empire

Virtual recreation by Charles Chipiez. A panoramic view of the gardens and outside of the Palace of Darius I of Persia in Persepolis.

An Empire in Death: The Extensive Remains of Persepolis

Once the stunning capital of the Persian Empire (also known as the Achaemenid Empire), Persepolis was lost to the world for almost nineteen hundred years, buried in the dirt of southwestern Iran...
Statue of Roman Soldier (Public Domain), and recreators of Roman legionaries wearing the lorica segmentata, 1st-3rd century

Rome’s Forgotten General: Upstart Poor Boy Becomes Military Conqueror – Part I

In the spring of 40 BCE, the Parthians, led by Quintus Labienus, a Roman general who was supported the Liberators (consisting of Brutus and Cassius, who participated in the assassination of Caesar),...
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...
60 of the almost 100 cuneiform clay tablets were found at the archaeological site of Bassetki in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Almost 100 Cuneiform Clay Tablets Unearthed and Archaeologists Cannot Wait to Decipher Them

The discovery of ancient writing is always exciting for researchers. Documented events, letters, lists, literature – it is all helpful in reconstructing the story of our predecessors. Thus, the...
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...

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A painted relief shows Ramesses III making offerings to the gods in the sanctuary of the temple of Khonsu at Karnak. Design by Anand Balaji.
The reign of Ramesses III proved to be unprecedented in more ways than one. While most of his predecessors often had to thwart the designs of Egypt’s enemies one at a time, he had to quell invasion attempts by a coalition of savage forces on land and water. As the marauding Sea Peoples set their sights on the grandest prize, Ramesses realized that he had to make a bold statement as Pharaoh and prove that he was God on earth by annihilating their foes.

Myths & Legends

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Ancient Places

Pictorial representation of Pyramid in Teuchitlán Guachimontones Museum.
Guachimontones (known alternatively as Huachimontones) is an archaeological site located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. This is an important site of the Teuchitlan tradition, which was a pre-Columbian complex society that flourished in the western part of Mexico (occupying territories in the modern Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit).

Our Mission

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.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

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)