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‘Vitellius dragged through the streets of Rome by the populace’ Georges Rochegrosse (1883). (Deriv.) Is he one example of a Roman emperor assassinated due to bad weather?

Fair-Weather Friends: A Weird Explanation for 20% of Roman Emperor Assassinations

Long bouts of bad weather have been blamed as a cause for the downfall of ancient civilizations around the world. Now, researchers have proposed a hypothesis that seems to support the idea that the...
Daniel del Valle, Moctezuma II Museo Nacional De Arte

Moctezuma II, The Emperor who Lost an Empire

Moctezuma II was the 9 th ruler of the Aztec Empire, whose unfortunate reign coincided with the arrival of the Spanish under the conquistador Hernan Cortez (Hernán Cortés). Moctezuma is remembered...

80 Days of Cuitlahuac: The Unforgettable Impact of a Late Aztec Emperor

Cuitlahuac only ruled the Aztec Empire for 80 days. However, this huey tlatoani played an important role in the Aztec Empire. Today, he is best remembered for leading the Aztec resistance against the...
The Tomb of Humayun

The Tomb of Humayun: The Garden Tomb that Inspired the Taj Mahal

The first garden-tomb that was constructed in India was the spectacular Tomb of Humayun devoted to the second Mughal Emperor. So magnificent was the monument, that it came to inspire major...
Daniel del Valle, Moctezuma II Museo Nacional De Arte

Moctezuma II, The Emperor who Lost an Empire

Moctezuma II was the 9 th ruler of the Aztec Empire, whose unfortunate reign coincided with the arrival of the Spanish under the conquistador Hernan Cortez (Hernán Cortés). Moctezuma is remembered...
Representation of Cuauhtémoc, the last tlatoani

Aztec Leaders: Rulers, Supreme Ruler and the Voice of the People

A tlatoani sat at the top of the Aztec city-state hierarchical structure. He was the ruler or king of his people and was thought to speak for them. Whilst each Aztec city-state had its own tlatoani,...
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...
Pliny the Elder

The Illustrious Life of Pliny the Elder, Ancient Historian and Roman Commander

Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known in history as Pliny the Elder, was an influential administrator, officer, and author during his life. Although he was only fifty-six years old at the time of his...
Detail of Qin Shi Huang's imperial tour across his empire. Depiction in an 18th century album.

How the Search for Immortality Killed the First Emperor of China

No man had ever risen as high as Qin Shi Huang. He was the first emperor of China - the first man to conquer its seven kingdoms and rule them all. There was only one threat left for him to overcome:...
The hand missing its index finger from a monumental bronze statue of Constantine.

Giant Finger of Emperor Constantine Found At Last

Experts at the Louvre Museum in Paris have made a rather important but strange discovery. They have discovered that an apparent bronze toe, is in fact a finger, and it belongs to a famous statue of...
A ceramic female polo player, from northern China, Tang Dynasty, first half of the 8th century, made with white slip and polychrome. From the Musée Guimet (Guimet Museum), Paris. (Public Domain) Background: ‘Xuanzong's Journey to Shu’, in the manner of the mid-8th century Tang artist Li Zhaodao, an 11th-century Song dynasty remake.

The Tang Dynasty: The Arts Flourished, Family Ties Broke, and a Concubine Became Empress

While Europe was masked in the Dark Ages, China was flourishing in the Tang Dynasty. Woodblock printing gave them books, testing made government jobs available to common citizens, paper spread...
Attendant figurine (Sui Dynasty, 581 - 618) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum - Sha Tin, Hong Kong. (CC0) Background: Votive plaque with Seated Buddha Shakyamuni, Attendant Bodhisattvas, and Monks, China, Sui dynasty, 581-618 AD, gilt bronze - Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University.

The Sui Dynasty: 37 Years, Two Emperors and One Grand Canal

The Sui Dynasty may not have existed very long, but this imperial dynasty made an impact on Chinese culture long after the memories of its rulers faded away. Peasants were both delighted with and...
Modern representation of Sima Yan, the first emperor of the Jin Dynasty. (CC BY SA) Background: Detail of a moulded-brick mural identified as the “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.” (Gary Lee Todd/CC BY SA 4.0)

The Jin Dynasty: The Sima Clan Fights to Hold China Together

The Jin (晉) Dynasty was an imperial dynasty that ruled China between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD. It was established following the Three Kingdoms period, during which China was fragmented into three...
Chinese temple on a lake

The Chinese Emperor Who Built A Lake of Wine and a Forest of Meat

The last ruler of China’s Shang Dynasty knew how to relax. When he and his Queen wanted to unwind, they would head to his pleasure palace and take a dip in their lake of wine. That wasn’t just a cute...
Detail of ‘Spring Morning in the Han Palace’ (17th century) by Qiu Ying

Ancient Weiyang Palace: Exemplifying Han Dynasty Splendor

Today it is in ruins, but Weiyang Palace was once the largest palace complex on earth. The few remains you can see now bear silent witness to the splendor and grandeur of the Han Dynasty monument...
Liu Xiu, Emperor Guangwu of Han, Liu Heng, Emperor Wen of Han, or Cao Pi, King of Wei. (Public Domain) Background: Dahuting tomb banquet scene, mural detail, Eastern Han Dynasty. (Public Domain)

Part II: The End Comes Slowly - The Last Han Dynasty Emperors

Read Part I Here Wang Mang’s usurpation of the throne and the establishment of the Xin Dynasty brought the Han Dynasty to a temporary end. Displeasure with the Xin Dynasty, however, caused rebellions...

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