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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.

Discovery of Brazil. Pedro Alvares Cabral sees the land that would later be known as Brazil for the first time

Pedro Alvares Cabral: The Lucky Lost Navigator Who Made Brazil Portuguese

Pedro Alvares Cabral was a Portuguese explorer and navigator who lived between the 15th and 16th centuries. He is generally given credit for being the first person from Europe to have ‘discovered’...
The body of Maria Adelaide.

The Minor Miracles of Maria Adelaide, Folk-Saint of Brides

Maria Adelaide was a Portuguese woman who lived and died during the 19th century. Although not officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, she is popularly considered to be one by the...
Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, Examen d'une momie - Une prêtresse d'Ammon, oil on canvas, Egypt, c.1895 - 1910.

Disrespect and Desecration at Victorian Mummy Unwrapping Parties

A ‘mummy unwrapping party’ was a social event most commonly associated with the elites of Victorian England. As its name suggests, these parties involved the unwrapping of Egyptian mummies in front...
The Suicide of Saul by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1562)

The Battle of Mount Gilboa: King Saul’s Defeat and Death

The Battle of Mount Gilboa (circa 1050 BC) was a turning point in Israel’s military and political history. The Israelite and Philistine armies would once again engage in exchanging bloodshed. However...
Detail of a portrait of the Kangxi Emperor in Court Dress.

The Qing Dynasty Part II: The Final Dynasty

Read Part I Here The Kangxi Emperor ascended the throne in 1661, at the age of seven, after his father, the Shunzhi Emperor, died suddenly from smallpox at just 23 years old. Kangxi would go on to...

The Qing Dynasty: Last of the Imperial Dynasties of China– Part 1

The last imperial dynasty of China, the Qing Dynasty, was established by the Manchus in 1636 to designate their regime in Manchuria. The Qing Dynasty came to rule over China in 1644, when the capital...
The Search for the Lost Library of Ivan the Terrible

The Search for the Lost Library of Ivan the Terrible

The thought of a lost library is a tantalizing one, as one can speculate and imagine the kind of knowledge it might provide to the person who finds it. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that there...

The Mystery of Krishna: Was He Man or Myth?

For thousands of years, the people of India have believed in the divinity of Sri Krishna. But questions have constantly haunted their consciousness as to whether Sri Krishna was a historical...
A Pazyryk horseman from the Asian steppe in a felt painting from a burial around 300 BC. (Public Domain). Krishna with cow. (CC BY 2.0) Hathor as a cow, Papyrus of Ani (Public Domain)

Horses, Cows and Celestial Creatures at the Dawn of Civilizations

When I think of the Aryans of the ancient times, I think of Central Asia, the steppe, a horse culture that could enable their language, Sanskrit to spread, at a gallop, so to speak, westward and...
Left: Pictish warrior (public domain) Right: Scythian Warrior with Axe, Bow, and Spear.

Piecing Together the Origins of Ancient Near East Names in Scotland

Thinking of Scotland, as I do from the somewhat similar mountains of northern India, which has been my home for nigh on twenty years, I do so from a rather Indian perspective; I think of families,...
A ceramic female polo player, from northern China, Tang Dynasty, first half of the 8th century, made with white slip and polychrome. From the Musée Guimet (Guimet Museum), Paris. (Public Domain) Background: ‘Xuanzong's Journey to Shu’, in the manner of the mid-8th century Tang artist Li Zhaodao, an 11th-century Song dynasty remake.

The Tang Dynasty: The Arts Flourished, Family Ties Broke, and a Concubine Became Empress

While Europe was masked in the Dark Ages, China was flourishing in the Tang Dynasty. Woodblock printing gave them books, testing made government jobs available to common citizens, paper spread...
Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih (or Zheng Shi) was a Chinese prostitute who became a powerful female pirate, controlling the infamous Red Flag Fleet. The fleet grew under her command, with expanding reserves of loot, and...
Sappho and Alcaeus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1881)

Gender Equality in the Ancient World?

In discussions about gender in the ancient world, women seldom seemed to be portrayed in a good light. In Ancient Greece, women were described as dogs, demons and degenerates. Semonides of Amorgos (...
Attendant figurine (Sui Dynasty, 581 - 618) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum - Sha Tin, Hong Kong. (CC0) Background: Votive plaque with Seated Buddha Shakyamuni, Attendant Bodhisattvas, and Monks, China, Sui dynasty, 581-618 AD, gilt bronze - Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University.

The Sui Dynasty: 37 Years, Two Emperors and One Grand Canal

The Sui Dynasty may not have existed very long, but this imperial dynasty made an impact on Chinese culture long after the memories of its rulers faded away. Peasants were both delighted with and...
The Gladiators of Rome

The Gladiators of Rome: Blood Sport in the Ancient Empire

The ancient Romans were well known for many things – their engineering marvels, their road networks, and the establishment of Roman law throughout the empire. They were, however, also renowned for...
The ‘mourning scene’ on the East wall in the Royal Tomb at El-Amarna (TA 26B - Chamber gamma). Akhenaten is shown leading the royal family in grieving the death of Princess Meketaten, their second daughter, who stands inside a pavilion associated with childbirth. Julian Tuffs.

Challenges of Infant Mortality in Ancient Egypt: Amulets, Spells and the Divine—Part II

Among all the perils that the ancient Egyptians battled through their use of religion and magic, none came close to the poignant and desperate prayers they made to save the lives of their offspring...

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