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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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History

From the powerful civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the 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 Great Deluge, a global flood. (1869).

Evidence of The Great Flood – Real or a Myth? Part I

The story of a “Great Flood” sent by God (or gods according to much earlier testimony) to destroy humanity for its sins is a widespread account shared by many religions and cultures around the world...
Detail from an illustration of a body in its coffin that starts to bleed in the presence of the murderer during a cruentation 1497.

The Bizarre Importance of Bleeding Bodies in Medieval Trials

The history of criminal justice and forensic science is really interesting because of all the absurd rituals and superstitions courts relied on to determine guilt or innocence right up until the 19th...
Carvings depicting the Chinese Zodiac on the ceiling of the gate to Kushida Shrine in Fukuoka, Japan.

The Whimsical Legend of How the Chinese Zodiac Animals were Chosen

According to Chinese culture, each year is related to an animal or 生肖 (‘Sheng Xiao’, which literally means ‘birth likeness’). There are 12 animals, and together, they make up the Chinese zodiac. The...
An Illustration of Lao-Tzu.

Lao Tzu: The Founder of One of the Three Pillars of Traditional Chinese Thought

Lao Tzu is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism, a school of thought that developed in ancient China. Taoism is seen as one of the three main pillars of traditional Chinese thought. The...
Main: Artistic representation of Piers Gerlofs Donia, ‘cca made by rudy faber.’ Inset: Picture of Grutte Pier’s Sword. (1953) Fries museum in Leeuwarden.

Pier Gerlofs Donia: The Giant Frisian Rebel, Warrior, and Pirate

Pier Gerlofs Donia was a Frisian warrior, pirate, and rebel who lived between the 15th and 16th centuries AD. He is more well-known perhaps by his nicknames – Grutte Pier in West Frisian, Grote Pier...
Hellenistic culture in the Indian subcontinent: Greek clothes, amphoras, win,e and music. Detail from Chakhil-i-Ghoundi Stupa, Hadda, Gandhara, 1st century AD.

What Does Alexander the Great Have to Do with Buddhist Imagery?

When Alexander the Great arrived in Pakistan and India two very different civilizations confronted and were influenced by each other. The first anthropomorphic representations of Buddha were...
Painting of an ancient Egyptian woman being served beer.

Provocative Yet Sacred: The Ancient Egyptian Festival of Drunkenness

The Festival of Drunkenness is a religiously significant celebration that was held annually (said to be biannually in some places) by the ancient Egyptians. The background story for the celebration...
Johannes Hevelius, Prodromus Astronomia, volume III, Johannes Hevelius, by Daniel Schultz.

The Magnificent Observatory and Discoveries of Johannes Hevelius

Johannes Hevelius is one of the symbols of Gdansk, Poland. He is also one of the three great intellectuals, along with Fahrenheit and Schopenhauer, who were born in this city. During Hevelius’ life,...
Bloodletting was treatment for infection in the past.

In a world with no antibiotics, how did doctors treat infections?

The development of antibiotics and other antimicrobial therapies is arguably the greatest achievement of modern medicine. However, overuse and misuse of antimicrobial therapy predictably leads to...
The fall of Casto Méndez Núñez in May 2nd, 1866

Born for the Seas and Honor: Examining the Modest Life of the Spanish Navy Officer, Casto Mendez Nunez

The history of Spain is full of great stories about the brave sailors and won sea battles. One of the important players in these tales comes in the form of Casto Mendez Nunez. Casto Mendez Nunez was...
Hans Makart's painting of Charlotte Wolter in Adolf Wilbrandt's tragedy, Arria und Messalina.

Questioning the Dramatic Story of the Empress Messalina, Was She a Cruel Doxy or the Victim of a Smear Campaign?

In Ancient Rome, Valeria Messalina was a symbol of vanity and immorality. For centuries, people identified her as one of the most demoralized women in history, but how much of what we know about...
Goddess Council 4900-4750 BC Neolithic Culture of Cucuteni-Tripolye exposed in Cucuteni Museum of Piatra Neamt

Ancient Ink: How Tattoos Can Reveal Hidden Stories of Past Cultures

The English word tattoo is commonly said to be derived from the Polynesian word tatau or tatu . This Polynesian word means ‘to mark something’. Additionally, this word is an onomatopoeia, and is...
Arde Lucus Gladiatrix

Gladiatrix: Female Fighters Offered Lewd Entertainment in Ancient Rome

Female gladiators (gladiatrix) were just a thing of legend for many years. However, decades of research have made it possible to finally confirm their existence and importance in the Ancient Roman...
Stone ‘mushroom’ formations in Bulgaria.

Mushroom Monuments of Thrace and Ancient Sacred Rites

Throughout northeastern Greece, western Turkey, and Bulgaria, in the region known in antiquity as Macedonia, Anatolia, and Thrace, there are numerous megalithic natural rock formations that resemble...
Astronomer Copernicus, or Conversations with God, by Matejko. In background: Frombork Cathedral.

Trying to Align Forbidden Love, God, and Science: The Secret Relationship of Nicolaus Copernicus and Anna Schilling

Nicolaus Copernicus is one of the most famous astronomers in history. As a man of the Renaissance, his life and work were never focused on just one discipline. However, a secret relationship also led...
‘Leif Eriksson Discovers America’ by Christian Krohg (1893).

Years Before Columbus: Leif Erikson, His Life and His Voyage of Adventure to the New World

Many people still believe that the person who “discovered” America was Christopher Columbus, forgetting the fact that there were already indigenous people living there. An additional fact that is...
Mona Lisa Meets War Machines: Details on the Driven Life and Lesser-Known Talents of Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa Meets War Machines: Details on the Driven Life and Lesser-Known Talents of Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, known more commonly as Leonardo da Vinci, is arguably one of the most well-known figures of the Italian Renaissance. Leonardo’s primary claim to fame is in the field...
A traditional imzad instrument, made by local craftswomen and played only by women.

Reviving the Music of their Foremothers: A Traditional Tuareg Instrument for Women Makes a Comeback

A traditional stringed gourd instrument of the Tuareg people in Africa, played only by women because of the threat of a curse upon men who play it, is making a comeback. Only two women were known to...
Hernán Cortés Monroy, with his coat of arms on the upper left corner. Painting reproduced in the book America, (R. Cronau 19th century).

The Many Burials of Hernan Cortes: Locating the Gravesite of a Conquistador

Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador who was instrumental in the fall of the Aztec Empire. After death, his body was buried in Seville, but later it was re-buried many times, in some cases to...
Carrying chair from the funerary furniture of Queen Hetepheres I. Thought to be a gift from her son, Khufu. Reconstruction of original on display in Cairo, this copy residing in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Queen of Pyramids: The Powerful Hetepheres I and her Magnificent Tomb

Behind the success of the great builders of pyramids, including Snefru and Khufu, stands a woman. She was one the most important women of the Old Kingdom (c. 2686 BC– 2181 BC) and the owner of a...
Pankratiasts fighting.

Pankration: A Deadly Martial Art Form from Ancient Greece

Pankration was one of the most popular combat sports in ancient Greece. It combined two other popular sports of antiquity, wrestling and boxing, but kicking was allowed as well. The name Pankration...
A painting entitled ‘Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718’.

Exposing the Real Treasure of the Infamous Pirate Blackbeard

Edward Teach / Tache / Thatch, better known as Blackbeard, is arguably one of the world’s most notorious pirates. Like most other pirate tales, the story of Blackbeard also involves a treasure that...
The School of Athens, fresco by Raphael (1509–1510), of an idealized Academy.

Caves in Paradise: The Elite School of Aristotle

Thirty kilometers (18.6 miles) from Vergina, a place where the tomb of Philip II is located, there is a city called Naoussa. Naoussa was a place where nymphs were worshiped for centuries, and the...
Re-creation of the port at Eridu, an ancient “Court of the King of the World”.

The Royal Road of the King of the World, and the Ancient Center of the Earth

The Royal Road of the King of the World is a 20-degree band around the Earth that has 30 degrees north latitude as its center. This band is not, technically, the geographical center of the Earth,...

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