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Cecilia Bogaard

Cecilia Bogaard is one of the editors, researchers and writers on Ancient Origins. With an MA in Social Anthropology, and degree in Visual Communication (Photography), Cecilia has a passion for research, content creation and editing, especially as related to the ability for art to provoke social change, and the dynamics of power in public space throughout history. This has taken her around the world to far-flung places such as Cuba, Spain, Scotland, India, the United States and now southern Ecuador, where she lives with her family.

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Millions of postcards made a mockery of Leap Day traditions which gave women the opportunity to propose to men once every four years on the 29th February. Source: Public domain

Women Have Proposed Marriage to Men on Leap Day for Hundreds of Years

Welcome to February 29th, the Leap day that comes around but once every four years! In the age of viral marriage proposals, the persistence of outdated traditions whereby men inevitably go down on...
The secret staircase at la Casa del Rey Moro in Ronda. Source: Ingo Bartussek / Adobe Stock

‘Moorish King's House’ Had a Secret Staircase to Survive Sieges

Nestled within the rugged landscape of Ronda, Spain, lies a hidden gem of ancient ingenuity: La Casa del Rey Moro, or the House of the Moorish King. While this historic site is renowned for its...
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson has been remembered as one of the greatest naval commanders in British history. Painting by Arthur William Devis. Source: Public domain

Admiral Nelson's Defiance Inspired the Saying “To Turn a Blind Eye”

The expression “turning a blind eye” denotes the deliberate choice to ignore or overlook something, especially wrongdoing or undesirable information. While deeply ingrained within the English...
Bara Imanbara in Lucknow in northern India. Source: Memories Over Mocha / Adobe Stock

The Gravity-Defying Bara Imambara was Built to Create Jobs During a Famine

The Bara Imambara, or “Great” Imambara of Lucknow in northern India, stands a testament to human ingenuity and compassion. Built during a devastating famine in the 18th century, this architectural...
The tonsure of King Wamba, by Joan Brull Vinyoles circa 1894. Source: Public domain

King Wamba Lost the Throne When He Unwittingly Underwent a Tonsure

Within ancient history, tales of kings and rulers often contain unexpected twists and turns. Enter Wamba, the 7th century King of the Visigoths, whose reign is shrouded in a peculiar legend regarding...
Fresco of a priest sporting a coronal tonsure hairstyle. Source: Public domain

Roman Catholic Priests Rocked Seriously Quirky ‘Tonsure’ Hairdos

In the annals of religious history, the Roman Catholic tonsure hairstyle stands out as a peculiar and enduring tradition. From the early centuries of Christianity to its eventual abolition by the...
Detail from Nicolas Poussin’s depiction of the Biblical story of Joshua’s victory over the Amalek. Source: Public domain

Who Were the Biblical Amalek People?

If you’ve been following the news, you will have heard references to the use of the term Amalek which was cited by South Africa at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in January 2024. But...
Representational image of Ashoka the Great.  Source: Luke/Adobe Stock

Shocked by His Own Brutality, Ashoka Converted to Buddhism

One of the most remarkable transformations in history unfolded during the life of Ashoka the Great, a ruler who transitioned from a brutal conqueror of a vast empire to a benevolent emperor guided by...
Nike Air Jordans which broke world record as most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction. Source: Jordan Geller / CC BY-SA 4.0

Nike Sportswear Took its Name from the Ultimate Champion

Believe it or not, but the origin of the name Nike for the globally recognized sportswear giant dates back to Greek mythology. For the brand chose the winged goddess of victory as its namesake. The...
Susanna and the Elders, by Artemisia Gentileschi in 1610. Source: Public domain

Artemisia Gentileschi Used Art To Avenge Her Rape

Since the 1970s, the work of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi has seen a surge in popularity due to her unique perspective as a female artist of the 17th century. Artemisia Gentileschi...
Within Chinese medicine, dragon bones or long gy have long been prescribed to treat a variety of ailments. Source: Nu / Adobe Stock

Thanks to the ‘Dragon Bones’ Malaria Cure, China Unearthed its Earliest Writing

Believe it or not, but the intriguing discovery of China's earliest writing was thanks to an unlikely ally— malaria . When the Chancellor of the Imperial Academy, Wang Yirong, contracted malaria, he...
Mysterious eyes in binary code.  The Great Cipher of Louis XIV had codebreakers stumped for centuries. Source: Kundra / Adobe Stock

Louis XIV’s Great Cipher Baffled Codebreakers Until the 19th Century

In the clandestine corridors of 17th-century France, a remarkable cryptographic system known as the Great Cipher emerged, becoming the go-to code for the French monarch Louis XIV. The genius behind...
Representational image of a Pyrrhic Victory and a bloody battlefield. Source: Mr. Bolota / Adobe Stock

King Pyrrhic’s Costly Conquest that Inspired the Term “Pyrrhic Victory”

The term “Pyrrhic Victory” stands as a testament to the intriguing and often paradoxical nature of warfare. Originating within the victories of the Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus, this term has found...
Woodcut depicting a vagrant being punished in the streets of Tudor England. Source: Public domain

Unemployment Under Edward VI Was Punished with Branding and Slavery

In the annals of history, peculiar laws are often found, shedding light on the societal norms and governance of bygone eras. One such oddity is the Vagrancy Act of 1547, a draconian decree that sent...
Papier mache masks on sale for making effigies or “monigotes” to burn during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Ecuador. Source: Iryna / Adobe Stock

Ecuadorian Effigies Share Last Will and Testament on New Year's Eve

In Ecuador, New Year’s celebrations are steeped in unique traditions and peculiar rituals. One such eccentric custom is the creation and burning of Año Viejo effigies on the night of the 31st...
Disputing clerics from the 14th-century Grandes Chroniques de France. Source: Public domain

At One Point, There Were Three Catholic Popes at the Same Time

One would hope that church leaders are always the epitome of ethical eminence and spiritual integrity. But reality is seldom so simple. In fact, in the annals of ancient history, there exists a...

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