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Important Events

Here we feature some of the most seminal, historical, and influential events throughout history – both celebrated and unheralded – from the emergence of powerful civilizations and empires, to famous battles, great achievements, and events that have helped shape the world we currently know.

Palmyrean triad: Baalshamin, master of the skies, the Moon-god Aglibol and the Sun-god Malakbel (Yarhibol). Cultual relief, limestone, first half of the 1st century AD, found in one of the routes to Palmyra. The stele bears religious inscriptions carved by passers-by.

Scholar Made the Ultimate Sacrifice to Save Ancient Palmyra Treasures from the Hands of ISIS

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose real name was Ibrahim al-Badri, was once a lecturer of Islamic studies and an Imam at mosques in Baghdad and Falluja. He also served as an officer in the army of Saddam...
The laughing jester // Art museum of Stockholm, Sweden.

Jokes and Pranks: Here is the April Fools’ Day Origin Story

April Fools’ Day has a special twist in 2018. This year, April 1st is not only a day for pranksters, but also Easter celebrations. You can imagine there will be many egg jokes and maybe an Easter...
Representative image. The Eruption of Vesuvius in December 1820 by Johann Christian Dahl

Did a Brutal Volcanic Eruption Lead People to Abandon Their Pagan Gods and Embrace Christianity?

Memories of the largest lava flood in the history of Iceland, recorded in an apocalyptic medieval poem, were used to drive the island's conversion to Christianity, new research suggests. A team of...
The Combat of the Thirty (26-27 March 1351) (French: Combat des Trente) by Octave Penguilly L'Haridon - Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper.

The Combat of the Thirty: A Contest of the Finest

The Combat of the Thirty is an episode in the War of the Breton Succession, which in turn was part of the Hundred Years’ War. This combat, which took place on March 26/27, 1351, was fought between 30...
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...
Drawing of the Medieval Birdman of Stirling Castle.

The Birdman of Stirling Castle: An Alchemical Pilot Searches for The Fifth Element

History books are peppered with stories of medieval European Alchemists attempting to turn base metals into gold and to produce elixirs of immortality. However, there was one disastrous alchemical...
The Massacre of Glencoe James Hamilton (1853–1894)

Mapping A Massacre for Old Times Sake

Archaeologists in Scotland are to bring alive “the human story” of the Glencoe massacre, one of the most violent episodes in British history. Three former settlements in the magnificent Glencoe...
‘The Last Judgment’ triptych (open) (1467-1471) by Hans Memling.

Prophecy of the Popes: Are We Reaching the End of Days?

For thousands of years, people all over the ancient world claimed to have the powers of foresight. In 1143, The Prophecy of the Popes was created - listing the future attributes of the 112 pontiffs...
Detail from a replica of the small golden shrine found in KV62 that shows Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun; design by Anand Balaji

Inching Closer to Ankhesenamun: Is the Last Sun Queen Set to be Found? — Part II

The probable marriage of Ankhesenamun, the widow of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, to the aged vizier Aye before she vanished from the records paved the way for the old family retainer to ascend the throne of...
"Ertränken im Fass oder Sack", a 1560 sketch showing ‘punishment of the sack’.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Early Roman history is full of stories about the terrible fates that befell citizens who broke the law. When a certain Tarpeia let the enemy Sabines into Rome, she was crushed and thrown headlong...
‘End of the World’ artistic representation.

Ancient Fears to Keep You Up at Night - The End Really, Really is Nigh

Historians often declare that at least 3500 end of world prophecies have appeared over the same number of years. And those are only the written ones! Eschatology is theology concerned with the final...
Top image: A woman in traditional Chinese dress. Source: CC0

When Concubines Fought Back: The Plot to Eliminate a Mad and Sadistic Emperor

The Renyin Plot was an assassination attempt carried out on the sadistically violent Jiajing Emperor, who was the ruler of China’s Ming Dynasty during the 16th century. The assassins almost succeeded...
Detail from Venus and Mars, Botticelli, tempera on panel

Explainer: The Gods Behind the Days of the Week

The Roman weekday ‘dies Veneris’ was named after the planet Venus, which in turn took its name from Venus, goddess of love. The origins of our days of the week lie with the Romans. The Romans named...
Mosaic with the months of the year, starting with the Roman first month March.

Where do the names of our months come from?

Our lives run on Roman time. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and public holidays are regulated by Pope Gregory XIII’s Gregorian Calendar , which is itself a modification of Julius Caesar’s calendar...
Panning for gold in Kildonan. (slains-castle) Alluvial gold from Kildonan Burn, Helmsdale, Suth-erland.

A Highland Gold Rush: The Scottish Search for Semen of the Sun

Gold was referred to by the Pre-Columbian ancient South American cultures as ‘Semen of the Sun’ and ‘Sweat of the Sun’ but in that continent, where it was so abundantly available, it held no...
Venus and Mars, c 1485. Tempera and oil on poplar panel, National Gallery, London.

Trial by Public Performance: The Impotence Trials of Pre-Revolutionary France

The impotence trials of prerevolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in the wake of this that the impotence...

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