empire

Coin of Mithridates I of Parthia (Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.and illustration depicting a sacrifice being made on behalf of a family, by the chief priest Conon and two assistants, first century AD. Graeco-Iranian style

Mithridates Clashes with Kings and Swallows up Territory: The ‘King of Kings’ of Ancient Iran — Part II

Mithridates (“The Gift of Mithra) exhibited qualities that most kings rarely have: experience and maturity. He understood that a king could retain his power only as long as the people and nobles were...
Coin of Mithridates I of Parthia (Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. and Relief of Mithridates I at Xong-e Ashdar in Izeh, Khuzestān ;Deriv.

Mithridates Stalks His Prey, and Strikes a Killing Blow: The ‘King of Kings’ of Ancient Iran

Mithridates exhibited qualities that most kings rarely have: experience and maturity. Even Phraates passed over his own sons for his qualified brother to be next in line. Mithridates I (r. 171-138...
Liao Dynasty (907-1125) tomb mural by unknown painter in Inner Mongolia. Scene of everyday life. Men and boys have distinctive Khitan hairstyle. (Public Domain) Insert: A famous Liao Dynasty Sancai Luohan, Circa 1000

An Intriguing Empire: The Lasting Impression of the Nomadic Liao Dynasty on Chinese Culture

Well-represented in artifacts found in museums and private collections, the Liao Dynasty rose and expanded as the Tang Dynasty dwindled in power. This was the first state to control all of Manchuria...
From this map of the site, all the main structures and rock carvings are visible.

The Megalithic Temple of Malinalco: Could these Magnificent and Complex Rock-Cut Structures Actually Pre-Date the Aztecs?

The little town of Malinalco lies at the margins of the Valley of Tepoztlan, some 115 kilometers (71 miles) to the southwest of Mexico City. Since Prehispanic times, its name has been associated with...
Detail of ‘The Battle of Pavia’ (1528-1531) by Bernard van Orley and William Dermoyen.

The Battle of Pavia: Paving the Political Roads of Rival Rulers with Blood

February 24, 1525. A day that is not marked in infamy but in the blood of France. On this date, the Battle of Pavia occurred – the decisive event in a longstanding war and rivalry, and the crushing...
Subutai: The Forgotten Force Behind the Fearsome Mongol Military

Subutai: The Forgotten Force Behind the Fearsome Mongol Military

"They are the Four Dogs of Temujin. They have foreheads of brass, their jaws are like scissors, their tongues like piercing awls, their heads are iron, their whipping tails swords . . . In the day of...
Frederick Barbarossa awards the city of Haarlem with a sword for its shield or coat-of-arms. By Pieter de Greber, 1630.

Frederick I Barbarossa: A Megalomaniac Roman Emperor On a Crusade for Power

Some people believe they were born for greatness but fall short and some go on to exceed all expectations. Frederick I Barbarossa falls into the second category. His ambition for power was limitless...
A miniature from the Rashid al-Din’s Jami‘ al-Tawarikh showing Mahmud of Ghazni receiving a richly decorated robe of honour form the Abbasid caliph in 1000 AD.

Mahmud of Ghazni: Merciless Tyrant Obliterated Hindu Temples and Conquered Territories Through Plunder and Slaughter

God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country [India], and performed wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all...
In the Market Square is Helsinki’s oldest public monument, the Tsarina’s Stone, topped by a globe and a double-headed eagle, the emblem used by the Tsars of Russia

The Double-Headed Eagle: An Everlasting Symbol of Power

The double-headed eagle has been a popular symbol associated with the concept of a powerful Empire. Most contemporary uses of the symbol are exclusively associated with its use by the Byzantine...
In this fresco, Jesus is shown seated on a throne with his disciples at hand. The painting is in the Catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome, which have been newly restored.

Burning off the Crust: New Laser Treatment Used to Clean Frescoes in Rome’s Largest 1600-year-old Catacomb Complex

Formerly blacked-out frescoes and ancient graffiti in some of Italy’s largest catacombs have been revealed using laser and scanner technology. Restorers, employed by the Vatican, have unveiled...
Sultan Bayezid is defeated by Timur at Ankara

Empires Clash with Fire and War Elephants! Changing the World, and the Battle of Ankara – Part II

The bloody Battle of Ankara was fought on 20 July 1402. The Ottomans were led by Bayezid I, who brought his troops against the Turkic Mongols (Timurids), led by Timur, also known as Tamerlane. Two...
Painting of the Battle of Nicopolis – or the Crusade of Nicopolis

Thunder Clap and Lightning Strike! Conquering the World, and the Battle of Ankara – Part 1

What happens when two great conquerors of the ancient world and their mighty forces go head to head? A successful but unpredictable Ottoman Sultan was matched against a charismatic Mongol leader of...
Khmer temple ruins at Phnom Kulen, a sacred mountain range in Cambodia.

Phnom Kulen: Sacred Mountain and Hidden Temples Hold Forgotten Treasures in Cambodia

In Cambodia, some 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) northeast of Angkor, is the mountain range of Phnom Kulen. This sandstone plateau is a sacred site to Hindus and Buddhists. In addition to a giant statue...
Castell de Bufalaranya, Roses.

Rhodes in Spain? The Tempestuous History of the Strategic Coastal City of Roses

The city of Roses (Greek: Rhode) in Catalonia, Spain, founded most probably in 776 BC, became the basis for some remarkable stories that last from ancient times until now. In accordance with its...
Statue of a ram that was discovered next to the vaults at the front of the temple platform in Caesarea. The town was founded by Herod the Great, king of Judea under the Roman Empire

What New Archaeological Treasures Have Been Unearthed in the Ancient City of Caesarea?

Through the centuries, Caesarea’s populace comprised all the major Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Throw in the original religion at the site, paganism, and you will get an idea of...
Warrior Model, and an ominous Dark Sky

Ignoring Omens and Seeking Vengeance: The Greco-Persian ‘War of the Ages’ Was a Disaster for All

The Greco-Persian wars lasted for more than half a century in some respects. Some date the war as being from 499-448 BCE while others date the conflict from 492-448 BCE. Either or, the war itself was...

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Ancient Places

Some of the Mitla mosaics.
Unique and curious designs plaster the walls of the most popular Zapotec archaeological site in Mexico. They are called the Mitla mosaics and are unrivalled in their precision and quality of workmanship. But a mystery surrounds the carved symbols as some researchers suggest they contain a coded language just waiting to be deciphered.

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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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Ancient Image Galleries

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)