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December 21, 2012     Post-Gazette
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December 21, 2012

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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 21,2012 i Stirpe Nostra by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our  ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. AURUM hammered gold and sword blade decorations have been excavated from their an- cient grave sites. The graves of the Crimea have yielded corpses covered from head to foot with gold. Aurum is the Latin word for gold. The early Romans obtained their main supply from Spain. The rivers of that country contained rich deposits of the precious metal, which yielded nug- gets after the simplest sys- tem of washing. Gold is the most malleable of all metals. It can easily be hammered to a thinness of two hundred thousandths of an inch. A single ounce of gold can be formed into a wire sixty miles long or beaten into more than seven hundred Gold, because of its work- ability and the manner that it is found lying in lumps in the ground, was one of the earliest metals used by man and it was one of the most primitive sources of civiliza- tion. It has been claimed that the ancients actually made the earliest age of the world's history an age of gold. Homer speaks of Menelaus, King of Sparta and husband of Helen of Troy, whose house was full of gold. Also, the decoration on the shield of Achilles contained much gold. The forerunners of the Greek civilization known as the Mycenaeans date back to at least 1600 B.C. Great quantities of gold cups, jugs, death masks, ornaments of CARLO BASILE fifty sheets of gold leaf four inches square. It can be spun into thread and woven into fabric like wool. Gold is not affected by air, heat, moisture, or ordinary sol- vents and shows remarkable little wear with use. It loses no substance by the action of fire; even in conflagra- tions and on funeral pyres it receives no damage. Its qual- ity is actually improved the more often it is fired. There can be no question that to the smiths of early times, gold must have been the metal most suited for artistic expression. Its ex- treme softness and mallea- bility enabled even work- men who had no more elabo- rate tools than a hammer and nails to work it into any given shape. All the vessels of Mycenae are hammered out and joined into shape by nails and the earliest stat- ues of the gods were pro- duced by the same method. In the preparation of gold, the ancients used only the simplest processes of melt- ing and refining. When gold occurred mixed with silver they frequently did not sepa- (Continued on Page 15) Res Publica by David Trumbull Happy HOLY On Sunday, December 16% I passed by the creche on the Boston Common, a public display acknowledging the majority Christian faith of the residents of the City of Boston. Had I been there a few days earlier, I would have seen the public menorah, which was lit from December, 8  through 15% a civic state- ment of the importance of Jews and of the Jewish faith in our fair city. This is as it should be. It was not always so. In Puritan Boston, Christ- mas was not generally cel- ebrated at all until the mid- dle of the 19 th century. In the mid-17 th century, when Puritans held political power, the celebration of Christmas was banned. The Puritans, you see, did not subscribe to our secular doctrine of separation of church and state. They did not consider Christmas permissible in their sect and had no qualms about using the power of the state to deny the joys of Christmas to anyone else, be it Anglican, Catho- lic, Lutheran or even the non-believers who simply enjoyed a bit of merriment during the shortest days of the year. DAYS to All Imagine what Puritan preacher Cotton Mather would have said from his pulpit in North Square if he knew that a menorah would be on Boston Common 300 years later! He would have probably condemned as witches any Jews he could find in the Bay Colony. A state-run church, especially one organized around very narrow beliefs, is not likely to deal gently with other faiths or persons of no faith. Now we have freedom! Under our 1787 Federal Constitution the United States may not establish a state church. The Fourteenth Amendment, in 1868, ex- tended that prohibition to the States. Recognition of the universal right of free- dom to practice religion is part of the fundamental charter of our nation. Sadly, some today are attempting to change that fundamental understanding of the place of religion in our secular republic. From some liberal politicians we are increasingly hearing the phrase "freedom of wor- ship" in place of the tradi- tional American doctrine of (Continued on Page 13) Happy Holidays from AARON MICHLEWITZ STATE REPRESENTATIVE - DISTRICT 3 EAST BOSTON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION 72 Marginal Street, East Boston, MA 02128 Phone: 617.569.5590 Fax: 617.569.4846 00qappy 00Iolidays Rapino Memorial Home 9 Chelsea St., East Boston 617-567-1380 Kirby-Rapino Memorial Home 917 Bennington St. East Boston 617-569-0305 Dino C. Manca Funeral Director A Family Service Affiliate of AFFS/Service Corp. Int'i 206 Winter St. Fall River, MA 02720 508-676-2454 She00 ]. Cabral staff of Suffolk County Sheriff s Department & Sal LaMattina & Family BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR DISTRICT 1 " v.v.v.v, v.-.v.v.-.,.v,,.,.v.,,,,v,v.y." * ............................................... - ...............................