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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.

The Thinker in The Gates of Hell at the Musée Rodin.

How Should You Lead Your Life? Greek Philosophers May Have the Answer

It is human nature to wonder how best to live our lives. No doubt you have lost sleep over this notion, perhaps staring at the ceiling contemplating the very nature of your existence and what is the...
Sirkap is the ancient remains that have been recovered after excavation in Taxila

Where Greek Meets Indian: Sirkap, an Ancient City in Pakistan

When Alexander the Great invaded the Far East, his armies were awed by the strange cultures, exotic animals and unknown religions of India. Alexander promoted a fusion of cultures and his successors...
The Mars lies at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, where it sank during a naval battle in 1564. Composite photograph by Tomasz Stachura, Ocean Discovery

New Finds at the Well-Preserved Wreck of the Formidable Warship Mars

Mars, which is also known as Makalös (a Swedish word that may be translated as ‘peerless’ or ‘matchless’), was a 16th century warship. Named after the Roman god of war, Mars was one of the largest...
Ancient Egyptian men undergoing circumcision.

The Cutting Truth about Circumcision: It Was All About Rites and Religion

When was circumcision first practiced? How did it evolve? Why was it practiced? The earliest literary evidence of the practice of circumcision goes back to ancient Egypt. There are many hypotheses...
The Golfers by Charles Lee

Ancient Pedigree of the Open Championship: Golf’s Long History and Hidden Beginnings

The Open Championship may be the oldest tournament in golf, but it is a very recent addition to the sport’s long and colorful history. Golf is a sport with ancient origins that has endured into our...
Statue of Queen Ankhnes-meryre II and Her Son, Pepy II. (Brooklyn Museum) Background: Papyrus with ancient Egyptian writing.

Explorer Rushes Back to Collect Pygmy Prize After Child Pharaoh’s Golden Letter

Harkhuf the Explorer, while traveling through Nubia, received an urgent message from the Pharaoh himself. “Come to the Palace at once!” the king’s letter read. “Drop everything!” This was unusual...
Barter, Bills and Banknotes: The 5,000 Year History of Money

From Barter to Bitcoins: The 5,000 Year History of Money

Money has come a long way in 5,000 years. While people once bartered for the items they desired, today people are buying and trading in cryptocurrencies like the bitcoin. In ancient times, people did...
Silbury Hill on the left, is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe.

The Mythologized Legacy of the North American Mounds

Ancient landscapes the world over were once encrusted with earthen mounds, variously called cairns, tumulus, barrows, burial mounds and kurgans. In England, Silbury Hill near Avebury in the English...
Amiternum funerary procession relief.

Mimes, Paid Grievers, and Masks: The Insane Theatrics of Ancient Roman Funerals

Two thousand years ago, funerals weren’t the quiet, somber affairs we have today. They were loud, boisterous shows that started with a massive procession of people parading down the streets, pounding...
Scilly’s Northern Islands

The Ancient Trackways of Britain’s Ley-Lines Steered Bronze Age Tin Miners

The Great St Michael and St Mary Alignment (or ‘corridor of incidence’) is probably the most famous ley-line in Britain, if not the world. Running for 350-miles across the country in a north-east to...
‘The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra’, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Searching for the Lost Tomb of Antony and Cleopatra

Mark Antony and Cleopatra are among the most famous pairs of lovers from the ancient world. Following their defeat at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, their final refuge from the victorious Octavian...
The Ancient Roots of Doomsday Prophecies

How it Ends: The Ancient Roots of Doomsday Prophecies and End of the World Beliefs

Hollywood’s obsession with the End of Times is not over yet – Armageddon, Deep Impact, Doomsday, Legion, Thor: Ragnarok and 28 Days Later, are just a few of the blockbusters, out of hundreds, that...
Marble theater mask depicting a woman from a popular Roman tragedy Pompeii 1st century AD.

A Failed #MeToo Moment: Just How Horrible Being An Ancient Roman Actress Could Be

When an actress in ancient Rome was brutally gang-raped by a group of young men who’d come to see her show, she started a very public battle for justice. The story of her fight and her failure is...
Medea with her children. The children became the focus of a hero cult in ancient Greece.

Baby, Baby, Baby: Why Did the Ancient Greeks Turn Dead Children into Heroes?

When we use the term “hero” today while discussing Greek mythological figures, it usually designates a man whose superhuman exploits and semi-divine parentage make him a person of legend. But in real...
Miniature depicting Ehud murdering King Eglon by Rudolf von Ems (1350 to 1375)

How Did the Benjamites Manage to Overthrow the Mighty Moabites: Ehud the Deliverer

After forty years had passed after settling in the promised land of Canaan, the Israelites found themselves dealing with an old adversary. Chushan-Rishathaim, the ‘twice-evil Kushite, king of Aram-...
Magnificent columns in the form of Toltec warriors in Tula

Toltecs: Fierce Warriors Who Changed the Face of Mesoamerica for Good

The Toltec culture was a pre-Colombian culture that dominated the area of what is today central Mexico from the 10 th to the 12 th centuries AD. They ruled the region from their capital of Tollan (...

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