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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.

Modern representation of Sargon of Akkad.

Sargon of Akkad: Familiar and Legendary Tales of a Famous Mesopotamian King

Sargon of Akkad was the founder of the Akkadian Empire, the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia. The empire was created through conquest, and Sargon’s rule was not limited to only...
Angel entering heaven

Stairway to Heaven: Ancient Concepts About Heaven and the Afterlife

We recognize heaven as a place to which we will go after our deaths if we have led a good or virtuous life. It is a paradise accessible by earthly beings depending on their standards of faith or...
Jousting demonstration/show/competition at the Renaissance Festival, Holly, Michigan, 2007

From Jousting to Football: The Ideal Man Hasn’t Changed Much Since Medieval Times

Anyone with a moderate interest in history will know that in the later years of his reign, Henry VIII seemed to have an identity crisis. His personality change from a generous and virtuous prince...
Thunderbird Shaman. (Deriv Liz Leafloor)

The Coming of the Thunder People: Denisovan Hybrids, Shamanism and the American Genesis

In 2010 the existence of a previously unknown archaic human population was revealed following the DNA sequencing of a finger bone over 41,000 years old. It was discovered in 2008 in the Denisova Cave...
The Statue of Socrates at the Academy of Athens. Work of Leonidas Drosis (d. 1880). (C messier/CC BY SA 4.0) Background: This NASA image shows Earth from space. The image is a combination of data from two satellites.

Was Socrates in Space? A Question of Ancient Spaceflight

The ancient Greeks are credited with having made many early advancements in science and mathematics which influenced later western civilization. Aristarchus of Samos proposed an essentially...
New Persian dynasty ruler, Ismail declares himself "Shah" by entering Tabriz; his troops in front of Arg of Tabriz, painter Chingiz Mehbaliyev.

The Plurality of the Persian Empire: Part II - Persian Dynasties and a New Breed of Rulers Arise

[Read Part I Here] Following the conquest of Persia by the Arabs, the region lost its significance as the center of an empire, it was now a mere province in the larger Islamic Empire. The decline of...
Illustration of Paleo-Indians hunting a glyptodont by Heinrich Harder (1858-1935)

The Great American Origins Debate: Clovis First vs Pre-Clovis

The standard school curriculum teaches that Native Americans descended from a small band of Paleo-Indian people from north-east Asia who walked across the now-vanished Beringia land-bridge between...
Faravahar, one of the best-known symbols of ancient Iran (Persia). Relief in Persepolis.

The Plurality of the Persian Empire: Part I – The Achaemenids to the Sassanians

The land of Persia (also known as Iran) has been the center of several important empires throughout history. Between the 6th and 4th centuries BC, this was the land from which the mighty Achaemenids...
The August 7, 2018 Ibn Sina Google Doodle.

Who Was Ibn Sina and Why is He a Google Doodle?

A surprising Google Doodle has greeted users of the search engine in the UK. The image celebrates the 1038th birthday of Persian polymath Ibn Sina. For many in the West, this may be the first...
Medieval Knights are viewed as moral do-gooders.

Medieval Chivalry Wasn’t Just Knights and Valor

By Kathleen McGarvey / University of Rochester Our popular ideas of the chivalric world are off base, according to historian Richard Kaeuper. The gallant knights on horseback and banners unfurling...
‘Yorinda and Yoringel’ by John Duncan (1909)

Once Upon A Time: Concepts of Afterlife and Altered Consciousness Concealed in Faerie Folklore

Once upon a Time, they all lived happily ever-after. In the 1891 publication The Science of Fairy Tales , the folklorist Edwin Sidney Hartland devoted three chapters to ponder over ‘The Supernatural...
 "Israel in Egypt" by Edward Poynter, 1867

Pharaoh Ramses’ Anti-Israelite Policy Now Explained

Why were the Jews enslaved in Egypt? New evidence from a French Egyptologist, Alain Zivie, now points to an Egyptian suspect: Pharaoh’s vizier ‘Abdiel, whose Semitic name means ‘a servant of [the god...
‘Sappho and Alcaeus’ (1881) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Sappho: Putting Together Fragments to Gain an Image of the Tenth Muse

By Van Bryan/ Classical Wisdom Besides being born on the island of Lesbos around 630 BC, and this date is often disputed, surprisingly little is known about the life of the beloved poet Sappho. The...
Landscape with Gypsies by András Markó

The Misnomer of Gypsies: The Real History of the Romani People

Colloquially, and rather insultingly, known as 'gypsies', the history and culture of the Romani people is surrounded by stereotypes and misnomers, none more damningly pervasive than Esméralda from...
Ancient Hebrew Swords.

The Pros and Cons of the Armory of the Ancient Israelites

While the Israelites saw Yahweh in the spiritual sense as their divinely armed warrior leading the way, in the physical realm, they were anything but divinely armed. At Sinai, Moses instituted a...
From the royal tombs of Ur, the Standard of Ur mosaic, made of lapis lazuli and shell, shows peacetime.

A Functional and Fertile Crescent: Technological Advancements in the Cradle of Civilization

The Fertile Crescent is the name given to the arc-shaped area of land that stretched across the Middle East from the northern end of the Gulf in the East to the Nile Valley in the West. It was here...

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