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Xerxes

Xerxes The Great: The Powerful Persian King Whose Death Destroyed an Empire

Xerxes I, also known as Xerxes the Great, was a 5th century Achaemenid king of the Persian empire. He is best known for leading the massive invasion of Greece, marked by the battles of Thermopylae,...
The epic force that was Genghis Khan.

Genghis Khan: What Transformed Temujin Borjigin into an Unstoppable Force Bent on World Domination?

Genghis Khan was one of the most famous conquerors in the world history. He was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Although his beginnings were obscure and seemingly insignificant...
The rulers of the Oryx Nome created some elaborate tombs for themselves in Beni Hasan.

Plenty of Wiggle Tomb: The Intriguing Monuments of the Middle Kingdom Rulers of the Oryx Nome

Even in periods we might not think of as being glamorous, ancient Egyptians still knew how to be stylish. Take Khnumhoteps I and II, nomarchs (governors/administrators) of the Oryx nome (province)...
Concept Art for Shaka of the Zulu

Shaka Zulu: The Story of a Ruthless Ruler

The Zulu monarch Shaka was a contemporary of the French emperor Napoleon, and has even been dubbed the ‘African Napoleon’ by some. However, apart from their reputation as great military leaders,...
Daniel del Valle, Moctezuma II Museo Nacional De Arte

Moctezuma II, The Emperor who Lost an Empire

Moctezuma II was the 9 th ruler of the Aztec Empire, whose unfortunate reign coincided with the arrival of the Spanish under the conquistador Hernan Cortez (Hernán Cortés). Moctezuma is remembered...
Daniel del Valle, Moctezuma II Museo Nacional De Arte

Moctezuma II, The Emperor who Lost an Empire

Moctezuma II was the 9 th ruler of the Aztec Empire, whose unfortunate reign coincided with the arrival of the Spanish under the conquistador Hernan Cortez (Hernán Cortés). Moctezuma is remembered...
Representation of Cuauhtémoc, the last tlatoani

Aztec Leaders: Rulers, Supreme Ruler and the Voice of the People

A tlatoani sat at the top of the Aztec city-state hierarchical structure. He was the ruler or king of his people and was thought to speak for them. Whilst each Aztec city-state had its own tlatoani,...
Detail of a painting representing Krishnadevaraya.

Krishnadevaraya: The Kingly Diplomat, Patron of the Arts and a Military Force

Krishnadevaraya ruled ancient India’s Vijayanagara Empire for only about two decades, however his power, skills, and personality were made known in that short amount of time and so it seemed much...
Liu Xiu, Emperor Guangwu of Han, Liu Heng, Emperor Wen of Han, or Cao Pi, King of Wei. (Public Domain) Background: Dahuting tomb banquet scene, mural detail, Eastern Han Dynasty. (Public Domain)

Part II: The End Comes Slowly - The Last Han Dynasty Emperors

Read Part I Here Wang Mang’s usurpation of the throne and the establishment of the Xin Dynasty brought the Han Dynasty to a temporary end. Displeasure with the Xin Dynasty, however, caused rebellions...
A portrait painting of Emperor Gao of Han (Liu Bang), from an 18th-century Qing Dynasty album of Chinese emperors' portraits. (Public Domain) Background: A tomb painting of a late Eastern-Han period lively banquet.

A Golden Age of China, Part I: Early Han Dynasty Emperors

The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty in Chinese history. This dynasty was a long one – it was established during the 3rd century BC and lasted all the way until the 3rd century AD. It was...
Detail of Stela 1, Fragment 1, front. La Corona, Guatemala.

Maya Snake King Dynasty Used Local Gods to Gain Authority in Rural Guatemala

Taking political control is often a violent affair, but tactics, knowledge of local customs and beliefs, and trickery can also be used to get an ambitious leader’s foot in the door. New research on...
 The broken top and bottom sections of the Assyrian stele.

British Museum Decided Against Uniting a Cursed Assyrian Stele and Bad Luck Fell to the Police

“Whoever discards this image from the presence of Salmanu puts it into another place, whether he throws it into water or covers it with earth or brings and places it into a taboo house where it is...
Aztec Avenue of the Dead stretches out before pyramids and shops of Mexico.

Did Spanish Spin Doctors Change the Name of Teotihuacan to Sabotage the City?

The famous archaeological site of Teotihuacan may have served a different purpose for the Aztecs to what Spanish chroniclers claimed. A possibly deliberate change of the city’s name suggests that it...
Bust of Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC – ca. 1330 BC), the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Lady of Interest: Nefertiti Was no Pharaoh, Says Renowned Egyptologist

The bust of Nefertiti is one of the most iconic artifacts from ancient Egypt and the lady herself probably ranks second only to Cleopatra among the most famous queens of the Nile. As such she is...
Illustrations to Dante's "Divine Comedy" - "Minos" by William Blake.

In Search of the Mythical King Minos, Did the Legendary Ruler Really Exist?

When we think of Minos, two images immediately come to mind: (1) the legendary and cruel tyrant of Crete who demanded the tribute of Athenian youths to feed to the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and (2) a...
Liao Dynasty (907-1125) tomb mural by unknown painter in Inner Mongolia. Scene of everyday life. Men and boys have distinctive Khitan hairstyle. (Public Domain) Insert: A famous Liao Dynasty Sancai Luohan, Circa 1000

An Intriguing Empire: The Lasting Impression of the Nomadic Liao Dynasty on Chinese Culture

Well-represented in artifacts found in museums and private collections, the Liao Dynasty rose and expanded as the Tang Dynasty dwindled in power. This was the first state to control all of Manchuria...

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