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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

Giant Human Bones!

La mort du fossoyeur
(Death of the gravedigger)
by Carlos Schwabe

In the year 5607 (1847), the Arabs, on digging near this grave, found a deep vault full of gigantic human bones, which excited the astonishment of every one at the great stature of the persons, the remains of whom they were. The Pacha forbade farther digging, and the cave was again closed up.
http://www.jewish-history.com/palestine/walls.html

I love finding things like this while I'm researching for a novel. This one I used in The Flute of Sorrow, which will be out soon.

Of course, when we read these notes from the past, we go "oh my gawd, GIANT HUMAN BONES! Those must be the bones of .. [insert favorite giant humanoid here] !

We humans do this kind of thing almost  automatically.

Fact is, that these were probably not human bones at all, but some large animal. -- and what, exactly, qualifies as "Giant" ?

After I came across this obscure listing, I did a search for Giant Human Bones on Google, and was very surprised at how many are just lying around waiting for someone to find them. A bit of further reading showed that 99% of these discoveries were hoaxs -- someones attempt to make some money.

The listing on Jewish-History.com doesn't seem to be of the same caliber. The people who discovered the bones, buried them as soon as they could, and apparently, while reporting the discovery didn't let anyone else know where they were.  As a possible hoax, this rubs me wrong for two reasons. First, there is no hook in the story for receiving money. Second, telling people a story like this, and not telling them where the bones might be found, leads to people laughing at you, and if they are polite, calling you everything except a liar. You don't even get free beers for a story like this one. But it didn't seem to bother anyone in that group who came across the bones.

In the Flute of Sorrow, I use the bones as the remains of the Azrael, the Archangel of Death. I chose Azreal over all the other possible Angels of Death, because Azrael is the name used by most Arabs, and it was an Arab group who discovered these bones.

My personal favorite Angel of Death is Suriel, -- "Like Metatron, Suriel is a prince of presence and like Raphael, an angel of healing. He is also a benevolent angel of death, (one of a few). Suriel was sent to retrieve the soul of Moses. It is said that Moses received all his knowledge from Suriel, (although Zazagel is credited also with giving Moses his knowledge). In Cabala he is one of the seven angels that rule the earth."

The great thing about being a fiction writer, is no one expects to believe your story.