BITS ‘N’ PIECES
Shapur II was perhaps one of the most enigmatic rulers of ancient Persia. Ruling literally from the cradle to the grave, emperor of the Sasanian Empire of Persia from 309 AD to 379 AD, Shah Shapur II was the tenth Sasanian king to take the throne and was also the longest-reigning monarch in Iranian history. He ruled for 70 years.
Shapur’s father, Hormizd II, died in 309 AD. It was decided by the nobles that the royal throne would be reserved until Shapur was born. Some legends state that Shapur was crowned while still in the womb, making him the only royal ever to have been crowned in utero. This story has been challenged over the years, with various historians pointing out that the Persians wouldn’t crown a baby without knowing its sex first.
Shapur’s legacy is still an impressive one - not only famed for being the youngest ever king, but fondly remembered for bringing in the Sasanian golden era and as being one of the most successful of all the Sasanian kings.
Shapur’s 70-year reign spanned the passage of ten Roman emperors and witnessed desperate battles with the Arabs, Chionites and Romans. Shapur steered Persia through these crises, and also laid the foundations of a powerful learning tradition.
Shapur II is remembered as a great king whose reign allowed for the development of the arts, sciences, religion, and the flourishing of one of antiquity’s most noble civilizations.
Carnivorous plants are truly fascinating. When we think about carnivores, we generally think about animals, but the truth is that plants can actually consume animals as well! They are the perfect hunters: patient, alluring, and astonishingly efficient killers. They wait for their victims to come to them, incapacitate their unsuspecting prey, and then consume them—all while firmly rooted in one spot.
There are about 630 species of these plants currently on record. These plants eat small animals, including insects, crustaceans, spiders and other invertebrates. In fact, the larger ones can also eat small vertebrates, such as rodents and lizards.
The Venus flytrap (scientific name: Dionaea muscipula) is the most well-known of carnivorous plants. It is also easiest to acquire, being inexpensive and small. True to its name, it uses the snapping trap to capture prey – after it lures them in with its sweet smell and fluorescent blue glow.
While its most common prey is indeed the fly, it also eats ants, beetles, other insects and arachnids, even frogs. Once it snaps shut, it takes up to 10 days to consume the prey with red sap and open to reveal the exoskeleton.