Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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The Japanese Waseda he-gassen handscroll depicted farts so powerful they could uproot trees. Source: Public domain

Fart Battles of the He-gassen Handscrolls Brought Toilet Humor to Life

Japanese art is full of surprises, including rowdy depictions of phallic contests, intercourse tournaments, and the unforgettable he-gassen fart battles. Bawdy, boisterous and downright delightful,...
Roland the Farter’s flatulence was seemingly so impressive that it garnered a gift of land from King Henry I. Painting of The Court Jester by John Watson Nicol, 1895	Source: Public Domain

Roland the Farter: Medieval England’s Celebrity Flatulist

A manor in Suffolk and a whopping 30 acres (12 hectares) of land was given to a person who was renowned for his ability to gas, quite literally, at the behest of King Henry II. Roland le Petour, also...
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the epitome of the rags to riches possibilities for Japanese samurai.    Source: Dusan Kostic / Adobe Stock

Tokugawa Ieyasu: Most Powerful Shogun and Great Unifier of Japan

Throughout the medieval history of Japan, it was the shoguns that held the real power in the country. As powerful military dictators, they were the de facto rulers of Japan, subordinate only to the...
The 9th Tokugawa Japanese shogun visiting a newly built home in Edo.         Source: Kobayashi Toshimitsu / Public domain

The Amazing Ascent of the Japanese Shoguns from 1192 to 1867

The shoguns were the military rulers of Japan during the country’s feudal period . Although Japan had emperors, they were mere figureheads for centuries. Actual power was held by the shogun, who...
Main: Traditional Japanese Sake. Credit: kathayut / Adobe Stock Inset: Remains of a sake brewery dating from the Muromachi period in Kyoto            Source: Kokusai Bunkazai Co.

World’s Oldest Sake Brewery Unearthed at Temple in Japan

The world’s oldest sake brewery has been discovered by archaeologists excavating in Japan . All over the ancient world people fermented plants and flavored them with fruits and herbs creating ‘stiff...
Japanese erotic art. Credit: fotoember / Adobe Stock

Sex, Scandal, and Allure: The Erotic Art of Shun-ga from Edo to Early Modern Japan

In the year 1770, within a large village house by the bustling city of Edo, Japan (modern day Tokyo City), a large collective of apprentices studied under their teacher, Utagawa Toyoharu, in...
A portrait of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi: How an Adventuresome Peasant Boy Became Japan’s Second Great Unifier

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a powerful Japanese daimyo (feudal lord) who lived during the 16th century. He is regarded as Japan’s second ‘great unifier’, the first being Oda Nobunaga, and the third being...