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ODE TO THE PAST (with the occasional nod to the present)

Ancient symbols: The Labyrinth

The labyrinth, which has been in existence since ancient times and reached mythical status in the medieval ages, is steeped in symbolism.

Though the Minoan labyrinth in Crete is the most famous in antiquity, the pattern has been used by many civilizations at different points of their development. You see it on cave walls  Read More 
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Ancient symbols: The serpent

No known symbol represents duality as intensely as the serpent. In the ancient world, snakes had two completely different meanings: heaven and healing, and the underworld and evil. Considering the duality of human nature, perhaps this is not so difficult to comprehend.

The polarity of the serpent first emerged in ancient Egypt. The god  Read More 
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Ancient symbols: The pentagram

It has been associated with perfection, the five elements, the five wounds of Jesus, and even witchcraft. The pentagram, also called the pentacle or pentalpha, is a manifestation of the divine number five, which has been revered since ancient times.

The Babylonians used the pentagram as a sign of protection. In ancient Israel, it  Read More 
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Welcome

Hello, and welcome to the D.J. Niko blog. This space will be updated a couple of times per week to keep readers up to date on author appearances and events, new reviews, and research progress on upcoming titles. I'd love to hear from you!
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The legend of Ezana

In researching The Tenth Saint, I found myself drawn into the early beginnings of Christianity in Ethiopia and, in particular, the man who brought the religion into the mainstream.

Christianity existed in Ethiopia since the first century but really took off in 330 CE, under the rule of King Ezana, known as the first Christian  Read More 
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Diogenes: the original Cynic

Of all the ancient Greeks, Diogenes is, in my opinion, the most enigmatic. In an age when philosophy was prized more than treasure and men's characters mattered, Diogenes carved a place in history by deriding the greats and taking the path of extreme asceticism.

He lived in a barrel. He ate only onions. He  Read More 
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Ancient Medicinal Herbs

The ancients knew much about healing. They may not have had little white pills at their disposal, but they had nature’s pharmacy. Herbs cured everything from fevers to fertility.

While researching ethnobotany for the historical subplot of The Tenth Saint, in which Gabriel learns the art of healing from a Bedouin sheik, I  Read More 
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Unearth a hot summer read!

In the spirit of the archaeological theme of my books, we are running a fun campaign for readers (and potential readers) of The Tenth Saint. Over the summer, we will be "burying" books in various locations and offering clues to treasure seekers via Twitter and Facebook (follow us on Twitter, @djnikobooks and like The  Read More 
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The Lost Ark

Where is the lost Ark of the Covenant? The question has inspired dozens of claims, hundreds of theories, and even an Indiana Jones flick (Raiders of the Lost Ark).

No one knows, of course, which makes the lost ark the stuff of legend as much as biblical record. Is it buried beneath Temple Mount?  Read More 
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Fifty Shades of Saint

At one of my events recently, someone (I will call her Lady O) contemplating the purchase of my book asked: “Is this anything like Fifty Shades of Grey?”

I laughed. Then I had a “hmm…” moment. Like the rest of the world, I’ve read Fifty Shades—out of curiosity, mind you (ahem). So  Read More 
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