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History

From the powerful civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Indus Valley, to the fearsome yet sophisticated society of the Vikings, the ancient world was a surprising and challenging place. Here we feature some of the most seminal and influential events and people throughout history, that have helped shape the world we know today.

Ancient Greek warriors with armor and weapons.

Weapons Control in Ancient Greece: When an Accident was Deadly

Weapons control is a hot topic in the United States. With the recent shooting in Florida in February 2018, discussions of gun control are at an all-time high. Yet this discussion is not limited to...
An overall view of the central Valley of the Kings.

Pharaohs and Flash Floods: Was Tutankhamun’s Tomb Saved by an Act of Nature?

The death of Pharaoh Akhenaten in Regnal Year 17 was a powerful body-blow to the promotion of his fledgling religion, Atenism. Evacuated from their original communal crypt at Amarna, the royal dead...
An illustration depicting the construction of the Egyptian pyramids

Demystifying the Egyptian Pyramids with Hard Facts

It has always fascinated, and worried me at the same time, how many people I meet that are still mesmerized by aspects of the pyramids in Egypt that archeologists solved many years ago. The when, how...
Fantasy linen dress wanderer by ArmStreet

Linen: The Ancient Cloth That Still Beats Modern Fabrics

There is a relic of early humanity in the windows of basically every modern fashion outlet every summer. After years of cotton being the ideal textile for breezy summer clothing, the world’s oldest...
Pederastic couples at a symposium, as depicted on a tomb fresco from the Greek colony of Paestum in Italy.

The Love Affair of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and the Handsome Antinous

Not much was known of the young Antinous before he attracted the attention of the ruler of the Roman world at its zenith. He was born in 111 AD in the Roman province of Bithynia, which would include...
Skeleton with a hole in the skull.  Source: wellphoto/Shutterstock.com via The Conversation

Drilling Holes in the Skull was Never a Migraine Cure

Trepanation – the technique of removing bone from the skull by scraping, sawing, drilling or chiselling – has long fascinated those interested in the darker side of medical history. One stock tale is...
Map of Caithness detailing Iron Age brochs. (Courtesy of the Caithness Broch Project.)

Botanical Mystery of the Ancient Ulbster Stone

A 1,500-year-old carved marvel, the Ulbster Stone, was unearthed from the grounds of an ancient Celtic chapel in the remote Highlands of Scotland and is renown to have more symbols than any other...
Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: A World of Confusion in Akhetaten—Part II

The population that inhabited Akhenaten’s brand new city, Akhetaten, in Middle Egypt was ill at ease with the massive religious uncertainty their monarch had unleashed. A question mark hung over not...
Hegassen scroll detail. Fart Battle, 1864

From Fart Gods to Farting Out One’s Soul: The Historic Ritualization of Farts

They command attention, bring silence into noisy environments and have been associated with the utterances of gods for thousands of years. In fact, entire rituals have been designed around them...
The Siege of Constantinople. Emperor Heraclius attacks a Persian fortress, while the Persians attack Constantinople from the Constantine Manasses Chronicle, 14th century.

Was the First Islamic Siege of Constantinople (674 – 678 AD) a Historical Misnomer?

In 636 AD, the armies of Islam under the Rashidun Caliphat, defeated the forces of the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Yarmouk (near the Yarmouk River, along what today are the borders of Syria–...
As an amulet, the popular Wedjat eye symbolized health and protection; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: Battling Forces from Different Realms—Part I

The ancient Egyptians held magical practices in high esteem and used it for a variety of purposes in almost every sphere of life. Their worldview was not restricted to that which occurred on earth,...
‘The Elesusinian Mysteries’. It is argued that kykeon was a psychedelic substance used in these ancient Greek mysteries.

The Eleusinian Psychedelic Rebirth Rites of Ancient Greece are Making a Comeback

The Eleusinian Mysteries were transformative rituals that took place in ancient Greece, extending out of Mycenaean traditions (approximately 1500 BC) and the Greek Dark Ages. For over two millennia...
Kings' Fairy Tale, 1909, by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

The Lost Charms and Incantations That Molded Celtic Reality

Since men and woman have been capable of making vocal sounds, incantations have been floated on airwaves by enchanters, who whispering charms, spells in rituals, hymns and prayers, invoked curses,...
The character Hvitserk, probably a nickname for Halfdan Ragnarsson, in the series Vikings.

Halfdan Ragnarsson: Viking Commander and King of Dublin

Halfdan Ragnarsson was a Viking who lived during the 9th century. He is best remembered for being one of the commanders of the Great Heathen Army which invaded the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England...
Lancelot and Guinevere by Herbert James Draper (c.1890) (Public Domain)

Faeries in the Realm of King Arthur

Faeries may be just figments of our imagination, but they may have deeper roots of Celtic origin embedded in oral narratives and serve to remind us of a long-forgotten belief system that embraced a...
The Great Heathen Army

The Great Heathen Army: Viking Coalition Becomes an Anglo-Saxon Nightmare

Viking raids may have been a common factor in the life of a 9th century Anglo Saxon, but there was something terrifyingly distinct when an army emerged seeking revenge. The Great Heathen Army would...

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