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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.

Henry IV and Joan of Navarre, detail of their effigies in Canterbury Cathedral. Source: Nilfanion/CC BY-SA 4.0

Henry IV: Crown, Conflict, Consequence

Henry IV of England, reigning from 1399 to 1413, stands as a figure of intrigue amidst the tumultuous tapestry of English history. His ascent to the throne, shrouded in political machinations and...
King Henry and Anne Boleyn Deer shooting in Windsor Forest by William Powell Frith, 1903. Source: Public Domain

Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII: Tudor Love's Turbulent Tale (Video)

The relationship between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII was a rollercoaster ride of scandal, ambition, and tragedy that kept the Tudor court on its toes. From the moment Henry laid eyes on Anne, despite...
Left; The excavation site at Somma Vesuviana. Credit: Right; Augustus Caesar of Prima Porta statue. 	Source: Left; University of Tokyo Foundation.  Right; Vatican Museums/CC BY-SA 4.0

Villa Where Augustus Died May Have Been Excavated Near Mount Vesuvius

Archaeologists from the University of Tokyo has excavated what may be the remains of the Villa of Augustus, a first-century grand estate that was built near Somma Vesuviana, a town located in the...
Painting by Francisco Goya depicting an auto de fé, an act of public penance carried out between the 15th and 19th centuries of condemned heretics and apostates imposed by the Inquisition, based on first-hand accounts. Source: Public Domain

Dark Deeds and Divine Justice: Life of a Spanish Inquisitor (Video)

Over a span of more than three centuries, the Spanish Inquisition wielded power with an iron fist, enforcing Catholic orthodoxy and rooting out heresy with ruthless efficiency. The daily routine of a...
AI portrait of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh king. Source: Andrea Raffin/Adobe Stock

Why Did Egyptian Pharaohs Have Five Names?

Ancient Egyptian pharaohs were not merely rulers; they were considered divine beings, the living embodiments of gods on Earth. Their names were imbued with profound significance, reflecting their...
Painting by Englishman John White of Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1590 Expedition to Roanoke Island to find the Lost Colony, where they found “Croatoan” carved on a tree. This may refer to either Croatoan Island or the Croatoan people. Source: Public Domain

The Mystery of Roanoke Colony’s Disappearance (Video)

The Roanoke Colony's mysterious disappearance, led by John White, stands as a profound enigma in the annals of early American history. Embarking on multiple expeditions to the New World, White and...
Left; Carved pendant plaque of a human head from the burial. Right; Jade Mask in fragments. Source: C. Halperin/Antiquity

Ritual Burning of Royal Remains Marked Maya Regime Change

Researchers in Guatemala have unearthed fascinating evidence of a dramatic ritual burning of royal remains, pointing to a significant political shift in the ancient Maya city of Ucanal. This find not...
The Age of Discovery, a time when Portuguese explorers journeyed across the world. Source: oleskalashnik/Adobe Stock

Portuguese Empire and the Age of Exploration (Video)

During the Age of Exploration , Portugal's strategic location and maritime expertise propelled it to the forefront of global exploration and trade. With its extensive coastline and rich fishing...
Nanzhao Tahu Temple, Weibaoshan Mountain, Dali, Yunnan, China. Source: hu/Adobe Stock

Nanzhao: A Lost Kingdom in Southern China (Video)

Nanzhao , situated in the rugged terrain of southern China, flourished as a formidable kingdom between the 8th and 10th centuries. Unified from disparate tribes, it repelled Chinese invasions and...
Samurai in Medieval Japan. Source: Public Domain

Samurais, Shoguns, Etas and the Social Pyramid of Medieval Japan (Video)

The structure of medieval Japan was characterized by a complex social hierarchy that shaped the lives and interactions of its people. Rooted in centuries-old traditions and influenced by...
Image of a woman from a pre-Roman tribe, possibly the Dobunni of ancient Britain. Source: Stanislav/Adobe Stock

Dobunni Tribe Thrived as Peaceful Ancient Farmers of the Cotswolds

The ancient Dobunni tribe holds a significant place in the Celtic era of British history, and its legacy is etched deeply into the fabric of pre-Roman Britain. Hailing from the area now known as...
Saladin and Guy de Lusignan after battle of Hattin in 1187. Source: Public Domain

Saladin - Conqueror of the Kingdom of Heaven (Video)

Saladin , known as the "Conqueror of the Kingdom of Heaven," emerges from history as a figure of profound complexity and greatness. Born in 1137 in modern-day Iraq, he navigated the tumultuous...
Representative image of Egyptian blue pigment. Source: Pattadis / Adobe Stock

Tracing the Legacy of Egyptian Blue: From Ancient Artifacts to Modern Insights

Egyptian blue, known in the scientific community as calcium copper silicate, has come to be recognized as a pioneering feat of human creativity. With origins speculated to precede 3000 BC, Egyptian...
Sex scene in ancient fresco in Pompeii in the Casa delle Lupanare. Source: BlackMac/Adobe Stock

Roman Brothels, the Controversial Ancient Societal Hubs

Ancient Rome had a very vibrant and complex society, where prostitution played a major role. It was legal, licensed, and very common. In fact, brothels occupied a unique and controversial position in...
Portrait of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Magnificent. Source: Public domain

Lorenzo de' Medici: the ‘Magnificent’ Patron of the Renaissance

Lorenzo de' Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, stands as one of the most prominent figures in the history of Florence and the Italian Renaissance, and the foremost member of the powerful...
The excavation site on Jiigurru where the discovery of ancient pottery has rewritten the history of Australia. Source: Science Direct / Ian J. McNiven.

New Barrier Reef Find Proves Australians Didn’t Learn Pottery from Europe

A new discovery off the northwestern coast of Australia has rewritten the history books. Up until now the academic consensus was that pottery was introduced to Australia by Europeans. This has now...
Picture of St. Hildegard near Bingen at Rhine River. Source: Philipp/Adobe Stock

Exploring the Masters: 10 Influential Medieval Artists You Should Know

The Medieval period, spanning roughly from the 5th to the 15th centuries AD, was a time of profound artistic expression that laid the groundwork for the Renaissance to follow. Despite the challenges...
The extinct Patagonian fox was found far further north than its known habitat, and analysis of its diet suggests it was domesticated. Source: Mario Llorca / Adobe Stock.

Man’s Other Best Friend: Did Patagonian Hunters Domesticate an Extinct Fox?

Was Man’s Best Friend a fox? For hunter gatherers in Patagonia 1,500 years ago, that may well turn out to be true. A team of archaeologists excavating the intriguing Cañada Seca site in Argentina...
Witchcraft: a white-faced witch meeting a black-faced witch with a great beast. Woodcut, 1720.  Source: Public Domain

Why So Few Witches Were Executed in Wales in the Middle Ages

By Mari Ellis Dunning /The Conversation The fear of witchcraft led to centuries of persecution and executions across Europe. While there were an estimated 500 executions in England, and between 3,000...
AI image of the withered hand of a man with a deadly disease. Source: Alexander/Adobe Stock

All The Diseases You Might Have If You Lived in A Medieval City (Video)

Living in medieval cities exposed residents to a myriad of afflictions stemming from unsanitary conditions and limited medical knowledge. Leprosy , caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria, was a...
(Left) Photo shows an Egyptian painted wood mummy portrait of a woman from the Roman period, circa 2nd or 3rd century AD. (Right) Cinnabar was widely used as a decorative pigment as well as a toxic cosmetic. A Chinese "cinnabar red" carved lacquer box from the Qing dynasty. Source: Public Domain, Andrew Lih / CC BY SA 2.0

Seven Unusual Beauty Treatments That Ancient Women Used (Video)

In the pursuit of beauty, ancient women employed unconventional methods, challenging modern notions of glamour. Foot binding , prevalent in 10th-century China, exemplifies the extremes sought for...
The tomb containing the three skeletons, two of which are thought to be victims of Neolithic ritual sacrifice was built in the style of a silo, or pit for storing grain, within a small wooden structure and surrounded by a trench.         Source: Ludes et al/ Science Advances

Investigation of Tomb Burial Reveals Sick Neolithic Ritual Sacrifices

Recent research has unearthed chilling evidence of ritual sacrifices in Neolithic Europe, a practice that involved the gruesome method of "incaprettamento" - tying victims' necks to their bent legs,...
Indigenous victims (likely smallpox), Florentine Codex (compiled 1540–1585) Source: Public Domain

The Mysterious Disease That Wiped Out the Aztecs (Video)

The Aztecs , a once-flourishing civilization in central Mexico, faced a devastating onslaught in the mid-16th century. While initially attributed to European diseases like smallpox, recent DNA...
Cropped image of the sculpture of Agrippina crowning her young son Nero.	Source: Carlos Delgado/CC BY-SA 3.0

Agrippina the Younger and Her Influence on Nero (Video)

Agrippina the Younger wielded significant influence over her son Nero's rise to power. Initially content with a life of artistry, Nero's path shifted under his mother's ambition. Agrippina's...

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