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Several of the ancient pigments were deadly. Photo source: Ezume Images / Adobe Stock.

Poisonous Pigments: History’s Deadliest Colors

Throughout history, ancient civilizations have been using all kinds of ingenious ways to create pigments for the coloring of clothing, objects and even buildings. While some of the pigments were...
The Grauballe Man is a bog body that was uncovered in 1952 from a peat bog near the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark.

What Killed Grauballe Man? Explaining the Puzzle of the Iron Age Bog Body

Grauballe Man is the name given to a bog body that was discovered in Denmark during the 20 th century. Initially, it was thought that the bog body belonged to a local peat cutter who mysteriously...
Ancient assassin at the sea.

10 Killer Tactics From the Secret World of Ancient Assassins

The game series Assassin’s Creed is a wildly successful franchise following a secret order of assassins who have existed for thousands of years. The games are known for their historical accuracy and...
Spikes embedded in the main door of Shaniwarwada was meant to deter the use of elephants by the enemy to ram the gates.

Ancient Trap Ideas to Protect Your Tomb or Catch Your Lunch

Take any good work of fiction with ancient ruins and the odds are it is booby trapped; whether its Dr. Jones running from a large boulder, Lara Croft leaping over a collapsing bridge floor or Fred in...
One of the elements of Magic of the Unicorn horn was its supposed ability to purify water.

Legends of the Unicorn Horn: Cures, Antidotes and Medicinal Magic

Legends, myths and folkloric systems across the western world record legendary horned creatures which have become known to us collectively as unicorns. In heraldry, the unicorn is the symbol of my...
Curare darts and quiver.

Ancient Amazonian Poison Vanishes Unsettling Dutch Police

Dutch police in the town of Leiden are on a manhunt for archaeological thieves who audaciously broke into an outbuilding of the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave. Looking for cash they raided the museum safe and...
Henry Wallis – Poet Thomas Chatterton’s death by arsenic.

Death by Wallpaper: When Arsenic in the Walls Was Killing Children

Wallpaper isn’t as popular as it once was, and perhaps the reason for this falling out of fashion was its ability to kill! In 1778, a Swedish Chemist named Carl Scheele created a brilliant green...
One of the poisonous books. SDU, Author provided

Deadly Poison Discovered on Medieval Book Covers Could Have Killed

Some may remember the deadly book of Aristotle that plays a vital part in the plot of Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel The Name of the Rose . Poisoned by a mad Benedictine monk, the book wreaks havoc in a...
Scythians shooting with the Scythian bow, Kerch (ancient Panticapeum), Crimea, 4th century BC.

Pick Your Poison: The AK-47 of the Ancient Near East

The Scythian bow was the AK-47 of the Ancient Near East and the weapon of choice to dominate the battlefield. Even though the bow was uniquely designed to deliver the utmost damage, the arrow itself...
Was Wang Mang a visionary, or a murderous villain – or both? (Wang Mang art italkcafe.com, The Analects of Confucius; Deriv)

The Emperor is Dead, Let Confucianism and Chaos Reign! The Rise and Fall of Wang Mang and the Xin Dynasty

Some saw Wang Mang as an evil usurper – others a selfless visionary. Either way, an emperor lay dead, and a learned Confucian scholar sought to bring peace and harmony, but the dynasty would descend...
A bottle of an elixir.

Seeking Life but Finding Death: Deadly Chinese Elixirs of Immortality

The elixir of immortality (known also as the ‘elixir of life’) is a legendary substance found in many ancient cultures. This elixir is expected to grant eternal life to the person who consumes it...
A Frog underwater with a crown.

An Ambiguous Amphibian: The Everchanging Frog Symbol in World Myth

Frogs and toads played a wide variety of roles in ancient cultures. Although there are some differences, they generally represented female creation energy. Frogs appear in ancient stories, myths,...
Roman fresco with banquet scene from the Casa dei Casti Amanti

Savoring the Danger: ‘Sugar of Lead’ Was Used to Flavor Roman Food and Wine with Toxic Consequences

How far did ancient people go to enhance the flavor of their food and drinks? Would they consume toxic substances if it made things a little more appetizing? The Romans did, by adding a sweet version...
Detail of ‘Man eating noodles’ (1656) by Jan Vermeer van Utrecht.

A Deadly Bite: The Plight of the Ancient Food Taster

Poison was a potent weapon that could be used by would-be assassins to get rid of their targets. This was especially useful when the target was a person in power and was surrounded by bodyguards. One...
The Great Horned Serpent was powerful and magical in Native American mythology.

Drowning, Poisoning, and the Dark Underworld. Meet the King of all Snakes, the wise Great Horned Serpent in Native American Cosmology

Since longer than history can recall, the western mind has been locked in a pattern of dualistic thinking. In the course of our experiences, the world is defined by a series of opposites, which...
Some Saxon Queens had killer reputations. (Public Domain);Deriv.

The Wicked Queen and Her Scandalous Daughter: How Murder & Mayhem Took a Saxon Princess from Palace to Poverty

While we might be gripped by the intrigues, the machinations, and the violence of the Lannisters and the Starks in the Game of Thrones television series and the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels...

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