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Content written by Riley Winters

Riley Winters's pictureRiley Winters is a recent graduate from Christopher Newport University with a degree in Classical Studies and Art History, and a Medieval and Renaissance Studies minor.  She will be attending the University of Glasgow in 2015 for Celtic and Viking Archaeology, and has aspirations to begin her Ph.D. in Classical art and archaeology the following year. Read More...

The famous Lions Gate into the hill fortress where Mycenaean armies originated.

The Fall of a Civilization: The Mysterious Collapse of the Mycenaean Bronze Age

"In most cases, collapse results from multiple, 'cascading' stress factors—politico-economic, demographic, and sociocultural as well as environmental…relational aspects, arguing that factors such as...
Modern Representation of a Varangian Guard.

Varangian Guard: Bodyguards and Berserkers of the Byzantine Empire

Read Part 1 The tale of the Varangians continues in its prime in the form of the Varangian Guard, a prominent and selective Byzantine army arising in the 10th century. Composed of the Scandinavian...
Painting 'Young Gypsies.' Family is key in the Romani people’s culture.

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

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...
The legendary Kobolds

Don’t Cross the Kobolds: Mischievous Spirits of European Folklore

In ancient folklore, the kobold is a small, pointy-eared, goblin-like creature with a short-temper and a mischievous spirit. While generally described as well-intentioned, angering a kobold is said...
Beowulf fighting Grendel’s Mother beside Grendel’s body.

Of Monsters and Men: What Is the Grim Being Known as Grendel from the Epic Beowulf?

Nowadays, monsters hide under your bed. They come out of the closet or dangle from your ceiling. Children usually picture such monsters with fangs or scales, glowing eyes, and claws. With the right...
Ivar the Boneless

Ivar the Boneless: Viking Warrior, Ruler and Raider

One would expect "boneless" to describe a man without a lick of bravery. Or perhaps a man without a shred of compassion in a heart of ice. Yet in the case of the infamous Ivar the Boneless, son of...
Midir and Etain flying up out of Eochaid's hall

The Wooing of Etain: An Irish Tale of Love, Loss, and Jealousy

Étaín is a character from Irish mythology with an extraordinary life story. Her immense physical and spiritual beauty enthralled a member of the fairy folk and made her the heroine of the tale ‘The...
Fenrir wolf

Fenrir: The Monstrous Wolf of Norse Legend

One of the three children of Loki by a giantess (jötunn ) named Angrboða, Fenrir plays an imperative, though short, role in Norse mythology. A wolf of remarkable size and strength, Fenrir has one...
Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga: The Wicked Witch of Slavic Folklore

As ambiguous as she is hideous, Baba Yaga is an anomaly – both a maternal, mother-nature figure and an evil villain who enjoys eating those who fail to complete her tasks. Though the origins of her...
Manannán mac Lir sculpture by John Sutton at Gortmore, Magilligan, County Londonderry (2014).

Manannan Mac Lir: God of the Sea and Guardian of the Afterlife

Manannan mac Lir is likely the most prominent sea deity of Irish mythology and literature. With his sea-borne chariot, affiliation with horses and cloak of invisibility, he guards the otherworld and...
Illustration of a Celtic warrior woman by RottenRagamuffin

The Woman Behind the Man: Celtic Warrior Scathach, Teacher of Warriors

Scáthach, meaning “The Shadowy One” in Gaelic, was a mythical Celtic warrior and martial arts trainer. Her school of warriors turned out some of the top Celtic heroes. Her most famous student was Cú...
Hypatia

Living in a Man's World: The Untimely & Brutal Death of Hypatia

Hypatia was a philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer who lived in a man’s world in 4th century Alexandria. Times were turbulent and the brutal and sudden end to Hypatia’s life shows just how...
Romulus' Victory Over Acron’ (1812) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Romulus was the first Roman king.

The Seven Kings of Rome: Tumultuous Origins of the Roman Republic

In the beginning, there was only dirt and mud and twigs. Then came the legendary hero Aeneas, and from him descended the sons of Rhea Silva and Mars, the god of war. These sons were Romulus and Remus...
John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I.

John Dee: Scholar, Astrologer, and Occult Practitioner that Captivated the Royal Court of 16th Century England

Born into the era of intellectual and artistic reawakening, John Dee quickly rose through Elizabethan society as a scholar, philosopher, navigator, doctor, and astrologer of the Queen of England...
Mazu: Legendary Guardian

Mazu: Legendary Guardian of the Chinese Seas and Social Media Marvel

Princess of Supernatural Favor, Empress of Heaven, Goddess of the South China Sea - these are just a few of the illustrious titles given to the Chinese goddess Mazu (Mat-su) since her incursion into...
Romeo and Juliet by Ford Madox Brown, 1870

Romeo and Juliet: Not a Shakespearean Tale After All

William Shakespeare's world renowned Romeo and Juliet (written sometime between 1591 and 1595) stands in the historical record as one of the greatest love stories ever written. It has been retold...

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