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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.

Detail from theatre poster for Jane Shore at Royal Princess' Theatre in Edinburgh, December 1885. Source: Public domain

Royal Mistress Jane Shore Walked Streets of London in her Underwear

Elizabeth "Jane" Shore was a fiery and charismatic Englishwoman who made a name for herself as one of the many sultry mistresses of the handsome and powerful English king, Edward IV. With her...
Leonardo da Vinci and his sketches that hint at knowledge of gravity. Source: Caltech

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notes Show He Understood Gravity Long Before Newton

As the prototypical Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci was an artist, scientist, inventor and all-around genius who left a legacy of discovery and innovation that is still admired to this day. But if...
Portrait of the Irish war hero Patrick Sarsfield, 1st Earl of Lucan. Source: Public domain

Talks Begin on Repatriating Remains of Patrick Sarsfield, Irish War Hero

Just last year, the Irish Mirror reported that excavations to find the skeletal remains of 17th century deceased Earl and revolutionary Irish war hero, Patrick Sarsfield, had begun in Belgium . They...
Aswan temple, completed by Ramses II of the Ramessid Dynasty.  Source: Konstantin / Adobe Stock

The Ramessid Dynasty: A Golden Era in Ancient Egypt

Throughout its very long history, ancient Egypt's fate has always been decided by the great ruling dynasties. A powerful state and empire needs an equally powerful ruler, and ever since the...
Portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots, detail. Inset, Section of one of the 50 scripts, made up of graphical symbols, found by the code breaker team in the National Library of France.   Source: Public Domain /inset; Bibliotheque National de France

Researchers Decode Secret Encrypted Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots

Secret encrypted letters written by Mary, Queen of Scots during her imprisonment in England have been decoded. Having been arrested and charged for plotting to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I,...
Nakhtpaaten may have been the first commuter, crossing ancient Amarna to his daily job as royal vizier. Illustration of an imagined ancient Egyptian city. Source: KHBandak / Adobe Stock

Walk (to Work) Like an Egyptian: Nakhtpaaten, the First Commuter

In the modern world, traveling to and from work seems to be a relatively easy thing to do. Whether by bus, car, or metro, getting to your workplace is rarely a challenge. But what about the ancient...
Scene from the funeral service for Constantine II at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. Source: YouTube Screenshot

European Monarchies Pay Their Respects at the Funeral of Greece's Last King

The last man to serve as King of Greece, Constantine II, passed away on January 10, 2023 in an Athens hospital from complications related to a stroke. Constantine II hadn’t served as king since the...
Sword fighters were highly skilled warriors, but these seven are legendary.	Source: adimas / Adobe Stock

7 of The Most Skilled Sword Fighters in History

Besides perhaps the gun, no other weapon has been as heavily romanticized as the sword. For millennia, we’ve been using the sword to settle debates, both personal quarrels in the form of duels, and...
The latest innovation in home DNA tests uses ancient DNA to reveal unique insights into ancestry. Source: cooperr / Adobe Stock

Are You Related To An Ancient VIP?

Home DNA testing has exploded in popularity in recent years, with millions of people around the world using these kits to learn more about their ancestry and genetic health risks. However, while...
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...
A Byzantine depiction of the Three Wise Men (526 AD) from the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Source: Nina-no / CC BY-SA 2.5

The Feast of Epiphany: Who Were The Three Kings and Where Did They Come From?

In Western Christianity, the feast of Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day, is celebrated annually on the 6th January to commemorate the visit of the Magi , wise men, or kings from the East to...
Many child monarchs were commanding empires before they could walk or talk!	Source:  liyasov / Adobe Stock

7 Child Monarchs from History and How They Changed the World

When we think of a king or queen, more often than not we conjure an image of someone who is a little… advanced in years. But the truth is, not all monarchs have to wait as long as King Charles, who...
There are many Christian martyrs, whose deaths were often evilly innovative. Shown: The central panel of the altarpiece of St. Sebastian. Source: Public Domain

Six Supremely Sadistic Deaths of Christian Martyrs

Standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy. The early Christians are a prime example of this. They faced centuries of persecution at the hands of various Roman rulers. These early...
Interview of Richard II and Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. The nephew and uncle were longtime rivals.	Source: Public Domain

Thomas of Woodstock and Shakespeare's Twisted History

William Shakespeare wrote ten history plays. Of these, one of the most famous is Richard II . The play Richard II , written around 1595, is based on the rule of King Richard II (reign 1377-1399), but...
The effigy of Edward the Black Prince at Canterbury Cathedral. Source: LMBO/Flickr

Edward the Black Prince Did Not Die of Chronic Dysentery, Study Reveals

Most historians long ago concluded that Edward of Woodstock, also known as Edward the Black Prince , the heir apparent to the English throne who died at the age of 45 in 1376, fell victim to chronic...
Montage of Roman Empire imagery including statue representative of Livy.	Source: Freesurf/Adobe Stock

Has Livy’s History of Rome Skewed Our View of the Early Empire?

Titus Livius, or just Livy for short, was one of the most famous historians in all of history. One of the three great Roman historians, his masterpiece, Ab Urbe Condita, made him a legend in his own...
St. Francis of Assisi was said to preach to animals as well as humans.	Source: J. Ossorio Castillo / Adobe Stock

St. Francis of Assisi: The Transformation from Spoiled Rich Kid to Saint

St. Francis, born Giovanni di Pietro Bernadore, was a mystic Italian Catholic friar. To this day, he is one of the most revered of all the saints and is remembered as the founder of the Franciscan...

Seven Famously Obscure Pets from History

Animal companionship is nothing new to humankind. Throughout history, people have sought out furry (and not-so-furry) friends to spend their days with. However, it wasn’t always just cats and dogs...
St. Patrick’s Bell (left) is a simple design. The shrine (right) later designed to cover it is quite intricate. Source: National Museum of Ireland / CC BY SA 2.0

St. Patrick’s Bell: The Story of an Iconic Irish Artifact

Ireland is home to many iconic historical artifacts and objects, from the Book of Kells to the Tara Brooch. Many of these items are beautifully designed but shrouded in mystery. Others have a long...
The Mary, Queen of Scots casket was purchased by the Scottish government in 2022 and is now on display.

The Beautiful Casket that Killed Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary I of Scotland, or Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most iconic monarchs in British history. She had an incredible impact on both Scottish and English history, and her life was one of tragedy,...
The death of Pompey, a tragic end to an impressive life, 18th century painting by unknown artist Source: Public Domain

Is the Famous Roman Leader Pompey History’s Biggest Loser?

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or Pompey for short, was a high-profile politician and military leader during the Roman Empire’s fall from grace. Pompey had an incredibly successful career until his...
If you think some of today’s world leaders are nuts, you’ll be surprised by some of history’s other crazy rulers. Source: Source: master1305/Adobe Stock

They Were Nuts! Seven of History’s Craziest Rulers

When one looks at the state of the world today, one could be forgiven for thinking that some, if not all of our leaders are at least a little bit loopy. Rest assured: this feeling is nothing new...
Parallels between The House of the Dragon and The Anarchy are obvious after just one season. Source: Warner Media

How House of the Dragon Mirrors The Anarchy in England

Now that the hugely successful first season of HBO’s House of the Dragon has aired, it is safe for us to do an analysis of how much and how closely the events and characters mirrored those of actual...
The little-known medieval hero known as Hereward the Wake. Source: Kathy / Adobe Stock

Hereward the Wake – Original Robin Hood or Fictional Medieval Hero?

Famous legendary figures like King Arthur and Robin Hood have one foot planted in fact and one firmly planted in fiction. This is also true for Hereward the Wake, an Anglo-Saxon nobleman who helped...

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