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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.

"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...
The charcoal drawings found at Chauvet show a high degree of detail. Copy of the Lions Panel of the Chauvet Cave.

How Our Ancestors with Autistic Traits Led a Revolution in Ice Age Art

The ability to focus on detail, a common trait among people with autism, allowed realism to flourish in Ice Age art, according to researchers at the University of York. Around 30,000 years ago...
Jain version Game of Snakes & Ladders called jnana bazi or Gyan bazi, India, 19th century, Gouache on cloth.

The Origin of Snakes and Ladders: A Moral Guide of Vice and Virtue

The game of Snakes and Ladders is today considered a classic, and is loved by children from all over the world. Whilst the game itself is known my most people, its origin is less well-known. As a...
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...
Artists impression of a giant sloth being confronted by human hunters. Credit: Alex McClelland, Bournemouth University

How to Hunt a Giant Sloth – Ancient Tactics Revealed in Human Footprints

Rearing on its hind legs, the giant ground sloth would have been a formidable prey for anyone, let alone humans without modern weapons. Tightly muscled, angry and swinging its fore legs tipped with...
Left to right- Barn Hammer Brewing Company Head Brewer Brian Westcott, Matt Gibbs of the University of Winnipeg and Barn Hammer owner Tyler Birch teamed up to re-create an ancient beer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski/The Conversation

We brewed an ancient Graeco-Roman beer and here’s how it tastes

Matt Gibbs / The Conversation Beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world; it is also the most popular drink after water and tea . In the modern world, however, little consideration is...
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC).

In Ancient Mesopotamia, Sex among the Gods Shook Heaven and Earth

Sexuality was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia, an area of the Ancient Near East often described as the cradle of western civilisation roughly corresponding to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and...

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