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Ancient Traditions

Ancient Origins brings you articles related to Ancient Traditions from all over the world. Find related articles in the sections of history, archaeology, human origins, unexplained, artifacts, ancient places and myths and legends.

'Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth’ by Marx Reichlich. (Deriv.)

Bizarre Methods of Baby Detection: A Short History of the Pregnancy Test

From the dawn of time, people have been trying to figure out ways to detect early pregnancy before physical signs begin to show. Whilst you may be familiar with the hCG pregnancy strip test that is...
Foreigners accompany a triumphal procession of the King; design by Anand Balaji (Photo credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); Deriv.

Echoes of Eternal Egyptian Art: Effulgence and Beyond at Amarna—Part II

Egypt witnessed religious and cultural upheaval on an unimaginable scale when Pharaoh Akhenaten assumed the reins of power and declared the Aten as the supreme god. One of the noteworthy...
 “Litany of Ra” scene in the tomb of King Merenptah (KV8), Valley of the Kings, Luxor; design by Anand Balaji

Echoes of Eternal Egyptian Art: Masters of Form and Finesse—Part I

The ancient Egyptians were pioneers of various forms of art and architecture. Down the millennia, the world has been left awestruck by the design and purpose of their grandiose monuments, their...
Village Doctor Looking at a Urine Sample (1640s) by David Teniers the Younger.

The Urine Wheel and Uroscopy: What Your Wee Could Tell a Medieval Doctor

In modern medicine, urine samples are routinely examined in laboratories to obtain clinical information about a patient. This procedure, known as urinalysis, developed from an older medical process...
Fantasy linen dress wanderer by ArmStreet

Linen: The Ancient Cloth That Still Beats Modern Fabrics

There is a relic of early humanity in the windows of basically every modern fashion outlet every summer. After years of cotton being the ideal textile for breezy summer clothing, the world’s oldest...
Skeleton with a hole in the skull.  Source: wellphoto/Shutterstock.com via The Conversation

Drilling Holes in the Skull was Never a Migraine Cure

Trepanation – the technique of removing bone from the skull by scraping, sawing, drilling or chiselling – has long fascinated those interested in the darker side of medical history. One stock tale is...
Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: A World of Confusion in Akhetaten—Part II

The population that inhabited Akhenaten’s brand new city, Akhetaten, in Middle Egypt was ill at ease with the massive religious uncertainty their monarch had unleashed. A question mark hung over not...
Hegassen scroll detail. Fart Battle, 1864

From Fart Gods to Farting Out One’s Soul: The Historic Ritualization of Farts

They command attention, bring silence into noisy environments and have been associated with the utterances of gods for thousands of years. In fact, entire rituals have been designed around them...
As an amulet, the popular Wedjat eye symbolized health and protection; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: Battling Forces from Different Realms—Part I

The ancient Egyptians held magical practices in high esteem and used it for a variety of purposes in almost every sphere of life. Their worldview was not restricted to that which occurred on earth,...
Kings' Fairy Tale, 1909, by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

The Lost Charms and Incantations That Molded Celtic Reality

Since men and woman have been capable of making vocal sounds, incantations have been floated on airwaves by enchanters, who whispering charms, spells in rituals, hymns and prayers, invoked curses,...
Vases hanging above The Stone of Anointing (Stone of Unction) in the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These vases contain water with rose essence.

Getting High with the Most High: Drugs in the Bible

As the Bronze Age grew old, some of its oral traditions were recorded by poets with gods in their quills and drugs in their gardens. The Odyssey and the Vedas include verses still recited today that...
The Alchemist.

Spagyric Secrets of The Alchemists: Alchemy as Alternative Medicine

Even the best read of us sometimes come up against a word which needs a quick check in the dictionary, and Spagyric is one of those words. To discover the origins and magical meaning of this ancient...
A fragment of a wall painting showing two lovers in bed from the House of L Caecilius Jucundus in Pompeii, now at Naples National Archaeological Museum.

The Erotic Art of Ancient Greece and Rome

Craig Barker / The Conversation Rarely does L.P. Hartley’s dictum that “the past is a foreign country” hold more firmly than in the area of sexuality in classical art. Erotic images and depictions of...
A Greek amphora showing athletes, 4th century BC. ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Did Christians Ban The Ancient Olympics?

Every two years, when the Winter or Summer Olympics comes around, we hear about how the games staged at Olympia in Greece since 776 BC came to a sudden end in the late fourth century AD. The finger...
Skulls from the Andean Paracas (top left). (CC BY-SA 3.0); Paracas skull at Ica Museum(right). (CC BY 2.0); Child head shaping methods (bottom left).

Elongated Skulls Increased Kudos in Ancient Peru

Archaeologists dig them up all over the ancient world from Egypt to Peru, and now, these curious elongated skulls are believed to have been “status symbols,” according to a recent paper in Current...
Detail of ‘Solitude’ (circa 1890) by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton.

Alone Need Not Be Lonely: What Joyous Solitude of Early Hermits Can Teach Us

Kim Haines-Eitzen / The Conversation In today’s world, loneliness seems to have reached epidemic proportions. Countless studies have highlighted the serious and negative impact that loneliness has on...

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