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Saladin Mystery Solved – The History News of the Week

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The biggest history news stories of the last seven days, including a new theory on the cause of Saladin’s death, an announcement that concrete proof has been found that there are new secret rooms in Tutankhamun’s tomb, and new research which claims to have unearthed proof of the Kingdom of David and Solomon.

Mystery of Saladin’s Death solved?

The mystery surrounding Saladin’s death may have finally been solved.

Famed for leading armies against the Crusaders, and being Sultan of an area that stretched from what is now Iraq to North Africa, Saladin died at the age of 56, some 800 years ago.

There are few details about his death, other than that he became ill in 1193, and died two weeks later.

Now, Stephen J. Gluckman, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has come up with a diagnosis. He theorises that Saladin succumbed to typhoid fever, a disease common in the region at the time. Easily cured with antibiotics nowadays, the disease would have been far more dangerous in the Middle Ages.

Gluckman has based his diagnosis on what is known about Saladin’s medical history. “Practicing medicine over the centuries required a great deal of thought and imagination,” he says. “The question of what happened to Saladin is a fascinating puzzle.”

Dr. Gluckman delivered his diagnosis at the 25th annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference, held May 4 at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The conference is devoted to the diagnosis of disorders that afflicted historical figures.

No Hidden Rooms in Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Radar scans have provided conclusive evidence that there are no hidden rooms in Tutankhamun’s Tomb, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.

It has long been speculated that the young Pharaoh’s spectacular tomb may contain hidden chambers yet to be seen by archaeologists. However, Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that an Italian team has conducted extensive studies with ground-penetrating radar, showing the tomb did not contain any hidden, man-made blocking walls.

The findings have been presented to an international conference in Cairo.

“Our work shows in a conclusive manner that there are no hidden chambers, no corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb,” Dr. Porcelli said, according to

According to the ministry, the findings should bring to a close speculation over hidden rooms in the famous tomb. “…the hypothesis concerning the existence of hidden chambers or corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb is not supported by the GPR data,” the ministry said in a statement.

New Evidence for the Kingdom of David and Solomon?

Image credit:
Sky View and Griffin Aerial Imaging, edited by Yair Sapir

Archaeologists in Israel claim to have discovered new evidence proving the existence of the Kingdom of David and Solomon.

Significantly, the new findings also give an idea of the scope of the kingdom, suggesting it extended beyond the vicinity of Jerusalem.

The existence of the biblical kingdom has long been a matter of contention. Until now, little evidence of royal construction has been found in the area where the kingdom supposedly was. The Kingdom of David and Solomon supposedly reigned in the 10th century BCE.

Professor Avi Faust and Dr. Yair Sapir from Bar-Ilan University have excavated a large, four room residence which was destroyed in the 8th century BCE. The large building had at least two stories, with its ground floor extending over 225 square metres.

“Surprisingly, radiocarbon dates from within the floor make-up and from within a foundation deposit that was placed below the floor indicate that the building had already been erected in the 10th century BCE, between the late 11th century and the third quarter of the 10th century BCE,” said Professor Faust in a Bar-Ilan University press release.

“This date is in line with other finds related to the construction, like the foundation deposit itself.”

The residence is located at Tel ‘Eton in the Shephelah (20 km. southeast of the city of Qiryat Gat).

According to Faust and Sapir, the building would have been constructed in a style similar to other Israelite sites, and points to a rising ‘Israelite polity’ in the region. Their excavations reveal that the site around the building would have been expanding in the 10th century.

Faust and Sapir note in their research, published in the journal Radiocarbon, that any association with King David would be based on ‘circumstantial grounds’. Nevertheless, both the timing and location of the site would sync up with when David and Solomon supposedly lived.

They write in their study: “…if someone thinks that there was no king by the name of David, we should find another name to call the highland king in whose time the region was incorporated into the highland kingdom”.

Featured image: Saladin à Jérusalem, courtesy of Moreau.henri, via Wikimedia Commons

The post Saladin Mystery Solved – The History News of the Week appeared first on New Historian.


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