This article (the one below) gave me an idea (although I also partially patterned it after the Library and Museus of ancient Alexandria) for a new adventure/dungeon site or complex. It sits right outside of a major city and appears as an ancient museum to the civilian population and for all public intents and purposes this is all that is known of the complex. It contains numerous replicas (and, it is claimed, some very real examples) of ancient and powerful devices, items, inventions, artifacts, and even some holy relics.
Visitors may enter the Mystereum by day, and during special occasions (or public festivals) at night, to see these things on display, to read descriptions of what they were or of their supposed history and ownership, the known chains of evidence regarding their authenticity, and to be given guided tours and to hear lectures given by the archivists, historians, sages, and “illuminated craftsmen and laborers” who inhabit or work at the temple. For it is indeed considered not only a museum and lecture hall and library, but also a sort of Temple of the Past.
Unknown to all but a few, however, is the fact that the Mystereum is actually built over the ruins of a much, much older sub-subterranean site and labyrinth (whose tunnels extend for miles in all directions) in the center of which sits the original (or is it?) site of a far more ancient Mystereum.
Not all of this (original?) and far older Mystereum has been excavated and cleared but in it is housed many of the true devices, artifacts, and relics of the above ground and public Mystereum. There are also many rumors that in the still to be excavated ruins of this older Mystereum are even more ancient and antique artifacts, items, and relics, some of supposed immense value and great power.
This underground Mystereum (called the Mega-Mystereum or the Magnaheiron) is slowly being excavated, maintained, restored, and worked by a small cadre of Cultists called the Lysterae, whose chiefs are called the Medikhee.
The Lysterae in general consider themselves the Guardians of what they consider to be a Holy Site of both Magic and Supernatural Mystery in the form of the Magnaheiron, but the Medikhee think of themselves as both the Oracles and Visionaries of this ancient site, as well as the explorers and employers of the fantastic items it houses and contains.
Because the Magnaheiron is so ancient and has only been recently rediscovered (and was lost to both history and memory) only the Lysterae and the Medikhee currently know of its locale. The only currently known point of entrance to the labyrinth lies underneath a closed off section of the above ground Mystereum below an abandoned display that leads into what is apparently an old well shaft. This well shaft led to the far north end of labyrinth which, if followed correctly, eventually led to the center of the maze which led to the long abandoned ruins of the Magnaheiron.
Who first discovered this well shaft, the labyrinth, and the Magnaheiron (if indeed it was the same individual or individuals) the Medikhee will not say, however soon after exploring the site and upon realizing just how large it was the Medikhee began to swear to secrecy certain loyal servants and companions to secrecy and thus formed the Lysterae.
The Lysterae were told by the Medikhee that eventually they wish to fully restore the Magnaheiron and open it and the many benefits it might possibly contain (if only in part) to the general public. However the Medikhee have aims and an agenda of their own which does not include making any of their discoveries widely known.
At the moment secrecy, armed Lysterae guardsmen, the large underground maze complex, lack of historical records, and some of the artifacts that the Medikhee have already discovered provide all of the security necessary to prevent any knowledge of the Magnaheiron from reaching the pubic.
Although a few bizarre rumors do circulate regarding something strange being associated with the Mystereum nothing really concrete is known and few if any suspect the underground Magnaheiron. Thus, so far, and as far as is known, it has never been infiltrated or penetrated by any except the Lysterae or the Medikhee.
Because I like this idea so much (turnign a Museum into an excavation/exploration site) I am thinking of making the Mystereum not only a stand alone adventure but also incorporating it into my Megadungeon Complex which I call Akaesia, or, The Perfect Dungeon.
As a matter of fact I like the idea so much that I might also turn it into a short story or simply integrate some of the ideas and a modified version of the complex/site straight into my mythological fantasy the Kithariune.
Well, I’ve either worked or traveled all day. Except for my morning training routines. Although I usually don’t watch TV during the week I’m tired enough to want to relax now. So I think I may go watch The Flash with the wife and daughter, and then do some more moon watching and star gazing tonight with my telescope.
Have a good evening folks…
In the outskirts of Leiden in the Netherlands, there rests a giant, 115-foot-tall man colored orange. Sitting on a two-story platform beside an eleven story glass building, this towering orange man welcomes you to the Corpus Museum, the world’s first museum to take visitors through the entire anatomy of the human body.
The giant orange body at the Corpus Museum is cut in its center by the glass walls of the building, making it appear to be a silhouette. In reality, the orange man is a full body resting half inside and half outside of the museum. The sculpture immediately catches the eye of cars passing down Leiden’s A44 Highway, beckoning them to the unusual museum.
The Corpus Museum’s hour-long tour begins with an escalator ride up the leg to the knee, where visitors will step inside an open wound. Next comes the genital area, where visitors will put on 3D glasses to witness a sperm cell fertilizing an egg. Further up the giant body come the intestines, where you can witness the digestion of a cheese sandwich before your eyes. After passing through the ventricles of the human heart, visitors reach the head. Here, adults can observe pulsing neurons in the brain, while children can jump atop a giant tongue as a burping sound erupts from a speaker system.
The museum’s upper floor features multiple interactive activities and a cafeteria. As visitors eat, they can look at the giant orange man jutting through the glass walls beside them.
The museum was an initiative of engineer Kostas Kotsanas who has also established the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology in Katakolo, southern Greece. According to Kotsanas, the museum aims to highlight even the most unknown aspects of Archimedes’ scientific work, which shows that the technology of the ancient Greeks was not that far from the beginnings of modern technology.
Here are just five of the impressive inventions featured in the new exhibition:
The Robot Servant of Philon
Philo of Byzantium, also known as Philo Mechanicus, was a Greek engineer and writer on mechanics, who lived during the latter half of the 3rd century BC. Among his many inventions was a human-like robot in the form of a maid, who held a jug of wine in her right hand. When the visitor placed a cup in the palm of her left hand, she automatically poured wine initially and then she poured water into the cup mixing it when desired. The robot was created through a complex construction consisting of containers, tubes, air pipes, and winding springs, which interacted through variants in weight, air pressure, and vacuum. The result is the oldest known robot created by man.
The automatic servant by Philon of Byzantium. Photo: Augusta Stylianou
Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC – 212 BC) was an Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. A large part of Archimedes’ work in engineering arose from fulfilling the needs of his home city of Syracuse. King Hiero II commissioned Archimedes to design a huge ship, the Syracusia, which could carry 600 people and would be used for luxury travel, carrying supplies, and as a naval warship. Since a ship of this size would leak a considerable amount of water through the hull, the Archimedes’ screw was purportedly developed in order to remove the bilge water. Archimedes’ machine was a device with a revolving screw-shaped blade inside a cylinder. It was turned by hand, and could also be used to transfer water from a low-lying body of water into irrigation canals. The Archimedes’ screw is still in use today for pumping liquids and granulated solids such as coal and grain.
Archimedes’ Screw. Image source.
Heron’s Automatic Theatre
Heron of Alexandria (c. 10 – 70 AD) was a Greek mathematician and engineer who is considered to be one of the greatest experimenters of antiquity. One of his more artistic creations was an automatic theatre that presented Nauplius, a tragic tale set in the period after the Trojan War. As (presumably) amazed playgoers watched, the doors to a miniature theater swung open, and animated figures acted out a series of dramatic events, including the repair of Ajax’s ship by nymphs wielding hammers, the Greek fleet sailing the seas accompanied by leaping dolphins, and the final destruction of Ajax by a lightning bolt hurled at him by the goddess Athena. The entirely mechanical play, which was almost ten minutes in length, was powered by a binary-like system of ropes, knots, and machines operated by a rotating cylindrical cogwheel. Even the sound of thunder was produced, created by the mechanically-timed dropping of metal balls onto a hidden drum.
Heron’s automatic theatre
The Claw of Archimedes (also known as the “iron hand”) was an ancient weapon devised by Archimedes to defend the seaward portion of Syracuse’s city wall against amphibious assault. Although its exact nature is unclear, the accounts of ancient historians seem to describe it as a sort of crane equipped with a grappling hook that was able to lift attacking ships partly out of the water, then either cause the ship to capsize or suddenly drop it.
These machines featured prominently during the Second Punic War in 214 BC, when the Roman Republic attacked Syracuse with a fleet of 60 Quinqueremes under Marcus Claudius Marcellus. When the Roman fleet approached the city walls under cover of darkness, the machines were deployed, sinking many ships and throwing the attack into confusion. Historians such as Polybius and Livy attributed heavy Roman losses to these machines, together with catapults also devised by Archimedes.
A painting of the Claw of Archimedes by Giulio Parigi, taking the name “iron hand” literally. Image source: Wikipedia
Archimedes’ Burning Mirrors
The 2nd century AD author Lucian wrote that during the Siege of Syracuse (c. 214–212 BC), Archimedes destroyed enemy ships with fire. Centuries later, Anthemius of Tralles mentions burning-glasses as Archimedes’ weapon. The device, sometimes called the “Archimedes heat ray”, was used to focus sunlight onto approaching ships, causing them to catch fire. It has been suggested that a large array of highly polished bronze or copper shields acting as mirrors could have been employed to focus sunlight onto a ship. This would have used the principle of the parabolic reflector in a manner similar to a solar furnace. A test of the Archimedes heat ray was carried out in 1973 by the Greek scientist Ioannis Sakkas. The experiment took place at the Skaramagas naval base outside Athens. On this occasion 70 mirrors were used, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet (1.5 by 1 m). The mirrors were pointed at a plywood mock-up of a Roman warship at a distance of around 160 feet (50 m). When the mirrors were focused accurately, the ship burst into flames within a few seconds.
Archimedes Mirror by Giulio Parigi. Image source: Wikimedia
The newly launched museum includes 24 replicas of Archimedes’ inventions such as Archimedes’ screw, Archimedes’ mechanical planetarium, the diopter, the odometer, the hydrostatic paradox, the burning mirrors and war machines, as well as the inventions of other ancient Greek scientists. City mayor Thymios Kotzias said that the museum will contribute to bringing more tourists to Ancient Olympia.