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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.

Hans Makart's painting of Charlotte Wolter in Adolf Wilbrandt's tragedy, Arria und Messalina.

Questioning the Dramatic Story of the Empress Messalina, Was She a Cruel Doxy or the Victim of a Smear Campaign?

In Ancient Rome, Valeria Messalina was a symbol of vanity and immorality. For centuries, people identified her as one of the most demoralized women in history, but how much of what we know about...
Goddess Council 4900-4750 BC Neolithic Culture of Cucuteni-Tripolye exposed in Cucuteni Museum of Piatra Neamt

Ancient Ink: How Tattoos Can Reveal Hidden Stories of Past Cultures

The English word tattoo is commonly said to be derived from the Polynesian word tatau or tatu . This Polynesian word means ‘to mark something’. Additionally, this word is an onomatopoeia, and is...
Arde Lucus Gladiatrix

Gladiatrix: Female Fighters Offered Lewd Entertainment in Ancient Rome

Female gladiators (gladiatrix) were just a thing of legend for many years. However, decades of research have made it possible to finally confirm their existence and importance in the Ancient Roman...
Stone ‘mushroom’ formations in Bulgaria.

Mushroom Monuments of Thrace and Ancient Sacred Rites

Throughout northeastern Greece, western Turkey, and Bulgaria, in the region known in antiquity as Macedonia, Anatolia, and Thrace, there are numerous megalithic natural rock formations that resemble...
Astronomer Copernicus, or Conversations with God, by Matejko. In background: Frombork Cathedral.

Trying to Align Forbidden Love, God, and Science: The Secret Relationship of Nicolaus Copernicus and Anna Schilling

Nicolaus Copernicus is one of the most famous astronomers in history. As a man of the Renaissance, his life and work were never focused on just one discipline. However, a secret relationship also led...
Tzolkin section in the Dresden Codex, starting from the day 1, Manik'.

Sacred Calendars and New Years: Cycles of Time and Ages

The global holiday of a new year symbolizes all we have experienced for the duration of the year, and all our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Such observances date back over 4,000 years, often...
‘Leif Eriksson Discovers America’ by Christian Krohg (1893).

Years Before Columbus: Leif Erikson, His Life and His Voyage of Adventure to the New World

Many people still believe that the person who “discovered” America was Christopher Columbus, forgetting the fact that there were already indigenous people living there. An additional fact that is...
Mona Lisa Meets War Machines: Details on the Driven Life and Lesser-Known Talents of Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa Meets War Machines: Details on the Driven Life and Lesser-Known Talents of Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, known more commonly as Leonardo da Vinci, is arguably one of the most well-known figures of the Italian Renaissance. Leonardo’s primary claim to fame is in the field...
A traditional imzad instrument, made by local craftswomen and played only by women.

Reviving the Music of their Foremothers: A Traditional Tuareg Instrument for Women Makes a Comeback

A traditional stringed gourd instrument of the Tuareg people in Africa, played only by women because of the threat of a curse upon men who play it, is making a comeback. Only two women were known to...
Hernán Cortés Monroy, with his coat of arms on the upper left corner. Painting reproduced in the book America, (R. Cronau 19th century).

The Many Burials of Hernan Cortes: Locating the Gravesite of a Conquistador

Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador who was instrumental in the fall of the Aztec Empire. After death, his body was buried in Seville, but later it was re-buried many times, in some cases to...
Carrying chair from the funerary furniture of Queen Hetepheres I. Thought to be a gift from her son, Khufu. Reconstruction of original on display in Cairo, this copy residing in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Queen of Pyramids: The Powerful Hetepheres I and her Magnificent Tomb

Behind the success of the great builders of pyramids, including Snefru and Khufu, stands a woman. She was one the most important women of the Old Kingdom (c. 2686 BC– 2181 BC) and the owner of a...
Antony and Cleopatra, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Unraveling History: The Final Fates of the Children of Cleopatra VII?

Cleopatra VII had four children. One with Julius Caesar and three with Mark Anthony. Until 31 BC the family of the last Ptolemaic queen lived a magnificent life in a golden palace, one of the most...
Pankratiasts fighting.

Pankration: A Deadly Martial Art Form from Ancient Greece

Pankration was one of the most popular combat sports in ancient Greece. It combined two other popular sports of antiquity, wrestling and boxing, but kicking was allowed as well. The name Pankration...
A painting entitled ‘Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718’.

Exposing the Real Treasure of the Infamous Pirate Blackbeard

Edward Teach / Tache / Thatch, better known as Blackbeard, is arguably one of the world’s most notorious pirates. Like most other pirate tales, the story of Blackbeard also involves a treasure that...
Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha defeats the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza (1538).

Hayreddin Barbarossa: Causing a Ruckus as the Notorious Pirate Redbeard

Hayreddin Barbarossa was one of the most notorious pirates of his day. Together with his older brothers, Ishak and Aruj, they conquered the North African city of Algiers, and submitted it to the...
The School of Athens, fresco by Raphael (1509–1510), of an idealized Academy.

Caves in Paradise: The Elite School of Aristotle

Thirty kilometers (18.6 miles) from Vergina, a place where the tomb of Philip II is located, there is a city called Naoussa. Naoussa was a place where nymphs were worshiped for centuries, and the...

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