Ancient Traditions

Sticker showing baby Krishna stealing milk from a cow.

Modern Hindus Forbidden From Eating Beef But Ancient Hindus Ate the Sacred Cow

Wendy Doniger / The Conversation Just this past June, at a national meeting of various Hindu organizations in India, a popular preacher, Sadhvi Saraswati, suggested that those who consumed beef...
Detail of the famous Minoan bull leaping fresco.

Taking the Bull by the Horns: The Perilous Minoan Practice of Bull-Leaping

If bull-leaping was a genuine practice in Bronze Age Minoan courts (estimated c.3200 BC-1100 BC), it was likely not nearly as fun as it appears in frescoes. Modern day professional matadors have...
Mosaic, shown Gargoyles in form of Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Roman artwork, 2nd century AD.

Masks, Sex, Laughter, and Tears: The Exciting Evolution of Ancient Greek Theater

The city of theater was Athens. Athens birthed drama, bred drama, and ultimately was responsible for cultivating it into the premiere art of the Classical world—at least according to Greek...
Portrait of a Woman by Bartolomeo Veneto, traditionally assumed to be Lucrezia Borgia – an infamous femme fatale.

Femme Fatale: Seduced by the Ancient Sex Crafts of History’s Most Alluring Women

The seductress, or femme fatale (French for “Deadly Woman”), is one of the oldest female archetypes and although there has been great diversity in "how" she has been portrayed, she has some core...
The eembuvi-plaits of Mbalantu women. Photo: CHL Hahn, Collection Antje Otto

The Braided Rapunzels of Namibia: Every Stage of Life is Reflected in Their Hair

Not everyone desires floor-length hair, but if you do, you can take some lessons from the Mbalantu women of Namibia in Africa, who are renowned for their incredibly long, braided hair. Throughout the...
Wisconsin Community Pharmacy supply of natural remedies

Modern Science Confirms Ancient Chinese Remedy Provides Effective Non-Addictive Pain Relief

With innovations appearing in our lives seemingly every day it seems that new breakthroughs in science are the only ones we trust. New is always considered better. With this prevalent thinking those...
Satyr Playing the Pipe (Jupiter's Childhood) (fragment) Jacob Jordaens 1639

War, Death and the Wrath of Gods: How Satyr Plays Helped Ancient Greeks Cope With Life

Before Shakespeare, there were the Greeks. The infamous "all the world's a stage" quote attributed to the Elizabethan writer in the 16th century far more accurately describes the world of ancient...
Ruins of Pompeii seen from the above with a drone, with the Vesuvius in the background

A Diet of Delicacies for the People of Pompeii Included Giraffe and Sea Urchin

Several years ago, surprising discoveries were made in a study , which drew on the findings of a sizable excavation of an area of Pompeii. The study, which was presented to the Archaeological...
Before Antibiotics:  Ancient Medical Procedures That Still Baffle Scientists

Before Antibiotics: Ancient Medical Procedures That Still Baffle Scientists

In the modern age, when we think of surgery, we think of doctors working in sterile environments using finely crafted tools on an anesthetised patient. That was not always the case. Early surgical...
This Too Shall Pass: Will Jinichi Kawakami Be the Last of the Ninjas?

This Too Shall Pass: Will Jinichi Kawakami Be the Last of the Ninjas?

The ninja warriors seen in Hollywood are, sadly, born more of myth than reality. Truths were exaggerated and those exaggerations misconstrued as fact. One cannot wholly blame the screenwriters or...
Little Known Links Between Spirits You Drink and the Holy Spirit

Little Known Links Between Spirits You Drink and the Holy Spirit

Beer may have been invented by the ancient Egyptians, but it was perfected in medieval monasteries, which gave us modern brewing as we know it. They also pioneered and improved several methods of...
Magu, Goddess of Longevity and immortal hemp maiden

Wearing it, Smoking it, or Selling it? The Hazy History of Cannabis in Ancient Korea

Cannabis. Even the word is enough to bring people closer or drive them further away. Although the topic of legalization is controversial in the USA, not all regions have felt this way. In fact, the...
Painting of Father General Saint Francis Borgia, SJ, performing an exorcism, by Goya.

Modern Possessions: What Evil is Behind the Resurgence in Demand for Exorcisms?

Less than five years ago, a new army of exorcists was created by the Roman Catholic Church. They were trained to deal with the “unprecedented rise” in requests for help in battling evil spirits. The...
The Toda mund, from Richard Barron, 1837, View in India, chiefly among the Neelgherry Hills

Oval Huts, Dairy Temples and Holy Milkmen: How a Secluded Existence Produced the Idiosyncratic Toda Traditions

The Todas are an ethnic group that inhabit the Nilgiri Plains of south India. They were once one of the most isolated people in the world. Their customs and language are still considered strange to...
Modern interpretation of a Viking with a tattoo. (Public Domain) Background: Portal from a stave church, exhibited at historisk museum Oslo Norway.

Were Norsemen Tattooed? Evidence of Ink on the Rugged Rusiyyah

Did the Norsemen of Scandinavia have tattoos? Did runic script adorn their arms as they sailed their longships down fjords? While material remains offer few clues, one piece of historical evidence...
Chumash art on the walls of Painted Cave in the mountains above Santa Barbara

Painting with the Colors of the Wind: What Messages are Hidden Within Chumash Rock Art?

Take a moment, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply, and inhale the salt of the air and feel the light brush of low-hanging tree branches caressing your face. Feel the rocky ground beneath your toes,...

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At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

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View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)