King Solomon’s Copper.

I’m not really up on my Biblical history.  This could be a flaw in my education, or perhaps just in my interest.  Somehow, the lineages of the Kingdom of Edom and when the Israelites were where don’t really pique my interest.  Despite this, occasionally I wish I knew a little bit more about the timeline, mostly in places where it would improve my knowledge of certain stories or would help in trivia games.

One of the areas where I have limited knowledge is about the ‘real’ reign of King Solomon.  This is probably partially due to H. Rider Haggard and various associated movies.  Why did the king bury bunches of treasure in a mine?  Who ends up dying as they leave?  Was there a previous lost love?  Is it a friend who is taken in the unfairness of African life?  Does a safari end in melancholy?

Well, archeology is trying to answer some of those questions.  A copper mine has recently been dated to the time of King Solomon.  It is possible that this mine, therefore, had some connection to the king and may even have been one of ‘King Solomon’s Mines’.  However, both the Bible (which is one of few written sources we have) and early archeologist linked the area to the Edomites at the time the site was dated to.  So to me this indicates that despite it being during Solomon’s rule, it was probably not under his direct control.  Edom was basically a vassal state, but I’m guessing that any mines in question would have been the governor of Edom’s, rather than Solomon’s.

However, that’s niether here nor there.  The real question is, how far will fact follow fiction?  In this particualr set of mines (which are probably not the only ones for an entire kingdom), is there any ‘buried treasure’?  or was that all relegated to other mines?  is there romance, or monumental loss, or ideal friendship that is about to unfold in this story of rediscovery?  And what about the Queen of Sheba?

You won’t kill anyone, only yourself.

Michel Fournier hopes to break four world records tomorrow with his stratospheric balloon flight and subsequent free fall.  After being thwarted in 2002 by a ripped balloon and in 2003 by the French authorities refusing to let him launch over thousands of innocent citizens, he’s ready to go.  The Canadian government is giving him permission to launch over Saskatchewan, where the population is so sparse that officials doubt he’ll be able to damage people or property in a bungled fall even if he tried.  In addition, he’s spent more than $20 million so far, so he must’ve paid enough for success, right?  Personally, I don’t trust his ambition.  Didn’t he learn anything from the priest?  Besides, this isn’t even for any good cause.  It’s only for pride.

I supposed it’s no more ridiculous than any of the other things people do – mountain climbers whose final goal is Everest, base jumpers who long for the old World Trade Center, survivalists who cross Death Valley just for fun.  To a certain extent, we all want the biggest and the best, and to be recognized as a member of an elite group.  And to a certain extent, there may be nothing wrong with that sort of pride that drives you to achieve, that pushes you towards success.  I’d rather be a bit full of myself than live my life in fear and never accomplish anything for myself.  Still, pride is something where a little bit can go a long way.  Some of us remember that better than others.