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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.

Detail of ‘Shaman’, (1930) by Arman Manookian.

The Real Story of Shamanism: No Need to Don a Headdress or Take Hallucinogens

Over the centuries, many of the world’s natural mystics have succumbed to pogroms of elimination or the steady erosion of traditional practices – witches burnt at the stake, indigenous peoples forced...
The 800-year-old skeleton found in Bulgaria stabbed through the chest with iron rod.

People Practiced Anti-Vampire Rituals in Bulgaria Until Three Decades Ago

Thanks to Bram Stoker’s Gothic horror novel Dracula, many people associate vampires with the region of Transylvania in Romania. However, it was only around 25 years ago that anti-vampire rituals...
A Dendera Zodiac with added blue and gold color, Neues Museum, Berlin

A Circular Egyptian Mythology: Does the Dendera Zodiac Represent the Most Ancient Astronomy?

In 1799, Napoleon and his armies were beginning to expand their presence throughout Egypt. Napoleon brought not only armies but artists to record sketches of his findings of a country that was...
The Marriage of St. Ursula and Prince Conan, 1522

Marriage: Is the Sacred Bond a Result of Social Evolution or Deliberate Design?

Getting married is an age-old celebration, which commemorates the joining of two individuals together in matrimony. For many in today’s society it represents picking out invitations, dresses,...
‘Evil eye.’

Rings, Gestures, and Phallus Talismans: The Evil Eye and Ancient Ways to Ward Off Its Power

For over 5000 years people have worried that a look of envy or dislike would inflict injury, bad luck, or even death on the recipient. People would wear specific items of jewelry or other talismans...
Images from the manuscript ‘Seventy-Two Specimens of Castes in India.

The Controversial Indian Caste System Has Been Dividing India for 2000 Years

A study of genetic populations in India suggests the Indian caste system, a traditional method of social organization into a hierarchy of hereditary groups, has been prevalent in the South Asian...
A Visit to the Witch by Edward Frederick Brewtnall

Bubbling Brews and Broomsticks: How Alewives Became the Stereotypical Witch

"Brewing", "herbs," "broomsticks," "woman." When one hears these words together, most often the assumption is that the person in question is a witch. Yet brewing has a very human meaning as well, one...
Sticker showing baby Krishna stealing milk from a cow.

Modern Hindus Forbidden From Eating Beef But Ancient Hindus Ate the Sacred Cow

Wendy Doniger / The Conversation Just this past June, at a national meeting of various Hindu organizations in India, a popular preacher, Sadhvi Saraswati, suggested that those who consumed beef...
Detail of the famous Minoan bull leaping fresco.

Taking the Bull by the Horns: The Perilous Minoan Practice of Bull-Leaping

If bull-leaping was a genuine practice in Bronze Age Minoan courts (estimated c.3200 BC-1100 BC), it was likely not nearly as fun as it appears in frescoes. Modern day professional matadors have...
Mosaic, shown Gargoyles in form of Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Roman artwork, 2nd century AD.

Masks, Sex, Laughter, and Tears: The Exciting Evolution of Ancient Greek Theater

The city of theater was Athens. Athens birthed drama, bred drama, and ultimately was responsible for cultivating it into the premiere art of the Classical world—at least according to Greek...
Portrait of a Woman by Bartolomeo Veneto, traditionally assumed to be Lucrezia Borgia – an infamous femme fatale.

Femme Fatale: Seduced by the Ancient Sex Crafts of History’s Most Alluring Women

The seductress, or femme fatale (French for “Deadly Woman”), is one of the oldest female archetypes and although there has been great diversity in "how" she has been portrayed, she has some core...
The eembuvi-plaits of Mbalantu women. Photo: CHL Hahn, Collection Antje Otto

The Braided Rapunzels of Namibia: Every Stage of Life is Reflected in Their Hair

Not everyone desires floor-length hair, but if you do, you can take some lessons from the Mbalantu women of Namibia in Africa, who are renowned for their incredibly long, braided hair. Throughout the...
Wisconsin Community Pharmacy supply of natural remedies

Modern Science Confirms Ancient Chinese Remedy Provides Effective Non-Addictive Pain Relief

With innovations appearing in our lives seemingly every day it seems that new breakthroughs in science are the only ones we trust. New is always considered better. With this prevalent thinking those...
Satyr Playing the Pipe (Jupiter's Childhood) (fragment) Jacob Jordaens 1639

War, Death and the Wrath of Gods: How Satyr Plays Helped Ancient Greeks Cope With Life

Before Shakespeare, there were the Greeks. The infamous "all the world's a stage" quote attributed to the Elizabethan writer in the 16th century far more accurately describes the world of ancient...
Ruins of Pompeii seen from the above with a drone, with the Vesuvius in the background

A Diet of Delicacies for the People of Pompeii Included Giraffe and Sea Urchin

Several years ago, surprising discoveries were made in a study , which drew on the findings of a sizable excavation of an area of Pompeii. The study, which was presented to the Archaeological...
Before Antibiotics:  Ancient Medical Procedures That Still Baffle Scientists

Before Antibiotics: Ancient Medical Procedures That Still Baffle Scientists

In the modern age, when we think of surgery, we think of doctors working in sterile environments using finely crafted tools on an anesthetised patient. That was not always the case. Early surgical...

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