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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.

Beltane Fire Festival Celebrations.

The Pagan Wheel of the Year: What Elaborate Rituals and Events Mark this Sacred Cycle?

As more and more people describe themselves as ‘spiritual’ rather than religious, experts expect eco-friendly pagan movements will continue to grow. Already there are perhaps a million pagans in the...
Architecture Karnak Temple Luxor Travel Egypt (CC0)

Questing the Most Impressive Ancient Religious Temples in the World

What is the largest temple ever built on earth and do these man-made structures reveal secrets relating to the cosmos? To begin the quest for the largest religious temple, one needs to establish what...
Vintage magic book. Abracadabra used to be written and used as a talisman.

Say the Magic Word: The Origins of Abracadabra

Magic words are often used by magicians whilst performing magic tricks on stage. One of the most common of these incantations is ‘Abracadabra’. Although this word is known to many, it is likely that...
Peace between Hamilcar and Rome by Jacopo Ripanda. Musei Capitolini - Rome (José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Hunting Hamilcar: The Battle of the Saw Uncovered

Hamilcar Barca , the father of the battlefield genius, Hannibal , is considered even today as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, yet so little is known about the man and his battles...
Suspects in Ancient India Forced to Chew Rice to Determine Their Guilt.

Ordeal of Rice: Suspects in Ancient India Forced to Chew Rice to Determine Their Guilt

The ordeal of rice is a divine method of proof that was employed in ancient India. This ordeal involves suspects chewing on rice grains and then spitting them out. The condition of the grains is then...
the forbidden city in Beijing (chungking/ adobe stock)

Chinese Fantastic Beasts: The Taotie Demon Who Eats Humans

A strange animal that preys upon unsuspecting travelers, who devours them but cannot swallow them, may be representative of the human sin of gluttony, as the taotie, a Chinese mythological fantastic...
Close-up of a woman's eyes and red bindi.

Bindi: Investigating the True Meaning Behind the Hindu Forehead Dot

A distinct dot is a popular forehead decoration worn mainly in South Asia - especially in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. It is an old Hindu tradition and is known as a bindi,...
Hecate: Procession to a Witches' Sabbath by Jusepe de Ribera  (1591–1652) (Public Domain)

The Fate of English Witches: From Water Torture to Divine Retribution

During the Early Modern period of European history – from the Renaissance (1500) to the French Revolution (1800), hundreds of thousands of witches suffered the terrible fate of being burned at the...
Lord Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama: How The Father of Buddhism Walked From Suffering to Enlightenment

Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha or “Enlightened One,” is probably one of the most influential individuals to come out of India through the incidental founding of Buddhism . Siddhartha...
Beltane. Source: chrisdonia/CC BY NC SA 2.0

Beltane: Celtic Fire Festival Beckons with the Warmth of Summer

Celtic tribes celebrated Beltane to welcome the return of summer. Since at least the Iron Age, celebrations have included fire ceremonies, feasting, and fertility rites. Historically, the festival...
Sack of Rome by Alaric - sacred vessels are brought to a church for safety in Augustine, La Cité de Dieu (circa 1475) (Public Domain)

The Enigma of the Tomb of Alaric, King of the Visigoths

Legends tell that Alaric, King of the Visigoths, who sacked Rome in the fifth century AD, was buried along with his horse and a vast amount of treasure, in the bed of the Busento River in the Cosenza...
Ninja warrior.

Hwarang, The ‘Flowering Knights’ of Korea: Deadly Warriors That Looked and Smelled Good!

The Hwarang were an extraordinary group of ancient knights from Silla – one of 3 kingdoms in the region of the Korean peninsula . They were an elite sect, chosen from high society families whilst...
Production of salt for the salt trade.

When Salt Was Traded for Gold: The Salt Trade of West Africa that Built Kingdoms and Spread Culture

In West Africa during the Medieval period, salt was traded for gold. This may seem astonishing as salt is a cheap commodity in today’s society. It may be added that salt is easily available today...
Askia the Great, ruler of the Songhai Empire 1493 to 1528, in the Game Civilization V.

Askia the Great: Revolt Leader to Powerful Songhai Emperor

Muhammad I Askia (also known as Askia the Great) was one of the most important emperors of the Songhai Empire. Askia came to power in 1493, when he overthrew the last ruler of the Sunni Dynasty,...
Some unlucky artifacts and cursed sites: The Ring of Silvianus (CC BY 2.0), Tutankhamun’s silver trumpet with wooden insert (Meridianos), the Hope Diamond (CC BY-SA 4.0), Stone ringfort, “Ring of Kerry” in Ireland (Francis Bijl/ CC BY 2.0 ), and ruins of an ancient synagogue at Chorazin. (Lev.Tsimbler/CC BY SA 4.0)

Bringing Centuries of Bad Luck: 10 Unlucky Artifacts and Cursed Archaeological Sites

When an artifact or location is called ‘cursed’ it often refers to bad luck befalling whoever possesses the object or disrespects, or sometimes just visits, the site. Curses, jinxes, hexes, and black...
Sketch for 'The Battle of Trafalgar, and the Victory of Lord Nelson over the Combined French and Spanish Fleets, October 21, 1805' by Clarkson Frederick Stanfield  (1793–1867) (Public Domain)

The Age of Sail Recaptured: Model Maritime History in Mauritius

Gazing at model replicas of the HMS Victory and the Bucentaure one conjures up the naval Battle of Trafalgar; breathing the toxic gun smoke, gagging on the smell of gun powder, deafening booms of...

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