Thursday, June 30, 2016

Facts about Jerusalem

Facts about Jerusalem
Jerusalem, a Middle Eastern city west of the Dead Sea, has been a place of pilgrimage and worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims since the biblical era. Its Old City retains significant religious sites concentrated around the Temple Mount compound, including the Western Wall, sacred to Judaism, and the Dome of the Rock, a 7th-century Islamic shrine with a gold dome.
Jerusalem was founded around 3000 BCE.

The population of Jerusalem is 809,112 (2012). 

Jerusalem, by virtue of the number and diversity of people who have held it sacred, may be considered the most holy city in the world.

Jerusalem is important to the Jewish people because it is Ir Ha-Kodesh (the Holy City), the Biblical Zion, the City of David, the site of Solomon's Temple, and the eternal capital of the Israelite nation.
Jerusalem is important to Christians because it is where the young Jesus impressed the sages at the Jewish Temple, where he spent the last days of his ministry, and where the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection took place.
Jerusalem is important to Muslims because it is where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. After the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem is the third most sacred place of Islam.
While highly charged with intense religious devotion and visited by countless pilgrims and sages, Jerusalem has also been ravaged by thirty centuries of warfare and strife.
Jerusalem is a holy place with a rich and ancient history.
Daniel Interpreting Nebuchadrezzar's Dream

The History of Jerusalem

The earliest traces of human settlement in the Jerusalem area are from the late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age (3000 BCE). Excavations have shown that a town existed on the south side of Mount Moriah, also called Temple Mount. The name of this town was Urusalim, a word probably of Semitic origin that apparently means 'Foundation of Shalem' or 'Foundation of God'.

About 1000 BCE, Urusalim was captured by David, the founder of the joint kingdom of Israel and Judah, and became the Jewish kingdom's capital. In the earlier wandering years of the Israelites, their most sacred object, the Ark of the Covenant, was periodically moved about among several sanctuaries, but following David's capture of Urusalim, the Ark was moved to that city around 955 BCE. The Ark was a portable shrine containing the two stone Tablets of the Law that the prophet Moses had received upon Mt. Sinai. David renamed his city Jerusalem, meaning 'City of Peace' in Hebrew, and chose Mt. Moriah as the site of his future temple.
King David Playing The Harp (painting)

Mt. Moriah was already considered sacred for other reasons. It was also believed to be the site where Abraham had built an altar on which he prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. At this same site, the patriarch Jacob gathered stone from the altar upon which his father Isaac was to be sacrificed, and using this stone as a pillow spent the night sleeping upon the rock. Upon waking from a visionary dream, Jacob anointed the stone pillow with oil he had received from heaven and the stone then sank deep into the earth, to become the foundation stone of the great temple that would later be built by Solomon. This hallowed site is known as Bethel, meaning “Gate or House of Heaven.”
The First Temple of the Jews was built during the reign of David's son, Solomon. The Temple’s construction took seven years and was completed in 957 BCE. Soon after the Temple’s construction, Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon forced the Jews into exile, removed their temple treasures in 604 BCE and 597 BCE, and finally completely destroyed the temple in 586 BCE.
In 539 BCE, Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Reconstruction began and the Second Temple was completed by 515 BCE. This temple however, did not enshrine the Ark of the Covenant as that sacred object had disappeared sometime before the plundering by Nebuchadrezzar.
The Wailing Wall: The Remains of the Second Temple

The date of the Ark's disappearance and its subsequent whereabouts is a mystery to archaeologists, historians and biblical scholars. Various possibilities have been forward, including the hidden tunnels beneath Solomon’s Temple; the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia; and a castle of the Knights Templar in France.
During the next five centuries, following the time of Cyrus of Persia, Jerusalem was captured by Alexander the Great, controlled by Hellenistic, Egyptian, and Seleucid empires as well as experiencing occasional periods of Jewish freedom.
In 64 BCE, the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem, ushering in several centuries of Roman rule. During this period Herod the Great (ruled 37 BCE – 4CE) rebuilt and enlarged the Second Temple and created the famous Western Wall (also called the Wailing Wall) as part of the supporting structure for the enlarged Temple Mount.
In 6CE, the Romans turned the governance of Jerusalem over to a series of administrators known as procurators, the fifth of whom, Pontius Pilate, ordered the execution of Jesus. During the next two centuries the Jews twice revolted against their Roman oppressors, the city of Jerusalem suffered greatly and the Second Temple was demolished in 70 CE.
Via Dolarosa

Michekangelo's Nude Crist on the Cross (Naples, Italy)

In the year 135 CE, the Roman Emperor Hadrian began construction of a new city, called Aelia Capitolina, upon the ruins of old Jerusalem. On the site of the destroyed Jewish temple, Hadrian built a temple to the god Jove (the Greek Jupiter), but this temple was itself demolished by the Byzantines after the empire became Christian.
The conversion to Christianity of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine (306-337 CE) and the pilgrimage of his mother, Empress Helena, to Jerusalem in 326 CE inaugurated one of the city's most peaceful and prosperous epochs. According to Christian legends, Empress Helena discovered the relics of the 'True Cross of the Crucifixion' at the place of the Resurrection upon Mt. Calvary. Scholars however, believe this so-called 'finding' of the relics to be a story fabricated for political reasons by Constantine and his mother, and that the cross relics were most probably manufactured, as were so many other relics during early and medieval Christian times. Whatever the case, Helena's pilgrimage and Constantine's royal support made possible the building of many Christian shrines in the city.
Foremost among the Christian shrines was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This church marked the site of the Resurrection and soon became the supremely sacred place in all of Christendom. Finished in 335 CE, the great basilica was apparently built upon the foundations of an earlier Roman shrine dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite. It was during this splendid era of church construction that the tradition of Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem began.
                                                       The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The most visited pilgrimage sites were Bethlehem like where Jesus was born, Golgatha (the site of his crucifixion and where legend says the skull of Adam is buried); the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Mount of Olives (where iy is said that Jesus ascended to heaven. The Christian glorification of Jerusalem continued until 614 CE when the Persians invaded the city, killed many of its inhabitants and destroyed numerous churches and monasteries.
Golgatha Today

Following a brief period of Persian rule, the Muslim Caliph Umar captured Jerusalem in 638, six years after the death of Muhammad. Soon after his occupation of the city, Umar cleansed the Temple Mount, built a small mosque and dedicated the site to Muslim worship. The most imposing structure the Muslims found in Jerusalem was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Nearby the Arab conquerors undertook to build a more spectacular edifice, the Dome of the Rock, not only to proclaim the supremacy of Islam, but also to ensure that Christianity would not tempt the new followers of Islam. The site chosen was the very same rock where previously had stood the Jupiter temple of the Romans and before that, the two temples of the Jews.
There was another reason for the Muslim veneration of this particular site, one more important than the political expediency of usurping another religion’s holy place. A certain passage in the Koran links the Prophet Muhammad with Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. That passage, the seventeenth Sura, entitled 'The Night Journey', relates that Muhammad was carried by night 'from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs...' Muslim belief identifies the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem (the Islamic name for Jerusalem is actually al-Kuds, meaning the Holy City).
According to tradition, Muhammad's mystic night journey was in the company of the Archangel Gabriel, and they rode on a winged steed called El Burak, which according to Islamic Hadith tradition was a winged, horse-like creature that was "smaller than a mule, but larger than a donkey." Stopping briefly at Mt. Sinai and Bethlehem, they finally alighted at Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and there encountered Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets, whom Muhammad led in prayers. Gabriel then escorted Muhammad to the pinnacle of the rock, which the Arabs call as-Sakhra, where a ladder of golden light materialized. On this glittering shaft, Muhammad ascended through the seven heavens into the presence of Allah, from whom he received instructions for himself and his followers. Following his divine meeting, Muhammad was flown back to Mecca by Gabriel and the winged horse, arriving there before dawn.
The Dome of the Rock
At this hallowed site, known in Arabic as Haram al Sharif, the 9th Caliph, Abd al-Malik, built the great Dome of the Rock between 687 and 691. Besides its association with the ‘Night Journey’ of Muhammad, Jerusalem was also chosen as the site of this first great work of Islamic architecture for political reasons.
Often incorrectly called the Mosque of Umar, the Dome of the Rock, known in Arabic as Qubbat As-Sakhrah, is not a mosque for public worship but rather a mashhad, a shrine for pilgrims. Adjacent to the Dome is the Al-Aqsa Mosque wherein Muslims make their prayers.
Designed by Byzantine architects engaged by the Caliph, the Dome of the Rock was the greatest monumental building in early Islamic history and remains today one of the most sublime examples of artistic genius that humanity has ever produced (the Great Mosque of Damascus, being a true mosque, is the earliest surviving monumental mosque).
The dome is 20 meters high, 10 meters in diameter, and its supporting structure, made of lead, was originally covered in pure gold (the real gold was removed over the centuries and the dome is now made of anodized aluminum). The sacred foundation stone is encircled by sixteen arches that formerly came from different churches in Jerusalem, which were destroyed during the Persian occupation of the city in 614 AD.
The Muslims in power before and during the Dome's construction period had tolerated Christianity and Judaism, allowing pilgrims of both religions to freely visit the Holy City. This era of peaceful coexistence ended in 969 however, when control of the city passed to the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt (a radical and somewhat intolerant Shiite sect) who systematically destroyed all synagogues and churches.
In 1071, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines, displaced the Egyptians as masters of the Holy Land, and closed the long established pilgrimage routes. The prohibition of Christian pilgrimage by these less tolerant Muslim rulers angered Western Europe and became a contributing cause of the Crusades, a series of invasions that culminated in the capture of Jerusalem in 1099.
From 1118 to 1127, a group of nine Frenchmen known as the original Knights Templars excavated beneath the El-Aqsa mosque on the site of the old Temple of Jerusalem. According to legend, they retrieved a vast wealth of gold bullion, hidden treasures and the Ark of the Covenant.
The Christian Kingdom lasted almost 90 years, during which time the Dome of the Rock was converted to a Christian shrine and named Templum Domini (meaning Temple of the Lord), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt, and hospices and monasteries were founded. The city was recaptured by the Muslims again in 1187, was ruled by the Mamlukes from the 13th to 15th centuries (except for the brief periods of Christian control in 1229-1239 and 1240-1244) and the Turks until the 19th century. The Jews, who had been barred by the Christian crusaders, returned from the 13th century onward, by the middle of the 19th century nearly half the city's population was Jewish, and in 1980, Jerusalem was officially made the capital of Israel.
The entire area of the Old City of Jerusalem has been charged since antiquity with the powerful energy of holiness, devotion and spiritual love. Over more than three millennia the control of the city's primary sacred places has shifted frequently between the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The energy or presence of the sacred in Jerusalem is not, however, monopolized by any of these faiths but rather gives rise to each of them. And this sacred presence, beyond the imposed limitations of dogma, philosophy or politics, has the wonderful quality of accumulating, and increasing in intensity, over time. The holy rock of Mt. Moriah was first a Jebusite place of worship, then the site of the Jewish Temples, next the sanctuary of the Roman god Jupiter, later capped by the Muslim's Dome of the Rock, next taken over by the Christians, and still later a Muslim shrine again. This same continuity of sacred use also occurred at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which prior to its Christian use was the location of a temple of Aphrodite.
Besides the sites discussed above, the following places are also much visited by pilgrims in the Holy City. For the Jews, the most venerable locations are Mt Zion, the traditional site of King David's tomb, and the Western Wall, where stands the remaining part of Herod's 1st century BC expansion of the Temple plaza.
Devout Christian pilgrims will visit the fourteen stations of the Via Dolorosa, or 'Way of Sorrows'. Walking this route, the holiest Christian thoroughfare in the world, the pilgrim symbolically relives the events of Jesus' passion. Additionally, there are the shrine of the Ascension on the summit of the Mount of Olives, the garden of Gethsemane, and Mt. Zion, the site of the Last Supper. In the Dome of the Rock, beneath the ancient sacred stone, is a cave-like crypt known as Bir el- Arweh, the Well of Souls. Here, according to ancient folklore (not Islamic), the voices of the dead may sometimes be heard along with the sounds of the rivers of paradise.
Contemporary travelers and pilgrims in Israel can purchase maps of Jerusalem and these are extremely helpful for finding the holy places of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Jerusalem Map
Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant

British researcher Graham Hancock. In his richly detailed book, The Sign and the Seal, Hancock presents evidence that the Ark was removed by Jewish priests from Solomon's temple during the rule of the apostate King Manasseh (687-642 BC). The Ark was then hidden for two hundred years in a Jewish temple on the Egyptian sacred island of Elephantine in the Nile.
The Ark was later taken to Ethiopia, to the island of Tana Kirkos in Lake Tana, where it remained for over 800 years until being brought to the city of Axum, capital of the Axumite kingdom. When that kingdom was converted to Christianity after 331 AD, the Ark of the Covenant was placed in a church of St. Mary of Zion where it remains to this day.
Writing in his book Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, author Laurence Gardner disagrees with Hancock’s assertions, and states that the Axumite Ark “Called a manbara tabot, is actually a casket which contains a venerated altar slab known as a tabot. The reality is that, although the Axum chest might be of some particular cultural significance in the region, there are manbara tabotat (plural of tabot) in churches across the breadth of Ethiopia. The tabotat that they contain are rectangular altar slabs, made of wood or stone. Clearly, the prized manbara tabot of Axum is of considerable sacred interest and, by linguistic definition, it is indeed an ark – but it is not the biblical Ark of the Covenant, nor anything remotely like it.”
Other sources researched by Laurence Gardner indicate that the Ark of the Covenant had been hidden beneath Solomon’s Temple at the time of King Josiah (597 BC) so as not to be seized by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. In his Mishneh Torah of 1180, the Spanish philosopher Moses Maimondes told that Solomon had constructed a special hiding place for the Ark in tunnels deep beneath the temple.
The prophet Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah who became the High Priest of Jerusalem, was the captain of Hilkiah’s Temple Guard. Prior to Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion, Hilkiah instructed Jeremiah to have his men secrete the Ark of the Covenant, along with other sacred treasures, in the vaults beneath the Temple.

More than 1700 years later a group of nine Frenchmen known as the original Knights Templars spent the years from 1118 to 1127 excavating beneath the El-Aqsa mosque on the site of the old Temple of Jerusalem. They retrieved, in addition to a vast wealth of gold bullion and hidden treasures, the true Ark of the Covenant. While the existence and exact location of this Ark are not currently known, the Templars soon became one of the most powerful religious and political institutions in medieval Europe.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Neglected Important Artists, No. 28


Self-Portrait by Ilka Gedő (1948)

Ilka Gedő was born on May 26,1921, in Budapest. Her father taught at the Jewish grammar school of Budapest, and some of the leading Hungarian writers and artists of the times were among the family’s circle of friends. She started her artistic career in the late 1930s visiting private art schools.
The anti-Jewish measures and the upheaval of the war came, but Gedő carried on creating a significant body of graphic works. As a Jew, in 1944 Gedő was imprisoned in the Budapest ghetto and she drew a remarkable series of ghetto drawings. She avoided the horror, instead representing isolated people of puzzlement, uncertainty and despair in her drawings.
After the war Gedő gained admission to the Budapest Academy of Arts but she decided to leave the Academy and until 1949 when she stopped artistic work and also had created a huge body of drawings that can be divided into series.
She created self-portraits which, through their sheer honesty and self-exploration, claim the viewer’s attention. These works are drawn in a way that evokes straightforward physical reality and emotional sensitivity at the same time. Another series, Tables, is devoted to drawing a delicate, small table with an abundant variety of lines and shades, exploring the endless possibilities of representing the visual world.
Self-Portrait (1947)
The third series resulted from repeated visits to the Ganz Factory in Budapest. The Ganz Factory, situated at the Margit körút in Budapest, was a large enterprise producing elements for electrical engineering in one plant, and metal parts for machines and tools in another plant. In the late 1940’s, after the war, it offered an educational program, organized by a liberally minded engineer. Ilka Gedő was welcome on the premises to sit and draw, even if the result did not correspond to the official image of the worker. A combination of silver and gold with pastel crayons transposes the factory rooms into almost mythical spaces.
An interval of 15 years devoted to bringing up a family divides the oeuvre of this artist. Ilka Gedő presented her drawings in 1964 in her own studio. This exhibition gave her the impetus to resume work. In the 1960s, Gedő started to paint in oil. Her creative method follows the call of the instincts but does not forget the discipline of the intellect. Art critics have been quick to point out evidence of her nostalgia for Art Nouveau and Jugendstil. However, Gedő’s real nostalgia is for a lost mythology, and in this she is similar to her fin-de-siècle predecessors. She found this mythology, albeit a personal one, in art which is capable of evoking and cherishing the memories of an endangered world.
Self-Portrait
She made “two-step” paintings. She first drew a sketch of her composition, prepared a mock-up and wrote the name of the appropriate colors into the various fields. She prepared a collection of color samples, and she wrote where the color would go in the places where they were ultimately applied. She never improvised on her paintings; instead she enlarged the original plan. On her paintings the strength of cold and warm colors appears to be equal. She created her paintings slowly, amidst speculations, recording the steps of the creative process in diaries so that the making of all the paintings can be traced.
Gedő died on June 19,1985, at the age of 64, a few months before her discovery abroad. The scene of the breakthrough was Glasgow where the Compass Gallery presented her paintings and drawings in 1985. Since then, many of her works passed into public hands, In addition to the St. Stephen’s Museum (Székesfehérvár) in Hungary and the Hungarian National Gallery, many foreign collections acquired them like The Jewish Museum (New York), the Yad Vashem Art Museum, the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), the Department of Prints of the British Museum, the Museum Kunstpalast of Düsseldorf, the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), the Graphic Arts Collection of the Albertina and the Metropolitan Museum.

Self-Portrait During Pregnancy (1947)

.*                    *                     *

Sketches by Ilka Gedő


Sketch No. 9

Sketch No.  4 

Sketch No. 3

*             *

Paintings by Ilka Gedő

Turreted Rose Garden

Artificial Flowers With Falling Leaves

Artificial Fowers With Inscriptions

Blossoming Fruit Tree

Two Figures At Work At A Table

Witches in Preparation

The March of Triangles

Market Store

Untitled

Untitled











Monday, June 27, 2016

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

____________________
Biography of William Shakespeare
Within the class system of Elizabethan England, William Shakespeare did not seem destined for greatness. He was not born into a family of nobility or significant wealth. He did not continue his formal education at university, nor did he come under the mentorship of a senior artist, nor did he marry into wealth or prestige. His talent as an actor seems to have been modest, since he is not known for starring roles. His success as a playwright depended in part upon royal patronage. Yet in spite of these limitations, Shakespeare is now the most performed and read playwright in the world.
Born to John Shakespeare, a glove-maker and tradesman, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent farmer, William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in a church in Stratford-upon-Avon. At that time, infants were baptized three days after their birth, thus scholars believe that Shakespeare was born on April 23, the same day on which he died at age 52 in 1616. As the third of eight children, young William grew up in this small town 100 miles northwest of London, far from the cultural and courtly center of England.
 Shakespeare's One Room School 

 Shakespeare attended the local grammar school, King's New School, where the curriculum would have stressed a classical education of Greek mythology, Roman comedy, ancient history, rhetoric, grammar, Latin, and possibly Greek. Throughout his childhood, Shakespeare's father struggled with serious financial debt. Therefore, unlike his fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe, he did not attend university. Rather, in 1582 at age 18, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years his senior and three months pregnant. Their first child, Susanna, was born in 1583, and twins, Hamnet and Judith, came in 1585. In the seven years following their birth, the historical record concerning Shakespeare is incomplete, contradictory, and unreliable; scholars refer to this period as his “lost years.”

Ann Hathaway's House
In a 1592 pamphlet by Robert Greene, Shakespeare reappears as an “upstart crow” flapping his poetic wings in London. Evidently, it did not take him long to land on the stage. Between 1590 and 1592, Shakespeare's Henry VI series, Richard III, and The Comedy of Errors were performed. When the theaters were closed in 1593 because of the plague, the playwright wrote two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, and probably began writing his richly textured sonnets. One hundred and fifty four of his sonnets have survived, ensuring his reputation as a gifted poet. By 1594, he had also written, The Taming of the ShrewThe Two Gentlemen of Verona and Love's Labor's Lost.
Having established himself as an actor and playwright, in 1594 Shakespeare became a shareholder in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, one of the most popular acting companies in London. He remained a member of this company for the rest of his career, often playing before the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Shakespeare entered one of his most prolific periods around 1595, writing Richard IIRomeo and JulietA Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Merchant of Venice. With his newfound success, Shakespeare purchased the second largest home in Stratford in 1597, though he continued to live in London. Two years later, he joined others from the Lord Chamberlain's Men in establishing the polygonal Globe Theatre on the outskirts of London. When King James came to the throne in 1603, he issued a royal license to Shakespeare and his fellow players, organizing them as the King's Men. During King James's reign, Shakespeare wrote many of his most accomplished plays about courtly power, including King LearMacbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. In 1609 or 1611, Shakespeare's sonnets were published, though he did not live to see the First Folio of his plays published in 1623.
In 1616, with his health declining, Shakespeare revised his will. Since his only son Hamnet had died in 1596, Shakespeare left the bulk of his estate to his two daughters, with monetary gifts set aside for his sister, theater partners, friends, and the poor of Stratford. A fascinating detail of his will is that he bequeathed the family's “second best bed” to his wife Anne. He died one month later, on April 23, 1616, and was buried in the local church which also contains a bust of him. To the world, he left a lasting legacy in the form of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and two narrative poems.
When William Shakespeare died in his birthplace of Stratford-upon- Avon, he was recognized as one of the greatest English playwrights of his era. In the four centuries since, he has come to be seen as not only a great English playwright, but the greatest playwright in the English language. Reflecting upon the achievement of his peer and sometimes rival, Ben Jonson wrote of Shakespeare, “He was not of an age, but for all time.”
*                  *                  *
Shakespeare's Missing Head
It is a mystery that has gripped historians and Shakespeare experts for generations and one to which that archaeologists believe that they could have finally found an answer. After a hi-tech investigation concluded the legendary playwright's skull was probably taken by trophy hunters more than 200 years ago, which direction should the search for his missing bones now take? As a British television documentary reveals his Stratford resting place has been disturbed at the head end, and proves a mystery skull thought to be his is actually that of a woman, new theories about what happened to Shakespeare's head are beginning to emerge. However, recently both experts and enthusiasts gave their opinions on where the hunt for the elusive part of his skeleton should continue to go on or whether it is finally time to let him rest in peace.
Shakespeare's Memorial in Trinity Church
"It's not quite back to square one but we need to look at the legends of other churches to see if they hold the key" said Kevin Colls, a Staffordshire University archaeologist who led the investigation into Shakespeare's grave at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.
He firmly believes the findings of a disturbance of, and repair to, the tomb are too similar to the trophy-hunting allegations printed in 1879 to dismiss them and plans to keep looking for the skull. "Our research will continue. We're going to try and do as much as we can to locate it," he said. "Because we had two possible locations, Holy Trinity and St Leonard's in Beoley and we've ruled out those, We now need to look through documents again to help us find where it could be. It's not quite back to square one. We need to look at the myths and legends surrounding other churches in Stratford and the West Midlands to see if any of those could hold the key. It is of course possible that the skull was removed before the burial, and what our research has done is open a whole can of worms. But the fact is that our findings correlate so well with the documented theft in 1879 - particularly the reference to the grave being shallow. If it was going to be made up, the story would be entirely different. The evidence of disturbance to the grave and repair to the chancel floor leads us to this conclusion. "
Shakespeare's Grave in Trinity Church
Chris Laoutaris, of the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute, is a Renaissance burial customs expert  and wonders whether a loved one is responsible for the disappearance of the playwright's skull, which he thinks could lie in a relative's tomb. "Of course, it's possible that his head was looted in 1794, as the Argosy Magazine had claimed somewhat controversially in 1879," he said."But then another question occurred to me: what if Shakespeare's skull was disinterred not long after his burial and reburied with another family member or loved one? In an age in which high mortality rates meant that death was a far more vivid and ever-present reality than today, reacquainting oneself with the relics of the dearly departed in this manner may have seemed less strange, and was not in fact unheard of. The most well known example is that of Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII and England's greatest humanist scholar, whose head was believed to have been lovingly preserved after his execution in 1534 by his devoted daughter Margaret More Roper. In 1978, archaeologists opened the Roper family burial vault in the Church of St Dunstan in Canterbury and discovered a mysterious niche behind which were remnants of a skull, almost certainly belonging to More. Could the mystery of Shakespeare's own skull, if indeed it is missing from his grave, owe something to a loved one's desire to be reunited with him in death? Perhaps we will never know.
*                   *                  *

Shakespeare Quotes

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. 

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. 
Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.


There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. 

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. 

The course of true love never did run smooth.

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

This above all; to thine own self be true. 

Nothing can come of nothing.  

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. 

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god. 

The wheel is come full circle.

In time we hate that which we often fear. 

Neither a borrower nor a lender be. 

To be, or not to be, that is the question. 

*                      *                       *

Common English Words Created by Shakespeare