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.

Photo by Leo Von Klenze. A romantic idealized reconstruction of the Acropolis of Athens.

Cleisthenes, Father of Democracy, Invented a Form of Government that Has Endured for Over 2,500 Years

Ancient Athens is best remembered for giving birth to the first democracy in history, a course of action that took many years and several leaders to develop. One of the most prominent figures of that...
Detail of ‘Velleda’, as imagined in a 19th-century painting by Charles Voillemot.

The Legendary Prophetess Veleda: A Secret Weapon Against the Romans

Legends about beautiful women who drove armies of men to glory are very familiar in history. In the case of Veleda, her story didn't end with the loss of her people, but withstood the passage of time...
Star-Crossed Lovers? Criminals? Or Strangers? The Mystery of the Windeby Bog Bodies

Star-Crossed Lovers? Criminals? Or Strangers? The Mystery of the Windeby Bog Bodies

Windeby I (known also as the ‘Windeby Girl’ until recently) is a bog body hat was discovered in a peat bog located in the town of Windeby, near Schleswig, in the northern part of Germany. This bog...
Searching for the Lost Footsteps of the Scorpion Kings

Searching for the Lost Footsteps of the Scorpion Kings

In the pre-dynastic period of ancient Egypt, there were two rulers by the name of ‘Scorpion’. They were long forgotten for most of the world until Dwayne Johnson played one of the rulers in the...
Eliminating the Competition: Selim I, A Grim Conqueror Who Vastly Extended the Ottoman Empire

Eliminating the Competition: Selim I, A Grim Conqueror Who Vastly Extended the Ottoman Empire

Selim I (known also by his epithet ‘Yavuz’, which, translated from Turkish, means ‘the Grim’) was the 9th sultan of the Ottoman Empire who lived during the second half of the 15th century and the...
Emperor Caligula Brought an End to the Illustrious Ptolemies, But Why?

Emperor Caligula Brought an End to the Illustrious Ptolemies, But Why?

When Cleopatra VII and Mark Anthony closed their eyes for the last time, passing through to their longed-for afterlife, among the successors were their three orphans: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra...
The Forgotten Cleopatra: Searching for Cleopatra the Alchemist and Her Golden Secret

The Forgotten Cleopatra: Searching for Cleopatra the Alchemist and Her Golden Secret

Cleopatra was one of four female alchemists who worked on producing the famous Philosopher's stone. She lived during the last remarkable period in Alexandria’s history, when it was still a city of...
Earthquake in Ecuador Reveals Bizarre Burial of a Mummy in a Jar with a Little Mouse

Earthquake in Ecuador Reveals Bizarre Burial of a Mummy in a Jar with a Little Mouse

On August 5, 1949, an earthquake struck the small town of Guano in Ecuador, causing buildings to crack open and crumble. The disaster led to the strange discovery of the Mummy of Guano. During the...
Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi (1785) by Angelica Kauffman.

Who was Cornelia Africana and How Did She Become the Prototype of the Virtuous Roman Woman?

The life of Cornelia Africana could be the basis for a fascinating Hollywood super-production. Since the beginning, her tale was nothing but an adventurous story about a woman whose extraordinary...
Phryne, The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

Phryne, The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

Phryne the Thespian was a famed courtesan of Athens, better known for the court case she won by baring her breasts. Her actual name was Mnesarete but people referred to her as Phryne (“toad”) because...
The Amazing Story of Yasuke: The Forgotten African Samurai

The Amazing Story of Yasuke: The Forgotten African Samurai

Samurai are among the most enduring symbols of Japanese cultural heritage, thus unsurprisingly, most samurai were Japanese. There are, however, examples of non-Japanese who became samurai as well...
Who Was St Dwynwen and How is She Associated with St Valentine?

Who Was St Dwynwen and How is She Associated with St Valentine?

Dylan Foster Evans / The Conversation February 14 is the day marked for lovers in many countries around the world, but in Wales there is another date traditionally associated with romance: St Dwynwen...
Women Without Virtue Need Not Apply! The Medieval Nine Worthy Women

Women Without Virtue Need Not Apply! The Medieval Nine Worthy Women

In the 14th century, the nine worthies were a list of nine men who were identified as paragons of chivalrous behavior, which included courage and honor in battle. The nine worthies consisted of a...
Was it Love or Witchcraft? The Magical Practices of Chinese Empress Chen Jiao

Was it Love or Witchcraft? The Magical Practices of Chinese Empress Chen Jiao

Usually, the Empress of the Han Dynasty was invincible, untouchable, and protected by the law more than anyone else. However, in the case of Empress Chen of Wu, the accusation of practicing black...
‘Blenda’ by August Malmstrom.

Blenda: The Cunning and Courageous Swedish Woman Who Defeated the Danish Army

Blenda is a heroine found in Swedish myths and legends. It is unclear as to exactly when she lived, but according to the legends, her heroic deeds took place during the time when Alle was the King of...
 Drawing of Balearic Slinger and Castelo Branco - Jardim do Paco

A History of Hamilcar: Akre Leuca, Dream City of Hamilcar Barca– Part II

Like ancient Carthage, Akre Leuca was not only a military center but also a culturally-advanced city in its time. There was no other city like it. If evidence in the urban structure of Castelo Branco...

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