Thursday, October 15, 2009

AP: Experts find rare Crusader-era murals in Syria

Archeologists in Tartous, Syria have discovered rare Crusader murals depicting heaven and hell. The al-Marqab Citadel in Tartous, about 150 miles northeast of Damascus, is thought to be where England's Richard the Lionheart landed at the beginning of the Third Crusade before traveling to Jerusalem to do battle with Saladin.

Story from the Associated Press today:

Archaeologists have discovered two Crusader-era murals depicting heaven and hell in a medieval church on Syria's coast — a rare find that could reveal new information about the Christian knights who battled Muslims for control of the Holy Land hundreds of years ago.

Experts are now renovating the 12th century paintings, which were discovered last year by a joint Syrian-Hungarian team excavating an old Crusader fortress on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean in the eastern city of Tartous.

The murals, which measure about 8 feet (2.5 meters) high and 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) wide, were hanging on either side of the altar of a 12th century chapel inside the al-Marqab Citadel and had accumulated thick layers of dust and dirt, archaeologists said.

The panel depicting hell shows people being tortured inside a wheel covered with knives and others being hanged and burnt, said Marwan Hassan, head of the Department of Antiquities in Tartous. The one portraying heaven includes saints surrounded by light colors.

Hassan said the Crusader murals were important because they were the first ones found in the Middle Eastdepicting heaven and hell.

Read the rest here.

Other details in an article from the Global Arab Network.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13th Interview with Stephen Dafoe

On the occasion of the 702nd anniversary of the October 13th arrest of the Templars in France, catch Brother and Sir Knight Stephen Dafoe's interview in the Innsmouth Free Press today.

And if you haven't read them, I highly recommend both his books, Nobly Born, about the medieval Order, and The Compasses and the Cross, about the Masonic Templars.

Poke around the Innsmouth Free Press site, as they have done a whole series of articles about the Knights Templar as part of an entire "Templar Week." And for more books about the Knights Templar, see here.