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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.

Portrait of an executioner. Warpedgalerie / Adobe Stock

The Dark Life of a Medieval Executioner – A Cut Away from the Rest

It is no surprise that the medieval period was filled with all kinds of undesirable jobs. There were leech collectors, cesspool cleaners, serfs, and gong farmers, to name a few. But one vocation that...
Goddess of Egypt, Bastet. Credit: MiaStendal / Adobe Stock

Egyptian Cat Goddess Bastet, Protector of the King

The wondrous world of Egyptian deities is filled with all manner of fantastic creatures, each one captivating in its unique depiction. This vast pantheon features hundreds upon hundreds of deities,...
The drum has been used since ancient times for rituals and communication. Source: zolotareva_elina / Adobe Stock.

Primeval Communication and the Beat of the Drum

Human beings need complex communication, no matter if it's through speech or music . The invention of drums has become an essential factor in all musical forms of artistic expression. It is through...
In the medieval England magic was a service industry. Source: Вероника Преображенс / Adobe Stock.

In Medieval England, Magic Was A Service Industry

Tabitha Stanmore / The Conversation Chances are that when you hear the words “ medieval magic ”, the image of a witch will spring to mind: wizened old crones huddled over a cauldron containing...
God Appears to Moses in Burning Bush by Eugène Pluchart (1848). Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Saint Petersburg. (Public Domain)

The Enigmatic Name and Face of YHWH

Who has picked up the wind in the hollow of both hands? ” “Who wrapped the water in a cloak?” “Who raised all the ends of the earth?” “What is his name and what is the name of his son, in case you...
Abraham's Journey from Ur to Canaan by József Molnár (1850)

The Other Side of the Flood: Was Abraham of Indian Descent?

A fascinating hypothesis, developed in recent years, proposes a vision of the patriarch Abraham totally different from what eminent biblical studies have until today reported. In 1552, the French...
The riches of the sea with Neptune, tritons and two nereids  by Luca GIORDANO Giuseppe RECCO (1684) Art Gallery of South Australia (Public Domain)

The Old Man of the Sea: Shape Shifting in Service of Poseidon

Described as elusive and difficult to pinpoint, the ‘Old Man of the Sea’ may take on many names in mythology, but he embodies the virtues of truth and justice, until he was usurped by a sinister...
Mysterious Monk Walking Alone During Sunset. Source: Igor Ovsyannykov / CC BY 2.0

Italy’s Ancient Benandanti: Harvest Rites and Ghostly Battles

In the Friuli region of Italy in 1580, during the peak of the Roman Inquisition’s foray into witchcraft, an inquisitorial examination of a local town crier produced the following eerie testimony: “…...
The Flagellation of Christ by Jaume Huguet  (1412–1492) Louvre Museum (Public Domain)

Cryptic Crosses, Mystery Medallions and Enigmatic Relics in Christian Churches

To the naked eye, they lie hidden in plain sight, but medieval artists hid cryptic messages in fresco’s, medallions and paintings and collected relics believed to have apotropaic qualities to ward...
The Baptism of Emperor Constantine

Was the Emperor Constantine a True Christian or Was He a Secret Pagan?

Constantine the Great is known in history as the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity . However, legends and archaeological evidence suggest a different story– it seems that Constantine had...
The Meditation on the Passion by Vittore Carpaccio (1510) (Public Domain)

Contemplating the Navel: The Origins of Ancient Mindfulness

The words of the 16th-century Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales, are truer today than ever before: “ Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour...
A traditional bedroom in Cappadocia, Turkey. Credit: EvanTravels / Adobe Stock

What Humans Have Been Doing in Bed for 77,000 Years

Groucho Marx once joked , “Anything that can’t be done in bed isn’t worth doing at all.” You might think he was referring to sleeping and sex. But humans, at one time or another, have done just about...
Surgical instruments of ancient physicians. Credit: Kai Beercrafter / Adobe Stock

The Gory History of Barber Surgeons: Medieval Medicine Gone Mad

It’s no surprise that the history of medicine had a rocky and somewhat gruesome journey before reaching its current, modern state. From the earliest meddling in surgery in Classical Antiquity to the...
Statue of a woman covering herself. Credit: macondos / Adobe Stock

The Shocking History of Virgin Tests and Cures

Virginity has been the obsession of men for thousands of years. It has driven the best people, like the virgin warrior Joan of Arc, to fight for just cause. Virginity has also lured the worst people...
Roman soldiers and their general by vukkostic (Adobe Stock)

Roman Mars vs Greek Ares as the God of War

In the ancient battle of Thurii in 282 BC, between Rome and the Greek colony of Tarentum, the Romans noticed a youth of extraordinary height marching in front of them and performing miracles of...
Close up of the monument to Crazy Horse. Source: Scott Lee / Public Domain.

Monument to Hero Crazy Horse Is Taking Shape After 70 Years

The famous Lakota were one of the three Sioux tribes of the plains. Throughout their history, which is both glorious and tragic, there have been many prominent heroes, braves, and chiefs. The one...

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