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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.

Modern representation of Sargon of Akkad.

Sargon of Akkad: Familiar and Legendary Tales of a Famous Mesopotamian King

Sargon of Akkad was the founder of the Akkadian Empire, the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia. The empire was created through conquest, and Sargon’s rule was not limited to only...
The Statue of Socrates at the Academy of Athens. Work of Leonidas Drosis (d. 1880). (C messier/CC BY SA 4.0) Background: This NASA image shows Earth from space. The image is a combination of data from two satellites.

Was Socrates in Space? A Question of Ancient Spaceflight

The ancient Greeks are credited with having made many early advancements in science and mathematics which influenced later western civilization. Aristarchus of Samos proposed an essentially...
The August 7, 2018 Ibn Sina Google Doodle.

Who Was Ibn Sina and Why is He a Google Doodle?

A surprising Google Doodle has greeted users of the search engine in the UK. The image celebrates the 1038th birthday of Persian polymath Ibn Sina. For many in the West, this may be the first...
‘Sappho and Alcaeus’ (1881) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Sappho: Putting Together Fragments to Gain an Image of the Tenth Muse

By Van Bryan/ Classical Wisdom Besides being born on the island of Lesbos around 630 BC, and this date is often disputed, surprisingly little is known about the life of the beloved poet Sappho. The...
Landscape with Gypsies by András Markó

The Misnomer of Gypsies: The Real History of the Romani People

Colloquially, and rather insultingly, known as 'gypsies', the history and culture of the Romani people is surrounded by stereotypes and misnomers, none more damningly pervasive than Esméralda from...
Ten Powerful and Fearsome Women of the Ancient World

Ten Powerful and Fearsome Women of the Ancient World

A quick perusal of the Forbes ‘World’s Most Powerful Women’ list for 2017, will reveal female politicians, heads of industry and billionaire philanthopists at the top of the list. The likes of Angela...
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...
Tomb of the Red Queen.

Unravelling the Mysteries of the Tomb of the Red Queen of Palenque

A remarkable tomb dating back to 600 or 700 AD was discovered by Mexican archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez Cruz in 1994. When the researchers opened the burial chamber they couldn't believe their eyes…...

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...
Herodotus and Thucydides

Thucydides Versus Herodotus: Who Was the Real Father of History?

By Ben Potter / Classical Wisdom There has been a great deal of focus on the differences between Herodotus and Thucydides. Both men have been granted the 'father of history' accolade, but...
‘Half-Length Portrait of a Roman Woman’ (1862/1866) by Anselm Feuerbach. (Public Domain) Background: Sepulchral inscription of Allia Potestas (1st–4th century AT), found on a marble tablet in Via Pinciana, Rome, Italy in 1912.

The Eye-opening Epitaph of Allia Potestas and her Perugian Ménage à Trois

The epitaph of Allia Potestas gives an intriguing insight into the sexual mores of the ancient Romans. The tombstone of this ex-slave from the town of Perugia contains fascinating details about her...
Representative image of a Viking King

Defeat Was Not an Option: Viking King Herlaug and His Men Choose to be Buried Alive Instead

BY THORNEWS The year is 871 AD, and King Herlaug of the Namdalen district in Central Norway fulfills his last wish: instead of surrendering to King Harald Fairhair, he and eleven of his men choose to...
The Thinker in The Gates of Hell at the Musée Rodin.

How Should You Lead Your Life? Greek Philosophers May Have the Answer

It is human nature to wonder how best to live our lives. No doubt you have lost sleep over this notion, perhaps staring at the ceiling contemplating the very nature of your existence and what is the...
‘The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra’, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Searching for the Lost Tomb of Antony and Cleopatra

Mark Antony and Cleopatra are among the most famous pairs of lovers from the ancient world. Following their defeat at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, their final refuge from the victorious Octavian...
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...
A painting depicting a debate between Socrates and Aspasia, by Nicolas André Monsiaux, circa 1800.

Elite Companions, Flute Girls and Child Slaves: Sex Work in Ancient Athens

Marguerite Johnson / The Conversation In this sexual histories series, authors explore changing sexual mores from antiquity to today. When the Athenian politician Pericles delivered his famous...

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