Ancient History Encyclopedia


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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665 definitions
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published on 30 October 2014
Ghost stories have existed for thousands of years, often in similar forms and frequently dealing with the same themes, in many of the most ancient cultures. The writer H.P. Lovecraft once wrote, "As may naturally be expected of a form so closely connected with primal emotion, the horror-tale is as old as human thought and speech themselves."... [continue reading]
published on 29 October 2014
One day before my fellowship admission ceremony at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, I was sitting in my room and surfing the net. I found that a museum in Glasgow, the Burrell Collection, houses some artifacts from Mesopotamia. That’s great! I hired a taxi and went there. I arrived at 10:30 AM. It lies within Pollok Country Park... [continue reading]
published on 28 October 2014
In the first half of the first millennium BCE, Greek city-states, most of which were maritime powers, began to look beyond Greece for land and resources, and so they founded colonies across the Mediterranean. Trade contacts were usually the first steps in the colonization process and then, later, once local populations were subdued or included within... [continue reading]
published on 27 October 2014
Malleable, lustrous, resistant to corrosion, and high in value, gold has always been a favourite material for jewellers going back to earliest antiquity. The following jewellery pieces are all from the ancient Mediterranean and have nothing more in common than their excellent craftsmanship and striking designs. For more on the history of ancient gold see Ancient... [continue reading]
published on 26 October 2014
The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies is another weighty volume in the Handbook series and takes on the ambitious task of covering all aspects of the Roman World.  The intended audience is students and academics seeking to have an overview of specific facets of Roman history but many of the chapters are useful concise summaries of interest to the general... [continue reading]
published on 23 October 2014
Fritigern (died c. 380 CE) was a Visigothic king best known as the victor of the decisive Battle of Adrianople in 378 CE, which decimated the Roman army and haunted Roman military commanders for decades afterwards. He was a Thervingi Goth who converted to Arian Christianity and challenged the authority of the Visigothic king Athanaric (d. 381 CE), who persecuted... [continue reading]
published on 21 October 2014
Xibalba (Shee-bal-ba) was the name the K'iche Maya gave to the underworld. For the Yucatec Maya the underworld was known as Metnal. The name Xibalba translates as 'Place of Fright', which indicates the terror the place had in the Maya imagination. There was, unfortunately, not much chance of escaping the place, either. Ideas such as leading a good... [continue reading]
published on 20 October 2014
Athanaric (died c. 381 CE) was a king of the Thervingi Goths (also known as the Visigoths) and, according to some sources, the first and greatest king. He was of the noble Balts family of the Thervingi tribe and a relative of the later king of the Visigoths Alaric I (reigned 395-410 CE), best known for the sack of Rome. As the ruling judge of his tribe... [continue reading]
published on 20 October 2014
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2014 Ancient History Encyclopedia Announces Partnership with New collaboration expands online educational resources about the ancient world LONDON — Ancient History Encyclopedia, a nonprofit, digital humanities website focused on ancient history, today announced that they have begun a strategic content... [continue reading]
published on 18 October 2014
The Terminal Classic period in Mesoamerica between c. 800 and 925 CE saw one of the most dramatic civilization collapses in history. Within a century or so the flourishing Classic Maya civilization fell into a permanent decline, so that once great cities were abandoned and left to ruin, in many cases, to be reclaimed by the jungle and so disappear from human... [continue reading]
published on 15 October 2014
Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and History of the Iraqi Cuisine, by Dr. Nawal Nasrallah -- a former professor of English at the Universitiy of Baghdad and the University of Mosul -- is a fine introduction to the history and diversity of Iraqi cuisine. Lavishly illustrated, supremely informative, and deeply personal, Narallah’s... [continue reading]
published on 13 October 2014
Athens in the 4th to 5th century BCE had an extraordinary system of government, whereby all male citizens had equal political rights, freedom of speech, and the opportunity to participate directly in the political arena. This system was democracy. Further, not only did citizens participate in a direct democracy whereby they themselves made the decisions... [continue reading]
published on 13 October 2014
August 11, 2014. It was a partly cloudy day. I arrived at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin around 10 AM. I found a long queue . . . Average waiting time: two hours! I asked a guard about this. He said, ”This line is for holders of priority pass tickets and pre-booked tickets.” I said, “OK, where I can buy this priority pass ticket?” The answer was, “You... [continue reading]
published on 12 October 2014
The Goths were a Germanic tribe who are frequently referenced for their part in the fall of the Roman Empire and their subsequent rise to power in the region of northern Europe, initially in Italy. They are first referenced by Herodotus as Scythians, but it should be noted that Herodotus was inclined to sweeping definitions of people whom he considered "barbarians"... [continue reading]
published on 10 October 2014
Uxmal, in north-west Yucatán, Mexico, was an important Maya city which flourished between the 6th and 10th centuries CE. The city, following an extensive restoration programme, is the best preserved of all Maya sites, and it possesses some of the most outstanding examples of Terminal Classic architecture anywhere.  First settled in the 6th century... [continue reading]
published on 09 October 2014
Theodoric (known as Theodoric the Great and Flavius Theodoricus, 451 or 454 - 526 CE) was the king of the Ostrogoths who, at the encouragement and direction of the Roman emperor Zeno, invaded Italy, deposed King Odoacer, and ruled over a kingdom of Romans and Goths from 493-526 CE. He was originally named Dietrich (or Diederich) and passed into German... [continue reading]
published on 09 October 2014
Tikal, located in the north of the Petén region of Guatemala, was a major Maya city which flourished between 300 and 850 CE. The city, known to the Maya themselves as Mutul, is one of the grandest in Mesoamerica. Amongst the first Maya cities to gain prominence in the Early Classic period (250-600 CE), Tikal built its wealth by exploiting its natural resources... [continue reading]
published on 07 October 2014
Located in the foothills of the Chiapas altiplano of modern Mexico, Palenque was an important Maya city which flourished between c. 600 and 750 CE. The name Palenque derives from the Spanish, meaning 'fortified place', but the original Maya name, we now know, was Lakamha. Situated where the highland and coastal plains join, the site prospered as... [continue reading]
published on 27 September 2014
Originality in literary compositions in the ancient world did not carry the same weight and value as it does in the present day. In recent centuries, authors have been applauded for the creation of original works, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have been derided for plagiarism or for passing off a work as a true account - especially an eyewitness, first-person... [continue reading]



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