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Head of Marcus Aurelius found at Aswan/Site of the newly discovered shrine at Luxor,

The Head of an Emperor, the Shrine of a God: Two Contrasting Finds at the Egyptian Sites of Luxor and Aswan

Recent discoveries at two of the major ancient sites in Egypt emphasize the diversity of culture and power that existed in the region over time. In Aswan, the head of a marble statue of the Roman...
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...
A bottle of an elixir.

Seeking Life but Finding Death: Deadly Chinese Elixirs of Immortality

The elixir of immortality (known also as the ‘elixir of life’) is a legendary substance found in many ancient cultures. This elixir is expected to grant eternal life to the person who consumes it...
An artifact discovered in the disgraced emperor’s son’s tomb.

Han Dynasty Toy Story: Uncovered Relics Belong to the Son of ‘Loose Morals’ Emperor Liu

A collection of small toys and a seal bearing a name – these are the remnants of the lost childhood of a Chinese emperor’s son. His father was tossed from the throne just 27 days after the emperor...
Aztec Avenue of the Dead stretches out before pyramids and shops of Mexico.

Did Spanish Spin Doctors Change the Name of Teotihuacan to Sabotage the City?

The famous archaeological site of Teotihuacan may have served a different purpose for the Aztecs to what Spanish chroniclers claimed. A possibly deliberate change of the city’s name suggests that it...
Top image: A woman in traditional Chinese dress. Source: CC0

When Concubines Fought Back: The Plot to Eliminate a Mad and Sadistic Emperor

The Renyin Plot was an assassination attempt carried out on the sadistically violent Jiajing Emperor, who was the ruler of China’s Ming Dynasty during the 16th century. The assassins almost succeeded...
Roman glass (not the legendary flexible glass). Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.

An Unbreakable Story: The Lost Roman Invention of Flexible Glass

Imagine a glass you can bend and then watch it return to its original form. A glass that you drop but it doesn’t break. Stories say that an ancient Roman glassmaker had the technology to create a...
Mosaic with the months of the year, starting with the Roman first month March.

Where do the names of our months come from?

Our lives run on Roman time. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and public holidays are regulated by Pope Gregory XIII’s Gregorian Calendar , which is itself a modification of Julius Caesar’s calendar...
The ruins at Yangshan [credit: Vmenkov]

The Unexplainable Ruins of Yanmen Shan Mountain

Along the side of Yanmen Shan mountain, located twenty kilometers to the east of Nanjing, China, the legendary Yangshan quarry can be found. Although it is believed to have been in use from at least...
Wooden Tablets Verify China's First Emperor’s Obsession with Immortality

Wooden Tablets Verify China's First Emperor’s Obsession with Immortality

New archaeological finds shed light on Qin Shi Huang’s (first Emperor of China) quest for eternal life. According to 2000-year-old texts written on thousands of wooden slats, the Chinese Emperor did...
Six of the Roman Emperors:

A Succinct Timeline of Roman Emperors—400 Years of Power Condensed

To say that the Roman Empire had its ups and downs would be the understatement of all understatements. No “nation” was more abruptly destabilized or even more abruptly stabilized than that of ancient...
Marcus Aurelius Distributing Bread to the People by Joseph-Marie Vien

The Philosopher-King of Ancient Rome: Marcus Aurelius' Imperium

Marcus Aurelius is famed for various accomplishments—his title as the last of the Five Good Emperors; his extensive study of and literary accomplishments in the field of Stoicism; and, last but not...
Some Saxon Queens had killer reputations. (Public Domain);Deriv.

The Wicked Queen and Her Scandalous Daughter: How Murder & Mayhem Took a Saxon Princess from Palace to Poverty

While we might be gripped by the intrigues, the machinations, and the violence of the Lannisters and the Starks in the Game of Thrones television series and the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels...
The ancient marble mosaic, which has now been returned to the Italian government in New York.

Magnificent 2,000-Year-Old Marble Mosaic from Caligula's ‘Orgy Ship’ Ends up as Coffee Table in NYC Apartment

A valuable piece of mosaic flooring from one of Caligula’s ‘orgy ships’, so-called for the lavish sex parties he hosted on the boats, somehow found its way from the bottom of Lake Nemi to the Upper...
Charles Hanson of Hansons Auctioneers with the plate

Granny’s Ming Dynasty Style Plate Sold for Nearly a Quarter of a Million Pounds

An ancient Chinese plate dating back to the 1700s has been sold in the UK for almost a quarter of a million pounds. That’s about £100,000 more than experts predicted for the almost 300-year-old piece...
King Shapur of Persia Humiliating Emperor Valerian (Public Domain) Background: court of the emperor Valerian, painting circa 1450. (Public Domain); Deriv.  By Martini Fisher

What Really Happened to Valerian? Was the Roman Emperor Humiliated and Skinned at the Hands of the Enemy?

The death of Valerian is traditionally known as one of the most dramatic and unfortunate of all the deaths of the Roman emperors. The widely accepted story is that Valerian wanted to end the war with...

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