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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.

A 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Who Bludgeoned the Bocksten Man to Death and Why?

A 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Who Bludgeoned the Bocksten Man to Death and Why?

Around 700 years ago, a young man, who has come to be known as ‘Bocksten Man’, was struck three times on the head, then tossed into a peat bog and impaled with three wooden poles to prevent his body...
Pocahontas, after 1616, Oil on canvas by Unidentified Artist.

Pocahontas Shrouded in Myth: A Princess Goes to England

As Ancient Origins reported in its article “ The True Story of Pocahontas as Not Told by Disney ,” the real life Pocahontas was different from her portrayal in the 1995 animated feature film. However...
Photo by Leo Von Klenze. A romantic idealized reconstruction of the Acropolis of Athens.

Cleisthenes, Father of Democracy, Invented a Form of Government that Has Endured for Over 2,500 Years

Ancient Athens is best remembered for giving birth to the first democracy in history, a course of action that took many years and several leaders to develop. One of the most prominent figures of that...
Detail of ‘Velleda’, as imagined in a 19th-century painting by Charles Voillemot.

The Legendary Prophetess Veleda: A Secret Weapon Against the Romans

Legends about beautiful women who drove armies of men to glory are very familiar in history. In the case of Veleda, her story didn't end with the loss of her people, but withstood the passage of time...
Eliminating the Competition: Selim I, A Grim Conqueror Who Vastly Extended the Ottoman Empire

Eliminating the Competition: Selim I, A Grim Conqueror Who Vastly Extended the Ottoman Empire

Selim I (known also by his epithet ‘Yavuz’, which, translated from Turkish, means ‘the Grim’) was the 9th sultan of the Ottoman Empire who lived during the second half of the 15th century and the...
Emperor Caligula Brought an End to the Illustrious Ptolemies, But Why?

Emperor Caligula Brought an End to the Illustrious Ptolemies, But Why?

When Cleopatra VII and Mark Anthony closed their eyes for the last time, passing through to their longed-for afterlife, among the successors were their three orphans: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra...
The Forgotten Cleopatra: Searching for Cleopatra the Alchemist and Her Golden Secret

The Forgotten Cleopatra: Searching for Cleopatra the Alchemist and Her Golden Secret

Cleopatra was one of four female alchemists who worked on producing the famous Philosopher's stone. She lived during the last remarkable period in Alexandria’s history, when it was still a city of...
Earthquake in Ecuador Reveals Bizarre Burial of a Mummy in a Jar with a Little Mouse

Earthquake in Ecuador Reveals Bizarre Burial of a Mummy in a Jar with a Little Mouse

On August 5, 1949, an earthquake struck the small town of Guano in Ecuador, causing buildings to crack open and crumble. The disaster led to the strange discovery of the Mummy of Guano. During the...
Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi (1785) by Angelica Kauffman.

Who was Cornelia Africana and How Did She Become the Prototype of the Virtuous Roman Woman?

The life of Cornelia Africana could be the basis for a fascinating Hollywood super-production. Since the beginning, her tale was nothing but an adventurous story about a woman whose extraordinary...
Phryne, The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

Phryne, The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

Phryne the Thespian was a famed courtesan of Athens, better known for the court case she won by baring her breasts. Her actual name was Mnesarete but people referred to her as Phryne (“toad”) because...
The Amazing Story of Yasuke: The Forgotten African Samurai

The Amazing Story of Yasuke: The Forgotten African Samurai

Samurai are among the most enduring symbols of Japanese cultural heritage, thus unsurprisingly, most samurai were Japanese. There are, however, examples of non-Japanese who became samurai as well...
Who Was St Dwynwen and How is She Associated with St Valentine?

Who Was St Dwynwen and How is She Associated with St Valentine?

Dylan Foster Evans / The Conversation February 14 is the day marked for lovers in many countries around the world, but in Wales there is another date traditionally associated with romance: St Dwynwen...
Women Without Virtue Need Not Apply! The Medieval Nine Worthy Women

Women Without Virtue Need Not Apply! The Medieval Nine Worthy Women

In the 14th century, the nine worthies were a list of nine men who were identified as paragons of chivalrous behavior, which included courage and honor in battle. The nine worthies consisted of a...
Was it Love or Witchcraft? The Magical Practices of Chinese Empress Chen Jiao

Was it Love or Witchcraft? The Magical Practices of Chinese Empress Chen Jiao

Usually, the Empress of the Han Dynasty was invincible, untouchable, and protected by the law more than anyone else. However, in the case of Empress Chen of Wu, the accusation of practicing black...
‘Blenda’ by August Malmstrom.

Blenda: The Cunning and Courageous Swedish Woman Who Defeated the Danish Army

Blenda is a heroine found in Swedish myths and legends. It is unclear as to exactly when she lived, but according to the legends, her heroic deeds took place during the time when Alle was the King of...
 Drawing of Balearic Slinger and Castelo Branco - Jardim do Paco

A History of Hamilcar: Akre Leuca, Dream City of Hamilcar Barca– Part II

Like ancient Carthage, Akre Leuca was not only a military center but also a culturally-advanced city in its time. There was no other city like it. If evidence in the urban structure of Castelo Branco...
Giordano Bruno: What Led The Renowned Friar and Astrologer to a Burning Stake?

Giordano Bruno: What Led The Renowned Friar and Astrologer to a Burning Stake?

A monumental statue of Giordano Bruno stands in the heart of Rome as a reminder of the remorse of the people who accused him and sentenced him to death. Although he may look like a monk dressed in a...
Drawing of Balearic Slinger (Public Domain) and stonework at Castelo Branco (CC BY-SA 2.0);Deriv.

A History of Hamilcar: The Legend of Cardosa and a Lost Carthaginian City – Part I

Deep in the heart of the Portuguese arid interior lies a city. It is the regional capital of the lands known as Beira Baixa and is strategically well-placed near the grand Tejo river, the...
Painting of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

When Millions Were Dropping Dead From the Plague, The 14 Holy Helpers Were Summoned to Intercede

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in the Roman Catholic Church. Veneration of this group of saints (known also as auxiliary saints) began during the 14th century, as...
The Last of the Welsh Lords: Llywelyn Ap Gruffydd

The Last of the Welsh Lords: Llywelyn Ap Gruffydd

Father, fighter, and final, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was born around 1223 AD and was the last Welsh ruler of Wales. The second son of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr (himself the illegitimate son of Llywelyn...
Relief carving of Alexander the Great.

The Romance of Alexander the Great: Are the Legends Really True?

The real-life history of Alexander the Great is a fascinating story. The legends associated with his exploits have gripped people’s imagination for centuries. From Spain to India, from Scotland to...
How a Javanese King Defeated One of the Most Powerful Rulers of the Mongolian Empire

How a Javanese King Defeated One of the Most Powerful Rulers of the Mongolian Empire

Raden Wijaya (known also as Nararya Sangramawijaya) was the founder of the Majapahit Empire. Apart from being remembered as the man who established the Majapahit Empire, Raden Wijaya is also known...
The Nine Worthies: Are These the Most Chivalrous Men in History?

The Nine Worthies: Are These the Most Chivalrous Men in History?

It may come as a shock to learn that ancient peoples enjoyed making lists of greats as much as we do. Just as websites make Top 10 lists about topical items today, so too did the Hellenistic Greeks...
Mavia: A Powerful Warrior Queen Who Struck Fear in the Hearts of Ancient Male Rulers

Mavia: A Powerful Warrior Queen Who Struck Fear in the Hearts of Ancient Male Rulers

A woman whose life isn't confirmed by any archaeological evidence is recognized as one of the most famous ancient Arab queens. Next to Zenobia of Palmyra, Queen Mavia is one of the heroines from the...

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