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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.

Miwnay’s letter to her husband. (International Danhuang Project) Fresco depicting a Sogdian woman.

Heart Wrenching Letters Reveal the Traumatic Life of Miwnay, A Sogdian Woman in China 1,700 Years Ago

“From her daughter, the free-woman Miwnay, to her dear mother Chatis. I am very anxious to see you.” History rarely remembers the little people. Our history books are full of stories of kings, queens...
Enormous headless Osiride sculptures of Pharaoh Ramesses III stand in the colonnade of the king's Barque Chapel south of the second pylon at Karnak Temple; design by Anand Balaji (Photo credit: Anand Balaji); Deriv.

Ramesses III and the Harem Conspiracy: Kingship Saved as Brutal Coup Backfires Miserably – Part II

Even though Pharaoh Ramesses III had been the master of all that he surveyed – striking awe in the hearts of his enemies and earning admiration among his subjects – the glory days were drawing to a...
Statue of Rollo, Duke of Normandy in Ålesund, Norway. The Clameur de Haro is traditionally believed to have been a plea towards this ruler.

Clameur de Haro: Feudal Law Brings Construction Project To a Standstill

Rosie Henderson, from Guernsey, activated the ancient Norman rite of Clameur de Haro in protest of “the narrowing of a road” which she claims “would endanger pedestrians and motorists,” according to...
The Secret Strategic Plans of Darius the Great

The Secret Strategic Plans of Darius the Great

To the north of the Persian Empire, around both sides of Caucasus Mountain, various Scythian (Palaeo-Slavian / Staroslavianskje) tribes lived. They were nomadic, i.e. not yet permanently settled in...
A man marrying a deceased woman in China

Ghost Marriages: Love For the Living and the Deceased

The tradition of the ghost marriage is one that supposedly stretches back to the first imperial dynasty of China: the Qin Dynasty, dating from the years 221 BC – 206 BC. The most comprehensive early...
Vikings on a ship.

Hastein: A Notoriously Vicious Viking Raider…Not So Good At Navigation

Described as “fierce, mightily cruel, and savage, pestilent, hostile, sombre, truculent, given to outrage, pestilent and untrustworthy, fickle and lawless” by his contemporaries, Hastein was one of...
A Maya lord forbids an individual from touching a container of chocolate

The Ancient History of Chocolate, Gift of the Gods

In today’s society, chocolate is a commonly available food product, and comes in many forms, including blocks, paste and powder. Several centuries ago, however, chocolate was considered a luxury item...
Remains of the Hypostyle Hall in the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu; design by Anand Balaji

Ramesses III and the Harem Conspiracy: Diabolic Plot to Kill the Living Horus Unfolds – Part I

The collapse of the Late Bronze Age world brought chaos to the shores of ancient Egypt. Vibrant trade and tributes from Near Eastern lands had all but ceased after the Sea Peoples decimated those...
Archimedes pouring over his work by Fetti, 1620

Archimedes: An Ancient Greek Genius Ahead of His Time

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, scientist, mechanical engineer and inventor who is considered one of the greatest mathematicians of the ancient world. The father of simple machines, he...
Modern representation of Sargon of Akkad.

Sargon of Akkad: Familiar and Legendary Tales of a Famous Mesopotamian King

Sargon of Akkad was the founder of the Akkadian Empire, the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia. The empire was created through conquest, and Sargon’s rule was not limited to only...
Angel entering heaven

Stairway to Heaven: Ancient Concepts About Heaven and the Afterlife

We recognize heaven as a place to which we will go after our deaths if we have led a good or virtuous life. It is a paradise accessible by earthly beings depending on their standards of faith or...
Jousting demonstration/show/competition at the Renaissance Festival, Holly, Michigan, 2007

From Jousting to Football: The Ideal Man Hasn’t Changed Much Since Medieval Times

Anyone with a moderate interest in history will know that in the later years of his reign, Henry VIII seemed to have an identity crisis. His personality change from a generous and virtuous prince...
Thunderbird Shaman. (Deriv Liz Leafloor)

The Coming of the Thunder People: Denisovan Hybrids, Shamanism and the American Genesis

In 2010 the existence of a previously unknown archaic human population was revealed following the DNA sequencing of a finger bone over 41,000 years old. It was discovered in 2008 in the Denisova Cave...
The Statue of Socrates at the Academy of Athens. Work of Leonidas Drosis (d. 1880). (C messier/CC BY SA 4.0) Background: This NASA image shows Earth from space. The image is a combination of data from two satellites.

Was Socrates in Space? A Question of Ancient Spaceflight

The ancient Greeks are credited with having made many early advancements in science and mathematics which influenced later western civilization. Aristarchus of Samos proposed an essentially...
New Persian dynasty ruler, Ismail declares himself "Shah" by entering Tabriz; his troops in front of Arg of Tabriz, painter Chingiz Mehbaliyev.

The Plurality of the Persian Empire: Part II - Persian Dynasties and a New Breed of Rulers Arise

[Read Part I Here] Following the conquest of Persia by the Arabs, the region lost its significance as the center of an empire, it was now a mere province in the larger Islamic Empire. The decline of...
Illustration of Paleo-Indians hunting a glyptodont by Heinrich Harder (1858-1935)

The Great American Origins Debate: Clovis First vs Pre-Clovis

The standard school curriculum teaches that Native Americans descended from a small band of Paleo-Indian people from north-east Asia who walked across the now-vanished Beringia land-bridge between...

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