Tag Archives: Italy

Ancient Handholding Skeletons Are Men but Italy Won’t Say Gay

Ancient Handholding Skeletons Are Men but Italy Won’t Say GayArcheo ModenaROME—In 2009, the straight world swooned when archaeologists discovered two ancient skeletons from between the fourth and sixth centuries A.D. holding hands in a grave in Modena, Italy. They were dubbed the “Lovers of Modena” and have become synonymous with heterosexual romance, their image now often used in Italy to symbolize undying love.When they were discovered, archeologists said the bones were in such a state of decay that the usual genetic-based methods used in confirming the biological sex of ancient remains was of no use. Still, one of the figures was slightly smaller than the other, so it was assumed they were male and female. The individuals did not die in situ—their hands were placed holding each other's by whoever buried them, most likely to represent a relationship between the two people. Eleven people were buried in the cemetery where they were found, all initially thought to be soldiers and victims of an ancient war, based on wounds consistent with battles. The consensus among anthropologists was that the presumed female hand-holder was the lover of one of the warriors.This week, scientists with the University of Bologna announced the “Lovers of Modena” were actually both biologically male, thanks to a revolutionary process they used to examine tooth enamel. A certain peptide that is present only in males was present in all 16 teeth extracted from both skeletons. The scientists also found that only one of the 11 individuals buried in the cemetery was female, and she wasn’t holding anyone’s hand. Then, suddenly, the hand-holders weren’t lovers at all: Italian archaeologists insisted that surely they were brothers or cousins who died in battle. Archaeologist Federico Lugli, who led the Bologna study, conceded that while it was impossible to know if the two men were lovers, he highly doubted it. “In late-ancient times it is unlikely that homosexual love could be recognized so clearly by the people who prepared the burial,” he told The Daily Beast by email. “Given that the two individuals have similar ages, they could be relatives, probably siblings or cousins.”Homosexuality was well documented in Roman times. Emperor Nero married women to bear children, but he had sex with men for pleasure. He publicly married two men, Pythagoras and, years later, Sporo, who was castrated and made to wear a woman’s gown during the ceremony, according to historical accounts by Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio, whose writings account for much of what we know about ancient Rome. The ancient Roman Empire legal tome Lex Scantinia sets out a series of regulations for men having sex with other men, including that freeborn Romans—that is to say those who were not slaves or war prisoners—could not take a passive role when having sex with a man. But by no means did it make same sex relationships illegal and it was quite common for noble Romans to have male lovers in addition to wives who fulfilled the traditional role of childbearing. In the case of the skeletons of the Lovers of Modena, it seems historians are not willing to concede that two individuals who were once thought to be romantically linked when they were presumed to be male and female are likely not now that their biological sex is the same. “The burial of two men hand in hand was certainly not a common practice in the late-ancient era,” Lugli says. “We believe that this choice symbolizes a particular relationship between the two individuals, but we do not know the nature of it.”There are plenty of examples of ancient figures buried in all manner of embrace—most of which have been positively identified through genetic sampling as male and female, but not all. The embracing skeletons found in Petrykiv village in western Ukraine are thought to be from a woman who committed suicide to be buried with her man, but the analysis was made based on jewelry and size. In 2015, a couple of 6,000-year-old spooning skeletons were found in Greece, though no one has any idea yet why they were in such a position. Their bones were identified as biologically male and female. Usually, when couples are found buried together, the first question is why they died at the same time and if one was sacrificed to be buried with the other. Now, thanks to the new dental enamel science, archaeologists can go back to other ancient lovers to find out more about who they were. “At present there are no other burials of this type,” Lugli says of the two male hand-holders. “In the past several graves were found with pairs of individuals laid hand in hand, but in all cases it was a man and a woman. The link between the two individuals of the Modena burial, instead, remains a mystery.”  Or perhaps the evidence is right in front of them. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Russia to U.S: Cancel extradition request for executive held in Italy

Russia to U.S: Cancel extradition request for executive held in ItalyRussia has demanded that the United States cancel a request to extradite a Russian state executive from Italy where he was arrested last month at Washington’s request on suspicion of industrial espionage, calling it illegal. Alexander Korshunov, director for business development at Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC), was detained at an airport in Naples on Aug. 30 after Washington issued a warrant for his arrest.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Italy bans German-flagged rescue ship to enter its waters-sources

Italy bans German-flagged rescue ship to enter its waters-sourcesROME/BERLIN, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has signed a decree to ban a migrant rescue ship operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline from accessing Italian waters, sources at the ministry said on Tuesday. The ship dubbed Eleonore is currently carrying 101 refugees rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, said Axel Steier, head of Mission Lifeline, adding that both Italian and Maltese authorities had declined to let the migrants land. “If the ship gets into distress at sea, it will travel to a port”, Steier said, adding that only Italy and Malta were possible destinations due to the ship’s location.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Migrants in limbo again after landing in Italy

Migrants in limbo again after landing in ItalyDozens of migrants who disembarked on Italy’s Lampedusa island were again in limbo Wednesday as a European deal to redistribute them failed to materialise and Madrid said it could hit the Spanish charity with a huge fine for rescuing them. The prospect of a penalty comes after a protracted standoff between the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms and Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini finally came to an end. The boat spent six days anchored off Lampedusa before a local prosecutor ordered that the migrants be allowed to land and the vessel temporarily seized amid a probe of Salvini for banning their entry to port.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

French hiker missing in Italy nine days found dead

French hiker missing in Italy nine days found deadThe body of a French hiker who disappeared nine days ago south of Naples was found Sunday, local Italian authorities said. "The body of Simon Gautier has been found a short while ago," the authorities in Sapri, near Belvedere di Ciolandre where the 27-year-old hiker was found dead. Gautier called for help on August 9, saying he had fallen down a cliff and broken both legs, but was unable to give his location other than "in the middle of nowhere, on the coast".



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

'Explosive' situation on migrant rescue boat in limbo off Italy

'Explosive' situation on migrant rescue boat in limbo off ItalyThe captain of a Spanish charity ship carrying 134 rescued migrants warned Friday of an “explosive” situation on board the vessel anchored within swimming distance of Italy’s Lampedusa island but forbidden to approach. Italy has evacuated a handful of people from the Open Arms ship for medical treatment but far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini refuses to allow the vessel to dock despite other European countries agreeing to take in the people on board. The captain of the ship operated by Proactiva Open Arms, Marc Reig, said the migrants, rescued after leaving chaos-stricken Libya, were “broken psychologically”.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Jailed US teens now have lawyers, family members in Italy

Jailed US teens now have lawyers, family members in ItalyBoth American teens jailed in Rome in the fatal stabbing of an Italian police officer now have private lawyers and family members in Italy. Investigators contend that his 19-year-old son stabbed Carabinieri Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega 11 times with a military-style attack knife early Friday near the hotel where he was staying with his friend. According to court documents, Elder told prosecutors during his interrogation that he thought he was being strangled in a scuffle with the officer.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Italy judge: teen claims he knifed officer in self-defense

Italy judge: teen claims he knifed officer in self-defenseAn Italian judge says one of the two American teenagers jailed in Rome for the slaying of a police officer has stated he stabbed the plainclothes officer because he feared he was being strangled, according to an order obtained by The Associated Press.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Dozens of migrants still stuck on vessel in Italy port

Dozens of migrants still stuck on vessel in Italy portAn Italian coastguard vessel stranded in the Mediterranean with more than 130 migrants aboard has been allowed to dock in the Sicilian port of Augusta but Rome on Sunday refused to let them disembark until a deal is struck with the EU. "The Gregoretti berthed in the port of Augusta overnight, as is the normal procedure for a military vessel. Now the EU has to act because the migration question concerns the whole continent," Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a statement. Some 140 migrants, who had set off from Libya in two rickety boats, were picked up by Italian patrols on Thursday night and transferred to the coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti. The operation took place on the same day that at least 115 other migrants were feared drowned in a shipwreck off Libya – the Mediterranean's deadliest tragedy this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Several migrants aboard the Gregoretti have already been evacuated for medical attention, including a seven-month pregnant woman, her two children and her partner. The ship's crew is blocked on board along with the migrants. However, Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has reiterated that the remaining migrants would not be able to leave the vessel until other European countries agree to take them in. Mr Salvini, also deputy prime minister, has taken a hard line against migrants rescued at sea being brought to Italy, which he says bears an unfair burden in the crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron announced last Monday that 14 EU members had approved a plan to redistribute refugees rescued in the Mediterranean, and eight said they would actively take part. The proposal drew Salvini's ire because it still involved allowing migrants to disembark on his country's territory. He said the agreement underscored a demand that Italy "continue to be the refugee camp of Europe". Pope Francis on Sunday called on the international community to "act swiftly" to help avoid further deaths. "I have learned with sorrow the news of the dramatic shipwreck that happened in recent days in the Mediterranean where dozens of migrants including women and children have lost their lives," he said Sunday during his weekly Angelus address on St Peter's Square. "I am renewing my call that the international community act swiftly and decisively to avoid that such tragedies repeat themselves and guarantee the safety and dignity of all." Former Italian navy chief Giuseppe De Giorgi, who launched the Mare Nostrum maritime rescue plan in 2013, hailed the Gregoretti's crew who "despite all were committed to accomplishing with honour their duty as sailors to protect lives at sea." In August 2018, almost more than 150 people were stranded on the Italian coastguard ship Diciotti for over a week before an agreement between the Italian church, Albania and Ireland allowed them to disembark.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Italy police deal blow to 'violent' Nigerian mafia

Italy police deal blow to 'violent' Nigerian mafiaItalian police said Thursday they had arrested 19 suspected members of a Nigerian mob, including the leaders of a clan which forged alliances with other mafias and violently punished anyone who rebelled. In an operation dubbed “Burning Flame”, coordinated by police in Bologna and Turin, over 300 officers carried out arrests and searches in nine cities across northern Italy from Bergamo to Modena, Parma and Ravenna. A two-year probe — aided significantly by a man on the inside who fed details to investigators — “has allowed us to destroy much of what, within the Nigerian community, is known as the ‘Maphite’ cult,” police said in a statement.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines