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Ancient Traditions

Ancient Origins brings you articles related to Ancient Traditions from all over the world. Find related articles in the sections of history, archaeology, human origins, unexplained, artifacts, ancient places and myths and legends.

Amiternum funerary procession relief.

Mimes, Paid Grievers, and Masks: The Insane Theatrics of Ancient Roman Funerals

Two thousand years ago, funerals weren’t the quiet, somber affairs we have today. They were loud, boisterous shows that started with a massive procession of people parading down the streets, pounding...
Medea with her children. The children became the focus of a hero cult in ancient Greece.

Baby, Baby, Baby: Why Did the Ancient Greeks Turn Dead Children into Heroes?

When we use the term “hero” today while discussing Greek mythological figures, it usually designates a man whose superhuman exploits and semi-divine parentage make him a person of legend. But in real...
Henry Wallis – Poet Thomas Chatterton’s death by arsenic.

Death by Wallpaper: When Arsenic in the Walls Was Killing Children

Wallpaper isn’t as popular as it once was, and perhaps the reason for this falling out of fashion was its ability to kill! In 1778, a Swedish Chemist named Carl Scheele created a brilliant green...
Coming together for a solstice feast in ancient Peru. Robert Gutierrez.

How Feasting Rituals Helped Lead to a Civilized World

Charles Stanish / The Conversation “ The Epic of Gilgamesh ” is one of the earliest texts known in the world. It’s the story of a god-king, Gilgamesh, who ruled the city of Uruk in Mesopotamia in the...
Horses congregate near a deer stone site in Bayankhongor, in central Mongolia's Khangai mountains.

Oldest Evidence of Horse Veterinary Care Discovered in Mongolia

Through careful study of thousands of skeletal horse remains found in ritual burial sites in Mongolia, a team of researchers has detected evidence of veterinary dental procedures being administered...
Children playing football in Thailand

4 Billion People Can’t Be Wrong: The Record-Shattering Popularity of Football, an Ancient Game

This ancient sport isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Football (known as soccer in some countries) is no new kid on the block. The origins of people kicking a ball around for sport stretches...
"Delphic Oracle" Painting by Heinrich Leutemann. Image source: art-prints-on-demand.com

Spells, Charms, Erotic Dolls: Love Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean

It was a well-kept secret among historians during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the practice of magic was widespread in the ancient Mediterranean. Historians wanted to keep the activity...
Chinese concubines

The Ming Dynasty Concubines: A Life of Abuse, Torture and Murder for Thousands of Women

The Chinese Ming Dynasty lasted for 276 years (1368 – 1644 AD), and has been described as “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history.” This dynasty became a...
Gladiators after the fight, José Moreno Carbonero (1882)

Gladiators: Were any of them Christian?

The persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire is no secret. Christians posed a dangerous threat to the security of the Empire by refusing to worship the pagan gods, whose favor was seen as...
The Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica) is a subspecies of Western honey bee.

After 2000 Years of Harmony, the Maya May Soon Lose their Stingless Bee Pets

For several years now, reports have circulated about the worrisome decline of the population of bees. Periodically, newspaper headlines lament the bees’ disappearance as an irreversible tipping point...
Detail of ‘The Introduction of the Cult of Cybele at Rome’ (1505-1506) by Andrea Mantegna.

Candles in the Dark and Spice from the Orient: Mystery Cults

‘But what a small part of our dregs Is Greek! Long ago the wide Orontes of Syria poured into the Tiber And brought With its lingo and morals its flutes And harps...’ - Juvenal Rome did not sit...
More ancient skulls bearing evidence of trepanation - a tell-tale hole surgically cut into the cranium - have been found in Peru than the combined number found in the rest of the world.

Ancient Peru's Cranial Surgeons Were Twice as Skilled as American Civil War Doctors

Even with a highly skilled neurosurgeon, the most effective anesthesia, and all the other advances of modern medicine, most of us would cringe at the thought of undergoing cranial surgery today...
Paleolithic Venus figures

The Ideal Woman’s Body – a Gift of the Gods?

We all know what the perfect woman’s body looks like. Or do we? Is it Kim Kardashian, with her popular ‘internet-breaking’ big behind, or Marilyn Monroe with her voluptuous movie curves? Is it a...
Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, Examen d'une momie - Une prêtresse d'Ammon, oil on canvas, Egypt, c.1895 - 1910.

Disrespect and Desecration at Victorian Mummy Unwrapping Parties

A ‘mummy unwrapping party’ was a social event most commonly associated with the elites of Victorian England. As its name suggests, these parties involved the unwrapping of Egyptian mummies in front...
A Pazyryk horseman from the Asian steppe in a felt painting from a burial around 300 BC. (Public Domain). Krishna with cow. (CC BY 2.0) Hathor as a cow, Papyrus of Ani (Public Domain)

Horses, Cows and Celestial Creatures at the Dawn of Civilizations

When I think of the Aryans of the ancient times, I think of Central Asia, the steppe, a horse culture that could enable their language, Sanskrit to spread, at a gallop, so to speak, westward and...
A seida (worshiped stone) Tromsø, Norway.

Sami Spirituality and the Cult of the Sacred Stones

The Cult of the Sacred Stones belong to the Sami people of northern Europe. The Sami (occasionally spelled Saami) live in Lapland, a part of northern Europe near Norway, Sweden and Finland, and...

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