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Frédégonde armant les meurtriers de Sigebert (Fredegund and the assassins of Sigebert) by Emmanuel Herman Joseph Wallet

The Violent Life of Fredegund: Was She a Queen, a Murderess or a Woman Intent on Survival?

Fredegund (545 - 597 CE), the queen consort of Chilperic I - the Merovingian Frankish king of Soissons, has a reputation of being one of the most bloodthirsty and sadistic women in history. Accounts...
The Fall of Man depicted in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo

Sons of Cain, Builders of Empires. Paradise Lost Gives Rise to the Birth of City-States. – Part II

After brutally slaying his brother Abel, Cain had to flee Eden and settled in the land of Nod. He laid the foundations of the city Enoch, so named after his firstborn son, Enoch. Cain craved the...
Expulsion from Paradise, painting by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

Cursed Cain, the Master Architect. Paradise Lost Gives Rise to the Birth of City-States – Part I

Mankind has always endeavored to revive the paradise lost to Adam and Eve and in so doing managed to originate the concept of city-states. What is considered a State? According to the Concise Oxford...
Joshua’s armies depart a burning and looted Ai.

Military Blunder and the Death of a King: Joshua’s Debacle at Ai – Part II

The battle of Ai is probably one of history’s most overlooked battles in which military trainees or cadets can learn valuable lessons. Joshua—new leader of the tribes of Israel, great military leader...
Joshua’s armies use horns of war in siege against Jericho.

Sounding the Horns of Doom at the Battle of Jericho – Part I

Joshua was a great military leader and a controversial figure in the Bible. With Moses’ death at Mount Nebo, Joshua was elected the new leader of the tribes of Israel. Under Joshua’s leadership, the...
Illustration of Mahabharata (Public domain)

The Legend of Shikhandi, the Transgendered Warrior Who Paid the Price of Opposing Powerful Men

Chauvinism existed even in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The ancient text depicts the legendary eighteen-day bloodbath, dubbed the Kurukshetra War, where the hero/heroine’s greatest feat was not...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji. (Image credit: Julian Tuffs);Deriv.

Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Accession of Neferneferuaten and Tutankhamun’s Death–Part II

With only an Amarna wine jar label from Regnal Year 17 – purported to be the last dated inscription from his reign – that makes no mention of Akhenaten by name, and the generous 59 years’ rule...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji.

Amarna Era Chronological Conundrum: Dating Akhenaten’s Death and the Length of Horemheb’s Reign–Part I

When the Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I drew up the famed King List at his mortuary temple in the holy city of Abydos, he was confident that he had struck the final nail in the coffin of...
The Pleiades

From the Ancient Greek Pleiades to the Hindu Matrikas: Mother Goddesses, Music and the Sacred Number 7

In Brihat-Samhita , Indian astronomer Varahamihira (505–587 CE) says that "Mothers are to be made with cognizance of gods corresponding to their names” leading to the birth of Matrikas (“Divine...
Stained Glass of King Harald (Colin Smith/CC BY-SA 2.0) and Battle of Stamford Bridge by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Clever King Harald: Swift Doom Targets the Viking Who Wants the English Throne – Part II

Harald Hardrada of Norway used cunning and surprising tactics to bring down foes. Although he was wounded in the face during one of his campaigns, he continued to see victory after victory. [Read...
Window with a portrait of Harald in Lerwick Town Hall, Shetland

A Military Life for Clever King Harald: Serving the Empire and Stopping the Pirates – Part I

In 1015, Harald Sigurdsson was born. He was the youngest of three sons born to Sigurd Syr, who ruled over a petty kingdom in Ringerike, located in the region of Buskerud. Harald’s upbringing is not...
Rice goddesses are found across cultures

Rice Goddesses - Earth Mothers who Influenced Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld

For centuries, rice has been a staple diet and plays an important role in Asian culture. Although rice farmers have found their lives becoming more difficult due to climate change, Bloomberg states...
Ramesses III smites his enemies. Design by Anand Balaji.

Ramesses III, The Final Warrior Pharaoh: Devastating Sea Peoples and Egypt’s Finest Hour—Part II

The vile and vicious juggernaut of the Sea Peoples had laid waste to several cultures and had dispersed vast populations in their wake. When they were done pillaging and ravaging Levantine empires,...
A painted relief shows Ramesses III making offerings to the gods in the sanctuary of the temple of Khonsu at Karnak. Design by Anand Balaji.

Ramesses III, The Final Warrior Pharaoh: Savior of Egypt in Her Darkest Hour—Part I

The reign of Ramesses III proved to be unprecedented in more ways than one. While most of his predecessors often had to thwart the designs of Egypt’s enemies one at a time, he had to quell invasion...
Fire and Water Hands

The Relationship that Started it All and Changed the World: The Yin Yang & Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate

Chinese mythology and cosmology rest on the concept that the universe is shaped and maintained by two fundamental forces called yin and yang. They are opposite yet complementary forces that interact...
Skeletal remains and recreation of a prehistoric timber circle

Burned Bones, Mysterious Timber Circles & the Rites of the Ancients - Adena Culture in Mason County

Mason County, West Virginia is a place rich in history. Founded in 1804, the county is named after George Mason, who was a delegate at the American Constitutional Convention of 1787. In October of...
Some Saxon Queens had killer reputations. (Public Domain);Deriv.

Killer Queen: Meet Queen Elfrida – The Original Wicked Stepmother

History has seen some incredible, cut-throat politics and lurid scandals, including the reign of Queen Elgiva: a teenage Saxon princess who was caught enjoying a threesome (along with her mother!),...
Ancient Egyptian painted relief showing foot and toes. Design by Anand Balaji.

Game of Toes in Amarna: Missing Body Parts and Funerary Practices of King and Commoner

Pharaoh Akhenaten was the subject of great controversy when he lived; and this did not cease after he died. If anything, his memory has both troubled and impressed people down to this day. Be it his...
Recreated Viking helmet and weapon

Burning, Pillaging, and Carving up the Lands: Viking Raids into England - Part II

Vikings in history and popular culture are known as strong and dangerous, bloodthirsty killers, raiders, pillagers – pirates of land and sea. But who were the Vikings, and what were the causes of...
The Burning Galley

“Never Before Has Such a Terror Appeared”: Viking Raids into Ireland – Part I

Vikings struck terror into the hearts of many in Europeans—and their reputation still lingers today when you ask a person to describe them. The answers given are that they were violent, hairy brutes...
India, Rajasthan, 13th-14th century (Public Domain) and A 12th-century sandstone statue of a dancing Apsara from Uttar Pradesh, India.

What Really Happened in the Celestial Palace? Daughters of Pleasure, Courtesans of the Gods

It takes much willpower to resist the temptation of the asparas ; beautiful dancing women in the court of Indra, king of the gods, in the celestial palace in Hindu mythology. They are the heavenly...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Solar Disc Thrust into Eternal Darkness–Part II

At first glance it appears as though Pharaoh Akhenaten is someone whom one would describe as a textbook monotheist, but are we missing the plot? Apart from Amun (and later, Osiris) the king doesn’t...
A bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Decay of a Dream and the Final Curtain Call–Part I

Pharaoh Akhenaten has been revered and reviled in equal measure for unleashing his religious policy of one god, the Aten sun disc. But, was the king a monotheist in letter and spirit – one who...
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...

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