Thursday, December 16, 2010

It isn't necessarily true that two heads are better than one...

Do you remember when, a little while ago, I wrote about how an auction house in Los Angeles is in the process of selling Lee Harvey Oswald’s original casket and then asked why anyone would buy the thing?

Well, that seems positively normal compared to a Reuters report I read on Yahoo! News today.

It seems that researchers have found the embalmed head of King Henri IV of France. It was probably, says the article, lost during the French Revolution, when being dead was not a guarantee of being left alone by the revolutionaries if you were an aristocrat. It seem that the graves of French royalty were broken into in 1793, and the remains were desecrated and scattered, with few of the pieces ever recovered.

The head has been radiocarbon dated to around the time of Henri’s death by assassination, but its features also are said to match the known characteristics of his appearance as well as his appearance in portraits.

As someone interested in history, I find this fascinating. The article points out that the head will be reburied next year in the cathedral where it was presumably stolen from. This is as it should be.


There is one thing in the story that really makes me wonder what some people are thinking. Regarding the whereabouts of the head for all these years, the article says, at one point, that the head had been “passed down over the centuries by private collectors”.

Really? Who collects heads? I can’t be the only one who can’t quite get my head (excuse the pun, it is entirely intended) around the idea that people kept a human head as a collector’s item.

Then again, there are persistent stories that someone has Napoleon’s penis out there somewhere. So, who knows.

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