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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.

Stone Age early human child. Source: pxhere / Public Domain.

The Stone Age: The First 99 Percent of Human History

The Stone Age is the longest period of human history, lasting from 2.6 million years ago to about 5,000 years ago. It is also the period of human history that is the least well known relative to...
Medieval knights battle. Credit: Nejron Photo / Adobe Stock

A Red Dawn Rises - The Battle of Hastings, 1066

As the early morning sun dawned on October 14th, 1066 AD, casting its light on the clustered, eager soldiers, it would herald a new bloody, revolutionary epoch in the history of England. For on this...
Dia De Muertos. Credit: Yuliya Ochkan / Adobe Stock

Mexican Day of the Dead – Bittersweet Remembrance of Departed Ancestors

The celebrated Mexican Day of the Dead means one thing for city dwellers and quite another for country folks. It is a day dedicated to the bittersweet remembrance of departed family members. It also...
Hysteria was a term used to diagnosis wandering womb a female medical condition branded by ancient Greeks. Source: rodjulian / Adobe Stock

Beware the Wandering Wombs of Hysterical Women

From ancient Greek physician Hippocrates to the infamous doctor Isaac Baker Brown of the 19th century, the pains and ailments of women were thought to be because of a ‘wandering womb’, better known...
The Feast of Attila by Ede Heinrich (1863) (Public Domain)

Attila The Great, Reviled as a ‘Barbarian’

Qin Shi Huang , first emperor of China and Genghis Khan have received what one might call a ‘bad rap’. They were of far greater honor and integrity than history has reported, and their achievements...
Wicker Man

The Fearsome Wicker Man: An Eerie Way Druids Committed Human Sacrifice

The wicker man is purported to be one of the means by which the ancient druids made human sacrifices. According to a number of classical authors, the druids partook in human sacrifice, though these...
Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the Virgin Mary take Christ in the tomb watched by Mary Magdalene and Saint John the Evangelist by Titian (1559) (Public Domain)

Mummification in Christianity: The Incredible Exploding Pope

Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) exploded in 1956. To understand why this occurred, it is necessary to explore the (Catholic and Orthodox) Christian practice of mummification, which is rarely...
Battle between Mongols clans and tribes during the time of Genghis Khan. Source: insima / Adobe Stock.

Mosquito Hordes: How a Pesky Insect Destroyed the ‘Almost’ Invincible Mongol Empire

The inhospitable, remote high steppes and grassland of the austere and windswept northern Asian plateau were occupied by warring tribal clans and duplicitous factions. Alliances were capricious,...
Wintering of a team of Dutch sailors on the eastern coast of Novaya Zemlya by Eugène Lepoittevin (1839) Musée départemental de l'Oise. (Public Domain)

Ancient Cult of the Brave Bear, Feared and Revered

All across the far northern hemisphere bear folklore is widespread, and as far back as the Paleolithic period around 50,000 years ago archaeologists have discovered evidence of bear cults where the...
Vlad the Impaler and the Turkish envoys, painting by Theodor Aman (Public Domain)

Maria Balsa, Daughter of the Dragon: The Long-Lost Illegitimate Child of Vlad the Impaler?

Has a 16th-century Italian noble woman, Maria Balsa, wife of Giacomo Alfonso Ferrillo, Count of Muro Lucano and Lord of Acerenza, (Italy) been identified as the illegitimate daughter Vlad III Tepe,...
Egyptian gods and goddess. From left to right, Sekhmet, Isis, Ra, Horus, Wadjet, and Set. Source: Hotaru Ito / Public Domain.

Understanding the Gods of Egypt: In Unison With Nature

Ancient Egypt is a never ending source of inspiration for many of us – their myths , their history, and their art are so wonderful and enigmatic, that they have intrigued researchers for decades. But...
Matelotage is the marriage / civil union of two male pirates. Source: rdrgraphe / Adobe Stock.

Be My Matelotage! The Civil Union of 17th Century Pirates

Love strikes hard like the broadsiding from a warship, leaving both splinters and buckshot in one’s heart. When it hits, there's nothing anyone can do but accept the bombardment with both arms open...
Remains of Taq Kasra in 2008. Arch of Cstesiphon, Capital city of King Ardashir (Public Domain)

Ardashir’s Effective Reform of the Sassanid Military Machine

In the third century AD, Parthia and Rome had been waging war against each other for far too long. Sometimes Parthia was the victor while at other times Rome was the victor, and it seemed as if no...
Caligula (Towseef/ Adobe Stock)

Rome’s Most Infamous Emperor: Was Caligula Mad or Bad?

Today, pundits and psychiatrists furiously debate the definition of ‘madness’. Where do narcissism, self-delusion, and an apparent inability to conceive of consequences of actions cross the boundary...
La Quintrala serial killer evades capture Source: kharchenkoirina / Adobe Stock

La Quintrala: Flaming Redhead Serial Killer Evaded Capture

In the world’s history of aristocracy, abuse of power was always a distinct possibility, and quite a few female landowners built up a macabre reputation based on torture, imprisonment, and abuse. In...
An ancient gift. Credit: kharchenkoirina / Adobe Stock

Anniversary Gifts: From Medieval Wreaths to Modern Getaways

It is not entirely clear when the custom of anniversary gifting began. However, early records show that marriage ceremonies and contracts were in existence four millennia ago – as far back as in...

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