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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.

Japanese erotic art. Credit: fotoember / Adobe Stock

Sex, Scandal, and Allure: The Erotic Art of Shun-ga from Edo to Early Modern Japan

In the year 1770, within a large village house by the bustling city of Edo, Japan (modern day Tokyo City), a large collective of apprentices studied under their teacher, Utagawa Toyoharu, in...
Some of the animal species that held a special place in ancient folklore: Horse (Pixabay License), dog (Pixabay License), hedgehog (Pixabay License), squirrel (Pixabay License), baboon (Pixabay License), cat (Pixabay License).

8 of the Most Popular Animal Species in the Ancient World

Animals far outnumber us on the planet. And while humans have domesticated some of them for work or food, others have been observed, admired, feared, and revered from afar. For many ancient cultures...
Circe and her swine by Briton Rivière (1896)(Public Domain)

Searching for the Lost Location of the Isle of Circe, Enchantress of Odysseus

"They breathe slight auras into the night while the moon shines in the sky, and everything Under the tremulous light the sea sparks. They then shave the nearby coasts of the land of Circe, where the...
The famous Lions Gate into the hill fortress where Mycenaean armies originated.

The Fall of a Civilization: The Mysterious Collapse of the Mycenaean Bronze Age

"In most cases, collapse results from multiple, 'cascading' stress factors—politico-economic, demographic, and sociocultural as well as environmental…relational aspects, arguing that factors such as...
The fear of being buried alive is taphophobia. (Sergey Nivens / Adobe Stock.)

Saved by the Bell - The Surprising History of Safety Coffins

Modern medicine is full of wonders and lifesaving, revolutionary methods - many of which are taken for granted. But if we were to look back in time, we’d quickly realize that even death was uncertain...
Ovid among the Scythians (1862 ) by Eugene Delacroix) (Public Domain)

Scythian Priesthood of Fierce Fighting Eunuch Shamans of the Snake Goddess

The Scythian goddess Argimpasa was half-human, half-snake with a priesthood of powerful shamans, who despite their self-inflicted castration, seemed to still personify the reputation of fierce...
Nuraghe Is Paras - Isili - an archeological site of Isili, a town in the historical region of Sarcidano, province of South Sardinia built in the 15-14th century (Andrea / Adobe Stock)

Were the Anunnaki the Architects of the Towers and Tombs of the Giants of Sardinia?

Sardinia is one of the most geologically ancient lands in Europe , inhabited during the Upper Paleolithic, home to a Nuragic civilization that left nothing behind by way of writing. Folklore paint...
Were the first rulers deities, mythical, or appointed by the gods? Source: tomertu / Adobe Stock.

‘First Kings’ Myths From Around the World: How Do They Compare?

Monarchs have always played a very important role in how their subjects form their cultural identity. Egypt, China, and the Sumerian city-states are examples of some of the oldest monarchies. The...
Red Square in Moscow by Fyodor Alekseyev  (–1824)(Public Domain)

Russia’s Wealth of Archaeological Wonders

The treasures and ancient mysteries of Russia provide evidence of vital stages in not only human evolution, but the very origins of life on planet earth. Although archaeology was practiced in the...
7th century Tang dynasty painting of envoys from the Three Kingdoms of Korea: Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla (Public Domain)

The Age-Old Bone-Rank Caste System of the Korean Kingdom of Silla

In several cultures one’s social standing was determined by one’s birth, which included or precluded certain privileges and even determined the cutlery one was allowed to use. Such was the caste...
Catacomb Saint - Saint Gratian. Source: Xenophon / CC BY-SA 4.0.

A Beauty in Darkness: The Hidden Secrets of the Catacomb Saints

Death was always a source of mystery for people around the world. But what happens when we erase that invisible border and make the dead a thing to worship? Never too far from every major turn of...
Detail of a hurdy gurdy

Hurdy Gurdy Man: Rock Star of the Medieval Music Scene

The hurdy gurdy is a musical instrument, or more precisely, a string instrument, that traces its origin to the Middle Ages of Europe. The hurdy gurdy was initially used to play sacred music, before...
Roman Market Scene by Johannes Lingelbach (1653) (Public Domain)

Mussolini’s Quincussis: Was the Ancient Roman Coin a Fake?

Scientists are perplexed at the origins and provenance of two very ancient and unusual Roman coins that turned up like a bad penny in the 20th century. A Quincussis - the correct scientific name of...
Medieval knight riding into battle. Credit: rudall30 / Adobe Stock

The Dramatic History of the Normans: A Tale of Medieval Conquest

History is full of stories that will grip you like a modern page-turner novel, but only a few can do it as easily as the tale of the Normans. Proud and fearsome, these Viking descendants were key...
Gargoyles on the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris overlooking Paris, France. Source: scaliger / Adobe Stock.

The Grotesque World of Gargoyles

Gargoyles are an architectural feature that have existed for thousands of years. Initially designed to filter rainwater away from the edge of a building, they also have an arcane purpose – to ward...
Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. Source: dbvirago / Adobe Stock.

Pompeii: The Ancient Roman City Frozen in Time

In the Campania region of Italy near the modern day city of Naples , there was once a prosperous Roman city - Pompeii. As a thriving center for trade, the inhabitants of the city were a mixture of...

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