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The Ramesseum witnessed high drama during the workers' protest against the third king to bear the name, Ramesses. Pictured here are headless Osiride statues of Ramesses II.

Striking at the Heart of the Pharaoh: Social Injustice and Deception in the Place of Truth – Part I

A couple of years before he celebrated his jubilee, Ramesses III was beset by internal problems. A great king who had combated vicious enemies from all corners and was deified by his subjects for his...
Neanderthal man

In Plain Sight, Our Neanderthal Ancestors

Left brain-right brain, intuitive-intellectual, patriarchy-matriarchy, make love-not war; is there a reason humankind seems so bi-polar? Maybe there is and the answer might be surprising. Of all the...
The Conquest of the Amorites, as in Numbers 21:25, by James Tissot, before 1903.

The Amorites: Bronze Age Invaders Who United an Empire

Sometime during the third millennium BC, a group of nomadic raiders expanded out of their mountainous homelands in Syria and stormed Mesopotamia. They were known as the Martu or Tidnum to the...
Tiresias transformed into a woman by Pietro della Vecchia (1626 – 1678)

Tiresias, Blinded by the Gods and Blessed with Second Sight

According to Greek mythology, Tiresias, the blind prophet of Apollo, was well-known as much for his clairvoyance as for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He was present for seven...
Sunset Ayers Rock Australian Outback Uluru

Ancient Australian Song-lines and the Method of Loci

Indigenous Australian cultures held animistic beliefs and their everyday reality was a living, pulsing matrix of mythological cycles, outdoor rituals and ceremonies. Extending across the ancient...
The richly decorated wooden chair or ‘throne’ of Princess Sitamun that was found in KV46; design by Anand Balaji

Bedazzling Treasures of Yuya and Tjuyu: Stunning Burial on a Par with Royalty – Part II

With their daughter, Tiye, married into the powerful ruling family of Egypt, Yuya and Tjuyu led a charmed life. With strong ties to their hometown Akhmin, Yuya seems to have participated actively in...
Dancing Bes figures on the left outer arm of the Sitamun's chair; and detail of the face mask of one of the coffins of Yuya; design by Anand Balaji

Bedazzling Treasures of Yuya and Tjuyu: K46 and the Golden Road to Nobility – Part I

Queen Tiye stands head and shoulders above all the Great Royal Wives of ancient Egypt. Though it is said that her background was that of a commoner, she rose to prominence mainly due to her...
Looking south across Loch Ness from Urquhart Castle Boleskine House is the white cottage on the hillside. Many locals claim sightings of the Loch Ness Monster increased after Crowley resided here.

The Loch Ness Temple of the Ancient Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage

History is threaded together with texts, scrolls and grimoires which were believed to contain the powerful supernatural rituals required to raise and control demons. A dark ancient text existed which...
Hiroshige Ando, Pilgrimage to the Cave Shrine of Benzaiten, (circa 1850) Sammai-tsuzuki, triptych.

Benzaiten, Japanese War Goddess Transformed into Water Goddess of Music

Benzaiten is one of Japan's most complex and popular syncretic deities who has long ago been conflated and associated with other divinities from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Japanese pantheons. Her many...
The Mongol heavy cavalry in a battle (13th–14th century)

Call in the Cavalry: Famous Cavalries of the Ancient World

‘Call in the Cavalry’ has become a proverb for reverting to damage-control expert assistance when things get out of hand. Yet the quote is embedded in the history of a noble and often elite unit...
Knossos, Crete: View of the North Gate Fresco

Forsaken by their Gods, Four Ruins of the Oldest Temples in the World

On Orkney, the archipelago of the north coast of Scotland, ancient temple sites such as the Ness of Brodgar and Barnhouse Settlement, stone circles like Ring of Brodgar and Standing Stones of Stennes...
Samson and Delilah by Jose Etxenagusia (1887)

The Last Lions of Asia Almost Lost to Mankind

According to legend, about 3160 years ago, in the Levant, there was an enormously strong man, who tore the jaws of an adult male lion with his bare hands. Samson’ name was derived from the word semes...
The seven trumpets of Jericho, by James Tissot.

How a Woman Toppled the Legend of the Walls of Jericho: The Legacy of Kathleen Kenyon

According to the Bible, in the Book of Joshua , the Israelites encountered the city of Jericho as the first Canaanite stronghold they had to conquer in order to settle in their promised new land. In...
Mammoth Cave National Park

Ancient Expressions: The World’s Oldest Works of Prehistoric Art

Creating abstractions of reality, art has been a part of human expression for hundreds of thousands of years. Prehistoric stone and bone sculptures, and cave art are ideas and emotions expressed...
Faience amulet of the head of Bes from the Late Period, 26th to 30th Dynasties. The deity was worshipped and invoked by ordinary Egyptians as a protector against malevolent forces; design by Anand Balaji ( Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Deriv)

Bes, The Protector Deity: Exuberant Harbinger of Health, Happiness and Vitality – Part II

Few gods achieved the fame that the lion-dwarf Bes managed to garner. He was not only a popular god among the elite in ancient Egypt, but in time was worshipped by people of every strata of society...
Detail from the richly decorated wooden chair or ‘throne’ of Sitamun, daughter and later wife of Amenhotep III, which was found in KV46. The image shows richly gilded images of Bes and two Tawaret figures; design by Anand Balaji

Bes, The Protector Deity: His Role and Significance as Defender of the Good – Part I

Few ancient cultures rivaled the Egyptian pantheon of gods and goddesses. Virtually every known creature was represented and venerated as they were believed to possess magical qualities of different...
The Dance of the Muses at Mount Helicon by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1807). Hesiod cites inspiration from the Muses while on Mount Helicon.

Hesiod’s Concerns About Economics and Polis During the Greek Dark Age

The Greek Dark Age fits between the Late Bronze Age Collapse - often alternately referred to as the Mycenaean Civilization Collapse, around 1200 BC - and the Greek Archaic Period, around 800 BC. The...
Hermitage Castle bei Carlisle, Südschottland.

Halloween Haunting: The Hideous History of the Hermitage Castle

It is Halloween and what better than a story about a sinister Scottish castle, its ghosts, its legends, and its blood-soaked history? Not referring to Glamis Castle with its notorious secret chamber...
Gawain represented the perfect knight, as a fighter, a lover, and a religious devotee. (The Vigil by John Pettie, 1884)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Landscapes, Symbols and Metaphysics in 14th Century England

‘The paths he would take were strange, With little cheer to glean, And his hopes would often change Till that chapel could be seen.’ Sir Gawain and Green Knight is a late 14th-century poem, set in an...
Tlingit Indian by Cenk Unver (Fotolia) and Alaskan background (Fotolia)

The Supernatural Traditions of the Alaskan Shaman

When the word ‘shaman’ is mentioned, it is common for one to visualize semi-naked cat-skin clad witchdoctors, wheeling around fires in mild southern climates. Less often does one picture holy men...
We can understand the progression of decoration in an ancient Egyptian tomb by analyzing the images present in KV57, the tomb of King Horemheb - the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty - in the Valley of the Kings.

Scribes in Egypt: Brilliant Practitioners of the Outstanding Profession – Part II

Scribes were counted among the elite in ancient Egypt and led charmed, yet challenging, lives. They influenced virtually every sphere of the public and private affairs of the citizenry to an...
On the Southern Part of the East Wall of Horemheb’s Saqqaran tomb, military scribes, magnificently represented, scrupulously record the details of long files of prisoners escorted by Egyptian soldiers (not in pic). This depiction is often speculated to represent women scribes.

Scribes in Ancient Egypt: Custodians of the Voice and Words of the Divine – Part I

The rich scribal tradition of ancient Egypt was one of the foremost pillars of the development of that culture. At a time when much of the world could not read or write; these resourceful and erudite...
Fry in Eleusis, painting by Henryk Siemiradzki (1889).

Baubo, Great Goddess and Demeter’s Female Fool in the Eleusinian Mysteries

In 1898, a group of German archaeologists working in the Demeter sanctuary at Priene unearthed a peculiar set of Hellenistic female figurines. The head of each of these figurines sits directly on her...
Halloween Haunted House

Hunting the Haunted: Ghosts, Ghouls and Geists of South Africa

In Quantum Physics, the First Law of Thermodynamics - The Law of Conservation - states says that: “Energy is never created, energy is never destroyed, energy can only ever be transferred or...

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