All  

literature

"Three visits to the thatched cottage" (三顧茅廬), the second visit is depicted here. Portrait at the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing. This is a scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms - A Well-Loved Chinese Classic

When saying the names Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, although the surnames are different, yet we have come together as brothers. From this day forward, we shall join forces for a common purpose: to...
The Banquet (after Plato). second version (1874) by Anselm Feuerbach.

Plato’s Symposium: Is it Just a Joke?

When talking about love in the classical age, we would be utterly remiss to not include Plato’s Symposium in our conversation. Symposium is Plato’s recounting of a, supposedly true, ancient cocktail...
A modern representation of Humbaba

Humbaba: A Monstrous Foe for Gilgamesh or a Misunderstood Guardian?

Humbaba (Huwawa) is a guardian creature found in the Epic of Gilgamesh , which is generally considered to be the earliest surviving great work of literature. Although Humbaba is traditionally...
Avalon finalised

Magic into Myth: Avalon, Mystical Isle of Medieval Arthurian Literature

The Isle of Apples, Isle of the Blessed, and the Otherworld. These titles have long been associated with the magical resting place of the early medieval king, Arthur Pendragon. A realm imbued with...
Julius Caesar by Peter Paul Rubens.

“Veni, Vidi, Scripsi”: The Literary Conquests of Gaius Julius Caesar

A man who needs no introduction, Gaius Julius Caesar is more than well known for the stories he spearheads—namely, his numerous military victories. (Although, even his defeats somehow sound rather...
“Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the forest” (1881) by Carl Larsson.

Humans Traveled Far and Wide Before Little Red Riding Hood Ever Made It Through the Woods

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairytale most children have heard. But if you’re not familiar, it tells the story of a young girl who wears a red velvet hood and cape and travels alone through a...
relief at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis (now in modern Iran), including inscriptions in cuneiform, the world’s oldest form of writing.

The Controversial Road to the Recovery of Cuneiform Texts

It is a little-known piece of history that Saddam Hussein was a great fan of ancient Mesopotamian literature. His enthusiasm for epics written in cuneiform – the world’s oldest known form of writing...
8 Immortals in a temple in Vietnam

The 8 Immortals of China: How ordinary mortals worked hard to achieve superpowers and become legendary

The general appearances of Chinese gods lead us to think of them as sober imperial bureaucrats. They mostly look like middle-aged men dressed in official-looking robes, spending their time reading...
Beowulf fighting Grendel’s Mother beside Grendel’s body.

Of Monsters and Men: What Is the Grim Being Known as Grendel from the Epic Beowulf?

Nowadays, monsters hide under your bed. They come out of the closet or dangle from your ceiling. Children usually picture such monsters with fangs or scales, glowing eyes, and claws. With the right...
Museum diorama depicting scholars from the Joseon Dynasty (Public Domain), and script from the Hunmin Jeongeum Eonhae

What Happens if Scholars Rule a Kingdom? How Korea’s Kingdom of Joseon Lived Up to its Legendary Namesake

By the 14th century, the foundations of Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty (918 -1392 CE) started to collapse from years of war and de facto occupation from the Mongol Empire. The royal court in Goryeo was at...
The codex, opened to a page of Beowulf

A Literary Treasure: The Oldest Surviving English Poem - Beowulf and His Epic Battles

Perhaps the oldest surviving long poem in Old English, Beowulf is commonly seen as one of the most important works of Old English Literature. While the date of the poem’s composition is still debated...
Traditional architecture and modern shops in Pingyao, Shanxi Province, China.

Pingyao: What Gems of Architecture are Housed in this Traditional Imperial Chinese City?

The ancient city of Pingyao is a county-level city located in the center of China’s Shanxi Province. This ancient city has been described as an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional...
Mythbusting Ancient Rome – The Truth About the Vomitorium

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – The Truth About the Vomitorium

After gorging on a feast of sausages, blood pudding, young sow’s udder, sea bream, lobster, mullet, Attic honey, and Syrian dates, all washed down with a few glasses Falernian wine, it is little...
The Kesh Temple Hymn: 5,600-Year-Old Sumerian Hymn Praises Enlil, Ruler of Gods

The Kesh Temple Hymn: 5,600-Year-Old Sumerian Hymn Praises Enlil, Ruler of Gods

Like many foundational inventions that we use every day, such as wheels and law codes, the Ancient Sumerians living in Ancient Mesopotamia, the so-called cradle of civilization, created the oldest...
Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal has sometimes been described as the ‘first library’ in the world, or the ‘oldest surviving royal library in the world’. The library was discovered by archaeologists...
Roasted Swan for Dinner? Oldest English Cookbook Reveals 200 Meals Fit for a King

Roasted Swan for Dinner? Oldest English Cookbook Reveals 200 Meals Fit for a King

Created in September 1387, The Forme of Cury is the oldest written cookbook in the English language. The manuscript was commissioned by King Richard II of England, best known for his deposition in...

Pages