Famous People

In this section, we shed light on some of the most famous and infamous people known throughout history, from powerful pharaohs, to emperors and empresses, acclaimed military leaders, or just regular civilians who’ve been thrown into the spotlight for great crimes or for heroic actions, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Alexander on his deathbed, surrounded by mourners, and dictating his will to his notary, Unknown Flemish artist

The Cold Case of Alexander the Great: Have Toxicologists Finally Explained His Untimely Death?

It might be a surprise to learn that Alexander the Great was only 32 when he died in Babylon in June 323 BC. In a short period of 12 years as ruler he managed to create an empire stretching from...
Representational image of a pharaoh from ‘Pharaoh Notes the Importance of the Jewish People,’ by James Jacques Joseph Tissot.

A King’s Seal? Was Pharaoh Apophis Originally King of the Mythical Kushites?

“A race divided, whom the sloping rays; the rising and the setting sun surveys…” Most researchers assume that the ancient assertion of Kushites ruling the Middle East from Phoenicia to Syria is pure...
A magician or wizard with a hidden face.

Mathematical Genius or Mesmerizing Magician? The Psychomagic of Scotland's Ancient Lost Wizard

"Scotland's First Scientist", "The Lost Genius", "The Scottish Wizard", "The White Wizard", or "The Wizard of the North" are some of the terms used to describe Michael Scot. And although this...
Deadly Female Ninja Assassins Used Deception and Disguise to Strike Their Target

Deadly Female Ninja Assassins Used Deception and Disguise to Strike Their Target

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got a lot of ninja qualities right: their preference for sticking to the shadows, the emphasis on reconnaissance and espionage, and, of course, their choice of weapons...
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...
Medieval miniature of Æthelflæd in Genealogical roll of the kings of England. 14th century

Æthelflæd: The Anglo-Saxon Iron Lady Who Showed the Vikings No Fear

The UK now has a female prime minister and Elizabeth II has been queen for more than six decades, but few would associate Anglo-Saxon England with powerful women. Nearly 1,100 years ago, however,...
Painting from the Ajanta Caves, India.

The Venomous Visha Kanyas Versus the Thugs: Which Would You Prefer Were Real?

Even a touch can kill. The Visha Kanyas were supposedly poisonous young women who operated as executioners in ancient India. Any contact with these toxic ladies would mean death. However, no one can...
An artistic representation of Al-Muqanna, the Veiled Prophet.

Second Moon Uprising: How Science and Skullduggery Helped an 8th Century Prophet Raise a Revolt

“The 'Moon of Nakhshab' was an artificial moon which Hakim Ibn-e 'Ata, known as Muqanna' (the Veiled One), caused to arise from the Pit of Nakhshab. This moon had been prepared by means of [magical]...
Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?

Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?

How plentiful it is, what you have made, Although they are hidden from view, Sole god, without another beside you; You created the earth as you wished, When you were by yourself, Mankind, all cattle...
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...
The theory that Tsar Alexander I craved a holy life as a monk is based on him seeking forgiveness for coming to power after the murder of his father, Paul I. Source: Vesti Tomsk

Science ‘To Answer Russian Royal Mystery’: Did Tsar Stage Death to Become Siberian Monk?

By The Siberian Times reporter Officially, Alexander I died of typhus aged 47 on December 1, 1825, but evidence suggests he faked his demise and lived as a holy man. Genetic analysis is soon to be...
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...
David and Jonathan.

David and Jonathan: A Secret Biblical Bromance?

The deep, emotional relationship that bonded David and Jonathan is related in the books of Samuel. The two are said to have formed a covenant of friendship, even though their situation essentially...
Unmasking King Richard: Does the Lionhearted King of England Have a Better Reputation Than He Deserves?

Unmasking King Richard: Does the Lionhearted King of England Have a Better Reputation Than He Deserves?

Cruel. Courageous. Scheming. Chivalrous. These are just some of the contradictory words that have been used to describe the English king with a ‘Lion heart.’ But lions are not always majestic...
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...
A portrait of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi: How an Adventuresome Peasant Boy Became Japan’s Second Great Unifier

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a powerful Japanese daimyo (feudal lord) who lived during the 16th century. He is regarded as Japan’s second ‘great unifier’, the first being Oda Nobunaga, and the third being...

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Ancient Technology

The Norimitsu Odachi.
The Norimitsu Odachi is a huge sword from Japan. It is so large, in fact, that it was said to have been wielded by a giant. Apart from the basic knowledge of it having been forged in the 15th century AD, measuring 3.77 meters (12.37 ft.) in length, and weighing as much as 14.5 kg (31.97 lbs.), this impressive sword is shrouded in mystery.

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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.

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.

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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)