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Sick Rams Used As Ancient Bioweapons
Discovery Channel ^ | Rossella Lorenzi

Posted on 11/29/2007 2:53:57 PM PST by blam

Sick Rams Used as Ancient Bioweapons

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Once, a Weapon

Nov. 28, 2007 -- Infected rams and donkeys were the earliest bioweapons, according to a new study which dates the use of biological warfare back more than 3,300 years.

According to a review published in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses, two ancient populations, the Arzawans and the Hittites, engaged "in mutual use of contaminated animals" during the 1320-1318 B.C. Anatolian war.

"The animals were carriers of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia," author Siro Trevisanato, a molecular biologist based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada told Discovery News.

Also known as "rabbit fever," tularemia is a devastating disease which even today can be fatal, if not treated with antibiotics. Its symptoms range from skin ulcers, swollen and painful lymph glands to pneumonia, fever, chills, progressive weakness and respiratory failure.

The disease affects animals such as rabbits, sheep and donkeys and it is passed on to humans through various routes, most commonly through the bite of infected ticks and deerflies.

First isolated in 1911, Francisella tularensis is highly infectious and is now considered one of the pathogens most likely to be used in bioterrorism attacks.

According to Trevisanato, the bacterium flourished in the Eastern Mediterranean toward the end of the 14th century B.C., when a long-lasting, deadly epidemic plagued most of the Middle East.

Known as the Hittite plague, the epidemic is clearly described in letters to the Egyptian king Akhenaten. A letter, dating around 1335 B.C., reports a pestilence in Simyra, a city near today’s border between Lebanon and Syria.

Despite efforts to contain the epidemic -- donkeys were banned from being used in caravans -- the disease contaminated an area stretching from Cyprus to Iraq and from Israel to Syria. Subsequently, wars spread the epidemic to central and Western Anatolia. Finally, Aegean soldiers fighting in western Anatolia returned home to their islands, further spreading the epidemic.

"A disease lasting 35-40 years, infecting humans and animals, causing fever, disabilities, and death, spreading via rodents aboard ships as well as donkeys, points to Francisella tularensis. Moreover, there is evidence that tularemia can be traced as far back as 2500 B.C. in the same area, implying that the region was endemic for the bacterium," Trevisanato said.

According to the researcher, the Hittites, whose empire stretched from modern-day Turkey to northern Syria, were severely hit by the disease after they attacked a weakened area around Simyra.

"The booty and prisoners of war left a contaminated trail," Trevisanato said.

Indeed, the plague spread in the Hittites homeland, and two kings died from it within a few years.

The weakened Hittite empire attracted the Arzawans from Western Anatolia and a new war, which lasted between 1320 and 1318 B.C., began. It was at this point that the Hittites used disease-ridden rams and donkeys with the purpose of infecting the enemy.

Records indicate that rams mysteriously began populating the roads in Arzawa. According to Trevisanato, they were sent off by the Hittites, who realized that the animals were involved with spreading the disease.

"The Hittites were weak when the Arzawans attacked them, yet they smashed the enemy within two years. Which kind of secret weapon did they know of to do this Bronze Age blitzkrieg, given their weakened troops and political mess?" posed Trevisanato.

To support the bioweapon theory, tablets dating to the 14-13th century B.C., describe how a ram and a woman attending the animal were sent on the road, spreading the disease along the way.

"The country that finds them shall take over this evil pestilence," the tablet said.

The practice was soon understood by the Arzawans who also reacted by sending their own infected rams on the road in the direction of the enemy troops.

"I agree that infected rams or donkeys driven into enemy territory by the Hittites may well have been the earliest documented biological weapon in the Near East," classical folklorist Adrienne Mayor, the author of "Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Weapons in the Ancient World," told Discovery News.

"Even older evidence for ancient understanding of contagion comes from Sumer (modern Syria). Archaeologists have found several royal letters on cuneiform tablets from the archives of Mari, a town on the Euphrates River.

The letters, dating to 1770 B.C., forbid people from plague-ridden towns to travel to healthy towns, and warn people not to touch or use the personal belongings of infected victims," Mayor said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: adriennemayor; anatolia; ancient; arthashastra; arzawans; biowarfare; bioweapons; catastrophism; chemicalwarfare; godsgravesglyphs; greeks; history; india; philistines; ram; romanempire; scythians; sick; trojanwar

1 posted on 11/29/2007 2:53:59 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

WMD’s in the 14th century BC!.....Weapons of Mammalian Diseases!...........


2 posted on 11/29/2007 2:57:47 PM PST by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: blam

Lies, all of it. The White Man used them first to wipe out the Native Americans. My public school teacher told me so. /s


3 posted on 11/29/2007 3:01:35 PM PST by samson1097
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To: SunkenCiv; indcons

GGG ping?

Or military history ping?


4 posted on 11/29/2007 3:02:48 PM PST by Ultra Sonic 007 (Look at all the candidates. Choose who you think is best. Choose wisely in 2008.)
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To: blam
A disease lasting 35-40 years, infecting humans and animals, causing fever, disabilities, and death, spreading via rodents aboard ships as well as donkeys, points to Francisella tularensis.

The rodents were merely pack mules for the arthropod vectors. Last time I counted there were 14 or 15 diseases associated with rodents. Absent microbial evidence, two or three of these could be to blame including plague and anthrax.

5 posted on 11/29/2007 3:10:21 PM PST by CholeraJoe (Cobbing freely on FR since 1999.)
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To: blam

Hmmmmmm. Infected goats. Middle East.

Is anyone thinking what I’m thinking?


6 posted on 11/29/2007 3:13:48 PM PST by null and void (No more Bushes/No more Clintons)
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To: Ultra Sonic 007; SunkenCiv

Definitely a MilHist ping...will send it out after I get home today. Thanks, Ultra Sonic 007.


7 posted on 11/29/2007 3:17:00 PM PST by indcons
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To: null and void

My first thought, oddly enough, involved Peter Stormare and a trebuchet. (”You know what ve gonna do nowwwwww?”)

My second thought was...can people catch Creutzfeld-Jakob through sexual contact?


8 posted on 11/29/2007 3:19:21 PM PST by RichInOC ("Baaaa!" "What?" "BAAAA!!" "Of COURSE I'll respect you in the morning.")
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To: RichInOC

Close. I was wondering if tularemia could be an STD...


9 posted on 11/29/2007 3:27:06 PM PST by null and void (No more Bushes/No more Clintons)
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To: null and void

Nasty. I like that.


10 posted on 11/29/2007 3:34:04 PM PST by RichInOC ("Stampeding hogs." "That's not much of a crime." "Through the Grand Mosque?" "Kinky. Sign here.")
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To: null and void
"Is anyone thinking what I’m thinking?"





Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?

I think so Brain; but we'll never get a monkey to use dental floss.
11 posted on 11/29/2007 3:35:16 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: blam
My kid contracted Tularemia about a year and a half ago. Was one of only about forty people in the U.S. (at that point) to get it that year (better chance of getting hit by lightning - twice, I figure).

I can tell you it was a nasty, miserable experience. The stuff is so toxic that when they performed surgery on him to drain the nasty junk out of his neck, they had to do it wearing bio-hazard suits. He was on I.V. antibiotics nonstop and probably had to get a new "stick" once or twice a day (kept jamming up). In the end, it was sixteen days in the hospital - fortunately it was A.I. DuPont Childrens'...an excellent outfit.

It happened in June - the outpatient antibiotics they put him on after being discharged kept him inside, though (couldn't be exposed to sunlight). Crappy summer for the boy. Fortunately for him, he was back into shape and spirit by the start of football season (first week of August) and had a tremendous year.

The infectious diseases doctor actually had to report the case to the Department of Homeland Security - it truly is one of the bio-toxins that could be used by terrorists.

I cannot imagine how the ancients would have fared against this disease given the level of medical expertise they likely had. Dreadful.

12 posted on 11/29/2007 4:05:10 PM PST by Impugn (I am standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.)
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To: Impugn
Oh, in case you might be wondering how he contracted it, we suspect it was from a tick bite during one of our days at the park.

It is called "rabbit fever" because rabbits can carry the disease. It was a far more common malady when people used to frequently hunt/eat rabbits - if you cut yourself while skinning the rabbit, you could get sick.

The theory is that he got bit by a tick that had recently bit an infected rabbit. No need to worry, however...the odds are tremendously low of getting it.

13 posted on 11/29/2007 4:11:51 PM PST by Impugn (I am standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.)
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To: null and void
"I was wondering if tularemia could be an STD..."

Only in Scotland.

14 posted on 11/29/2007 4:17:04 PM PST by Natural Law ("The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other hi)
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To: Natural Law

Scotland is sheep.

These are goats, more a Middle Eastern thang...


15 posted on 11/29/2007 4:23:18 PM PST by null and void (No more Bushes/No more Clintons)
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To: blam

New study??? I know I am getting old but I do remember being taught about this while attending Biological/chemical warfare school in 1960. Oh well, studies show that studies show. SF


16 posted on 11/29/2007 4:28:00 PM PST by Hardcorps
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To: null and void

Goats would be Texas


17 posted on 11/29/2007 4:30:07 PM PST by Natural Law ("The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other hi)
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To: Natural Law
Texas? Don't be silly! There's a reason they call 'em Cowpokes...
18 posted on 11/29/2007 4:36:32 PM PST by null and void (No more Bushes/No more Clintons)
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To: blam

I thought this was about the St. Louis Rams beat-up offensive line


19 posted on 11/29/2007 5:06:05 PM PST by Dr. Sivana (Not a newbie, I just wanted a new screen name.)
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To: 75thOVI; AFPhys; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; ...
One of those topics.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·

20 posted on 11/29/2007 9:48:06 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

· Google · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology magazine · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


21 posted on 11/29/2007 9:48:35 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam

Instead of the Trojan Horse...The Hittite Goat.


22 posted on 11/29/2007 9:51:29 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (TAZ:Untamed, Unpredictable, Uninhibited.)
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To: Ultra Sonic 007

Thanks US007. GGG, among other things. :’)


23 posted on 11/29/2007 9:52:32 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam
Tom Slattery may be thrilled.

The Tragic End of the Bronze Age: A Virus Makes History The Tragic End of the Bronze Age:
A Virus Makes History

by Tom Slattery


24 posted on 11/29/2007 9:55:14 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Is that a good book. I’m looking for some books to buy...I’m out of (good) reading material.


25 posted on 11/29/2007 10:08:24 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten; 359Henrie; 6323cd; 75thOVI; Adrastus; A message; abb; ACelt; AZamericonnie; ..
To all: please ping me to threads that are relevant to the MilHist list (and/or) please add the keyword "MilHist" to the appropriate thread. Thanks in advance.

Please FREEPMAIL indcons if you want on or off the "Military History (MilHist)" ping list.

26 posted on 11/29/2007 10:26:33 PM PST by indcons
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To: blam

What makes this a particularly interesting study of warfare is the identity of the Arzawa. They were a confederation of related peoples in what later became Lydia in western Asia Minor. The northernmost kingdom of the Arzawans was Wilusa, located neat the Hellespont. At that time Greek still used the letter ‘W’, later dropped. There is a famous story about fighting in Wilusa, or Ilusa, It is remembered as ‘The Iliad’, and Wilusa was located on the Troad, who’s only big city in ancient times is now known as Troy.


27 posted on 11/29/2007 10:33:58 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (All of this has happened before, and will happen again!)
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To: indcons; SunkenCiv
Note to self: must not post Monty Python castle picture with trebucheted cow here; it could really get someone's goat. Or vice versa.
28 posted on 11/29/2007 10:36:31 PM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (Public Employees: Honor Your Oaths! Defend the Constitution from Enemies--Foreign and Domestic!)
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To: The Spirit Of Allegiance

Ewe got that right.


29 posted on 11/29/2007 10:40:47 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

LOL


30 posted on 11/29/2007 10:41:41 PM PST by indcons
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To: blam

Well, it’s difficult for me to say. I knew Slattery online for a while, on the About History forum. He didn’t seem to have any real evidence for his central thesis, which is that smallpox was the culprit. I have the book, and made an earnest effort to read it, and probably will someday read it, but couldn’t get into it. A search on Amazon used to turn up a dozen or so vanity-published titles by Tom, a variety of subjects.


31 posted on 11/29/2007 10:43:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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ANE Digest Number 357
From: Banyai Michael Leonberg
Date: Fri, 25 Dec 1998
There is an Akagamunas (Akaiamunas?), apparently the Achaian king, appearing in the hethite correspondence. He was tentatively equivalated, I think by Forrer, with the homeric Agamemnon. Most of Forrers equation are today in low esteem, even if his name is still among the leader hethitologists. There are no objective grounds against this very equation but only natural skepsis. Should one hold his equation, one gets Akaiamunas/Akaiamenon >> Agamemnon. This as Idomeneos and Menelaos (variant of the lawagetas) would thus be just titles, no personal names.
Emil Forrer was correct. I was first turned onto this (I guess) by Michael Wood, who discusses Forrer and the Hattusas archive in his In Search of the Trojan War.
"These vague resemblances do not look like mere chance; Achaiwoi/Ahhiyawa; Alaksandus/Alexandros [Paris]; Wilusa/Wilios; Taruisa/Troia: each in isolation presents problems, but four resemblances is pressing coincidence too far." (p 207, italics in original)
Wood also mentions Tawagalawas which IMHO could be Achilles (Ta-Agalawas) and Etewokleweios which IMHO could be Eteocles.
32 posted on 11/29/2007 11:01:16 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Mycenaean and Hittite Diplomatic Correspondence: Fact and Fiction [ PDF file ]
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | circa 2004 | H. Craig Melchert
Posted on 05/03/2007 1:59:47 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1827901/posts


33 posted on 11/29/2007 11:07:44 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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In Ruin, Symbols on a Stone Hint at a Lost Asian Culture
Source: The New York Times
Published: May 13, 2001 Author: JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Posted on 05/12/2001 11:44:35 PDT by sarcasm
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3afd84936a40.htm
7 Posted on 05/12/2001 13:05:10 PDT by blam
http://www.FreeRepublic.com/forum/a3afd84936a40.htm#7

Was There a Trojan War?
Archaeology | May/June 2004 | Manfred Korfmann
Posted on 07/30/2004 2:43:38 AM EDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1181498/posts

Arzawa
The House of David (not the vanished religious sect by that name) | circa 2002 | David R Ross
Posted on 11/26/2004 10:32:25 PM EST by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1289143/posts


34 posted on 11/29/2007 11:17:46 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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JSTOR: The Achaeans: Scarcely anyone doubts any longer the identification of the Aqaiwasha with the Achaeans, first proposed by E. de Rouge in 1867.
35 posted on 11/29/2007 11:18:48 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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...Zangger identifies the “Ekwesh” or “Aqaiwasha” with the Achaeans... and the “Denyen” with the Danaoi... alternate names for the Hellenes familiar from Homer, with the further suggestion that the term “Achaeans” derives from a hypothesized ancient Pelasgian word “*acha”, which would mean water. This theory implies that the Philistines were part of this Greek-speaking confederacy.

http://www.halfvalue.com/wiki.jsp?topic=Sea_Peoples


36 posted on 11/29/2007 11:19:57 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

Knowing a little about the Mid Easterner’s love of his sheep, I wonder if you’d class these as deep penetration agents.

No doubt the purpose was to pull the wool over their eyes.


37 posted on 11/30/2007 12:13:32 AM PST by wildbill
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To: blam
The only certain cure for a sick ram is an embraceable ewe:


38 posted on 11/30/2007 12:34:00 AM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: Impugn; blam; SunkenCiv

Was this the plague that killed two Hittite kings, Suppiluliumas I and his son Arnuwandas III?


39 posted on 11/30/2007 2:21:54 AM PST by Berosus ("The candidates that can't face Fox News can't face Al Qaeda."--Roger Ailes)
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To: null and void

Dangit, nully, there you go again...glad I read down the thread this time. Can we airdrop ‘em?


40 posted on 11/30/2007 4:29:01 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: null and void

Yeah. “Everything’s big in Texas...”


41 posted on 11/30/2007 4:31:51 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Impugn
My kid contracted Tularemia about a year and a half ago. Was one of only about forty people in the U.S. (at that point) to get it that year (better chance of getting hit by lightning - twice, I figure).

Glad your boy made a good recovery. That must have been heartwrenching for your family.

Robert A. Heinlein mentioned in one of his survival-based fiction stories on the importantance of recognizing Tularemia in any rabbits you killed. (Not that you were hunting rabbits that day.) He was talking about how back-to-nature survival wasn't as easy as us modern-day city folk imagined it to be.

42 posted on 11/30/2007 7:54:27 AM PST by scan59 (Let consumers dictate market policies. Government just gets in the way.)
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To: scan59
Glad your boy made a good recovery. That must have been heartwrenching for your family.

Thank you very much. All is well. Well, I guess the 50k left uncovered kinda sucks, but, it was unfortunately timed with the short (6 week) period during which I was on [relatively crappy] health insurance via a consulting agency. Small price to pay, really.

Have to say, though, that as nasty and rare as it was, the one thing we (as a family) got out of the experience was realizing just how lucky we were to have something at least treatable. My son met more than one kid at that childrens' hospital that will probably never go home.

Robert A. Heinlein mentioned in one of his survival-based fiction stories on the importantance of recognizing Tularemia in any rabbits you killed. (Not that you were hunting rabbits that day.) He was talking about how back-to-nature survival wasn't as easy as us modern-day city folk imagined it to be.

Heh...yeah...in talking about the malady with friends and family, none had ever heard of it.

Lo and behold, while engaging on some "team speak" with fellow players of an online game I enjoy, I mentioned it. One dude knew it right off - and actually told me quite a bit about it that I didn't know. Turns out he is a survival enthusiast/instructor. I'd wager he read the books to which you referred. Fascinating dude.

43 posted on 11/30/2007 8:04:18 AM PST by Impugn (I am standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.)
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To: blam

I thought this was about the St. Louis Rams


44 posted on 11/30/2007 8:05:10 AM PST by demsux
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To: Berosus

I’m not sold on this biowarfare article, looks like anachronistic political pandering. I’d previously read a claim that bubonic-infected rats were tossed over the wall using catapaults during some siege in ancient times, but A) AFAIK there’s no ancient descriptions of a bubonic plague outbreak, and B) while there’s no reason to doubt the observational capacity of earlier human societies, infections and disease were (according to documentation) attributed to demons and deities.

:’) In this case, the storm god? :’D

http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-35872/Arnuwandas-III

A selection of articles discussing this topic.

conquest of Arzawa

...During the reign of the Hittite king Arnuwandas III (1220–1190 BC), Arzawa was seized by a disloyal Hittite vassal, Madduwattas; it was never recaptured by the Hittites and gradually lost its political identity.

succession of Mursilis II

Son of the great Hittite conqueror Suppiluliumas, Mursilis succeeded his father after the brief reign of his older brother Arnuwandas III. Mursilis renewed the allegiance of North Syria, particularly Carchemish (controlled by his brother Shar-Kushukh) and the kingdom of Amurru; he also conducted a successful campaign against the western kingdom of Arzawa, one of the main threats to the Hittite...

history of Hittite kingdom

Little is known about Arnuwandas III and Suppiluliumas II, who succeeded Tudhaliyas, and these final episodes in the saga of Hittite history are difficult to reconstruct. To the latter reign can be dated a maritime expedition, perhaps involving Cyprus, and the earliest Hieroglyphic Hittite inscriptions of any length. The Phrygian invasion of Asia Minor must already...


45 posted on 11/30/2007 9:04:19 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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[a nice map]

46 posted on 11/30/2007 9:05:08 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007___________________https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: scan59

Only thing I remember about hunting rabbits was my dad would inspect the liver - very closely.

If it looked funky in any way, I got the job of burying it - not even the dogs could have it.


47 posted on 11/30/2007 5:13:48 PM PST by djf (Send Fred some bread! Not a whole loaf, a slice or two will do!)
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