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Forty days in the wilderness: Temptations of Christ, St Mark’s Basilica.

The Surprising Truth About Fasting for Lent

M J C Warren / The Conversation The excesses of the carnival are over, the clean-up completed. And so begins the year’s traditional period of abstinence. Leading up to Christianity’s most holy day,...
 “Litany of Ra” scene in the tomb of King Merenptah (KV8), Valley of the Kings, Luxor; design by Anand Balaji

Echoes of Eternal Egyptian Art: Masters of Form and Finesse—Part I

The ancient Egyptians were pioneers of various forms of art and architecture. Down the millennia, the world has been left awestruck by the design and purpose of their grandiose monuments, their...
Faravahar, symbol of Zoroaster, at a Fire Temple in Yazd.

Digitized Zoroastrian Love App! The Preserver or Destroyer of Ancient Ways?

Zarin Havewala is an emerging Indian internet entrepreneur who has unashamedly cashed in on a niche religious sector. While ‘Christian Mingle’ and ‘Jdate’ unite the lonely hearts of Christians and...
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...
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,...
Right: Detail of a statue of a reclining Attis. The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. Statue of Jesus Christ as a shepherd with a lamb.

The Pagan Attis and Christian Jesus: A Spurious Connection?

Recently, it has been popular to suggest in some circles that Christianity was influenced, or even derived from, the ancient Roman mystery religions – religions often known to have orgiastic rituals...
Zoe Wanamaker in TV series ‘Britannia’.

Britannia, Druids and the Surprisingly Modern Origins of Myths

The new TV series Britannia, which has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is clearly not intended to be strictly historical. Instead director Jez Butterworth gives us...
Camille Flammarion engraving, 188

Religion Isn’t The Enemy of Science: It’s Been Inspiring Scientists for Centuries

Take notice of any debate in the media and you’ll see that science and religion are, and always were, at loggerheads. Science is about evidence-based fact, religion is about faith-based belief. But...
The Inspiration of Christopher Columbus by José María Obregón, 1856.

Can the Catholicism of Christopher Columbus be Questioned?

One of the great adventurers and explorers of Spain’s Golden Age of discovery was Cristoforo Colon, Christopher Columbus. His exploits, centering on the discovery of new lands across the Atlantic,...
Mycanae lions

The Fall of a Civilization: The Mysterious Collapse of the Mycenaean Bronze Age

"In most cases, collapse results from multiple, 'cascading' stress factors—politico-economic, demographic, and sociocultural as well as environmental…relational aspects, arguing that factors such as...
‘The Divorce of the Empress Josephine’ (1843) by Henri Frédéric Schopin

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Divorce Laws Have Evolved, But One Country Is Holding Back

Divorce can be traced all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman societies. But the idea of marriage in these cultures was different from what is found in modern Western society, so it makes sense...
Artist's rendering of the hof, a pagan temple, in Uppsala, Sweden.

The Heathen Hof: Resurrecting a Germanic Pagan Temple

A heathen hof, also referred to as a Germanic pagan temple, is the name given to a place of worship in the Germanic religion. These were pre-Christian temples found in various parts of Northern...
The Pleiades

From the Ancient Greek Pleiades to the Hindu Matrikas: Mother Goddesses, Music and the Sacred Number 7

In Brihat-Samhita , Indian astronomer Varahamihira (505–587 CE) says that "Mothers are to be made with cognizance of gods corresponding to their names” leading to the birth of Matrikas (“Divine...
Ancient Egyptian painted relief showing foot and toes. Design by Anand Balaji.

Game of Toes in Amarna: Missing Body Parts and Funerary Practices of King and Commoner

Pharaoh Akhenaten was the subject of great controversy when he lived; and this did not cease after he died. If anything, his memory has both troubled and impressed people down to this day. Be it his...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Solar Disc Thrust into Eternal Darkness–Part II

At first glance it appears as though Pharaoh Akhenaten is someone whom one would describe as a textbook monotheist, but are we missing the plot? Apart from Amun (and later, Osiris) the king doesn’t...
A bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Decay of a Dream and the Final Curtain Call–Part I

Pharaoh Akhenaten has been revered and reviled in equal measure for unleashing his religious policy of one god, the Aten sun disc. But, was the king a monotheist in letter and spirit – one who...

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