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Catacombs of Rome

The Catacombs of Rome are ancient catacombs, underground burial places under Rome, Italy, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together, people of all the Roman religions are buried in them, beginning in the 2nd century AD as a response to overcrowding and shortage of land; the Etruscans, like many other European peoples, used to bury their dead in underground chambers. The original Roman custom was cremation, after which the burnt remains were kept in a pot, ash-chest or urn in a columbarium. From about the 2nd century AD, inhumation became more fashionable, in graves or sarcophagi elaborately carved, for those who could afford them. Christians preferred burial to cremation because of their belief in bodily resurrection at the Second Coming; the Park of the Caffarella and Colli Albani are nearby. The Christian catacombs are important for the art history of Early Christian art, as they contain the great majority of examples from before about 400 AD, in fresco and sculpture, as well as gold glass medallions.

The Jewish catacombs are important for the study of Jewish culture at this period. A number of dubious relics of catacomb saints were promoted after the rediscovery of the catacombs; the word catacombs comes from the Latin root word catatumbas meaning either “among the tombs” or, according to other translations from the original Late Latin, “next to the quarry”. The translation stems from the first excavations done to create the catacombs system, conducted outside of Rome near the quarry; the Etruscans, who at the time occupied what is now Rome, had placed their dead in early dug-outs, such as the Tomb of the Capitals, less complex tumuli. The early Roman custom had been cremation, in which burnt remains are placed in a pot, urn, or ash-chest, often kept in a columbarium. Around the 2nd century in Rome, inhumation had begun to grow in popularity, for those who could afford it, fashionable graves and sarcophagi were made and used for burial. By the 4th century, burial had surpassed cremation, the construction of tombs had grown greater and spread throughout the empire.

Christians and Jews preferred burial due to the idea of preserving the dead body for resurrection. Through research, it has been found. Sample D9-W-XVI-8, considered to be a two-year-old child, shows that children in Ancient Rome were breastfed and this child, in particular, had not yet been weaned off of their mother, it can be determined that the child had not begun to wean due to the fact that the δ15N values had not begun to decline. Fish in the early Christian diet was not only for symbolic and religious reasons, but was used as a meal to commemorate the dead. Fish represented that the religious and the secular were intertwined in Roman society as fish was a concrete staple of the daily diet; the first large-scale catacombs in the vicinity of Rome were excavated from the 2nd century onwards. They were carved through tufo, a soft volcanic rock, outside the walls of the city, because Roman law forbade burial places within city limits; the pagan custom was to incinerate corpses, while Jews buried the dead.

Since most Christians and Jews at that time belonged to the lower classes or were slaves, they lacked the resources to buy land for burial purposes. Instead, networks of tunnels were dug in the deep layers of tufo which occurred on the outskirts of Rome. At first, these tunnels were not used for regular worship, but for burial and, extending pre-existing Roman customs, for memorial services and celebrations of the anniversaries of Christian martyrs. There are sixty known subterranean burial chambers in Rome, they were built outside the walls along main Roman roads, like the Via Appia, the Via Ostiense, the Via Labicana, the Via Tiburtina, the Via Nomentana. Names of the catacombs – like St Calixtus and St Sebastian, alongside Via Appia – refer to martyrs that may have been buried there. About 80% of the excavations used for Christian burials date to after the time of the persecutions; the roots of Christianity can be traced back with the discovery of catacombs. Christian catacombs exist as a burial ground for early Christians accompanied by inscriptions and early wall art.

Although catacombs were of Jewish origin in the first century, by the end of the sixth century there were over 60 Christian catacombs. These catacombs served as a connector for various Christian communities through the underlying concepts of socio-economic status shown within the art. Additionally, the art showed a story of how Christians in the first couple of centuries viewed the world and their idealistic view of how it should be. Christian art in the catacombs is split into three categories: iconographic and technical. From the first to the sixth century, the art in Roman Christian catacombs progressively went into phases as well: an early phase, an Old Testament phase, a New Testament phase. Excavators, no doubt slaves, built vast systems of passages on top of each other, they lie 7–19 metres below the surface in an area of more than 2.4 square kilometres. Narrow steps that descend as many as four stories join the levels. Passages are about 2.5 by 1 metre. Burial niches were carved into walls.

They are 40–60 centimetres high and 120–150 centimetres long. Bodies were placed in chambers in stone sarcophagi in their clothes and bound in linen

Dixie Selden

Dixie Selden was an American artist. She studied with Frank Duveneck, a mentor and significant influence, William Merritt Chase, who introduced her to Impressionism. Selden painted portraits of Americans and made genre paintings and seascapes from her travels within the country and to Europe, the Middle East and Mexico, she helped was twice the president of the Women's Art Club of Cincinnati. Her works have been exhibited in the United States, she was one of the Daughters on the Social Register. Dixie Selden, named for the song Dixie Land, was born in Ohio, she was one of three children of Martha Peyton McMillon Selden. Her parents had ancestors from northern states, New York and Connecticut, who fought during the Revolutionary War, her father fought for the Union during the American Civil War, but they were sympathetic to the concerns of the South; when she was two years old, the family moved to Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Dixie Selden was left an only child, her parents indulged her artistic abilities, including building her a studio.

They took her on two tours of Europe in 1878 and 1882 to 1883. Her parents were active in Cincinnati and Covington social circles and organizations, including The Shakespeare Society, her mother, was an associate member of the Covington Art Club and a member of the local literary society, the Culture Club. Selden attended Bartholomew's Girls' School in Cincinnati, she enrolled in the McMicken School of Design, now the Art Academy of Cincinnati, in 1884 and studied there off an on until 1912 under Fernand H. Lungren and Frank Duveneck from Covington, she studied painting with oils and watercolor. Selden was one of Duveneck's favorite students and he became her mentor who recommended her for commissions and assisted her in having her works shown in "male-dominated" exhibitions. Duveneck greatly influenced Selden's style. According to author Estill Curtis Pennington, "Frank Duveneck and his followers, Dixie Selden and John Alberts, continued to paint in a venerable high-art style, informed by seventeenth-century precedent and lit by Impressionist innovation."Selden won prizes for her oil paintings and portraits that she began to exhibit at the Covington Art Club in 1890.

She exhibited four paintings in 1891 at the Cincinnati Art Club. Selden attained the status of a professional artist in 1892 when her works were shown with those of Duveneck, Charles Henry Sharp, Henry Farny, Edward Henry Potthast, Frank H. Lungren; that year, Selden helped was its president twice. She began to work in Covington in 1894 as an portraitist. Selden painted Daughter of the Revolution, a self-portrait, in 1894, but she terminated her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1899 for unknown reasons. Beginning in 1895, Selden spent the summers in Edgartown, Boothbay, in France at Normandy and Brittany. During her visits, she made genre works and seascapes. Selden studied in Italy with William Merritt Chase, her style changed after studying with Chase, as she moved from the darker influence of the Munich School to a lighter, impressionistic style after 1909. She studied in Vienna and Paris with other artists, in St. Ives, England with Henry B. Snell. Selden traveled extensively with fellow artist Emma Mendenhall throughout the United States, Mexico, China and the Middle East, painting landscapes, genre scenes, portraits "with a "broad stroke and sprightly brush."

The images captured street and market scenes. According to biographer Richard M. Sacksteder, she is "one of the premier Impressionists from the Greater Cincinnati area", best known for her "lively landscapes" and portraits. Selden painted portraits of Frank Duveneck, considered "her most powerful portrait". Selden painted images of domestic life, portraits of family members and pets, flowers, she used a turpentine-thinned varnish on her paintings. Selden reached national acclaim and her works were exhibited and won prizes throughout the United States, her art was shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, New York Academy of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, including a 1910 exhibition of her works with those of Emma Mendenhall and Annie G. Sykes. Selden was a member of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, American Women's Art Club, National Arts Club, Southern States Art League, Louisville Art Association, Covington Art Club, Cincinnati McDowell Society.

Her painting, Boats in Harbor, was sold for US$32,500 in 2011. The maximum price paid for one of her paintings is reported to be $62,100 by Blouin Art Info. Called "the little one" by Duveneck, she was a petite woman who had a "vivacious, joyous personality" and established many close, lifelong friendships. Having never married, Selden enjoyed a long friendship with fellow Cincinnati artist, Emma Mendenhall, her mother, Martha Selden, died in 1907 and father, died the following year. Selden stayed on in her parents’ home and in other residences in Covington before moving in 1910 to Walnut Hills, where she was listed as a resident of the city on the Social Register in 1918. Selden died of a heart attack the night of a dinner party in her Walnut Hills house in 1935, she is buried in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. A memorial exhibition was held at the Cincinnati Art Museum from March 5 through April 8, 193

OSS Deer Team

The OSS Deer Team was established by the United States Office of Strategic Services on May 16, 1945 to attack and intercept materials on the railroad from Hanoi in central Vietnam to Lạng Sơn in northeast Vietnam with the hope of keeping Japanese military units from entering China. They sent intelligence reports to OSS agents stationed in China; the team provided training and logistical assistance to Hồ Chí Minh and the Việt Minh in 1945. The first mission of OSS Deer Team was to help train 50 to 100 Việt Minh guerrillas to help drive Japanese soldiers out of French Indochina. Deer Team worked with Hồ Chí Minh and Võ Nguyên Giáp, whom they knew only as "Mr. Hoo" and "Mr. Van"; the two groups were friendly and fought as comrades-in-arms to capture the Japanese garrison at Tan Trao, celebrated that victory by getting drunk together. The Americans left camp on August 16, not long after hearing the news of Japanese surrender, they traveled on foot with Võ Nguyên Giáp and his troops to Thái Nguyên, the French provincial capital.

When guerrilla combatants debuted against French and Japanese troops until the French governor capitulated on August 25, Võ Nguyên Giáp had arranged for the Deer Team to stay hidden away in a safe house on the outskirts of town.. Following the Việt Minh victory, Deer Team stayed for a few days "getting fat, getting a sun-tan, visiting the city and waiting for permission to go to Hanoi; the Việt Minh did everything to make our stay as pleasant as possible for us," said Defourneaux. The Americans arrived in Hanoi and returned to the United States; the night before leaving, Major Thomas had a private dinner with Võ Nguyên Giáp. Hồ Chí Minh said to his men: "I want to thank each of you for what you have done for us. We are grateful. You are welcome to come back at any time."Medic Paul Hoagland is reputed to have saved the life of Hồ Chí Minh with quinine and sulfa drugs. Lieutenant Defourneaux explained: "Hồ was so ill. Our medic thought it might have been hepatitis. While being treated by Pfc Hoagland, Hồ directed his people into the jungle to search for herbs.

Hồ shortly recovered, attributing it to his knowledge of the jungle." When Hồ Chí Minh discovered a French agent sent with the Deer Team, part of it: "This man is not an American. Look, who are you guys trying to kid? This man is not part of the deal." Lieutenant Montfort deported to China. Two other undercover French–Vietnamese agents suffered the same treatment; the OSS remained on good terms with Hồ Chí Minh until the United States began overtly supporting France's occupation of Indochina in the late 1950s. OSS Detachment 101 Ho Chi Minh and the OSS at Historynet.com – June 10, 2009 Ho, Giap and OSS Agent Henry Prunier at Historynet.com – May 24, 2011