All  

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.

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...
Sundiata Keita, the Lion King of Mali.

Sundiata Keita: The Lion King of Mali

Sundiata Keita was the founder of the Mali Empire and is popularly referred to as the Lion King. Prior to this, Sundiata was the king / chief of a small, obscure Mandinka tribe within the Ghana...
Cowrie shell money. Source: tradol / Adobe.

Paying With Shells: Cowrie Shell Money Is One of the Oldest Currencies Still Collected Today

Shell money is a form of currency that was used in various parts of the world, including Asia , Africa, and Oceania . This type of money makes use of a type of marine snail known as cowrie and...
Assyrian Cuneiform

Deciphering Cuneiform to Get a Handle on Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Cuneiform is a system of writing that was invented by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia. Believed to have been created sometime during the 4th millennium BC (between 3500 and 3000 BC), this script...
Viking Bjorn Ironside

Bjorn Ironside: Son of Famed Viking Ragnar Lodbrok Became Legendary King of Sweden

Bjorn Ironside was a famous Viking leader who legends say ruled Sweden as the first king from the House of Munsö. He lived during the 9th century AD and his father was the legendary Ragnar Lodbrok...
Dark demonb (Luis Louro / Adobe Stock)

Ancient Curses: Five Ways to Create Calamity in the Ancient World

Ever since the days when magic first arose, people have been looking to manipulate the world with supernatural means and divine intervention – often for positive ends, but also to punish or send...

Pages