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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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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.

Representational image of a pharaoh from ‘Pharaoh Notes the Importance of the Jewish People,’ by James Jacques Joseph Tissot.

A King’s Seal? Was Pharaoh Apophis Originally King of the Mythical Kushites?

“A race divided, whom the sloping rays; the rising and the setting sun surveys…” Most researchers assume that the ancient assertion of Kushites ruling the Middle East from Phoenicia to Syria is pure...
A magician or wizard with a hidden face.

Mathematical Genius or Mesmerizing Magician? The Psychomagic of Scotland's Ancient Lost Wizard

"Scotland's First Scientist", "The Lost Genius", "The Scottish Wizard", "The White Wizard", or "The Wizard of the North" are some of the terms used to describe Michael Scot. And although this...
Deadly Female Ninja Assassins Used Deception and Disguise to Strike Their Target

Deadly Female Ninja Assassins Used Deception and Disguise to Strike Their Target

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got a lot of ninja qualities right: their preference for sticking to the shadows, the emphasis on reconnaissance and espionage, and, of course, their choice of weapons...
This Too Shall Pass: Will Jinichi Kawakami Be the Last of the Ninjas?

This Too Shall Pass: Will Jinichi Kawakami Be the Last of the Ninjas?

The ninja warriors seen in Hollywood are, sadly, born more of myth than reality. Truths were exaggerated and those exaggerations misconstrued as fact. One cannot wholly blame the screenwriters or...
Medieval miniature of Æthelflæd in Genealogical roll of the kings of England. 14th century

Æthelflæd: The Anglo-Saxon Iron Lady Who Showed the Vikings No Fear

The UK now has a female prime minister and Elizabeth II has been queen for more than six decades, but few would associate Anglo-Saxon England with powerful women. Nearly 1,100 years ago, however,...
Painting from the Ajanta Caves, India.

The Venomous Visha Kanyas Versus the Thugs: Which Would You Prefer Were Real?

Even a touch can kill. The Visha Kanyas were supposedly poisonous young women who operated as executioners in ancient India. Any contact with these toxic ladies would mean death. However, no one can...
An artistic representation of Al-Muqanna, the Veiled Prophet.

Second Moon Uprising: How Science and Skullduggery Helped an 8th Century Prophet Raise a Revolt

“The 'Moon of Nakhshab' was an artificial moon which Hakim Ibn-e 'Ata, known as Muqanna' (the Veiled One), caused to arise from the Pit of Nakhshab. This moon had been prepared by means of [magical]...
Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?

Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?

How plentiful it is, what you have made, Although they are hidden from view, Sole god, without another beside you; You created the earth as you wished, When you were by yourself, Mankind, all cattle...
Subutai: The Forgotten Force Behind the Fearsome Mongol Military

Subutai: The Forgotten Force Behind the Fearsome Mongol Military

"They are the Four Dogs of Temujin. They have foreheads of brass, their jaws are like scissors, their tongues like piercing awls, their heads are iron, their whipping tails swords . . . In the day of...
The theory that Tsar Alexander I craved a holy life as a monk is based on him seeking forgiveness for coming to power after the murder of his father, Paul I. Source: Vesti Tomsk

Science ‘To Answer Russian Royal Mystery’: Did Tsar Stage Death to Become Siberian Monk?

By The Siberian Times reporter Officially, Alexander I died of typhus aged 47 on December 1, 1825, but evidence suggests he faked his demise and lived as a holy man. Genetic analysis is soon to be...
Frederick Barbarossa awards the city of Haarlem with a sword for its shield or coat-of-arms. By Pieter de Greber, 1630.

Frederick I Barbarossa: A Megalomaniac Roman Emperor On a Crusade for Power

Some people believe they were born for greatness but fall short and some go on to exceed all expectations. Frederick I Barbarossa falls into the second category. His ambition for power was limitless...
A miniature from the Rashid al-Din’s Jami‘ al-Tawarikh showing Mahmud of Ghazni receiving a richly decorated robe of honour form the Abbasid caliph in 1000 AD.

Mahmud of Ghazni: Merciless Tyrant Obliterated Hindu Temples and Conquered Territories Through Plunder and Slaughter

God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country [India], and performed wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all...
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...
Artist’s representation of Wei Zhongxian.

Wei Zhongxian: When China Yielded to the Terrifying Power of a Notorious Eunuch

Wei Zhongxian is often considered to be the most powerful and notorious eunuch in Chinese history. He had powers almost equivalent to that of the emperor’s and those who opposed him were ruthlessly...
From Slave to Sultan: Baibars I - The Slave Warrior Who Fought His Way to the Top

From Slave to Sultan: Baibars I - The Slave Warrior Who Fought His Way to the Top

Baibars I was a powerful Sultan who is remembered most for his military leadership, especially against Crusaders and Mongols, but also for his diplomatic skills. He is often regarded as the most...
What Role Did Skepticism Play in the Conquests of Alexander the Great?

What Role Did Skepticism Play in the Conquests of Alexander the Great?

Anaxarchus and Pyrrho. These are two names which are not as well known to the general public as those of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Yet these men are no less important. While the latter three...
Medieval miniature of Æthelflæd in genealogical roll of the kings of England 13th century.(Public Domain)/ Æthelflæd as depicted in the cartulary of Abingdon Abbey

Æthelflæd, The Medieval Queen Who Took on the Vikings to Save Her Kingdom

While her name is a mouthful, and quite a convoluted one at that, Æthelflæd of Mercia's role in early medieval England is rather straightforward. More importantly, the part she played in the conquest...
Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans

The Sicarii: The Jewish Daggermen With a Thirst for Roman Blood

The Sicarii - which may be translated as ‘daggermen’ from the Latin - were a group of Jewish zealots who lived during the 1 st century AD. The Sicarii intended to expel the Romans and their...
Left: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Right: Warrior heroine Saikal

Selling Sex: Wonder Woman and the Ancient Fantasy of Lady Warriors That Goes Back Millennia

When the film Wonder Woman is released in early June, it will surely join the blockbuster ranks of other recent comic book-inspired film franchises. Wonder Woman has long been a bestselling creation...
Anubis Reconstructing Osiris (1350 BC, Tomb of Ramses 1, Egypt).

The Macabre Mystery of the Missing Prince And ‘Zombie’ King

In “The Mysterious Death of Tutankhamun”, by Paul Doherty he remarks, “There is a passivity about Tutankhamun which is quite chilling.” Normally the text in the tombs of other Kings read in the...
James Woodford’s statue of Robin Hood in Nottingham, England

Robin Hood: Too Good to Be True - A Real Folk Hero or a Romantic Embellishment?

Robin Hood is arguably one of the best-known figures in English folklore. Today, he is generally portrayed as an outlaw dressed in Lincoln green who ‘robbed from the rich to give to the poor’. Now a...
Saint Columba converting King Brude of the Picts to Christianity, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Does the Fierce Reputation of The Picts Reflect Reality?

It’s not that the Picts, a group of British Isle inhabitants, were that different from native Britons around the fourth century, a historian suggests in a new book. It’s just that Julius Caesar didn’...
Portrait attributed as Christopher Columbus (Public Domain) Deriv.

Christopher Columbus: Master Double Agent and Portugal’s 007

Henry IV of Spain – known as "The Impotent" for his weakness, both on the throne and (allegedly) in the marriage chamber – died in 1474. A long and inconclusive war of succession ensued, pitting...
Imam Ali Mosque - Shrine of: 1st Shia Imam - Ali ibn abi Talib; Prophet Adam; and Prophet Nuh (Noah).

Is this the Final Resting Place of Noah? It is Certainly One of the Contenders

The tale about a huge ship (of Biblical proportions) that enabled the survival of all of the species of animals around the world sounds impressive, but also quite unbelievable. Nonetheless, its...

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