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Ancient Writings

There are literally thousands of incredible texts that have survived from the ancient world, which are etched onto copper, beautifully inscribed on papyrus, chipped onto tablets, and even written using the ink of ground down gold and precious stones. Here we feature many ancient writings, which have served to open a window onto the daily lives of our ancestors and enhanced the knowledge we hold about our ancient past.

King Haraldr hárfagri receives the kingdom out of his father's hands. From the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.

Icelander Sagas May Have More Truth to Them than You Think

Myths and legends – purely the creation of creative and imaginative minds, right? Not necessarily. Numerous stories, sagas, and texts from the ancient past have been proven to hold facts. For example...
Luwian Hieroglyphic inscription by the Great King of Mira, Kupanta-Kurunta, composed at about 1180 BC.

3,200-Year-Old Stone Inscription Narrates the Tales of Sea People and a Trojan Prince

A group of Swiss and Dutch archaeologists have announced the rediscovery of a 29-meter-long (95 ft) Luwian hieroglyphic inscription that supposedly narrates the tales of mysterious “Sea People” and 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...
The 5th century BC Amathus sarcophagus found in Amathus integrates Greek, Cypriot, and Oriental features. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of the Idalion Decree, a Bronze plaque engraved on both faces with a Cyprian inscription.

Exploring an Ancient and Undeciphered Language: Eteocypriot and the Amathus Bilingual Inscription

An English architect by profession and self-trained in the discipline and studies of linguistics and ancient history, Michael Ventris would be the first to identify the Mycenaean written Linear B...
The interior of Duke Humphrey's Library, the oldest reading room of the Bodleian Library in the University of Oxford.

Year Zero: Ancient Indian Text Includes Oldest Recorded Zero Symbol

Scientists claim to have traced the earliest example of one of the most significant conceptual breakthroughs in arithmetic to an ancient Indian text, known as the Bakhshali manuscript. The specific...
Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai.

More Revelations From St. Catherine’s Monastery Include Lost Ancient Languages

Scientists have found languages not used since the “Dark Ages” among ancient manuscripts revealed at the St. Catherine’s monastery in Egypt. It is the latest findings to be released from the 1,500-...
Egypt: The pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. Colour lithograph by G.W. Seitz, ca. 1878

A Forgotten Sphinx and Faked Cartouche: Changing the Course of Ancient Egyptian History?

When Gerry Cannon invited me to co-author his forthcoming book, “The Giza Plateau Secrets and a Second Sphinx Revealed”, I’m sure that neither of us could have foreseen the most explosive revelation...
Statue of "El Gran Tinerfe" in Adeje, Tenerife.

Did Celts Create the IBERO-GUANCHE Writing of the Canary Islands?

The origins of the first Canary Islanders is a mystery. When the Roman author and military officer Pliny the Elder wrote of an expedition to the islands he mentioned ruins of grand buildings, but...
Medieval medical text

Medieval Men With ‘Unsuitable Seed’ Prescribed Ground Up Pig Testicals

A recent study of medical and religious texts suggests that men were diagnosed with infertility as far back as Medieval times, and indeed may be held responsible for the inability to have children...
Kingston Lacy and Egyptian Obelisk, discovered on an island in the Nile by William Bankes in 1815

The Philae Obelisk, Hieroglyphs and Understanding a Vanished Culture

Before the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs, ancient Egypt was shadowy and mysterious with towering monuments, magical names, and an unknown antiquity, though most Western scholars believed that...
A mausoleum in the northern region of Mali.

Does a Mysterious Manuscript Describe a Forgotten Malian Mausoleum in Brazil?

Almost 300 years ago Brazilian bandits stumbled upon a ruined city. It was such an intriguing site that the city was eventually described in ink. This text became known as Manuscript 512 – a document...
A page from the mysterious Voynich manuscript, which is undeciphered to this day. The image on the right indicates a 24-month cycle with the seasons listed and the image to the left indicates the moon-cycles and planetary positions.

The Enigmatic and Undeciphered Voynich Manuscript Unlikely to be a Hoax

The Voynich manuscript is among the most perplexing texts ever discovered as it has never been decoded despite over 25 analyses conducted in an attempt to decipher its meaning. As a result, many have...
medicine, manuscript, Egypt, Hippocrates, Catherine, monastery, library, text, writing, palimpsest

Hippocratic Medical Recipe Lost in a Famous Egyptian Monastery Finally Comes to Light

The library at St. Catherine's Monastery is considered one of the most important for ancient texts. New research examining a manuscript from the 6th century shows that it is not just the visible...
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...
The statue of a seated Zeus at Olympia.

Unleashing The Power of the Gods: Hexes and Black Magic in the Ancient Greek Olympics

When the ancient Olympics began, the greatest athletes in Greece gathered before a statue of Zeus Horkios, the god of oaths. Laid before its feet would be the freshly cut meat of a boar sacrificed by...
Yamamoto Kansuke, named as author in the Sword Scroll text

Samurai Secrets Revealed: English Translation of the 500-year-old ‘Sword Scroll’ Provides Fighting Tactics Including ‘Egg Them’

A medieval samurai text recently translated into English gives many practical tips on fighting an enemy and advises all warriors to be ‘pure of heart and in balance in their spirit’. Although...

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