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Chinese culture is one of the oldest in the world today. Over 6,000 years ago this culture began to develop in the Yellow River Valley and many of those ancient practices are still observed in the present. The Chinese developed a society based on respect for the spirits of the earth, one's ancestors, the gods, and other people. It was believed that... [continue reading
Patricia Southern’s writing breathes wit and entertainment into her treatment of Hadrian’s Wall. Hadrian’s Wall: Everyday Life on a Roman Frontier could easily have been yet another dry interpretation of the archaeological and historical data about the ruins. Instead, Southern takes every aspect of the Wall’s historical supposition... [continue reading
The governments of such Phoenician cities as Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos were led by hereditary monarchs throughout their history. Those individual cities typically acted autonomously from each other and only rarely did they form mutual alliances. The absolute power of the Phoenician kings, even if they had at their disposal a council of elders for consultation... [continue reading
Bai Juyi (772-846 CE) was one of the greatest poets of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) along with Li Po (701-762 CE) and Du Fu (712-770 CE). He was a government official who got in trouble with authorities a number of times for not following the rules or doing as his superiors thought he should. Bai Juyi could not be bothered to follow rules he felt were silly... [continue reading
Sumer is a digital board game inspired by M.U.L.E. and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Race across the Ziggurat in ancient Sumer to harvest barley, herd goats, and sacrifice to the great goddess Inanna. Sumer draws on modern Eurogame design elements like worker placement, territory control, and auctions. Its unique innovation is to place these into an action video... [continue reading
Samos is a Greek island in the east Aegean, just off the coast of modern-day Turkey. It particularly flourished in the 6th century BCE and was famous in antiquity for its navy, wine, and important sanctuary to Hera. Samos was an active member of the Delian League and the celebrated philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was born there, as was the famed astronomer Aristarchus... [continue reading
Driven by their desire for trade and the acquisition of such commodities as silver from Spain, gold from Africa, and tin from the Scilly Isles, the Phoenicians sailed far and wide, even beyond the Mediterranean’s traditional safe limits of the Pillars of Hercules and into the Atlantic. They were credited with many important nautical inventions and firmly... [continue reading
Ancient Assyria: A Very Short Introduction provides an incredibly succinct and valuable introduction to ancient Assyria. At 112 pages of readable content, it is easily accessible to the general public, with not too many technical terms or too much theory. For the most part, Radner focuses on the social realities through close examination of tangible figures... [continue reading
When you think of ancient civilizations, what comes to mind? Perhaps you imagine massive pyramids, majestic statues, or vast reliefs carved from stone. This is no coincidence after all, they are what we see in both museums and ruins today. Stone and other materials such as bone are durable, allowing them to last to the present day and become embedded... [continue reading
Blood of the Celts: The New Ancestry Story, by Jean Manco, a building historian and the author of Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Ventures to the Vikings, traces the complex story of the Celtic peoples through history, genetic studies, archaeology, and linguistic analyses. In ten chapters and 240 pages, Manco attempts to uncover... [continue reading