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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.

Silbury Hill on the left, is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe.

The Mythologized Legacy of the North American Mounds

Ancient landscapes the world over were once encrusted with earthen mounds, variously called cairns, tumulus, barrows, burial mounds and kurgans. In England, Silbury Hill near Avebury in the English...
Amiternum funerary procession relief.

Mimes, Paid Grievers, and Masks: The Insane Theatrics of Ancient Roman Funerals

Two thousand years ago, funerals weren’t the quiet, somber affairs we have today. They were loud, boisterous shows that started with a massive procession of people parading down the streets, pounding...
Scilly’s Northern Islands

The Ancient Trackways of Britain’s Ley-Lines Steered Bronze Age Tin Miners

The Great St Michael and St Mary Alignment (or ‘corridor of incidence’) is probably the most famous ley-line in Britain, if not the world. Running for 350-miles across the country in a north-east to...
‘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...
The Ancient Roots of Doomsday Prophecies

How it Ends: The Ancient Roots of Doomsday Prophecies and End of the World Beliefs

Hollywood’s obsession with the End of Times is not over yet – Armageddon, Deep Impact, Doomsday, Legion, Thor: Ragnarok and 28 Days Later, are just a few of the blockbusters, out of hundreds, that...
Marble theater mask depicting a woman from a popular Roman tragedy Pompeii 1st century AD.

A Failed #MeToo Moment: Just How Horrible Being An Ancient Roman Actress Could Be

When an actress in ancient Rome was brutally gang-raped by a group of young men who’d come to see her show, she started a very public battle for justice. The story of her fight and her failure is...
Medea with her children. The children became the focus of a hero cult in ancient Greece.

Baby, Baby, Baby: Why Did the Ancient Greeks Turn Dead Children into Heroes?

When we use the term “hero” today while discussing Greek mythological figures, it usually designates a man whose superhuman exploits and semi-divine parentage make him a person of legend. But in real...
Miniature depicting Ehud murdering King Eglon by Rudolf von Ems (1350 to 1375)

How Did the Benjamites Manage to Overthrow the Mighty Moabites: Ehud the Deliverer

After forty years had passed after settling in the promised land of Canaan, the Israelites found themselves dealing with an old adversary. Chushan-Rishathaim, the ‘twice-evil Kushite, king of Aram-...
Magnificent columns in the form of Toltec warriors in Tula

Toltecs: Fierce Warriors Who Changed the Face of Mesoamerica for Good

The Toltec culture was a pre-Colombian culture that dominated the area of what is today central Mexico from the 10 th to the 12 th centuries AD. They ruled the region from their capital of Tollan (...
Ingreso al Kalasasaya, Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Unearthing the Lost Meridian of Tiwanaku’s Temple Builders

The Tiwanaku Empire (300 to 1150 AD) preceded the Inca Empire; and by 400 AD Tiwanaku rose the become the most influential of a number of city states in the region. It was the center for regional...
Detail of ‘God creating the Sun, the Moon and the Stars’ by Jan Brueghel the Younger.

Is the Universe Only 6,000 years old? Young Earth Creationists Say Yes!

Although most mainstream scientists and most of the developed world now accept the theory of evolution and the scientifically established age of Earth and the universe, there is still a group of...
Fireworks of 14 July 2017 in Paris (David Proteau/CC BY-SA 2.0) and the Bastille Fortress, 1789 (Public Domain);Deriv.

Storming the Bastille – Do French Ghosts Haunt a National Holiday?

Little appeals to the heart of Americans more than a story of a rebellion against a tyrannical government. And so, it’s not entirely surprising that many in America live it up on Bastille Day each...
Pythagoreans Celebrate the Sunrise by Fyodor Bronnikov (1869)

Musick Moves Inanimate by Magick Numbers and Persuasive Sound

In 1697, William Congreve, a British playwright, wrote that: “ Musick hath Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak. I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd, and,...
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...
Henry Wallis – Poet Thomas Chatterton’s death by arsenic.

Death by Wallpaper: When Arsenic in the Walls Was Killing Children

Wallpaper isn’t as popular as it once was, and perhaps the reason for this falling out of fashion was its ability to kill! In 1778, a Swedish Chemist named Carl Scheele created a brilliant green...
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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