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Famous People

In this section, we shed light on some of the most famous and infamous people known throughout history, from powerful pharaohs, to emperors and empresses, acclaimed military leaders, or just regular civilians who’ve been thrown into the spotlight for great crimes or for heroic actions, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Death of Sardanapalus by Eugène Delacroix.

Did the Pleasure-Seeking Epicurus Really Prescribe Hedonistic Happiness?

Epicureanism is a philosophical system based on the teachings of Epicurus which is, in today’s world, often equated with hedonism. Whilst this may be true to some extent, it is an over-simplification...
Philosopher Plotinus with his disciple

Plotinus: Platonism with a Twist for Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Thinkers

Plotinus was an ancient Greek-speaking philosopher who lived during the 3rd century AD. He is generally considered to be the founder of Neoplatonism, though Plotinus may have actually considered...
Discovery of Brazil. Pedro Alvares Cabral sees the land that would later be known as Brazil for the first time

Pedro Alvares Cabral: The Lucky Lost Navigator Who Made Brazil Portuguese

Pedro Alvares Cabral was a Portuguese explorer and navigator who lived between the 15th and 16th centuries. He is generally given credit for being the first person from Europe to have ‘discovered’...
The body of Maria Adelaide.

The Minor Miracles of Maria Adelaide, Folk-Saint of Brides

Maria Adelaide was a Portuguese woman who lived and died during the 19th century. Although not officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, she is popularly considered to be one by the...
Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih (or Zheng Shi) was a Chinese prostitute who became a powerful female pirate, controlling the infamous Red Flag Fleet. The fleet grew under her command, with expanding reserves of loot, and...
Detail of a figure of a Xianbei warrior. (Editor at Large/CC BY SA 2.5) Background: Filial sons and virtuous women in Chinese history, a lacquer painting over a four-panel wooden folding screen; from the tomb of Sima Jinlong in Datong, Shanxi province, dated to the Northern Wei Dynasty (386–534 AD)

The Xianbei: A Chinese Dynasty Emerges from Nomadic Warriors of the Steppe

The Xianbei people … invade our frontiers so frequently that hardly a year goes by in peace, and it is only when the trading season arrives that they come forward in submission. But in so doing they...
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...
Abaqa On Horse, Arghun Standing, Ghazan As A Child. Mongol rulers Arghun and Abaqa were Buddhists. From the 14th century Universal History by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani.

Adapting Buddhism: Ancient Disciples of Siddhartha Gautama in Afghanistan and Iran

Buddhism, in the first few centuries following the death of the Buddha, spread from India mainly to China, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. One place where its presence is less studied, in some ways...
Was Wang Mang a visionary, or a murderous villain – or both? (Wang Mang art italkcafe.com, The Analects of Confucius; Deriv)

The Emperor is Dead, Let Confucianism and Chaos Reign! The Rise and Fall of Wang Mang and the Xin Dynasty

Some saw Wang Mang as an evil usurper – others a selfless visionary. Either way, an emperor lay dead, and a learned Confucian scholar sought to bring peace and harmony, but the dynasty would descend...
Maria Reiche measuring the Nazca Lines.

Maria Reiche: The Governess of Nazca

Today, the birthday of the German lady who contributed greatly to our understanding of the famous Nazca Lines in Peru, is being marked by Google Doodle and others. Maria Reiche was a talented...
Tiberius as Jupiter – II.

Was Emperor Tiberius Simply Destined to Rule?

Tiberius was a Roman emperor who ruled the empire during the first half of the 1st century AD. As he was the successor of Augustus Caesar, his adoptive father, he was the second ruler of the Roman...
 A portrait painting of Emperor Gao of Han (Liu Bang), from an 18th-century Qing Dynasty album of Chinese emperors' portraits. (Public Domain) Background: ‘Entry of the First Emperor of the Han Dynasty into Guanzhong’ (early 12th century) by Zhao Boju.

The Rags to Riches Story of Liu Bang: Peasant, Rebel, Chinese Emperor

Liu Bang’s life is a rags to riches story. He was born into a peasant family but rose to become the emperor of China. In fact, Liu Bang (known also as Emperor Gaozu of Han) was the generally...
Zhuge Liang cartoon image.

The Legend of Zhuge Liang Seeking a Wife

By Epoch Times Zhuge Liang was a famous politician, military strategist, and inventor during China’s Three Kingdoms Period. There are several versions of how he met his wife, known as Lady Huang. The...
Famous Alexander Mosaic, showing Battle of Issus. Alexander is depicted mounted, on the left.

Why did Alexander the Great Really Invade the Persian Empire?

By Cam Rea/ Classical Wisdom Alexander of Macedon, more widely known as Alexander the Great, is one of history’s most famous conquerors. Many historians, poets, and writers have been mesmerized by...
Scene from the movie, Troy, loosely based on Homer’s Iliad. (Troy)

Toxic Masculinity Fostered by Misreadings of the Classics

Homer’s Iliad has been used by some men to hail the virtues of traditional masculinity in the 21st century. Typically, the famous work of literature serves as a sort of manual of manliness . Scholars...
Detail from the outermost shrine of Tutankhamun showing a seated deity; design by Anand Balaji

KV62, Designed to Confound: Wealth of Mysteries in the Curious Tomb of Tutankhamun—Part II

Egyptological scholars are divided over whether a right-hand turn to the burial chamber in an Eighteenth Dynasty tomb signifies that it belonged to a female pharaoh. With this feature present in the...

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