism could still serve as a counter to 2018’s horrific headlines. Well, that’s one reading, anyway. Another is that without help from super-advanced aliens, we’re all totally fucked.

–Erik Henriksen

I first read Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as a high schooler in thrall to doorstop fantasy novels full of conventionally bloody heroism, and so the qualities that now most impress me—its spareness, its serenity—left me confused then. So I’m enjoying the opportunity to return to Earthsea (and to travel beyond the first book) with the recent release of The Books of Earthsea. Were the six books of Earthsea just printed together for the first time, Books would be a book of the year, but the Charles Vess illustrations, the uncollected stories, and the supplemental essays raise it above most anything else.

I tore through Dale Bailey’s In the Night Wood, a folk horror-fantasy hybrid full of green men and dark secrets that married an eventful plot with a study of grief in a very intense 200 pages. I’m currently reading Sarah Perry’s brilliant Melmoth, a literary Gothic fantasia perfect for the coming winter nights. Last but not least, I need to recommend Alan Garner’s beautiful memoir Where Shall We Run To?, which published in the UK this summer. Anyone who has been moved by Garner’s books, even readers put off by his uncompromising late style, should treasure this book. That it hasn’t been picked up for US publication is a scandal.

–Matthew Keeley

I’m a fangirl of Megan Abbott’s lean, mean writing, so of course I was going to enjoy her latest novel, Give Me Your Hand. I didn’t know just how much of an impact it would have though, because it did, with its taut, intense narrative about two young women scientists working on premenstrual dysphoric disorder research. Abbott is so deft at turning a thriller narrative inwards, forcing us to dip our fingers into the bloody souls of female friendships.

There have been a few revamps of ancient epics this year, and Madeline Miller’s Circe is one of the two I loved. It’s a gorgeous book ostensibly based on The Odyssey, but told from the perspective of the witch Circe, and is a glorious exploration of femininity and feminism, divinity and motherhood.

The second book based on an epic that will stay with me for a long while is Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife, a sharp,visceral feminist take on Beowulf. Headley’s writing has rhythms I’ve always been fascinated by, and The Mere Wife is no exception to her unabashed no holds barred approach to any narrative. If Beowulf was a story about aggressive masculinity, The Mere Wife is one of femininity, where the female characters are more than just monster, hag, trophy—they are also in turn hero, saviour, leader.

–Mahvesh Murad

I already wrote about Heads of the Colored People’s title story in a TBR Stack post, but the whole collection is extraordinary, ranging from stories about a epistolary war between the mothers of the only two black girls in an elementary school class to intricate, layered explorations about how the white gaze infects a conversation between two very different black college students. Plus writing about it again gives me an excuse to link to Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, in which she discusses television as an integral part of the writing process.

Alexander Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is one of the best books of writing advice I’ve ever read, but so much more: Chee’s essays on craft and process will be useful to writers of any genre, and the essay “The Querent” asks real, tough questions about the ways some cultures can take deeply-held beliefs of another, and cast them as parlor tricks or speculative fiction. He also writes movingly of his lifelong activism and engagement with queer politics, and how that aspect of his life has shaped his sense of self. And as if all of that wasn’t enough his essay on creating a rose bower in the middle of Brooklyn will delight all the gardeners out there.

The World Only Spins Forward by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois is a fantastic oral history about one of my favorite plays. I have to say that as much as I loved all of the books I’ve recommended here, this one was the most sheer fun. I love oral histories as a format because, done well, they allow their editors to replicate the crosstalk of a good conversation, and TWOSF does not disappoint. Tony Kushner is garrulous and large-hearted as always, George C. Wolfe is incisive and seem to maybe have the best memory?), and each of the actors, directors, producers, teachers, angel designers—everybody gets to tell their part of the story and share this iconic history with the rest of us.

Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife re-imagines the story of Beowulf, casting Grendel as an innocent boy named Gren, Dana Owens as his war veteran mother, and Willa Herot as the Queen Bee of Herot Hall, a fancy planned community built at the foot of the mountain. When Willa’s son forms an unlikely friendship with young Gren, it sets their mothers on a path that can only led to violent confrontation. And then Ben Woolf, former Marine, current cop, shows up, and things go from tense to explosive. Headley digs her claws into the meat of one of our oldest tales, and pulls out all the tendons that make it absolutely vital to our modern era.

–Leah Schnelbach

I swear by Jenni Fagan as one of the greatest living stylists of the written word. No new novel this year (so I’ve made time to reread The Sunlight Pilgrims). But… she published a slim new volume of poetry: There’s a Witch in the Word Machine. As the title indicates, these poems have a incantatory slant to them: part grimoire, part protest. As powerful and upsetting as they can be, there’s something addictive and hopeful about their faith in magic.

I mentioned Drew Williams’ The Stars Now Unclaimed at the midway point when (I cheated) it wasn’t even out yet. So it is only fair that I double-down. This space opera is bouncy and bounding in the best way: casually progressive and continuously entertaining. It is like revisiting the limitless joy of an old favourite, but upgraded with all the latest bells and whistles. Plus: zombie space raptors.

E.J. Swift’s Paris Adrift is beautiful, an ode to Paris (specifically) and romantic freedom (broadly). Cleverly composed, Paris Adrift begins with cataclysmic end of the world—and then steps sideways and backwards into the gloriously mundane. This is a book about love in a crisis; and learning to know yourself in an age of uncertainty. It is, if you’ll excuse the pun, timely. And, being a genuinely great book, will always be so.

–Jared Shurin

All year, I haven’t been able to put into words how much I love Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road. The third book set in the same world as Hartman’s Seraphina, Tess finds its title character (Seraphina’s half-sister) setting out on a stumbling road trip on which she finds a whole host of things we don’t always think of as heroic: truth, friendship, healing, honesty, and new ways of living in the world. But this is a heroic journey—one about healing from trauma, about retelling the story of yourself, and about coming to understand even the people you don’t really want to understand (including, sometimes, your own family). Stubborn, wounded Tess is a character I didn’t want to leave with the last page, and Hartman’s world grows bigger and bigger—and more inclusive—with every step of Tess’s journey. This is a book about compassion, about rape culture, about keeping moving when there’s little else you can do. It’s pointed and poignant, sharp and true, and the kind of book I know I’ll go back to again and again.

R.F. Kuang’s much-lauded debut, The Poppy War, eludes summation. There are layers upon layers to the story of the orphan Rin, who wins a place at the elite military school Sinegard and finds herself training in shamanism, in harnessing the power of a god in order to fight a powerful enemy. When war comes, it comes brutally, and nothing about it is easy—not dying, and not surviving, either. The setting is a secondary world, but Kuang’s story draws on Chinese history, including the Rape of Nanjing. “Almost every single reviewer has reeled from” specific chapters, Kuang writes in a post on her site about the necessity of brutality. I reeled, and I sat quietly, and I absorbed, and I understood the choices Rin makes after she sees what her enemy has done. I don’t just want to know what happens next; I need to know. But I’ve got months to wait: the sequel, The Dragon Republic, comes out in June.

–Molly Templeton

Aliette de Bodard’s fiction ranges from space opera to ruined Angel-ruled Paris, Aztec empire police procedurals and explorations of the interior lives of artificial intelligence. In the Vanishers’ Palace sits squarely in a post-apocalyptic science fantasy mode, something new and different, even if there are elements from her other work that meld together into a fusion that is more than the sum of its parts. From post-apocalyptic themes to dragons, to the legacy of colonial and cultural oppression, the insularity of village life, romance, family dynamics and much more, the author grounds the work in a tangled web of characters’ relationships. The trials, troubles, story drivers and worldbuilding all are wonderfully emergent from these character relationships. And this is all, at its base, the author’s take on a same sex version of the romance at the heart of Beauty and the Beast, between a human and a dragon. With all of these competing elements for the reader’s attention, it’s a balancing and juggling act that the author performs with confidence and success. In the Vanisher’s Palace showed me the consummate skill of the author’s ability.

Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera is a novel that is exuberantly fun, in a time and moment where such fun may seem frivolous and frothy and not serious. However, I hold the contrary view that such fun and frivolity is a tonic for people in these times. And it must be said, underneath of the chassis of this novel, which is the best combination of Eurovision and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy that you could possibly ever imagine, there is a real beating heart of an ethos, an idea and a staked-out claim that science fiction can not only be fun and outwardly enthusiastically extroverted—but it can be well written and provide all the genre elements and invention at the same time. My knowledge of popular music, and Eurovision, is limited, and even with those limitations, I was carried along and through the themes and plot and characters of the novel by the sheer audacious flow of Valente’s writing. This is the novel I had the most fun reading all year.

Deep Roots, Ruthanna Emrys’ follow up to Winter Tide, deepens and enriches the Lovecraftian universe that Emrys brings to the page. With Aphra now having built a fragile but very real found family, her goal to find more of the blood of Innsmouth brings her to a place in its way as dangerous as any city beneath the ocean—New York City. While there, Aphra and her friends do find possible relatives, but also come into contact with more of the Lovecraftian universe, in the form of the Mi-Go, beings whose goals and directives toward humanity are not the same as Aphra, or even the Yith. Keeping her family together, forging relationships with her new relatives, and treating with the Mi-Go forces Aphra to become ever more a leader, whether she will, or not. It’s a lovely study and development of her character, and the relationships of those who connect around her. Emrys engages with Lovecraft’s body of work and makes it palatable and readable, and essential by having protagonists that, pointedly, Lovecraft would have never dreamed of writing from their point of view. It’s essential reading for those interested in Lovecraft’s legacy.

 –Paul Weimer

If I could have a new Naomi Novik standalone fantasy every three years, I would want for very little else. To call Spinning Silver simply a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin falls short of what it achieves, but it’s a good starting point: Novik begins with the familiar fairy tale conceit of a maiden trapped by her ability to conjure riches out of misery, then layers on commentaries into poverty, anti-Semitism, and money as the root of all evil, then lays down a glittering road of ice and crosses over it to a terrifying, cold kingdom. Basically, it’s Rumpelstiltskin meets The Merchant of Venice meets Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” poem, and it’s lovely.

Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant had a lot to live up to after Traitor Baru; and while it didn’t shock and delight in the same ways, it triumphantly expanded the series’ universe while keeping Baru a compelling antihero. I had to read this book in fits and starts around other reading obligations, so that each time I returned to this dense tome was like reimmersing myself in deep water. Learning the new nations and players, revisiting the old ones, I felt like Baru herself, faced with the world map spread over the floor while playing the Great Game. To read this book is a challenge, but an intoxicating and satisfying one.

Every year I have to highlight the speculative short fiction that stuck with me longer than some books did. Whenever there’s a new Karen Russell story, I feel compelled to read it like a moth drawn to a flame, and “Orange World” captivates with its depiction of the desperate protectiveness of early motherhood. Judging by “The Pamphlet,” I’m likely to feel the same way about T. Kira Madden’s fiction going forward: She weaves questions of racial identity and genetic inheritance into an unsettling ghost story that nonetheless made me tear up at its end.

I’m especially fond of those stories that futz with the medium and readers’ expectations of text. Like how Nino Cipri’s “Dead Air” unfolds through audio transcripts, establishing its own boundaries of white noise in brackets and then sneaking in otherworldly voices into that calming buzz. The fact that it stalwartly refuses to be a recording, to exist on the page instead of in your ears, actually heightens the creepiness factor. Then there’s Sarah Gailey’s “STET,” a brilliant, spiteful, poignant takedown of unfeeling near-future accident reports and overbearing editors, with the ingenious formatting (from the team at Fireside Fiction) to match.

–Natalie Zutter

Archaeologists unearth dozens of mummified cats in Egypt

  • Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical.
  • The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties.
  • While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.

There are three things that everybody knows about ancient Egypt: they had mummies, built the pyramids as tombs for kings, and really liked cats. While there is vastly more to ancient Egyptian culture than these details, they are accurate ones. All three of these conceptions were confirmed again this week when archaeologists in Egypt discovered a tomb full of mummified cats.

Mummified cats? 

Cat statue

Photo: The Ministry of Antiquities.

One of the items found at the dig site. It seems to be a very good kitty and not at all cursed.

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has announced the discovery of dozens of mummified cats in a 4,500-year-old tomb. Alongside the cats were gilded statues of felines and a bronze icon of the cat-headed goddess Bastet. The archaeologists also found a large sarcophagus filled with mummified scarab beetles.

Other tombs on the site were dedicated to the royal official Khufu-Imhat. A door engraved with the names of two women was also found, though the archaeologists are still working on who they were.

Is this typical?

Mummified Dung Beetles

Photo: The Ministry of Antiquities.

The beetles and the tiny caskets they were found in. Scarab beetles, including the well known dung beetle, were also considered sacred by the Ancient Egyptians.

Yes, since the 1890s, mummified cats have been found all over Egypt. According to Dr. Antonietta Catanzariti, who works with Smithsonian at UC Berkeley, a single massive discovery unearthed 180,000 well-preserved felines. Mummified cats are so common that during the 1880s they were sold off to make fertilizer as museums had little interest in buying more of them.

The Facebook post the ministry made about this discovery spends more time on the beetles than the cats, as the discovery of two, large, well-preserved beetles is a rare find.

Forget the beetles. Why would the Egyptians mummify cats?

The Egyptians mummified millions of animals, from beetles to bulls. According to Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol, this was partly because many animals were seen as the incarnations of gods and giving them the honor of mummification was a pious act. This is why many mummified animals were given the same quality of treatment as humans.

Others mummified their animals because they wanted to be buried with their pets. It’s no different than how some people today spend way too much money on their dogs, get their cats hip replacements, or include them in their will. Humans seem to love their pets no matter where you go and in what era.

How else did the Egyptians show their love of cats? 

Photo by David Savill/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

December 1936: The Great Sphinx of Giza, representing a guardian deity in Egyptian mythology, with the body of a lion and the head of a woman.

The Egyptian love of cats goes back a long way. Mafdet, the protector against venomous creatures, was depicted as having the head of a cat as far back as 2,800 BCE. This depiction was likely a reference to the tendency for felines to kill snakes, as she was also often depicted as with the head of a Mongoose.

Breeds similar to the African wildcat are depicted as being domesticated as early as the 26th century BCE. After the 10th century BCE, the typical person started keeping domestic cats at home. The love endured to the 1st century BCE when a mob supposedly lynched a Roman for killing a cat. It was only when the Roman empire began to suppress paganism that the view of cats as sacred began to decline.

Cats, other than being wonderful pets, also ate rodents that would spread disease and steal grain. In an era before modern medicine or food storage techniques, both of these functions were indispensable. Just as many scholars view the veneration of cows in Hinduism as a result of the dependence of early peoples on cattle as a source of fuel, many Egyptologists suggest cats were so useful to the Egyptian people that they were treated as sacred as a result.

It’s wrong to think that they worshiped their cats, however. According Antonietta Catanzariti’s interview with Smithsonian, the ancient Egyptians’ attitude was one of reverence to the idea of the divine in animals. She explains that:

What they were [actually] doing was associating cats to specific deities because of their attitude, how they were behaving in the natural world. Everything had a meaning. A cat protecting the house from mice. Or it might just protect kittens. These were attitudes that were attributed to a specific goddess.

It isn’t that the cats were divine, but instead that they reflected the divine and should be respected as such; an observation many cat lovers would agree with.

Do dogs speak human?

Archaeologists unearth dozens of mummified cats in Egypt

Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical. The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties. While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.

BMike’s Studio Be in New Orleans, Louisiana

Artist “BMike” has made a name for himself by transforming overlooked and abandoned spaces with art.

Following the years after Hurricane Katrina, BMike and other artists began creating murals in the city’s lower 9th Ward in hopes of reinstating hope and resilience in the neighborhood. When the Housing Authority of New Orleans boarded up that space, he took on another ambitious project of curating 35 street artists to cover the walls of a 360 unit apartment complex for three months in a project known as “Exhibit Be.”

“Studio Be” is the first project by BMike to have started up legally, and despite the changing neighborhood around it, has continued to be open to the public since 2016. Inside a formerly abandoned warehouse, BMike has taken over the walls with his solo show “Ephemeral Eternal,” at 35,000 square feet, it may be one of the grandest, and longest running, solo art shows in the country.

Using the enormous walls of the sprawling warehouse, BMike has filled the space with massive murals and larger than life installations, which lead to uncommonly moving works. The art in the space tells stories about civil rights leaders, Hurricane Katrina, black history and contemporary culture. In addition to the issues touched on by the installations, Studio Be hosts school tours meant to teach students about lesser know black history figures.

BMike’s Studio Be

Artist “BMike” has made a name for himself by transforming overlooked and abandoned spaces with art. Following the years after Hurricane Katrina, BMike and other artists began creating murals in the city’s lower 9th Ward in hopes of reinstating hope and resilience in the neighborhood.


Susa was one of the oldest cities in the world and part of the site is still inhabited as Shush, Khuzestan Province, Iran. Excavations have uncovered evidence of continual habitation dating back to 4200 BCE but that early community grew from an even older one dating back to c. 7000 BCE. Susa was a principal city of the Elamite, Achaemenid Persian, and Parthian empires and was originally known to the Elamites as ‘Susan’ or ‘Susun’. The Greek name for the city was Sousa and the Hebrew, Shushan. It is mentioned in the Bible in the books of Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and most notably the Book of Esther and was said to be the home of both Nehemiah and Daniel.

Although Shush presently occupies most of the ancient city’s location, an archaeological site of largely unexcavated tells is nearby. The temple/palace area and graves were excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries CE but further excavation is required. According to UNESCO, “the excavated architectural monuments include administrative, residential, and palatial structures” and the site contains several layers of urban settlement dating from the 5th millennium BCE through the 13th century CE (1). The old city was situated between the modern rivers Karkheh and Dez (the rivers Choaspes and Eulaeus mentioned in the Biblical Book of Daniel 8:2, where Daniel received his vision), which bring mud down from the Zagros Mountains making the area one of the most fertile in the region.

In 2700 BCE, King Enembaragesi of the Sumerian city of Kish defeated the Elamites of Awan & Susa in battle (the first recorded war in the history of the world). 

It was the political center of Elam early in the 4th millennium BCE and there is a fortress, still extant, which dates back to this period as well as the ruins of buildings from the Persian, Macedonian, Syrian-Greek, and Parthian eras, making the Susa site of particular historical importance as it provides significant evidence of the evolution of cultures in the region over a vast period of time. It was accorded status as a site of Outstanding Universal Value by UNESCO in 2015 CE.

In c. 1764 BCE, Hammurabi of Babylon (r. 1792-1750 BCE) sacked the city and carried off the statues of the city’s deities in retaliation for Elamite aggression. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE) destroyed Susa completely between 645-640 BCE to avenge the perceived wrongs the people of Mesopotamia had suffered at the hands of the Elamites. The city was rebuilt and inhabited sometime after Ashurbanipal’s attack only to be conquered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great (r.559-530 BCE) in 540 BCE. It was made the capital of the Persian Empire by Cambyses II (died 522 BCE) and was rebuilt and expanded upon by the Persian king Darius the Great (522-486 BCE) who favored it over his other residences.

There were other capitals in Persia (PasargadaePersepolis, and Ecbatana), but it is clear that Susa was the best known and most often mentioned. Persepolis, owing to its location, was unknown to the Greek historians until it was destroyed by Alexander the Great (r.336-323 BCE). After the defeat and destruction of the Achaemenid Empire by Alexander the Great, and then Alexander’s death, Susa became part of the Seleucid Empire.

Proto-Elamite Tablets

It was then known as Seleucia on the Eulaeus and Greek architecture and styling began to appear beside the older works of the Elamites and the Persians. The city remained an important intellectual, religious, and cultural center until it was sacked by Muslim armies in 638 CE and destroyed. Rebuilt yet again, it thrived until 1218 CE when it was utterly destroyed by invading Mongols.

Foundation & Early History

Susa began as a small village in the Neolithic Age c. 7000 BCE and had developed into an urban center by c. 4200 BCE. At some point in its development, the people created a monumental platform which served as the base for a temple, most likely dedicated to the god Inshushinak, patron deity of Susa. Inshushinak was the god of darkness and the afterlife and so it is no surprise that graves were dug around the platform and offerings made to both the god and the deceased. Over 2,000 such offerings, in the form of ceramic vessels, have been excavated from this area alone. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

In addition to ceramics, the cemetery contained some fifty-five hammered copper “axes”. They are similar in shape to stone examples that have been widely found at contemporary sites and were probably used as hoes. These objects contain greater quantities of copper than do finds from any other site of the same period. Unquestionably they represent considerable wealth. (30)

Ceramics, agriculture, and metallurgy seem to have been the primary focus of employment in the city at this stage although images from the period show women at work in textiles. As Susa grew, the smaller villages surrounding it were abandoned and the so-called Proto-Elamite Period (c.3200-c.2700 BCE) moved on to the Old Elamite Period (c.2700-c.1600 BCE) during which ceramics became more refined and trade was established firmly with other nations. Scholar Susan Wise Bauer writes:

The Elamites had been living in their own small cities, over to the east of the Gulf, almost as long as Sumerians had occupied the Mesopotamian plain. Their ultimate origin, like that of most ancient people, is unknown, but their cities grew up not only just south of the Caspian Sea, but also along the southern border of the large sale desert plateau that lay east of the Zagros Mountains. From about 2700, the Elamites too had kings. Twinned cities, Susa and Awan, served as the center of their civilization. (88)

Awan was located north of Susa and was initially the more important of the two cities as a political and religious center. In 2700 BCE, King Enembaragesi of the Sumerian city of Kish defeated the Elamites of Awan and Susa in battle (the first recorded war in the history of the world) and briefly established Sumerian culture in the region. Sargon of Akkad (r.2334-2279 BCE) then absorbed the region into his Akkadian Empire but the kings of Awan were able to later negotiate their autonomy with Sargon’s grandson Naram-Sin (r.2261-2224 BCE) at a time when Akkadian power was waning.

Ziggurat Consecrated to God Inshushinak at Choqa Zanbil

Susa would not retain its independence for long, however, and was taken by Shulgi of Ur (2029-1982 BCE) as part of his expansionist policy. Shulgi again introduced Sumerian culture to the city as cultural diffusion was a central platform of his administration. The Elamites and nomadic Amorites of the region resisted the Sumerian efforts, however, and threatened Ur whenever they felt strong enough; they finally succeeded in throwing off Sumerian domination during the latter part of the reign of Ibbi-Sin (1963-1940 BCE) when the Third Dynasty of Ur fell to the Elamites.

Between the time of Shulgi and Ibbi-Sin, however, Ur consistently lost power and prestige and was taken by Hammurabi of Babylon when he conquered the whole of Mesopotamia. Susa was among the Elamite cities sacked by the Babylonian king in c. 1764 BCE in response to Elamite aggression. The city was burned and the statues of the goddesses and their priestesses carried back to Babylon. According to Susan Wise Bauer, “This was a polite and sacred version of carrying off your enemy’s wives and ravishing them” (172).

As Babylonian power declined following Hammurabi’s death in 1750 BCE, Awan and Susa became stronger. In c. 1500 BCE Awan-Susa became powerful enough to conquer the southern city of Anshan and the monarchs of the period would sign their names, “King of Anshan and Susa” in a show of unity and strength of the region. Scholars identify this event as the beginning of the Middle Elamite Period (c. 1600-c. 1100 BCE) when Susa, and Elam generally, was at its peak.

Ancient writers on the city always mention the grandeur of the buildings constructed by Artaxerxes II. 

Middle Elamite Period

At this time Susa became capital of the region of Susiana (corresponding to the Province of Khuzestan, Iran in the modern day) and Elamite script replaced Akkadian in official documents. The kings of Susa grew more and more powerful until, by c. 1200 BCE, they were in complete control of their region and began their own policy of expansion and conquest as well as grand building projects.

The most famous of these projects was the city of Dur-Untash and its temple complex, built by the Elamite king Untash-Napirisha (r. c. 1275-1240 BCE). Untash-Napirisha, for reasons which are unclear, located his great religious complex nineteen miles (31 km) south-east of Susa and surrounded it with a new city. Scholar Marc van de Mieroop describes the most impressive aspect of the project:

Its center was a massive ziggurat surrounded by an inner enclosure with numerous temples. Inside a second enclosure, more secular buildings were located. The ziggurat was devoted to Napirisha, the great god of Elam, and Inshushinak, the patron deity of Susa. The construction was truly monumental: it contained millions of bricks, a substantial part of which was baked at great expense of fuel. The inner core of sun-dried brick was encased in a 2-meter-thick layer of baked brick. Every tenth layer of the outer casing had a row of bricks inscreibed with a dedication from Untash-Napirisha to Inshushinak. Because of the solidity of its construction, this is the best-preserved ziggurat in the Near East. (186)

Most likely, Untash-Napirisha created Dur-Untash simply because Susa at this time had become so well-developed. Even so, after his death the aristocrats of Susa stopped construction at Dur-Untash and religious rites continued at Susa. The Metropolitan Museum of Art notes that copper discs have been found at Susa, “probably worn by priests during certain ceremonies” and buried with their owners (30). Like the copper “axes” mentioned above, these discs attest to the wealth of the city at this time.

During the Middle Elamite Period, Susa prospered and flourished not only as the capital but a center of commerce and a religious site. The best artisans of the region were employed in creating grand structures and monuments and, as scholar Wolfram von Soden notes, the best translation of the name of these artisans is “specialists” who had studied extensively under a master (104-105). The kings of this period added to the city’s splendor but probably none so much as those of the Shutrukid Dynasty (c. 1210-1100 BCE).

Elamite Cup

The best known of these kings is Shutruk Nakhunte (c. 1185-c. 1150 BCE) who invaded Mesopotamia, defeated the Kassites, and established the Elamite Empire. He is most famous, however, for his sack of the cities of Sippar and Babylon in c. 1150 BCE and carried the statue of the god Marduk, as well as the stele of the Code of Hammurabi, back to Susa. The Elamite Empire would last throughout the Skutrukid Dynasty but steadily lost power and vanished into the obscurity of the early part of the Neo-Elamite Period (c. 1100-c. 540 BCE).

The Neo-Elamite Period & Foreign Invasion

Little is known of the early Neo-Elamite Period as many of the records have either been lost or remain unexcavated. Evidence points to early clashes with the Neo-Assyrian Empire (912-612 BCE) and alliances with other powers but details are scarce. Assyrian documents, however, record Susa’s support of the Chaldean rebel Merodach-Baladan against the Assyrian king Sargon II (722-705 BCE) and repeated clashes with his son Sennacherib (705-681 BCE).

Sennacherib’s son, Esharaddon (681-669 BCE) conquered Elam and took Susa but did not damage the city. Good relations were established between Susa and the Assyrians afterwards but deteriorated under the reign of Esharaddon’s son Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE) after the Elamites rebelled and attacked Assyrian cities. Ashurbanipal crushed the uprising and sacked Susa, destroying the city.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire fell to a coalition led by Babylonians and Medes in 612 BCE and Susa at this time fell under the control of the Medes until Elam was taken by the Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the great in 540 BCE. The Persian invasion effectively ends Elamite history but Susa continued as an important urban center. During the period of the Achaemenid Empire, Susa again flourished as the Persian kings devoted as much time and effort to beautifying the city as the former Elamite kings had.

Cambyses II of Persia

Cambyses II made the city capital of the Persian Empire and Darius the Great built his monumental palace there which was added on to by his successors Xerxes I (r.486-465 BCE) and Artaxerxes I (r. 465-424 BCE). The Biblical Book of Esther is set in Susa, where king Ahasverus (Xerxes) threatened the Jews with genocide and Esther saved them. After him, during the rule of Artaxerxes I, a huge fire destroyed much of the city from this period. King Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358 BCE) rebuilt the city and added an audience hall (apadana) at Susa which was said to be most impressive. Ancient writers on the city always mention the grandeur of the buildings constructed by Artaxerxes II.

The city continued to flourish until it was sacked by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE. Even so, Alexander did not destroy the city and it became the site of the so-called Susa Weddings of 324 BCE in which he married over 10,000 Macedonians and Persians in an effort to unite the two cultures.  

After Alexander’s death in 323 BCE, the region went to his general Seleucus (r. 321-315, 305-281 BCE) who founded the Seleucid Empire and renamed the city Seleucia on the Eulaeus. Susa remained an important center of commerce, as well as the capital, during this period and would continue to thrive under the later Parthian Empire (247 BCE – 224 CE) during which time it was one of the two capitals (the other being Ctesiphon). As Ctesiphon was repeatedly taken by Rome during the Parthian-Roman conflicts, kingship was transferred to Susa, out of reach of Rome as it was further to the east and more easily defensible.

The Parthian Empire was toppled by Ardashir I (also known as Ardashir the Unifier, r.224-241 CE) who founded the Sasanian Empire (224-651 CE) and during this time Susa declined in prestige. It became a focal point for the Christian community of the region who antagonized the Sasanians through their alignment with Rome. Susa eventually drew Christians from the surrounding areas until it was sacked by the Sasanian king Shapur II (r.309-379 CE) who dispersed the population.

Persian Archers

The city revived, however, and was again prosperous when it was sacked and destroyed by Muslim armies in 638 CE. The Arab forces are said to have found a silver sarcophagus during the invasion which was believed to house the body of the prophet Daniel from the Bible. The tomb of Daniel can still be visited in modern-day Shush. Susa again revived and remained a significant commercial and religious center until it was destroyed by invading Mongols in 1218 CE.


After the Mongol invasion, Susa lay in ruin and its buildings were harvested by the local population for stone. Although some buildings were still inhabited by nomads periodically, the city was largely abandoned until the 19th century CE when European and American museums and cultural institutions sent teams to the regions of ancient Mesopotamia and Persia in an effort to corroborate biblical narratives through archaeological evidence.

The first efforts at Susa were undertaken in 1854 CE with the first serious and systematic excavation taking place in 1884 CE, led by the French archaeologist Jacques de Morgan. This team felt under constant threat by the local population and devoted significant time and resources to building a castle for protection and as a base of operations. Although they were excavating and working to preserve the site of ancient Susa, they also used material from the site to construct the building now known as Shush Castle or the Archaeologist’s Castle, dated to c. 1885 CE.

Excavations at the site continued into the 20th century CE although turmoil in the region has repeatedly interrupted the work there. Today Susa is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and potentially among the largest since, although it has been excavated and researched for over 150 years, a significant portion of the ancient site remains buried. Urban expansion of Shush, as well as hydraulic works implemented upstream on the two nearby rivers, has threatened the site but conservation and preservation efforts continue and the ruins of the once great city of Susa continue to draw visitors from around the world as an archaeological park.

This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

Viking Raids on Paris

Throughout the 9th century CE, Viking raids on the region of Francia (roughly modern-day France) increased in frequency, destabilizing the region, and terrorizing the populace. The raids seem to have been inspired by the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne in 814 CE or, at least, correlated with it. Charlemagne (king of the Franks, 768-814 CE; Holy Roman Emperor, 800-814 CE) had led numerous military campaigns on Saxony during the Saxon Wars (722-804 CE), slaughtering thousands, and seemed invincible in battle. The Saxons appealed to the Danes for help and Denmark did what it could.  

As long as Charlemagne lived, however, they had little hope of success but after his death there was no real challenge to Danish incursions. The first Viking raid to strike Francia via the Seine came in 820 CE and more would follow, the most dramatic being the Siege of Paris in 845 CE and 885-886 CE. The first of these, in which Ragnar Lothbrok was paid handsomely by Charles the Bald (r. 843-877 CE) to leave the city, encouraged more; the second, after which the Viking Chieftain Rollo (l. c. 830 – c. 930 CE) remained in the land to raid the countryside, resulted in the Treaty of Saint Clair sur Epte in 911 CE, granting Rollo the land which would become Normandy (land of the Norsemen) in exchange for his protection against any future Viking raids. After 911 CE, although Viking bands still made incursions into West Francia, Rollo protected Paris and the surrounding area as he had promised and the Viking raids on Paris and its environs ended.

Charlemagne & the Saxon Wars

Charlemagne spent the greater part of his reign in military conquest, consolidating his power and that of the church. His campaigns against the people of Saxony were especially brutal and epitomized by the Massacre of Verden in 782 CE when he had 4,200 Saxons executed; an event remarked on even by his own Frankish historians who struggled to cast it in a positive light.

The first Viking raid in Francia came in 820 CE when 13 ships made their way up the Seine & put ashore.

Prior to the Saxon wars, the Danes and Franks were acquainted through trade and there is no evidence of military conflict. During the wars, however, the Saxon chief Widukind asked for assistance from the Danish king Sigfried who agreed to allow Saxon refugees fleeing from Charlemagne’s army into his kingdom. Charlemagne put a stop to this in 798 CE but when Saxony was conquered in 804 CE, the Danish king Godfred attacked and ably took Frisia from the Franks. Charlemagne was mounting an expedition to drive his forces out when Godfred died and his successor quickly sued for peace and withdrew.

The ease with which Godfred had been able to subdue Frisia, the lure of the wealth of the Franks, and possibly the need to avenge those killed in the Saxon Wars, encouraged other Scandinavian leaders to try their hand at invading Francia. Scholar Janet L. Nelson writes:

The aristocracy whom Godfred raised up had acquired an appetite for status and wealth. [After his death] temporarily disappointed men were driven to recoup their losses elsewhere. And where better than in the Frankish empire? In the generation or so after Charlemagne’s death in 814, the amount of visible, readily available Frankish wealth continued to grow. (Sawyer, 22)

The first Viking raid came in 820 CE when 13 ships made their way up the Seine and put ashore. The raiders had no idea what to expect, however, and were quickly defeated by the shore guard. The survivors retreated to their ships and withdrew. Charlemagne had been succeeded by his son Louis I (the Pious, 814-840 CE) whose reign continued the prosperity and stability of the region and who held the Vikings at bay through bribes and favors; but upon his death his three sons vied with one another for control and the region devolved into civil war.

Map of France, 10th Century CE

These wars were finally concluded by the Treaty of Verdun of 843 CE which divided the empire between Louis I’s sons. Louis the German (r. 843-876 CE) received East Francia, Lothair (r. 843-855 CE) took Middle Francia, and Charles the Bald would rule West Francia. None of the brothers were interested in helping the others in any way and each would, to greater or lesser degrees, be left to deal with Viking raids on their kingdoms on their own.  

The Siege of Paris 845 CE

The first significant Viking raid came in May of 841 CE, a year after Louis I’s death, when the Viking chief Asgeir sacked and burned Rouen and looted the Monastery of Fontenelle and the Abbey of Saint-Denis. The amount of plunder and the number of captives taken was significant. Those prisoners whose families or friends could pay the Vikings a ransom were returned; the others were sold as slaves. Asgeir left the region a wealthy chieftain and this encouraged Ragnar Lothbrok to try for an even greater prize than Rouen: the city of Paris.

The Annals of Saint-Bertin (c. 840-880 CE), which record the Viking raids, names the leader of the 845 CE siege of Paris as Reginfred, who has been identified as Ragnar Lothbrok of the Danes (though this has been challenged by some scholars). Ragnar arrived with a fleet of 120 ships in late March of 845 CE and made his way up the River Seine toward Paris. Charles the Bald assembled an army quickly and mobilized them on either side of the river to protect the city but the two divisions were unequal in number.

Ragnar drove his ships against the smaller force, defeated them, and hanged 111 of the survivors. As there was no bridge across the Seine at this point, the rest of Charles’ army could do nothing to stop Ragnar and he sailed on to Paris, reaching the city on Easter Sunday. This seems to have been according to plan as the Vikings understood the most valuable loot – and citizens – would be in church and easily taken.

Ragnar Lothbrok & Kráka

Charles directed his army to save the Abbey of St. Denis, leaving Paris to fend for itself. News of the Viking’s approach had reached the city, however, and when Ragnar arrived he found most of the population had fled along with their valuables. Scholar Lars Brownworth writes:

The city itself proved to be [frustrating for the Vikings]. Much of the expected treasure had been carried away into the surrounding countryside by the frightened inhabitants. They could send out raiding parties in search of it but that opened them to the possibility of ambush or an assault by Charles’ army. In fact, every moment Ragnar spent in Paris, his situation worsened. The Frankish king had been collecting reinforcements, and was now at the head of a considerable army in a position to block the Viking escape. Even more worrying was the fact that the Vikings were beginning to show signs of dysentery, which further reduced their fighting ability. (48-49)

Ragnar sent emissaries to Charles indicating he was open to negotiations. Instead of refusing Ragnar’s request and pressing the obvious advantage he had, Charles agreed to pay the Viking chief 7,000 pounds in gold and silver to leave the city and, further, allowed him and his men to keep whatever they had taken from Paris. It took two months for Charles to raise the money, during which time the Vikings suffered from dysentery within and around the walls of Paris. The Parisians claimed this was divine retribution sent by Saint Germain of Paris (c. 496-576 CE), former bishop of the city, whose relics were housed in the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres which Ragnar had attacked. More Vikings died from dysentery in the raid on Paris than in any form of combat.

Once Ragnar had been paid, he made his way back down the Seine – burning and looting as he went – and back home to present his victory, captives, and other spoils to King Horik of Denmark. He is said to have broken down in tears during his audience with the king and claimed that the only resistance he met from the Franks was in the form of the long-dead saint who had killed so many of his men in the city and on their way home.

The 845 CE siege almost certainly enriched Ragnar but its lasting significance was the precedent set by Charles the Bald of paying a Viking leader off for peace. 

Horik had earlier sent a fleet of ships up the River Elbe to attack East Francia, burning and sacking Hamburg, but failing to achieve his objectives. Horik’s men had burned churches and monasteries in Hamburg just as Ragnar had attacked the abbey of St. Germain and of St.  Bertin in West Francia and news of the Frankish saint’s alleged intervention was hardly welcome. Further, emissaries from Louis the German were in Horik’s court when Ragnar made his presentation and they were quick to capitalize on the story, warning Horik of an impending invasion by Louis the German, no doubt backed by their own saint’s supernatural power, if he did not submit to East Francia as a vassal.

Horik agreed quickly with the terms and “sent envoys to Louis the German with an offer to release all the captives taken by the invaders of 845 and promised he would try to recover the stolen treasure and return it to its rightful owners” (Ferguson, 96-97). Fearful of further reprisals by the Frankish saint, Horik had all of Ragnar’s men he could lay hands on executed, though Ragnar himself escaped as did many of his warriors who had already left Denmark with their loot.

The 845 CE siege almost certainly enriched Ragnar and those of his men who survived it but its lasting significance was the precedent set by Charles the Bald of paying a Viking leader off for peace. Charles’ deal with Ragnar marks “the first recorded example of the danegeld payment, a money-with-menaces tactic that the Vikings would later employ with great success in England” (Ferguson, 96). Once the memory of Saint Germain’s supposed retribution faded from Viking memory, the large sum paid to Ragnar encouraged others to strike at the regions of Francia.  

The Siege of Paris 885-886 CE

The Vikings were back in the region in 851-852 CE under the leadership of Asgeir who looted and plundered at will from a base they established at Rouen. Charles the bald alternately fought or tried to negotiate with the raiders but with little success. In c. 858 CE Bjorn Ironside, son of Ragnar, and the Viking chief Halstein (also known as Hasting) burned the Abbey of Fontenelle and captured the monasteries of Paris, holding them for ransom until paid by Charles. In 860 CE, Charles contracted with the Viking Chieftain Veland to fight for him against other Vikings bands in exchange for 3,000 pounds in silver and Veland worked, with more or less success, to secure the lower Seine region.

Viking Longship Replica

Still, the raiders kept coming and in 876 CE a fleet of 100 ships sailed up the Seine to burn and loot the region around Rouen. It is probable that Rollo was involved in this raid, if not its leader, and Charles was again helpless in preventing the Vikings from plundering the land and taking people captive to either sell or ransom back. The Viking rampage only ended when Charles paid them 5,000 pounds silver to go home.

The Kingdom of West Francia under Charles the Bald, therefore, became an easy source of income for the Vikings. If, as in the raids of 851-852 CE, they found little worth plundering in the ravaged countryside and communities, they could simply range a bit farther afield until the king paid them to leave. Scholar Robert Ferguson comments:

It seems obvious now that policies of appeasement and alliance with individual Viking leaders only encouraged them to push harder. The tactics employed by Louis the Pious, Lothar, Charles the Bald, and Charles the Fat established clear precedents for the gift of lands around Rouen and the lower Seine…Even so, it is hard not to sympathize with them, in particular with the two Charleses who made the most active use of the policy, or to see what alternatives they had. (104)

In 885 CE the Vikings returned to Paris. Following the death of Charles the Bald in 877 CE, the throne was held by his successors until the last one died in 884 CE without an heir and the nobles of West Francia invited Charles the Fat (youngest son of Louis the German) to reign. Charles the Fat was involved in his own affairs in East Francia and, besides, was not inclined toward military engagements. When the Vikings came up the Seine, defense of the city was in the hands of Odo, Count of Paris (later King of West Francia, 888-898 CE) who would become the Frankish hero of the siege of 885-886 CE.

The monk Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Pres (9th century CE) gives the Viking leader’s name as Sigfried but other sources cite Rollo as participating in this raid if not leading it. Abbo describes the arrival of the Viking fleet as seen from the walls of the city:

The Northmen came to Paris with 700 sailing ships, not counting those of smaller size which are commonly called barques. At one stretch the Seine was lined with vessels for more than two leagues, so that one might ask in astonishment in what cavern the river had been swallowed up, for nothing was visible there, since ships covered that river as if with oak trees, elms, and alders. (Sommerville & McDonald, 202)

Abbo relates how Sigfried met under truce with the bishop of the city, Gauzelin, and Count Odo to offer them terms but these were rejected. The next morning the assault on Paris began when the Vikings attacked the tower and bridge across the Seine which had been built to defend against raids following Ragnar’s siege in 845 CE. The tower was defended by Frankish troops led by Odo and his younger brother Robert (later Robert I, r. 922-923) and held; the Vikings were driven back to their ships. The Franks spent the night repairing damage to the tower’s walls and, in the morning, the Vikings struck again and were again repelled.

Unable to take the tower or breach the city walls, the Vikings settled in for a long siege. Abbo writes:

Meanwhile Paris was suffering not only from the sword outside but also from a pestilence within which brought death to many noble men. Within the walls there was not ground in which to bury the dead. Odo, the future king, was sent to Charles, emperor of the Franks, to implore for help for the stricken city. (Sommerville & McDonald, 223).

Charles arrived to relieve the city in 886 CE but, instead of engaging in battle, paid the Vikings to leave and suggested they go ravage Burgundy instead of West Francia. The Vikings accepted the money and did as he proposed but the people of Paris were disgusted with Charles’ tactic. He was deposed and Odo became king in his place. Odo would reign for the next ten years until he was asked to step down in favor of Charles the Simple (r. 893-923 CE), grandson of Charles the Bald. Charles was crowned king in 893 CE by the West Francia nobles but held no real power as long as Odo was still king. The nobility pressured Odo to relinquish his reign and he steadily lost power but died before it could be taken from him; Charles then took the throne without opposition in 898 CE.

Rollo & the Treaty

Following the Siege of Paris 885-886 CE, Rollo remained in West Francia raiding up and down the Seine. Commanders under Charles the Simple made some gains in 897-898 CE in defeating the Vikings but they could not dislodge them or stop the raids. Recognizing that there was no hope of military supremacy over his opponents, Charles proposed a deal to Rollo: the Viking chief would receive land and the king’s daughter, Gisla, as a bride in exchange for converting to Christianity and becoming Charles’ faithful vassal and protector of the realm.

Clive Standen as Rollo of Normandy

Rollo agreed to this proposal and the Treaty of Saint Clair sur Epte was signed in 911 CE. True to his word, Rollo became the king’s champion and Viking raids up the Seine on the surrounding countryside were ended. Rollo rebuilt the communities destroyed in earlier raids, instituted more effective laws, and joined Charles on campaign later to restore order in other regions and then to help him keep his throne when he was threatened (and later deposed) by Robert I in 923 CE. Rollo resigned as ruler of Normandy in 927 CE, dying in c. 930 CE and Charles would remain in captivity until his death in 929 CE but each man would leave behind a legacy of stability and freedom from Viking raids in West Francia for the first time since the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious.

The Raids in Vikings & Legacy

The Viking raids on Paris are depicted in the TV series Vikings in which Ragnar Lothbrok assaults the city and takes it (Season 3) and Rollo later defends it (Season 4). The series is entertainment, not history, and so takes liberties with the known facts to achieve its ends. The raid led by Ragnar as depicted in the show has little in common with Ragnar’s actual raid on Paris in 845 CE though elements of this raid were used in Season 3 when Ragnar’s army acts as mercenaries for Princess Kwenthrith (also given as Cwenthrith) of Mercia and attacks the weaker Mercian army on one side of a river while the rest of the Mercian forces, on the other side, can only look on helplessly.

The dramatic scene in Season 3:10 where Ragnar feigns death, is brought inside the cathedral, and leaps from his coffin to kill the bishop is taken from legends concerning the Viking chief Halstein, who apparently employed this deceit at least twice. In the show, once the Vikings have won Paris, they return home but leave Rollo behind to secure a landing base for future raids; this leads to the historic offer the king makes to Rollo and his vassalage to Charles the Simple.

When Ragnar and his raiders return to Paris in Season 4, Rollo has built towers for defense and stretched a chain across the Seine. There was actually only one tower and, instead of a chain, a low-lying bridge. There is also no evidence that the Vikings in the raids of 845 CE or 885 CE dismantled their ships and carried them overland to come at the city from above; though it has been established that Vikings did do this at other times in other places for various reasons.

The depiction of Gisla and Odo in the show are largely fictionalized. Gisla was a young girl (perhaps even as young as five years) when she was betrothed to Rollo and so her courageous rallying of the troops during the siege never happened. Odo is depicted accurately only so far as his defense of the city; his relationship with Therese and plot to overthrow Charles, as well as the more lurid aspects of the TV character, are fictions.

For all its departures from fact, however, the series’ depictions of the Viking raids on Paris provide an engaging slant on a fascinating time in the evolution of the French state. The treaty between Charles and Rollo established the first period of lasting peace since the Kingdom of West Francia was founded in 843 CE and provided the basis for a stable region. In time, and after further unrest, this stability would enable West Francia to prosper under the reign of Hugh Capet (987-996 CE) founder of the Kingdom of France, precursor to the modern nation.

This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.