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History

From the powerful civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Indus Valley, to the fearsome yet sophisticated society of the Vikings, the ancient world was a surprising and challenging place. Here we feature some of the most seminal and influential events and people throughout history, that have helped shape the world we know today.

Father Christmas enjoying the Christmas feast tradition.

Ancient Origins of Favorite Christmas Traditions PLUS Those You May Never Have Heard About

Every year as December rolls in, some 2 billion people start to feel the Christmas cheer. While the celebration is primarily a Christian one honoring the birth of Jesus, its traditions merge with the...
Egyptian pyramids under a night sky. Several researchers believe astronomical alignments at this site point to signs of an ancient advanced civilization.

Ancient Astronomical Alignments: Reading and Mapping the Stars at Early Advanced Civilization Sites

Many of the cuneiform tablets of Mesopotamia and hieroglyphs of Egypt make reference to the sun, stars, or planetary positions. Also, a number of ancient structures in many parts of the world are...
Which is the real Santa Claus? Portrait of Saint Nicholas (BigStockPhoto), Santa Claus with tree and sack (Public Domain), and a modern depiction of Santa Claus.

This Christmas Tell Your Children the Real Santa Claus Story

Lisa Bitel / The Conversation Santa Claus will soon be coming to town, bringing gifts to children. Santa has several aliases, depending on the part of the world you live in. The English call him...
Anglo Saxon Helmet, Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. A reproduction of the helmet rebuilt from the fragments found in mound 1 in 1949.

The Anglo-Saxon Conquerors: Creators of Medieval England

The people of England got their name from the Angles, who, along with the Saxons, invaded in the early- to mid-5th century AD, after the Roman Empire began to groan under the weight of barbarian...
 Discovered by Gaston Maspero in 1885–86, this wooden shabti box was inscribed for Paramnekhu, a ‘Servant in the Place of Truth’ who was a son or grandson of the famous Sennedjem and Iineferti. Families of artisans such as this brought the king’s tombs to life. 19th Dynasty. Thebes, Deir el-Medina, Tomb of Sennedjem (TT1).

Heart of the Pharaoh Part II

The artisans and builders who resided at Set Ma’at (‘The Place of Truth’) were among the most valued workers in all of Egypt. Yet, there came a time when the economy of the country was on the verge...
Old man beguiled by courtesans.

Protection or Profit? The 1000 Prostitutes Employed by the Church in 12th Century London

The modern Christian church does not condone prostitution and would never consider getting involved with it. However, in 12 th century England, a borough of London known as Southwark had eighteen...
King Offa of Mercia in procession.

King Offa of Mercia: A Ruthless Anglo-Saxon Hellbent on Power and Prestige

One of the most prominent Anglo-Saxon kings, Offa of Mercia in southern England, came to power upon the murder of his cousin, King Aethelbald. He went on to rule for 39 years and consolidated much of...
Portrait of Ivan IV, the first tsar of Russia, by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Ivan the Terrible: How Did He Become the First Tsar of Russia?

The Tsar of Russia was the title used by the ruler of the Tsardom of Russia, a state that existed from 1547 to 1721. The Tsardom of Russia was preceded by the Grand Principality of Moscow, and was...
The Ramesseum witnessed high drama during the workers' protest against the third king to bear the name, Ramesses. Pictured here are headless Osiride statues of Ramesses II.

Striking at the Heart of the Pharaoh: Social Injustice and Deception in the Place of Truth – Part I

A couple of years before he celebrated his jubilee, Ramesses III was beset by internal problems. A great king who had combated vicious enemies from all corners and was deified by his subjects for his...
 Princess Henrietta of England

Henrietta of England and Her Tragic Life of Calamities and Heartbreak

Henrietta of England was an English princess who lived during the 17 th century. She belonged to the House of Stuart and after her marriage to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, became the Duchess of...
Medieval castle

Were the Dark Ages Really Dark?

The idea of a worldwide Dark Age or universal decline in man’s knowledge may be difficult to accept because the broad deterioration of ancient civilizations didn’t happen at an even pace in all...
Great Fire of London in the year 1666 by William Russel Birch

Here is What it Would Have Been Like to be Caught in the Great Fire of London

Great explosions rang out in London’s Lower Thames Street: the sound of houses, shops, warehouses and taverns being blown up, a method intended to halt the spread of the seemingly unstoppable flames...
On Left - Miniature of Egbert, first king of England. On Right Top - Coin of King Egbert of Wessex. On Right Bottom - The entry for 827 in the C manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle listing the territories he brought together to unite England.  Source: Left, Public Domain; Right Top, Public Domain; Right Bottom, Public Domain.

King Egbert of Wessex Conquers all to Become Bretwalda, the First King of a United England

King Egbert, later designated the first king of England, began his reign in the 9 th century, when England was fragmented into multiple small kingdoms and under attack by Norsemen. He was one of the...
Neanderthal man

In Plain Sight, Our Neanderthal Ancestors

Left brain-right brain, intuitive-intellectual, patriarchy-matriarchy, make love-not war; is there a reason humankind seems so bi-polar? Maybe there is and the answer might be surprising. Of all the...
Amazonian Shaman Smoking

Kill or Cure: The Evolution of Addiction Treatment Through the Ages

As far back as history has been recorded, mankind has been using hallucinogens , opioids and stimulants for many varied purposes. Medical treatments, nutritional supplements, religious rituals, and...
The Funeral of a Viking - painting 1893.

What Really Happened at Viking Funerals? It’s Not What You Think!

Like many ancient societies, the Vikings believed in an afterlife, and these were based on the religious beliefs they held. The current understanding of Viking funerary practices has been discovered...

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