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The Third Dynasty of Egypt (c. 2670-2613 BCE) begins with king Djoser, famous for his Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Although there are some sources which claim a king named Sanakht (also known as Nebra) founded the Third Dynasty, these claims are routinely challenged for lack of evidence. The chronology of Manetho is vague on who Sanakht was, when... [continue reading
Djoser (also known as Netjerikhet, Tosorthos, and Sesorthos, c. 2670 BCE) was the first king of the Third Dynasty of Egypt, reigning for over twenty years. Some sources indicate a king named Sanakht as the first ruler of the Third Dynasty but this claim is challenged as Sanakht's name is only known from two reliefs, the Abydos king list, and the Turin papyrus... [continue reading
Your Travel Guide to Ancient China (Passport to History) by Josepha Sherman is a children's book, written for ages 9 and older and targeted for a grade-level of 4 and up, but any adult reader will enjoy this book and get a great deal out of it. It is part of the Passport to History series published by Lerner and, like the others, is a great reading experience... [continue reading
Coyolxauhqui (pron. Koy-ol-shauw-kee) was the Aztec goddess of the Moon or Milky Way who was famously butchered by her brother Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, in Aztec mythology. This story was commemorated in a celebrated large relief stone found at the foot of the pyramid of sacrifices, the Templo Mayor at the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. Coyolxauhqui... [continue reading
Caligula. Gladiator. Spartacus. HBO’s series Rome. If you’ve seen any on-screen adaptation of life in the Roman Empire, you’ve seen some depiction of gossip worthy or taboo sex. Cleopatra seduced Caesar; Caligula held infamous orgies; Nero raped senators’ wives during dinner parties and critiqued their proficiency in bed afterward... [continue reading
Pankration is an ancient martial art which mixes wrestling and boxing. The sport can be traced as far back as the second millennium BCE in the territory of ancient Greece. Its name derives from the ancient Greek words pan (all) and kratos (strength, might, power) and literally means “all of the might.” In 648 BCE, the Pankration was introduced... [continue reading
Meleager (Greek: Meleagros) is a hero from Greek mythology who famously led an expedition to kill the Calydonian boar which was terrorizing the kingdom of Oeneus in Aetolia in central-western Greece. Appearing in Homer’s Iliad and the later epics the Ehoiai and Minyas, the story was a popular subject in Greek and later art from pottery decoration to sculpted... [continue reading
The Second Dynasty of Egypt (c. 2890 - c. 2670 BCE) rose from the turmoil which ended the first and was marked by uprisings (or, at least, internal difficulties) throughout. The precise cause of this civil unrest is unclear as sources for this period are confused and even the dates of the rulers are unreliable. Some of the names of the kings... [continue reading
The Templo Mayor or Great Temple (called Hueteocalli by the Aztecs) dominated the central sacred precinct of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. Topped by twin temples dedicated to the war god Huitzilopochtli and the rain god Tlaloc it was a focal point of the Aztec religion and very centre of the Aztec world. It was also the scene of state occasions such... [continue reading
The Narmer Palette (also known as Narmer's Victory Palette and the Great Hierakonpolis Palette) is an Egyptian ceremonial engraving, a little over two feet (64 cm) tall and shaped like a chevron shield, depicting the First Dynasty king Narmer conquering his enemies and uniting Upper and Lower Egypt. It features some of the earliest hieroglyphics found... [continue reading