Ancient History Encyclopedia is a non-profit educational website with a global vision: to provide the best ancient history information on the internet for free.
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Zenobia (born c. 240 CE, death date unknown) was the queen of the Palmyrene Empire who challenged the authority of Rome during the latter part of the period of Roman history known as The Crisis of the Third Century (235-284 CE). This period, also known as The Imperial Crisis, was characterized by constant civil war, as different Roman generals fought for control... [continue reading
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Pottery is the first synthetic material ever created by humans. The term refers to objects made of clay that have been fashioned into a desire shape, dried, and either fired or baked to fix their form. Due to its abundance and durability, pottery is one of the most common types of items found by archaeologists during excavations, and it has the potential... [continue reading
While the video is historical fiction, this campaign for Total War: Rome II will be a lot of fun for all history-loving strategy gamers.
The term "Slavs" designates an ethnic group of people who share a long-term cultural continuity and who speak a set of related languages known as the Slavic languages (all of which belong to the Indo-European language family). Little is known about the Slavs before they are mentioned in Byzantine records of the 6th century CE, and most of what we know... [continue reading
The Alemanni (also known as the Alamanni and the Alamans, meaning "All Men" or "Men United") were a confederacy of Germanic-speaking people who occupied the regions south of the Main and east of the Rhine rivers in present-day Germany. Many historians claim that the Alemanni first enter the historical record in 213 CE when Cassius Dio records... [continue reading
The Inca road system formed a network known as the royal highway or qhapaq ñan, which became an invaluable part of the Inca empire, not only facilitating the movement of armies, people, and goods but also providing an important physical symbol of imperial control. Across plains, deserts, and mountains, the network connected settlements and administrative... [continue reading
Alaric I (reigned 394-410 CE) was a Gothic military commander who is famous for sacking Rome in 410 CE, which was the first time the city had been sacked in over 800 years. Although little of his family is known, we do know that he became the chief of the Tervingi and Greuthungi tribes (later known as the Visigoth and Ostrogoth, respectively). He... [continue reading
The stupa, an architectural structure usually housing the cremated remains or possessions of important saintly figures, is considered to be the structural emblem and the most important type of monument of Buddhism. Most stupas have a very distinctive semi-spherical shape, often surrounded by a fence. As Buddhism was introduced in different regions... [continue reading
Semiramis is the semi-divine Warrior-Queen of Assyria, whose reign is most clearly documented by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (90-30 BCE) in his great work Bibliotheca Historica ("Historical Library") written over thirty years, most probably between 60-30 BCE. Diodorus drew on the works of earlier authors, such as Ctesias of Cnidus (c... [continue reading
Sargon of Akkad (also known as Sargon of Agade and Sargon the Great, reigned 2334 to 2279 BCE), the founder of the Akkadian Empire, was a man keenly aware of his times and the people he would rule over. While he was clearly a brilliant military leader, it was the story he told of his youth and rise to power that exerted a powerful influence over the Sumerians... [continue reading
The Indus Script is the writing system developed by the Indus Valley Civilization, an ancient civilization located in what today is eastern Pakistan and northwest India, on the fertile flood plain of the Indus River and its vicinity. The earliest use of the Indus Script dates back to 2500 BCE, and it has been found in pottery, amulets, carved stamp seals... [continue reading
Our Ancient Greece content is now available in three prestigious public libraries in the United States: the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Brimmer and May School Library. Through our publishing partnership with BiblioBoard, our eBook Greece, The Archaic and Classical Periods: An Ancient History Encyclopedia Collection is... [continue reading
The fortified ghost town of Vathia, on Greece's Mani Peninsula, was once as wild as our Wild West. (photo: Rick Steves) I was in Athens, on a rooftop restaurant under a floodlit Acropolis, marveling at how a Greek salad never gets boring. It was the last day of a long trip. I was reviewing, as I always do after completing an itinerary, how effectively... [continue reading
Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-356 BCE) was a hedonistic Greek philosopher who taught that the meaning of life was pleasure and that the pursuit of pleasure, therefore, was the most noble path one could pursue. Along with Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, and others, he was one of the followers of Socrates. He was also the first of Socrates' students to charge... [continue reading
Antisthenes (c. 445-365 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who founded the Cynic School of Athens. He was a follower of Socrates and appears in Plato’s Phaedo as one of those present at Socrates’ death. He is one of the primary interlocutors in Xenophon’s works Memorabilia and Symposium. Antisthenes, like Crito, was among the older students... [continue reading
The reign of Assyrian king Sennacherib (705-681 BCE) was chiefly characterized by his difficulties with Babylon. Throughout the history of the Assyrian Empire, Babylon had caused problems and had even been destroyed by the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I in c. 1225 BCE. Even so, there were direct cultural bonds between Babylon and Ashur, capital of the Assyrian... [continue reading
The Moche civilization (also known as the Mochica) flourished along the northern coast and valleys of ancient Peru, in particular, in the Chicama and Trujillo Valleys, between 1 CE and 800 CE. The Moche state spread to eventually cover an area from the Huarmey Valley in the south to the Piura Valley in the north, and they even extended their influence... [continue reading
There were, no doubt, many notable women in ancient Greece, but history books are usually silent on female accomplishments. According to the historian and novelist Helena P. Schrader, this is because, "Herodotus and other ancient Greek historians are far more likely to mention Persian queens than the wives of Greeks – not because Persian women... [continue reading
Sammu-Ramat, more famously known as Semiramis, was the queen regent of the Assyrian Empire (reigned 811-806 BCE) who held the throne for her young son Adad Nirari III until he reached maturity. She is also known as Shammuramat or Sammuramat. She was the wife of Shamshi-Adad V (reigned 823-811 BCE) and, when he died, she assumed rule until Adad Nirari... [continue reading
The Aeneid, written by the Roman poet Virgil, is a twelve-book-long epic poem that describes the early mythology of the founding of Rome. The eponymous hero Aeneas, a Trojan prince and son of Venus, faces trials and tribulations as he escapes Troy as it burns and sails the Mediterranean searching for a new home... [continue reading