User: JPryst

Published Content

by
published on 09 July 2012
The Mayan religious text, the Popol Vuh (known by many names, among them, The Light That Came From Beside The Sea) is the Quiche Maya story of creation translated into Spanish in the early 18th century CE by the missionary Francisco Ximenez from much older tales. As most of the books of the Maya were burned by the Bishop of the Yucatan, Diego... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Is it possible to have a heart that is lighter than a feather? To the ancient Egyptians it was not only possible but highly desirable.  The after-life of the ancient Egyptians was known as the Field of Reeds and was a land very much like one's life on earth save that there was no sickness, no disappointment and, of course, no death. One lived eternally... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
In ancient Greece the continued existence of the dead depended on their constant remembrance by the living. The after-life, for the ancient Greeks, consisted of a grey and dreary world in the time of Homer (8th century BCE) and, most famously, we have the scene from Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus meets the spirit of the great warrior Achilles... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Earth spirits in ancient Rome, as well as the spirits of those who had died, watched over the every day lives of the Romans cheerfully - unless one forgot to give thanks. Spiritual Life in a Roman Household In ancient Rome, although there was regular worship of the better known `state gods' such as Jupiter and Juno and Vesta, individual Roman... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Ramesses II (known as Ramesses The Great) ruled Egypt for 67 years in the 12th century BCE and, today, the Egyptian landscape still bears testimony to the prosperity of his reign in the many temples and monuments he had built in honor of his conquests and accomplishments. Among his greatest moments as Pharaoh, however, is not an act of war but one of peace... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
What, exactly, this mystic ritual was, no one knows; but why the ancient Greeks participated in it can be understood by the testimonials of the initiated. The Eleusinian Mysteries, held each year at Eleusis, Greece, fourteen miles northwest of Athens, were so important to the Greeks that, until the arrival of the Romans, The Sacred Way (the road from Athens... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Plato, whose dialogues on Truth, Good and Beauty have significantly shaped Western thought and religion, wrote and taught under a nickname. His real name was Aristocles. Names In Ancient Greece In ancient Greece a child was given the name of the grand-parent; the grand-father if a boy and grand-mother if a girl. The remembrance of the dead was a sacred... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
In October of 2008, by the banks of the Tiber river, the tomb of the proconsul Marcus Nonius Macrinus, a friend of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, was unearthed. The find generated great excitement in that Macrinus, or aspects of his life, were used as the model for the character Maximus in the film Gladiator (2000). Many who wrote on the find, and mentioned Gladiator... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Though the Battle of Cynocephalae in 197 BCE is often cited as the birth of the Roman Empire, the equally famous Battle of Actium is a better candidate. With the overthrow of the last Roman king, the Roman Republic was ruled by a senate and assembly from 509 BCE until Julius Caesar's appointment as Dictator in 44 BCE. The battle of Cynocephalae in 197... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Today, traveling an hour by ferry from Piraeus, the port of Athens, the first remnant of Aegina’s great past a visitor will see is the lonely pillar of Apollo rising from the trees on the hill of Kolona. Once a splendid complex of three buildings (the Temple of Apollo itself rose on eleven large pillars and six smaller ones) and a cemetery (in which... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Battle of Pelusium in 525 B.C. was the decisive conflict between the Pharaoh Psametik III (also known as Psammenitus) and the Persian leader Cambyses II. Cambyses, upset that Psammenitus' father, Amasis, had sent him a `fake daughter' , decided to invade Egypt to avenge the insult. Cambyses had asked for Amasis' daughter for a concubine and Amasis... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Hathor: The Mother Goddess In ancient Egypt, Hathor was the goddess of old, later re-imagined as Isis, who gave all the good gifts of life to humanity. Early depictions of the goddess show a queenly woman with the sun disk and horns on her head; later she came to be seen as a woman with the head of a cow or, simply, as a cow, symbolizing her life-giving energy... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Plato's Euthyphro is a dialogue between Socrates and the young 'prophet' Euthyphro outside the court in Athens just before Socrates is to go to trial. As Socrates has been charged by the Athenians with 'impiety', and as Euthypho claims to understand piety perfectly (5a) Socrates, sarcastically, asks the younger man to explain "what is piety and what is impiety?"... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Zeno of Elea (c. 465 BCE) was a student of the famous Eleatic philosopher Parmenides who claimed, "There is a way which is and a way which is not" (a way of truth and a way of opinion) and that, "There is not, nor will there be, anything other than what is since indeed Destiny has fettered it to remain whole and immovable. Therefore those things which mortals... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Protagoras of Abdera (ca. 490-ca.420 BCE) is most famous for his claim that "Of all things the measure is Man, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not"(DK 80B1) usually rendered simply as "Man is the Measure of All Things". In maintaining this stance he pre-figures the existential relativism of writers like... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Hatshepsut, whose name means "foremost of noble women" (also known as Ma’at-ka-re, translated as "spirit of harmony and truth") was the fifth ruler of the 18th Dynasty (1479-1458 BCE). She was the daughter of Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose and, as was common in Egyptian royal houses, married her half-brother Tuthmosis II. They... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Aspasia of Miletus (470-410 BCE, approximately) is best known as the consort and close companion of the great Athenian statesman Pericles. She was a metic (a person not born in Athens) and, accordingly, was not allowed to marry an Athenian and had to pay a tax to live in Athens. She bore Pericles a son, also named Pericles, out of wedlock. Her life is inextricably... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Sophists in ancient Greece were a class of teachers who, for a sometimes fairly high fee, would instruct the affluent youth in politics, history, science, law, mathematics and rhetoric as well as the finer points of grammar and history.  They professed to be able to make a young man suitable for political office and, of equal importance among... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) most famous for his work Confessions and his City of God, is regarded as one of the Fathers of The Church in the tradition of Catholicism. In this brief essay from his The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Augustine denounces Christians who speak on subjects they know little or nothing about in an attempt to appear `wise&rsquo... [continue reading]
by
published on 11 August 2014
Assyria began as a small trading community centered at the city of Ashur and grew to become the greatest empire in the ancient world prior to the conquests of Alexander the Great and, after him, the Roman Empire. While the Assyrians' administrative skills were impressive, and they could be adept at diplomacy when necessary, these were not the means... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Imagine something that has never been thought of before. If one holds a book in one’s hands, one can imagine an e-book, a large-print book, a picture book, all kinds of books. But how does one imagine a book in a world where even the concept of a `book’ does not exist? Imagine a day without time. People live in time and time directs the course... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Heraclitus of Ephesus (late 6th century BCE) is probably best known for his oft-misquoted assertion, "You cannot step twice into the same river" (first mis-quoted by Plato in his dialogue of the Cratylus). What Heraclitus actually wrote was, "In the same river we both step and do not step, we are and are not" (Kaufmann, 2008 p.20). What Heraclitus meant... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Hypatia, the much loved pagan philosopher of Alexandria, Egypt, has long been acknowledged as the symbol of the passing of the old ways and the triumph of the new. Hypatia (370-415 CE) was the daughter of Theon, the last professor of the Alexandrian University (associated closely with the famous Library of Alexandria). Theon was a brilliant mathematician... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Jezebel was the Phoenician Princess of Sidon (9th century BCE) whose story is told in the Hebrew Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament) in I and II Kings where she is portrayed unfavorably as a conniving harlot who corrupts Israel and flaunts the commandments of God. Recent scholarship, which has lead to a better understanding of the civilization of Phoenicia... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Hellenistic World ("Hellenistic" from the Greek word Hellas for Greece) is the known world after the conquests of Alexander the Great and corresponds roughly with the Hellenistic Period of ancient Greece, from 323 BCE (Alexander’s death) to the annexation of Greece by Rome in 148/6 BCE (although Rome’s rule ended Greek independence and autonomy... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Boudicca (died 61 CE) was the Celtic Queen of the Iceni tribe who led a revolt against Roman occupation of what is now East Anglia, England. So charismatic was Boudicca that ancient sources record tribes joining her revolt which would not normally have supported an Iceni-lead objective. Boudicca was the wife of the Iceni King Prasutagas who ruled his lands... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
In the following excerpt from his Library of History, Book XVI, chapter 14, the historian Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE) chronicles the famous Battle of Chaeronia of 338 BCE, in which Phillip II of Macedon, his son Alexander and their allies defeated the Greek forces of Athens and Thebes resulting in the unification of the Greek city-states under Macedonian... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Tacitus (full name, Publius Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, ca. 56 – ca. 117 CE) was a Roman Senator and an important historian of the Roman Empire. In the following passages Tacitus gives an account of the Iceni Queen Boudicca’s revolt against Rome, 60-61 CE. Chapter 31 (Causes of Boudicca’s Revolt)Prasutagus, the late king of the Icenians... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as first recorded by Philo of Byzantium in 225 BCE in his work, `On The Seven Wonders’, were: The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt; The Hanging Gardens of Babylon; The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece; The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus; The Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
One of the most effective and enduring military formations in ancient warfare was that of the Greek Phalanx. The age of the Phalanx may be traced back to Sumeria in the 25th century BCE, through Egypt, and finally appearing in Greek literature through Homer in the 8th century BCE (and, since, has been generally associated with Greek warfare strategy, the... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Diodorus Siculus, the 1st century BCE historian, took great pride in precision of description but, even so, could not refrain from adding his own personal views and interpretations of historical events and persons. In the following passage, Diodorus describes the reign of King Philip II of Macedon (382-336 BCE) with a focus on the role `fortune&rsquo... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Shabti dolls (also known as `shawbti’ and `ushabti’) were funerary figures in ancient Egypt who accompanied the deceased to the after-life. Their name is derived from the Egyptian `swb’ for stick but also corresponds to the word for `answer’ (`wSb’) and so the Shabtis were known as `The Answerers’. The figures, shaped... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Pausanius was a 2nd century CE writer who traveled extensively, taking notes on points of interest, and recorded his travels in `guide books’ which could be used by tourists visiting the sites described. Born in Lydia, in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) Pausanius traveled to Macedonia, Jerusalem, Egypt and Rome and wrote of seeing the ruins of the... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Pyramid Texts are the oldest religious texts in the world (some scholars cite the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh as the oldest, though it is debatable whether the Epic of Gilgamesh is a religious text). They comprise the texts which were inscribed on the sarcophogi and walls of the pyramids at Saqqara in the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom (2465-2150... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Herodotus (484-425 BCE) the Greek historian who wrote extensively on the Persian Empire, here describes Persian customs as they would have been practiced around the year 430 BCE at Susa and other Persian communities. The passage, from Book I of his Histories, is interesting in the way Herodotus contrasts the behavior and values of the Persians with... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
A story on a papyrus dating from the 2nd century CE relates that the goddess Isis, bestowing gifts on humanity, gave as much power and honor to women as she did to men. This tale reflects the high status women enjoyed in ancient Egypt. Although they never had the same rights as males, an Egyptian woman could own property in her own name and hold professions... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Poem of Pentaur is the official Egyptian record (along with The Bulletin) of the military victory of Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses The Great) over the Hittite King Muwatalli II at the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BCE (in modern-day Syria). So proud was Ramesses of this campaign that he had the poem, which details his personal... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) is most famous for his works Theogony and Works and Days. In this passage from Theogony, Hesiod relates the birth of the gods from cosmic Chaos and follows the lineage through the great Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, worshipped by Hesiod’s contemporaries: (ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Xenophon (430-354 BCE) was an early disciple of Socrates and a contemporary of Plato. He is best known as the mercenary general who wrote The Anabasis, which relates his adventures in leading his men out of Persia and back to Greece after the disastrous campaign of Cyrus the Younger. The Anabasis has long been considered a classic and was used by Alexander... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 October 2010
Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is the world’s first author and was the daughter (either literally or figuratively) of the great empire-builder Sargon of Akkad. Her name translates from the Akkadian as `high priestess of An’, the god of the sky or heaven, though the name `An’ could also refer to the moon god Nannar as in the translation, `en-priestess... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Xenophanes of Colophon traveled and wrote extensively. All we have of his work, however, are the fragments preserved in the writings of later philosophers and historians. Known chiefly as the first of the pre-Socratic philosophers to posit the existence of one God, unlike humans in any regard, Xenophanes also had the poet’s gift in his ability... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus (c. 50- 130 CE) following the example of Socrates, wrote none of his teachings down, preferring to impart his wisdom to his students through class discussions. His student Arrian collected and edited the lectures and discussions he attended in eight books, of which four remain extant, and distilled his master’s thoughts... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Zeno (c. 465 BCE) was a student of Parmenides and evidently a great admirer of his teacher’s famous claim, "There is a way which is and a way which is not" so much so that he set about to write a series of paradoxes to prove it empirically. From Aristotle, primarily, it is known that once there were 40 paradoxes penned by Zeno of which... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 CE) has been hailed as “one of the noblest figures in antiquity” and his work, Meditations, would certainly attest to the truth of that praise.  Aurelius is known today as “the last of the good emperors” and, while his depiction in the film Gladiator(2000) is highly fictionalized (especially concerning... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Parmenides (c. 485 BCE) lived and taught in Elea, a Greek colony in southern Italy and is most famous for his claim that all of reality is One (a concept known as Philosophical Monism). A student of Xenophanes of Colophon, Parmenides is also known as the founder of the Eleatic School of thought which insisted on unity of being and a rejection... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Tale of The Ship-Wrecked Sailor is an epic tale written on papyrus around the year 2000 BCE, during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. Contemporary with the rise of the Cult of Osiris and the inscribing of the Coffin Texts, the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor tells a similar story of redemption. The basic form of the story is very simple: a sailor returns... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Heraclitus of Ephesos (C. 500 BCE) saw a unity to the whole of human experience and that unity he expressed in the Greek phrase Panta Rhei: Life is Flux. All of human life is constant change and it is this very change which unites our experience and which makes us human. Heraclitus was a great critic of his fellow citizens, as well as of other philosophers... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
King Ashurbanipal collected over 30,000 clay tablets at Nineveh to establish easily the greatest library of his age. Though not nearly as well known as the sayings collected and preserved in the Biblical Book of Proverbs, the Babylonian proverbs preserved by Ashurbanipal are most likely older works and, possibly, a source of inspiration for the Biblical... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Heraclitus of Ephesus (late 6th century BCE) is probably best known for his oft-misquoted assertion, "You cannot step twice into the same river" (first mis-quoted by Plato in his dialogue of the Cratylus). What Heraclitus actually wrote was, "In the same river we both step and do not step, we are and are not" (Ancient Philosophy, 20). What Heraclitus meant... [continue reading]
by
published on 21 June 2014
Dogs have been a part of the history of human beings since before the written word. The ancient temple of Gobekli-Tepe in Turkey, dated to at least 12,000 years BCE, has provided archaeologists with evidence of domesticated dogs in the Middle East corresponding to the earliest evidence of domestication, the Natufian Grave, (c. 12,000 BCE) discovered in... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Forty-Two Judges were the divine beings of the Egyptian after-life who presided over the Hall of Truth where the great god Osiris judged the dead. The soul of the deceased was called upon to render up confession of deeds done while in life and to have the heart weighed in the balance of the scales of justice against the white feather of Ma’at... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
The Meroe Head, so-called because it was found beneath a temple in the ruins of Meroe, is the head of a larger-than life statue of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (better known as Augustus Caesar) the first Emperor of Rome (reigned 31 BCE-14 CE). On 2 September 31 BCE  Octavian Caesar (the future Augustus) defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 January 2012
Though the Battle of Cynocephalae in 197 BCE is often cited as the birth of the Roman Empire, the equally famous Battle of Actium is a better candidate.With the overthrow of the last Roman king, the Roman Republic was ruled by a senate and assembly from 509 BCE until Julius Caesar's appointment as Dictator in 44 BCE. The battle of Cynocephalae in 197... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 October 2010
The Epic of Gilgamesh was originally a Sumerian poem, later translated into Akkadian, and first written down some 700 – 1000 years after the reign of the historical king in the cuneiform script. The poem was known originally as Sha-naqba-imru (He Who Saw The Deep) or, alternately, Shutur-eli-sham (Surpassing All Other Kings). The fullest surviving version... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 February 2011
Until Sir Arthur Evans unearthed the palace of Knossos, the half-man-half bull killed by Theseus was considered just a popular legend; archaeology changed that perception. King Minos, of Crete, fought hard with his brother to ascend the throne and, having won the kingship and exiled his brother, prayed to the god of the sea, Poseidon, for a snow white... [continue reading]
by
published on 22 February 2011
In his famous work Republic, Plato discusses the concept of the `True Lie' or the `Lie in the Soul'. Through a conversation between Socrates and Adeimantus (Plato's brother) Plato defines the `true lie' as believing wrongly about the most important things in one's life. The `lie in the soul' can be understood as Plato's answer... [continue reading]
by
published on 23 February 2011
In the year 330 BCE Alexander the Great conquered the Persian capital city of Persepolis, and after looting its treasures, burned the great palace and surrounding city to the ground. Persepolis had been known in antiquity as Parsa (`The City of the Persians’) and the name `Persepolis’ meant the same in Greek. The city and great palace... [continue reading]
by
published on 23 February 2011
The Sumerian poem, The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) chronicles the great goddess and Queen of Heaven Inanna’s journey from heaven, to earth, to the underworld to visit her recently widowed sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the Dead.  The poem begins famously with the lines, From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below... [continue reading]
by
published on 23 February 2011
The Myth of Adapa (also known as Adapa and the Food of Life) is the Mesopotamian story of the Fall of Man in that it explains why human beings are mortal. The god of wisdom, Ea, creates the first man, Adapa, and endows him with great intelligence and wisdom but not with immortality, and when immortality is offered Adapa by the great god Anu, Ea tricks... [continue reading]
by
published on 25 February 2011
The gods of the Mesopotamian region were by no means uniform in name, power, provenance or status in the hierarchy. Mesopotamian culture varied from region to region, from city-state to city-state and, because of this, Marduk should not be regarded as King of the Gods in the same way Zeus ruled in Greece. While Marduk was venerated highly in Babylon... [continue reading]
by
published on 23 February 2011
Chaeronea is the site of the famous Battle of Chaeronea (338 BCE) Phillip II of Macedon’s decisive defeat of the Greek city-states. At Chaeronea in Boeotia (north of Corinth) Phillip and his allies from Thessaly, Epirus, Aetolia, Northern Phocis and Locrian defeated the combined forces of Athens and Thebes. Phillip commanded the right wing while... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 March 2011
The Ludlul-Bel-Nimeqi is a Babylonian poem which chronicles the lament of a good man suffering undeservedly. Also known as `The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer', the title translates as "I will praise the Lord of Wisdom".  In the poem, Tabu-utul-Bel, age 52, an official of the city of Nippur, cries out that he has been afflicted... [continue reading]
by
published on 01 March 2011
The Hymn to Ninkasi is at once a song of praise to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer, and an ancient recipe for brewing. Written down around 1800 BCE, the hymn is no doubt much older. Evidence for brewing beer in the Mesopotamian region dates back to 3500-3100 BCE at the Sumerian settlement of Godin Tepe in modern-day Iran where, in 1992, archaeologists... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 March 2011
The intoxicant known in English as `beer' takes its name from the Latin `bibere' (by way of the German `bier') meaning `to drink' and the Spanish word for beer, cerveza' comes from the Latin word `cerevisia' for `of beer', giving some indication of the long span human beings have been enjoying the drink. Even so, beer brewing... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 March 2011
The Myth of Etana is the story of the Sumerian antediluvian King of Kish who ascends to heaven on an eagle to request the Plant of Birth from the gods so that he might have a son. That the myth is very old is attested to by cylinder seals depicting Etana on the eagle's back which date from the reign of Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE). The British Museum... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 March 2011
The Enuma Elish (also known as The Seven Tablets of Creation) is the Mesopotamian creation myth whose title is derived from the opening lines of the piece, `When on High'.  All of the tablets containing the myth, found at Ashur, Kish, Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh, Sultantepe, and other excavated sites, date to c. 1100 BCE but their colophons... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 March 2011
The Atrahasis is the Akkadian/Babylonian epic of the Great Flood sent by the gods to destroy human life. Only the good man, Atrahasis (his name translates as `exceedingly wise') was warned of the impending deluge by the god Ea who instructed him to build an ark to save himself. Atrahasis heeded the words of the god, loaded two of every kind of animal... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 July 2014
When he came to the throne in 884 BCE, Ashurnasirpal II had to attend to revolts which broke out across the empire. He ruthlessly put down all rebellions, destroyed the rebel cities and, as a warning to others, impaled, burned, and flayed alive any who had opposed him. He fortified and strengthened his borders and then expanded them through campaigns that... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2011
Although Hannibal’s forces were defeated on the field at the Battle of Zama (202 BCE) the groundwork for this defeat was laid throughout the Second Punic War through the Carthaginian government’s refusal to support their general and his troops on campaign. As they had done with his father, Hamilcar Barca, in the First Punic War, the Carthaginian... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2011
The Second Punic War (218-202 BCE) began when the Carthaginian general Hannibal attacked the city of Saguntum, a Roman ally, reached its height with the Carthaginian victory at Cannae (216) and ended with the Battle of Zama. At Zama, in North Africa, fifty miles south of the city of Carthage, the Roman general Scipio Africanus met Hannibal’s forces... [continue reading]
by
published on 07 July 2012
The pantheon of the Maya is a vast collection of deities who were worshipped throughout the region which, today, comprises Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. Not all of the gods were venerated in all of the city-states of the Maya (at least, not by the same... [continue reading]
by
published on 07 July 2012
The Popol Vuh recounts the story of twins who journeyed to Xibalba. For the Maya, their round of adventures serves as a metaphor for timeless, repeating cycles and for the regeneration of earth and all living things. – Gene S. Stuart, Mayanist In recent years, there have been many books, and even more websites, concerning the calendar... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 July 2012
Although John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are consistently credited with the `discovery' of the Maya Civilization, there were many who preceded them who sparked their interest in making their famous travels through Mesoamerica. The first non-Maya to explore the sites were Catholic priests who, many years after the Spanish Conquest of... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 July 2012
The names of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are forever linked to the Maya and Mayan studies as the two great explorers who documented the ruins from Copan in the south to Chichen Itza in the north. The stories told by Stephens in his Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (1841) and Incidents of Travel in Yucatan (1843) complemented... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 November 2012
Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Archaeological... [continue reading]
by Cave cattum
published on 04 January 2013
In 1274 BCE, Ramesses II (The Great) of Egypt led his forces against the Hittite army, under King Muwatalli II, at The Battle of Kadesh. Both sides claimed victory and the conflict resulted in the world's first peace treaty, The Treaty of Kadesh, signed in 1258 BCE.
by Martin McCarthy (Tumulus)
published on 24 October 2012
House Three at the Neolithic village of Barnhouse Settlement, Orkney, Scotland. Constructed and occupied 3300-2600 BCE.
by Mr. Gibb
published on 24 October 2012
This drawing, by a Mr. Gibb of Aberdeen, Scotland, depicts the state of Maeshowe shortly after the excavation through the roof of the structure in 1861 by the antiquarian James Farrer.
by Mali
published on 24 October 2012
The chambered cairn and passage grave of Maeshowe, Orkney, Scotland, in use 3000-2800 BCE.
by
published on 21 October 2012
The late Neolithic Age site of The Balnuaran of Clava, popularly known as Clava Cairns, dating from 2500 BCE.
by N/A
published on 18 October 2012
An excavated structure at Skara Brae, the Neolithic Age village in Orkney, Scotland, inhabited 3100-2500 BCE.
by N/A
published on 18 October 2012
The houses at Skara Brae all feature home furnishings made from stone. This photo shows a stone cupboard/dresser, stone beds and chairs, and grinding stones as well as other household tools of the time.
by N/A
published on 17 October 2012
The Ness of Brodgar excavation site in Stenness, Orkney, Scotland. The site is dated to 3500 BCE and so predates both Stonehenge and the Pyramids at Giza. It was discovered in 2002 and excavations are ongoing.
by DinkY2K
published on 08 July 2012
Altun Ha is a Mayan site in modern day Belize. The city flourished between 400 and 900 CE but was occupied from 900 BCE to 1000 CE. The site was lost to the jungle until 1963 when excavations began
by Simon Burchell
published on 08 July 2012
This building at the Mayan site of Tonina is known as the Passage to the Underworld or the Temple of the Underworld. The archways in this picture lead to an extensive network of hallways which define the word `labyrinth'. As with many structures at Mayan sites, the original purpose of this building is not known.
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
This lithograph from Frederick Catherwood's Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan depicts the so-called `Nunnery Quadrangle' at the city of Uxmal. The exterior and interior of the quadrangle are intricately and elaborately decorated with carvings and reliefs exhibiting great skill. The building is also known as `La Casa de las Monjas'(the... [continue reading]
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
This lithograph of Stela D at Copan was done by Frederick Catherwood and first published in 1844 in his book, Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. Like John Lloyd Stephens' works on the Maya, the book was very popular.
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
In the early 1840's Frederick Catherwood and John Lloyd Stephens extensively explored many of the ruined cities of the ancient Maya. Catherwood's drawings complemented Stephens' text in his best-selling books Incidents of Travel in Central America and Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan. As they present the condition of the sites as they were seen in the 1840's... [continue reading]
by FA2010
published on 08 July 2012
This carved limestone relief, dated 23 August 783 CE, depicts three scribes being presented as prisoners to a Maya ruler. The captives are identified as scribes by the stick-bundle the first one holds (the traditional implements of scribes) and by their headdresses. Scribes were highly prized as prisoners as they were the ones who recorded the great deeds... [continue reading]
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
The Pyramid of the Magician at Uxmal, Yucatan rises 115 feet with a base of 227 by 162 feet. It is also known as The Pyramid of the Dwarf and features in the popular Maya legend of the dwarf who became king. Uxmal (whose name means `thrice built' in Mayan)was an important city which flourished between 600 -1000 CE
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
The Temple of the Descending God, located at Tulum, is an intricately designed structure which is illuminated brightly by the setting sun every April 6th - which is the birthday of The Descending God (so named because he is always depicted with his feet in the air)and is carefull aligned with the planet Venus. While it has long been held that Tulum is the... [continue reading]
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
This is the face of the sun god Kinich Ahau in The Temple of the Masks at Kohunlich. The masks all face west so that the setting sun illuminates them. It was thought that Kinich Ahau traveled down into and through the underworld at night, to rise again the next morning, and the masks may have been purposefully situated to encourage the sun god in his dangerous... [continue reading]
by
published on 08 July 2012
Famously known as El Castillo (the castle)this is the Temple of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza. Note the rope in the picture descending from the top of the pyramid. This is to aid visitors in their climb to the top and back but, still, it is not uncommon to see people panic half way up owing to the 45 degree angle and narrowness of the stairs (coupled, of course... [continue reading]
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
The Temple of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza (also known as El Castillo) is 30 metres (98 ft) high with sides 55.3 metres (181 ft) wide. The steps are at a 45 degree angle and very narrow. A rope decends from the top down the northeast stairs to help visitors climb to the top but, even so, it is no easy feat (especially if one has a fear of heights). At the top... [continue reading]
by N/A
published on 08 July 2012
The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza is the largest playing field in Mesoamerica. It measures 168 by 70 metres (551 by 230 feet) and the walls are 8 metres (26 feet) high. Here the game of Pok-a-Tok was played, the most popular and highly revered sport among the Maya. The acoustics of the ball court are so fine that a visitor standing at the North Temple... [continue reading]
by
published on 08 July 2012
This photo shows a stone scoring hoop high on the wall of the Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza. The opposing team's hoop is directly across from the wall in this picture. Players of the game Pok-a-Tok (considered a precursor to the modern game of Ulama)had to get a rubber ball through this hoop without using their hands or feet (only the hip, knees, elbows, shoulders... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 July 2012
This small building sits high above the great Ball Court at Chichen Itza and has been identified as a temple from which the priests and royalty would watch the game of Pok-a-Tok played below them.
by
published on 06 July 2012
This photo, taken in July of 2005, shows the least often photographed side of the famous El Castillo, also known as The Temple of Kukulcan. Most photographs are taken from the opposite side which has been extensively restored and where people gather at the equinoxes to watch the return of Kukulcan to earth.
by N/A
published on 15 December 2011
The Roman temple complex at Baalbek (once Heliopolis) in Lebanon, the Beqaa Valley region.
by LassiHU
published on 26 April 2012
Ruins of the royal city in Meroe, Nubia, Sudan
by B N Chagny
published on 26 April 2012
Aerial view of the pyramids at Meroe, Republic of Sudan, 2001.
by Udimu (28-05-2007)
published on 26 April 2012
The Meroe Head is from a larger-than life statue of Augustus Caesar (reigned 31 BCE-14 CE). It is 47.7 cm, made of bronze with alabaster, glass and coral inlays for the eyes. Discovered at Meroe in 1910 by J. Garstang.
by Sven-Steffen Arndt
published on 26 April 2012
A depiction of one of the Queens of Meroe known as Kentakes (or Candaces) the Candace Amanitore (c.50 CE).
by Raphael
published on 26 April 2012
The famous`School of Athens' by Raphael, painted between 1510-1511 CE, depicting all of the major philosophers of antiquity with Plato and Aristotle at the centre. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
by N/A
published on 26 April 2012
The Deluge Tablet of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh written in Akkadian (1300 - 1000 BCE)
by antmoose
published on 26 April 2012
Marble copy of a lost ancient Greek statue known as The Dying Gaul, from ancient Rome (c. 230-220 BCE) commissioned by Attalos of Pergamon in honor of his victory over the Galatians.
by N/A
published on 26 April 2012
The oldest extant temple in the world, Gobekli Tepe, in southeastern Turkey, dating from 11,500 years ago.
by "Bibliothek des allgemeinen und praktischen Wissens. Bd. 5" (1905), Abriß der Weltliteratur, Seite 46
published on 26 April 2012
Statue of Xenophon, Athenian mercenary General and writer
by Steve F-E-Cameron
published on 26 April 2012
The Temple of Hathor at Dendera, Egypt, a famous center of her cult.
by MobyDick
published on 26 April 2012
Hesiod and the Muse,1891,oil on canvas by Gustave Moreau
by Frederick Leighton
published on 26 April 2012
The Return of Persephone by Frederick Leighton, 1891
by N/A
published on 26 April 2012
The Latin Edition cover of Plato's dialogue of Republic, 1713
by N/A
published on 26 April 2012
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus fragment of Plato's dialogue of Republic in ancient Greek.
by N/A
published on 26 April 2012
The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt at Deir al-Bahri, Thebes, Egypt
by N/A
published on 26 April 2012
An Assyrian relief depicting King Ashurbanipal of Assyria as High Priest, with cuneiform script.
by Jastrow
published on 26 April 2012
Winged Sphinx from the palace of Darius the Great (549-486 BCE) at Susa.
by monsieurdl
published on 26 April 2012
The statue honoring the great historian Herodotus (484-425 BCE) in Halicarnassos (modern day Bodrum, Turkey).
by koopmanrob
published on 26 April 2012
Shabti dolls from ancient Egypt. Shabti dolls were the surrogate workers for the deceased in the afterlife.
by Charles William Mitchell
published on 26 April 2012
Hypatia by Charles William Mitchell(1854-1903)first exhibited in 1885 and inspired by the Charles Kingsley novel Hypatia. Presently on display at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.
by JPryst
published on 26 April 2012
The Pillar of Apollo on Kolona Hill, Aegina, Greece. The last remnant of the Temple of Apollo and Acropolis complex which stood on the site in the days of Aegina's glory.
by Elbert Hubbard
published on 26 April 2012
Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415), sketch by Elbert Hubbard, 1908, from his work Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Teachers.
by Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
published on 26 April 2012
The Death of Socrates (1787)depicting the philosopher about to drink the hemlock in his jail cell, surrounded by his friends, as related in Plato's dialogue of the Phaedo.
by
published on 02 September 2009
The Fertile Crescent is the region in the Middle East which curves, like a quarter-moon shape, from the Persian Gulf, through modern-day southern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and northern Egypt. The term was first coined in 1916 by the Egyptologist James Henry Breasted in his work Ancient Times: A History of the Early World, where he wrote, “This... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The word 'Craft’ comes from the Middle English word for 'strength’ or 'skill’ derived from the Old English word craeft which comes from Old High German kraft, for strength, and means “skill in planning, making, executing” and, by extension, “an occupation or trade requiring skill” and crafts, then, being... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning 'between two rivers’) was an ancient region in the eastern Mediterranean bounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian Plateau, corresponding to today’s Iraq, mostly, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey. The 'two rivers' of the name referred... [continue reading]
by
published on 14 July 2010
Europe is the second smallest of the seven continents covering roughly 2% of the earth’s surface. The name 'Europe’ has long been thought to have been derived from the ancient myth of Zeus and Europa. According to this tale, the great god Zeus, seeing the lovely Phoenician princess Europa bathing (or, according to other versions, playing with... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
A tomb is an enclosed space for the repository of the remains of the dead. Traditionally tombs have been located in caves, underground, or in structures designed specifically for the purpose of containing the remains of deceased human beings and, often, their possessions, loved ones, or, as at the tomb known as `The Great Death Pit' at the... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Burial of the dead is the act of placing the corpse of a dead person in a tomb constructed for that purpose or in a grave dug into the earth. In cultures such as Mesopotamia, tombs and graves were cut into the ground in the expectation that the soul of the individual so buried would more easily reach the afterlife which was thought to exist underground. Graves... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Uruk was one of the most important cities (at one time, the most important) in ancient Mesopotamia. According to the Sumerian King List, it was founded by King Enmerkar sometime around 4500 BCE.  Located in the southern region of Sumer (modern day Warka, Iraq), Uruk was known in the Aramaic language as Erech which, it is believed, gave rise to the modern... [continue reading]
by
published on 05 April 2014
In the study of the ancient world a City is generally defined as a large populated urban center of commerce and administration with a system of laws and, usually, regulated means of sanitation. This is only one definition, however, and the designation `City' can be based on such factors as the: population of the settlement height of buildings... [continue reading]
by
published on 07 April 2014
Urbanization is the process by which rural communities grow to form cities, or urban centers, and, by extension, the growth and expansion of those cities. Urbanization began in ancient Mesopotamia in the Uruk Period (4300-3100 BCE) for reasons scholars have not yet agreed on. It is speculated, however, that a particularly prosperous and efficient village attracted... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Babylon is the most famous city from ancient Mesopotamia whose ruins lie in modern-day Iraq 59 miles (94 kilometres) southwest of Baghdad. The name is thought to derive from bav-il or bav-ilim which, in the Akkadian language of the time, meant ‘Gate of God’ or `Gate of the Gods’ and `Babylon’ coming from Greek. The city owes its fame... [continue reading]
by
published on 27 July 2010
Animal Husbandry is a branch of agriculture concerned with the domestication of, care for and breeding of animals such as dogs, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs and other like creatures. Animal husbandry began in the so-called Neolithic ('new stone’) Revolution around 10,000 years ago but may have begun much earlier. It has been speculated... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Cuneiform is a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BCE. It is considered the most significant among the many cultural contributions of the Sumerians and the greatest among those of the Sumerian city of Uruk which advanced the writing of cuneiform c. 3200 BCE. The name comes from the Latin... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Kuwait) which is generally considered the cradle of civilization. The name comes from Akkadian, the language of the north of Mesopotamia, and means “land of the civilized kings”. The Sumerians called themselves “the black headed people” and their land, in cuneiform... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
According to legend, Ancient Rome was founded by the two brothers, and demi-gods, Romulus and Remus, on 21 April 753. The legend claims that, in an argument over who would rule the city (or, in another version, where the city would be located) Romulus killed Remus and named the city after himself. This story of the founding of Rome is the best known but it is... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Script is any particular system of writing or the written means of human communication. In the West, writing begins in Sumeria over 4,000 years ago and the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh is a stunning example of what the written word can produce. The Sumerians considered writing a gift from the god Enlil as, later, the Babylonians would also claim from their... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Writing is the physical manifestation of a spoken language. It is thought that human beings developed language c. 35,000 BCE as evidenced by cave paintings from the period of the Cro-Magnon Man (c. 50,000-30,000 BCE) which appear to express concepts concerning daily life. These images suggest a language because, in some instances, they seem to tell... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Egypt is a country in North Africa, on the Mediterranean Sea, and is among the oldest civilizations on earth. The name 'Egypt' comes from the Greek Aegyptos which was the Greek pronunciation of the Egyptian name 'Hwt-Ka-Ptah' (which means "House of the Spirit of Ptah", who was a very early God of the Ancient Egyptians). In the early... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The word 'war' comes to English by the old High German language word 'Werran’ (to confuse or to cause confusion) through the Old English 'Werre' (meaning the same), and is a state of open and usually declared armed conflict between political entities such as sovereign states or between rival political or social factions within the same... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The world’s longest river, located in Egypt, the Nile flows 4,132 miles (6,650 kilometres) northward to the Mediterranean Sea (a very unusual direction for a river to take). The Nile flows from two separate sources: the White Nile from equatorial Africa and the Blue Nile from the Abyssinian highlands. The historian Waterson notes, "The... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The English word 'wall' is derived from the Latin, 'vallus' meaning 'a stake' or 'post' and designated the wood-stake and earth palisade which formed the outer edge of a fortification. The palisades were in use early on and are mentioned by Homer in the 8th century BCE and later by the Greek historian Polybius (c 200-118... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
A pyramid is a structure or monument, usually with a quadrilateral base, which rises to a triangular point. In the popular imagination, pyramids are the three lonely structures on the Giza plateau at the edge of the Sahara Desert but there are over seventy pyramids in Egypt stretching down the Nile River Valley and, in their time, they were the centers... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Giza is a plateau southwest of modern Cairo which served as the necropolis for the royalty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Most famous for the pyramids of Khufu (completed in 2550 BCE) Khafre (2520 BCE) and Menkaure (2490 BCE) and the Great Sphinx (built 2500 BCE), recent excavations on the plateau have revealed numerous private tomb complexes and workers'... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Gaius Julius Caesar was born 12 July 100 BCE (though some cite 102 as his birth year). His father, also Gaius Julius Caesar, was a Praetor who governed the province of Asia and his mother, Aurelia Cotta, was of noble birth. Both held to the Populare ideology of Rome which favored democratization of government and more rights for the lower class as opposed... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The Roman Empire, at its height (c. 117 CE), was the most extensive political and social structure in western civilization. By 285 CE the empire had grown too vast to be ruled from the central government at Rome and so was divided by Emperor Diocletian into a Western and an Eastern Empire. The Roman Empire began when Augustus Caesar became the first emperor... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Hadrian (76-138 CE) was the fourteenth Emperor of Rome (10 August 117 to 10 July 138 CE) and is known as the third of the Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) who ruled justly. Born Publius Aelius Hadrianus, probably in Hispania, Hadrian is best known for his substantial building projects throughout the Roman Empire... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 October 2012
Scotland is a country which, today, comprises the northern part of Great Britain and includes the islands known as the Hebrides and the Orkneys. The name derives from the Roman word `Scotti’ which designated an Irish tribe who invaded the region and established the kingdom of Dal Riata. A claim has also been made, however, that the land is named after... [continue reading]
by
published on 09 July 2014
Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 884-859 BCE) was the third king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. His father was Tukulti-Ninurta II (reigned (891-884 BCE) whose military campaigns throughout the region provided his son with a sizeable empire and the resources to equip a formidable army. Ashurnasirpal II is known for his ruthless military conquests and the consolidation... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The Aegean Sea lies between the coast of Greece and Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It contains over 2,000 islands which were settled by the ancient Greeks; the largest among them being Crete (Kriti) and the best known and most often photographed, Santorini (Thera or Thira). Both of these islands have strong associations with ancient Greek history and myth... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 November 2013
Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, known in Greek as Hellas or Ellada, and consisting of a mainland and an archipelago of islands. Greece is the birthplace of Western philosophy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), literature (Homer and Hesiod), mathematics (Pythagoras and Euclid), history (Herodotus), drama (Sophocles, Euripedes, and Aristophanes), the Olympic... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Ur was a city in the region of Sumer, southern Mesopotamia, in what is modern-day Iraq. According to biblical tradition, the city is named after the man who founded the first settlement there, Ur, though this has been disputed. The city’s other biblical link is to the patriarch Abraham who left Ur to settle in the land of Canaan. This claim has also been contested... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 July 2010
Eridu (present day Abu Shahrein, Iraq) was considered the first city in the world by the ancient Sumerians and, certainly, is among the most ancient of ruins. Founded in circa 5400 BCE, Eridu was thought to have been created by the gods and was home to the great water god Enki (who, later, would develop from a local god to merge with deities... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Religion (from the Latin Religio, meaning 'restraint’, or Relegere, according to Cicero, meaning 'to repeat, to read again’, or, most likely, Religionem, to show respect for what is sacred) is an organized system of beliefs and practices revolving around, or leading to, a transcendent spiritual experience. There is no culture recorded... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The Amorites were a Semitic people who seem to have emerged from western Mesopotamia (modern day Syria) at some point prior to the 3rd millennium BCE. In Sumerian they were known as the Martu or the Tidnum (in the Ur III Period), in Akkadian by the name of Amurru, and in Egypt as Amar, all of which mean 'westerners' or 'those of the west'... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 June 2014
Assyria was the region in the Near East which, under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, reached from Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) through Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and down through Egypt. The empire began modestly at the city of Ashur (known as Subartu to the Sumerians), located in Mesopotamia north-east of Babylon, where merchants who traded in Anatolia became increasingly... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 November 2011
Hammurabi (also known as Khammurabi  and Ammurapi, reigned 1792-1750 BCE) was the sixth king of the Amorite First Dynasty of Babylon, assumed the throne from his father, Sin-Muballit, and expanded the kingdom to conquer all of ancient Mesopotamia. The kingdom of Babylon comprised only the cities of Babylon, Kish, Sippar, and Borsippa when Hammurabi came... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Warfare is generally understood to be the controlled and systematic waging of armed conflict between sovereign nations or states, using military might and strategy, until one opponent is defeated on the field or sues for peace in the face of inevitable destruction and greater loss of human life. The first recorded war in history is that between Sumer and... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 October 2010
Knossos (pronounced Kuh-nuh-SOS) is the ancient Minoan palace and surrounding city on the island of Crete, sung of by Homer in his Odyssey: “Among their cities is the great city of Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus.” King Minos, famous for his wisdom and, later, one of the three judges of... [continue reading]
by
published on 29 July 2010
Canaan was the name of a large and prosperous country (at times independent, at others a tributary to Egypt) which corresponds roughly to present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel and was also known as Phoenicia. The origin of the name `Canaan’ for the land comes from various ancient texts (among them the Hebrew Bible) and there is no scholarly consensus... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The Hittites occupied the region of Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey) prior to 1700 BCE, developed a culture apparently from the indigenous Hatti (and possibly the Hurrian) people, and expanded their territories into an empire which rivaled, and threatened, the established nation of Egypt. They are repeatedly mentioned throughout... [continue reading]
by
published on 31 July 2010
The Kingdom of Israel occupied the land on the Mediterranean Sea corresponding roughly to the State of Israel of modern times. The region was known, historically, as Canaan, as Phonecia and, later, as Palestine. Named after the Hebrew patriarch Jacob (also known as Yisrae’el, `persevere with God’) and, by extension, his nation, Israel was, at first... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of naval raiders who harried the coastal towns and cities of the Mediterranean region between approximately 1276-1178 BCE, concentrating their efforts especially on Egypt. The nationality of the Sea Peoples remains a mystery as the only records we have of their activities are mainly Egyptian sources who only describe... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Phoenicia was an ancient civilization comprised of independent city-states which lay along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea stretching through what is now Syria, Lebannon and northern Israel. The Phoenicians were a great maritime people, known for their mighty ships adorned with horses’ heads in honor of their god of the sea, Yamm, the brother... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The Bible takes its name from the Latin Biblia (book or books) which comes from the Greek Ta Biblia (the books) traced to the Phoenician port city of Gebal, known as Byblos to the Greeks because it was an exporter of papyrus (used in writing) and the Greek name for papyrus was bublos, linking the city with the written word. The book is a collection... [continue reading]
by
published on 03 August 2010
Palestine in the ancient world was part of the region known as Canaan and, later, the region where the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were located. Palestine is a designation of an area of land, which the Philistines occupied a very small part of (the Canaanites/Phonecians and the Israelites, among others, having established themselves in the area much earlier... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
A temple (from the Latin 'templum') is a structure usually built for the purpose of, and always dedicated to, religious or spiritual activities including prayer, meditation, sacrifice and worship. The templum was a sacred precinct defined by a priest (or augur) as the dwelling place of a god or gods and the structure built there was created to honor... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
According to legend, Carthage was founded by the Phoenician Queen Elissa (better known as Dido) sometime around 813 BCE. The city (in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa) was originally known as Kart-hadasht (new city) to distinguish it from the older Phoenician city of Utica nearby. The Greeks called the city Karchedon and the Romans turned this name into Carthago... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Asia Minor is a geographic region in the south-western part of Asia comprising most of what is present-day Turkey. The earliest reference to the region comes from tablets of the Akkadian Dynasty (2334-2083 BCE) where it is known as “The Land of the Hatti” and was inhabited by the Hittites. The Hittites themselves referred to the land as "Assuwa"... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Herodotus (c.484 – 425/413 BCE) was a writer who invented the field of study known today as `history’. He was called `The Father of History’ by the Roman writer and orator Cicero for his famous work The Histories but has also been called “The Father of Lies” by critics who claim these `histories’ are little... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Persepolis is the Greek name (from perses polis for 'Persian City') for the ancient city of Parsa, located seventy miles northeast of Shiraz in present-day Iran. The name Parsa meant 'City of The Persians' and construction began at the site in 518 BCE under the rule of King Darius the Great ( who reigned 522-486 BCE). Darius made Parsa... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
'The Hellenic World' is a term which refers to that period of ancient Greek history between 507 BCE (the date of the first democracy in Athens) and 323 BCE (the death of Alexander the Great). This period is also referred to as the age of Classical Greece and should not be confused with The Hellenistic World which designates the period between... [continue reading]
by
published on 16 December 2011
The Visigoths were the western tribe of the Goths (a Germanic people) who settled west of the Black Sea sometime in the 3rd century CE. According to the historian Herwig Wolfram, the Roman writer Cassiodorus coined the term Visigothi to mean `Western Goths’ as he understood the term Ostrogothi to mean `Eastern Goths’, sometime in the 6th century... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Alexandria is a port city on the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt founded in 331 BCE by Alexander the Great. It is most famous in antiquity as the site of the Pharos, the great lighthouse, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, for the Temple of Serapis, the Serapion, which was part of the legendary library at Alexandria, as a seat... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Aegina is an island in the Saronic Gulf, south of Athens. It was one of Greece's early maritime powers, famous for minting the earliest coins in Greece which were accepted all over the Mediterranean region. According to the classical writer Ovid, the island was originally known as Oenone. As the myth explains, the god Zeus, in the shape of a great flame... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Thebes was the capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom and is located approximately 650km south of modern Cairo. The Egyptian name of the city was 'niwt' (The City) and 'niwt-rst' (The Southern City) and the designation 'Thebes’ comes from the Greek word for the city, Thebai. The city was originally known as Uast or Waset... [continue reading]
by
published on 11 August 2010
Meroe was a wealthy metropolis of the ancient kingdom of Kush in what is today the Republic of Sudan. The city was located at the crossroads of major trade routes and it flourished from 800 BCE to 350 CE. As no one yet has been able to decipher the Meroitic script, very little can be said for certain on how Meroe grew to become the wonderous city written about... [continue reading]
by
published on 14 November 2013
Alexander III of Macedon, known as Alexander the Great (21 July 356 BCE – 10 or 11 June 323 BCE), was the son of King Philip II of Macedon. He became king upon his father’s death in 336 BCE and went on to conquer most of the known world of his day. He is known as 'the great' both for his military genius and his diplomatic skills... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world. Excavations have uncovered evidence of continual habitation dating back to 4200 BCE. Susa was a principal city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires (capital of the Elamites) and was originally known to the Elamites as 'Susan’ or 'Susun’. The Greek name for the city was Sousa and the Hebrew, Shushan. The... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Ramesses II (alternative spellings: Ramses, Rameses and known to the Egyptians as Userma’atre’setepenre, which means 'Keeper of Harmony and Balance, Strong in Right, Elect of Ra’, known also as Ozymandias and as Ramesses the Great) was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty. Ramesses lived to be 96 years old, had over 200 wives... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 January 2013
Abu Simbel is a temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second cataract of the Nile River. The two temples which comprise the site (The Great Temple and The Small Temple) were created during the reign of Ramesses II (c. 1279 - c. 1213 BCE) either between 1264 - 1244 BCE or 1244-1224 BCE. The discrepancy... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The Pharaoh in ancient Egypt was the political and religious leader of the people and held the titles 'Lord of the Two Lands’ and 'High Priest of Every Temple’. The word 'pharaoh’ is the Greek form of the Egyptian 'pero’ or 'per-a-a’, which was the designation for the royal residence. The name of the residence... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The city of Athens, Greece, with its famous Acropolis, has come to symbolize the whole of the country in the popular imagination; and not without cause. Athens, which began as a small, Mycenaen community (though still worthy of the massive Cyclopean stonework which characterized the great palaces of the Peloponnese) grew to become a city which, at its height, epitomized... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 March 2011
Nineveh (modern-day Mosul, Iraq) was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. The area was settled as early as 6000 BCE and, by 3000, had become an important religious centre for worship of the goddess Ishtar. The early city (and subsequent buildings) were constructed on a fault line and, consequently, suffered damage from a number of earthquakes... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 July 2010
King Nebuchadnezzar II (634-562 BCE) was the greatest king of ancient Babylon, succeeding his father, Nabopolassar. King Nabopolassar had defeated the Assyrians with the help of the Medes and liberated Babylonia from Assyrian rule. In this way he provided for his son (as Philip II would do for his son Alexander later) a stable base and ample wealth... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Croesus (pronounced 'KREE-sus') was the King of Lydia, a country in western Asia Minor (corresponding to modern-day Turkey) from 560-547 BCE and was so wealthy that the old expression "as rich as Croesus" originates in reference to him. His wealth, it is said, came from the sands of the River Pactolus in which the legendary King Midas washed... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 November 2012
India is a country in South Asia whose name comes from the Indus River. The name `Bharata’ is used as a designation for the country in their constitution referencing the ancient mythological emperor, Bharata, whose story is told, in part, in the Indian epic Mahabharata. According to the writings known as the Puranas (religious/historical texts written down... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Socrates (469/470-399 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and is considered the father of western philosophy. Plato was his most famous student and would teach Aristotle who would then tutor Alexander the Great. By this progression, Greek philosophy, as first developed by Socrates, was spread throughout the known world during Alexander's conquests.  ... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
From the Greek 'philo’, Love, and 'Sophia’, wisdom, Philosophy is, literally defined, “the love of wisdom”. More broadly understood, it is the study of the most basic and the most profound matters of human existence. Philosophy, in the West, began in the Greek colony of Miletus with Thales (who, according to ancient sources... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Pericles (495–429 BCE, whose name means "surrounded by glory") was a prominent statesman, famous orator, and general (in Greek 'Strategos’) of Athens during the Golden Age of Athens. So profound was his influence that the period in which he led Athens has been called the 'Age of Pericles’. This statesman’s influence... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Xenophon of Athens (430-c.354 BCE) was a contemporary of Plato and a fellow student of Socrates. He is known for his writings, especially his Anabasis, Memorobilia and his Apology (the latter two dealing with Socrates and, besides Plato’s writings, the basis for what we know of Socrates) though ancient sources claim that he wrote more than forty books... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Halicarnassos (modern Bodrum, Turkey) was an ancient Ionian Greek city of Caria, located on the Gulf of Cerameicus in Anatolia. According to tradition it was founded by Dorian Greeks of the Peloponnese. The most famous of her sons, the historian Herodotus, wrote that in early times the city participated in the Dorian festival of Apollo at Triopion, but... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Plato (428/427 - 348/347 BCE) is considered the pre-eminent Greek philosopher, known for his Dialogues and for founding his Academy north of Athens, traditionally considered the first university in the western world. Born Aristocles, son of Ariston of the deme Colytus, Plato had two older brothers (Adeimantus and Glaucon), who both feature famously... [continue reading]
by
published on 01 December 2011
The Western Roman Empire was the western part of the Roman Empire which, later, became known as The Holy Roman Empire. By 285 CE the Roman Empire had grown so vast that it was no longer feasible to govern all the provinces from the central seat of Rome. The Emperor Diocletian divided the empire into halves with the Eastern Empire governed out... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Aristotle of Stagira was a Greek philosopher who pioneered systematic, scientific examination in literally every area of human knowledge and was known, in his time, as "the man who knew everything", and, later, as "The Philosopher" (so named by Aquinas who felt one needed no other). In the European Middle Ages he is referred... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Xerxes I (ruled 486-465 BCE), also known as Xerxes the Great, was the king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. His official title was Shahanshah which, though usually translated as `emperor’, actually means `king of kings’. He is identified as the Ahasuerus of Persia in the biblical Book of Esther (although his son, Artaxerxes I, is also a possibility... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
No one knows where the city of Akkad was located, how it rose to prominence, or how, precisely, it fell; yet once it was the seat of the Akkadian Empire which ruled over a vast expanse of the region of ancient Mesopotamia. It is known that Akkad (also given as Agade) was a city located along the western bank of the Euphrates River possibly between the cities... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 February 2014
The Roman Standard (Latin: Signum or Signa Romanum) was a pennant, flag, or banner, suspended or attached to a staff or pole, which identified a Roman legion (infantry) or Equites (cavalry). The Standard of a cavalry unit was emblazoned with the symbol of the serpent (Draconarius) while a legion of infantry was represented by a totemic animal... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 August 2014
Sappho of Lesbos (c. 620-570 BCE) was a lyric poet whose work was so popular in ancient Greece, and beyond, that she was  honored in statuary and praised by figures such as Solon and Plato. Very little is known of her life and of the nine volumes of her work which were widely read in antiquity only fragments survive. Contrary to popular opinion... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
A country in northern Greece, Macedon (or Macedonia) was first inhabited by the Mackednoi tribe who, according to Herodotus, were the first to call themselves 'Hellenes’ (later applied to all Greeks) and who gave the land their name. For centuries the Mackednoi had little to do with southern Greece. Even after the Persian invasion of 480 (during... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 June 2014
Syria is a country located in the Middle East on the shore of Mediterranean Sea and bordered, from the north down to the west, by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. It is one of the oldest inhabited regions in the world with archaeological finds dating the first human habitation at c. 700,000 years ago. The Dederiyeh Cave near Aleppo has produced a number... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2011
In 216 BCE, Roman military tactics were still in their infancy. Although Rome had won many impressive victories during the First Punic War, they continued to rely on their old tactic of placing a numerically superior force in the field to overwhelm the enemy. The typical Roman formation was to position light infantry toward the front masking the heavy... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 December 2011
Scipio Africanus Major (so named because of his military victories in Africa which won the Second Punic War, also known as Scipio the Elder) was born Publius Cornelius Scipio in 236 BCE. His family was of Etruscan descent and of the Patrician upper class. His father, also Publius Cornelius Scipio, was a Roman consul and, in 218 BCE, brought his... [continue reading]
by
published on 22 August 2010
Augustus Caesar (63 BCE – 14 CE) was the name of the first (and, by all accounts, greatest) emperor of Rome. Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus on 23 September 63 BCE. He was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, and then took the name Gaius Julius Caesar. In 27 BCE the Senate awarded him the honorific Augustus ("the illustrious one"... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Mythology (from the Greek 'mythos' for story-of-the-people, and 'logos' for word or speech, the spoken story of a people) is the study and interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as 'myths' or the collection of such stories which usually deal with the human condition, good and evil, human origins, life... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Hypatia of Alexandria  (c. 370 CE - March 415 CE) was a female philosopher and mathematician, born in Alexandria, Egypt possibly in 370 CE (although some scholars cite her birth as c. 350 CE). She was the  daughter of the mathematician Theon, the last Professor at the University of Alexandria, who tutored her in math, astronomy... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Hathor is an ancient Egyptian goddess associated, later, with Isis and, earlier, with Sekhmet. She is always depicted as a cow or with the attributes of a cow. In her form as Hesat she is shown as a pure white cow carrying a tray of food on her head as her udders flow with milk. Although in time she came to be considered the ultimate personification... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Zeno of Elea (c.465 BCE) was a Greek philosopher of the Eleatic School and a student of the elder philosopher Parmenides (an older contemporary of Socrates). Little is known of Zeno's life outside of his association with the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides.  Parmenides argued against the validity of our senses and the... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Protagoras of Abdera (c.485-415 BCE) is considered the greatest of the Sophists of ancient Greece.  A Sophist was a teacher of rhetoric, politics, and logic who served as a private tutor to the youth of the upper classes. As Greece, particularly Athens, was extremely litigious, a knowledge of the art of public speaking was highly... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 March 2014
The Silk Road was a network of trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, which linked the regions of the ancient world in commerce. As the Silk Road was not a single thoroughfare from east to west, the term 'Silk Routes’ has become increasingly favored by historians, though 'Silk Road’ is the more common and recognized... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 December 2012
China is a country in East Asia whose culture is considered the oldest, still extant, in the world. The name `China’ comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced `Chin’) which was translated as `Cin’ by the Persians and seems to have become popularized through trade along the Silk Road from China... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
An `acropolis’ is any citadel or complex built on a high hill. The name derives from the Greek Akro, high or extreme/extremity or edge, and Polis, city, translated as 'High City’, 'City on The Edge’ or 'City in the Air’, the most famous being the Acropolis of Athens, Greece, built in the 5th century BCE. Though the word... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Kadesh was a city in what is today the country of Syria, an important center of trade in the ancient world, and site of the famous battle between Pharaoh Rameses II (The Great) of Egypt and King Muwatalli II of the Hittite Empire, usually dated to 1274 or 1273 BCE (though Durant, and others, assign a date of 1288 BCE). The Battle of Kadesh is the most thoroughly... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Kykeon (from the Greek “to mix, stir”) was a beverage of water and barley (sometimes flavored with mint or thyme) popular among the working, 'lower’ class of ancient Greece. In Homer’s Illiad it is described as a mixture of water, barley, herbs and ground goat cheese (Book XI) and the drink is also mentioned in the Odyssey Book... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Traditionally regarded as the first Western philosopher and mathematician, Thales of Miletus (a Greek colony on the west coast of present day Turkey) lived c. 585 BCE. He accurately predicted the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BCE and was known as a skilled astronomer, geometer, statesman and sage. Thales, it is said, was the first to ask the question... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Anaximander (c 610 - c 546 BCE) of Miletus was a student of Thales and recent scholarship argues that he, rather than Thales, should be considered the first western philosopher owing to the fact that we have a direct and undisputed quote from Anaximander while we have nothing written by Thales. Anaximander invented the idea of models, drew the first... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Oenone (her name comes from the Greek word oinos, for 'wine’) was a Greek nymph and daughter of the river god Cebren, who lived on Mount Ida where she met the young Paris of the city of Troy. The two were married and enjoyed their life together until Paris’ voyage to Sparta where he met Helen, wife of Menelaus, and carried her off; thus igniting... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The only statement about Aspasia of Miletus which can be maintained as objectively true is that she was a foreign-born woman living in Athens c. 445 BCE who was the lover of Pericles and operated a salon of some sort. It is not even known if `Aspasia’ was her actual name or a `professional’ name as she seems to have been a hetaira... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Xenophanes of Colophon (ca. 570-ca.478 BCE) was a Greek philosopher born fifty miles north of Miletus, a city famed for the birth of philosophy and home to the first Western philosopher, Thales. He is considered one of the most important of the so-called Pre-Socratic philosophers for his development and synthesis of the earlier work... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Anaximenes of Miletus (c 546 BCE) was a younger contemporary of Anaximander and generally regarded as his student. Known as the Third Philosopher of the Milesian School (after Thales and Anaximander) Anaximenes proposed air as the First Cause from which all else comes (differing from Thales, who claimed water was the source of all things, or Anaximander... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Byblos was the ancient Phoenician port city of Gebal (called Byblos by the Greeks) on the coast of the Mediterranean sea in what is, today, Lebanon. According to the historian Durant, “Byblos thought itself the oldest of all cities; the god El had founded it at the beginning of time, and to the end of its history it remained the religious capital of Phoenicia."... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 July 2014
Sennacherib (reigned 705-681 BCE) was the second king of the Sargonid Dynasty of Assyria (founded by his father Sargon II). He is one of the most famous Assyrian kings owing to the part he plays in narratives in the biblical Old Testament (II Kings, II Chronicles, and Isaiah) and, since the 19th century CE, from the poem “The Destruction of Sennacherib&rdquo... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city located in what is now modern day Lebannon, north of Beirut, in the Beqaa Valley.  Inhabited as early as 9000 BCE, Baalbek grew into an important pilgrimage site in the ancient world for the worship of the Phoenician sky-god Baal and his consort Astarte, the Queen of Heaven (the name `Baalbek' means Lord Baal... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Sidon is the Greek name (meaning 'fishery’) for the ancient Phoenician port city of Sidonia (also known as Saida) in what is, today, Lebannon (located about twenty five miles south of Beirut). Along with the city of Tyre, Sidon was the most powerful city-state of ancient Phoenicia and first manufactured the purple dye which made Tyre famous and... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Tyre is an ancient Phoenician port city which, in myth, is known as the birthplace of Europa (who gave Europe its name) and Dido of Carthage (who gave aid to, and fell in love with, Aeneas of Troy). The name means 'rock' and the city consisted of two parts, the main trade centre on an island, and 'old Tyre', about a half mile opposite... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Ashurbanipal (668-627 BCE, also known as Assurbanipal) was the last of the great kings of Assyria. His name means "the god Ashur is creator of an heir" and he was the son of King Esarhaddon of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. In the Hebrew Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament) he is called As(e)nappar or Osnapper (Ezra 4:10), while the Greeks knew him... [continue reading]
by
published on 08 November 2013
Boudicca was the Celtic Queen of the Iceni tribe of modern-day East Anglia, Britain, who led a revolt against Rome in 60/61 CE. The Iceni King, Prasutagus, an independent ally of Rome, divided his estate between his daughters and King Nero of Rome. When Prasutagus died, however, his lands were taken by Rome and the Iceni lost their status as allies. When... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The word Agora (pronounced 'Ah-go-RAH’) is Greek for 'open place of assembly’ and, early in the history of Greece, designated the area in the city where free-born citizens could gather to hear civic announcements, muster for military campaigns or discuss politics. Later the Agora defined the open-air, often tented, marketplace of a city... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were: the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt the Hanging Gardens of Babylon the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus the Colossus of Rhodes the Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt The Seven Wonders were first... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
The word 'labyrinth’ comes from the Greek 'labyrinthos’ and describes any maze-like structure. Etymologically the word is linked to the Minoan 'labrys' for 'double axe', the symbol of the Minoan mother goddess of Crete. The most famous labyrinth is found in Greek mythology: Designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Knossos... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Paulus Orosius (commonly known simply as 'Orosius') lived in the 5th century CE and was a Christian theologian and historian of note and also a close friend of St. Augustine. He is best known for his work Seven Books of History Against the Pagans in which he argued, primarily, that the fall of Rome had nothing to do with the Roman adoption of Christianity... [continue reading]
by
published on 22 August 2010
Octavian (63 BCE – 14 CE) was the name of the man who would later be known as Augustus, the first (and, by all accounts, greatest) emperor of Rome. Octavian was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus on 23 September 63 BCE. He was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, and then took the name Gaius Julius Caesar. In 27 BCE the Senate awarded him the honorific... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Literature (from the Latin Littera meaning 'letters’ and referring to an acquaintance with the written word) is the written work of a specific culture, sub-culture, religion, philosophy or the study of such written work which may appear in poetry or in prose. Literature, in the west, originated in the southern Mesopotamia region of Sumer (c... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
According legend, Ephesus (also Ephesos) was founded by the tribe of the Amazons, great female warriors. The name of the city is thought to have been derived from "Apasas", the name of a city in the "Kingdom of Arzawa" meaning the "city of the Mother Goddess" and some scholars maintain that the sign of the labrys, the double-axe... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 February 2014
Also known as 'Kabechet’ or 'Kebechet’, Qebhet was a goddess of ancient Egypt, the daughter of the god of death, Anubis. She is the personification of cool, refreshing water and is mentioned frequently in the Egyptian Book of the Dead as she brings water to the souls of the dead in the Hall of Truth, where they are judged. The Egyptians believed... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Uat-Ur was the ancient Egyptian name for the Mediterranean Sea (also known as Wadj-Wer) and is translated as 'the Great Green’. Uat-Ur was the sea itself, not a god of the sea, but was sometimes pictured as a male with breasts heavy for nurturing and with skin resplendent with the shimmer of rolling waves. Uat-Ur is often shown in company with images... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 February 2014
Xois (as the Greeks called it) was a vast ancient city located on a marshy island in the center of the Nile Delta of Egypt, modern-day Sakha. It was founded c. 3414-3100 BCE and was continuously inhabited until the rise of Christianity c. 390 CE. By the time of the 5th Dynasty, Xois was already regarded as an ancient city. It was a center of worship... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Vesta was the goddess of the hearth, the home, and domestic life in the Roman religion (idenitified with the Greek goddess Hestia). She was the first-born of the titans Kronos and Rhea and, like the others, was swallowed by her father. When her brother Jupiter (the Greek Zeus), who managed to escape their father's appetite, freed his siblings, Vesta... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Vestal Virgins( Latin: Vestales) were the priestesses of the Roman goddess of the hearth, Vesta, in the state religion of ancient Rome. At varying times there were four to six priestesses employed. They were the only full-time clergy (collegia) of a Roman deity which attests to the high regard in which the goddess was held. They tended... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Yamm (from the Hebew word 'Yam' for 'sea') was the god of the sea in the pantheon of the Phoenicians. Depicted consistently as tyranical, angry, violent and harsh, Yamm was the brother of Mot, the god of death, and is closely associated with chaos. The Phoenicians were known by the Greeks as the 'purple people' (owing to the dye manufactured at Sidon and used extensively... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Yahweh is the name of the god of the ancient Hebrews comprised of four Hebrew consonants (YHWH, known as the Tetragrammaton) which the prophet Moses is said to have revealed to his people. As the name of the supreme being was considered too holy to be spoken, the consonants YHWH were used to remind one to say the word `adonai’ (lord) in place of the god’s... [continue reading]
by
published on 16 June 2014
Ur-Nammu (reigned 2047-2030 BCE) was the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur in Sumer who initiated the so-called Ur III Period (2047-1750 BCE) also known as the Sumerian Renaissance. He is best known as the king who composed the first complete law code in the world, The Code of Ur-Nammu. An earlier law code (known as the Code of Urukagina from the 24th century... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 September 2009
Sargon of Akkad (also known as Sargon the Great, Shar-Gani-Sharri, and Sarru-Kan, meaning "True King" or "Legitimate King") reigned in Mesopotamia from 2334 to 2279 BCE. He is equally famous today as the father of the great poet-priestess Enheduanna. He was born an illegitimate son of a "changeling", which could refer... [continue reading]
by
published on 25 March 2014
Telesilla of Argos was a lyric poet of the 5th century BCE, listed by Antipater of Thesalonike (c. 15 BCE) as one of the great Nine Female Lyric Poets of Greece (along with Praxilla, Moiro, Anyte, Sappho, Erinna, Corinna, Nossis, and Myrtis). She was responsible for the metrical innovation of lyric poetry known as the Telesillean Metre. Antipater writes... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 January 2012
The Hatti were an aboriginal people in central Anatolia (present-day Turkey) who first appeared in the area around the River Kizil Irmak. The prevailing understanding is that they were native to the land although it has been suggested they migrated to the area sometime prior to 2400 BCE. The region was known as `Land of the Hatti' from... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 December 2011
The Ostrogoths were the eastern tribe of the Goths (a Germanic people) who rose in power in the area north of the Black Sea. The designation, Ostrogoth, taken to mean `Eastern Goth’, actually means `Goths glorified by the rising sun’ and gave birth to the term Visigoth (interpreted to mean `Western Goth’) by the Roman writer Cassiodorus... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2011
The Punic Wars were a series of conflicts fought between the forces of ancient Carthage and Rome between 264 BCE and 146 BCE. The name Punic comes from the word Phoenician (Phoinix in the Greek, Poenus from Punicus in Latin) as applied to the citizens of Carthage, who were of Phoenician ethnicity. As the history of the conflict was written by Roman authors... [continue reading]
by
published on 01 August 2011
The Land of Punt is best known for Queen Hatshepsut’s famous expedition in 1493 BCE in the 18th Dyanasty of Egypt, which brought back living trees to Egypt, marking the first known successful attempt at transplanting foreign fauna. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that the Egyptians were trading with the land of Punt as early as the reign of the pharaoh... [continue reading]
by
published on 08 July 2014
Esarhaddon (reigned 681-669 BCE) was the third king of the Sargonid Dynasty of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. He was the youngest son of King Sennacherib (reigned 705-681 BCE), and his mother was not the queen but a concubine named Zakutu (also known as Naqia-Zakutu, c.701-668 BCE). Esarhaddon is mentioned in the Bible in II Kings 19:37, Isaiah 37:38, and Ezra... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 October 2010
Gilgamesh is the semi-mythic King of Uruk best known from The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2150-1400 BCE) the great Sumerian/Babylonian poetic work which pre-dates Homer’s writing by 1500 years and, therefore, stands as the oldest piece of epic western literature. Gilgamesh’s father was the Priest-King Lugalbanda (who is featured in... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
The Kingdom of Mittani, known to the people of the land, and the Assyrians, as Hanigalbat and to the Egyptians as Naharin and Metani, once stretched from present-day northern Iraq, down through Syria and into Turkey and was considered a great nation. Few records of the people themselves exist today but correspondence between kings of Mitanni and those of Assyria... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 February 2014
In June of 323 BCE, Alexander the Great died and his vast empire was divided among his generals. One of these generals was Ptolemy I Soter, a fellow Macedonian, who would found the Ptolemaic Dynasty in ancient Egypt. The Ptolemaic line, of Macedonian-Greek ethnicity, would continue to rule Egypt until the rise of the Roman Empire and the death of the... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Epictetus (c. 50 CE- c. 130 CE) is a Stoic philosopher best known for his works The Enchiridion (the handbook) and his Discourses, both foundational works in Stoic philosophy and both thought to have been written down from his teachings by his student Arrian. Stoicism is the belief that the individual is wholly responsible for his or her interpretations... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 - 180 CE), known as the last of the good emperors (reigned 161 – 169 with Lucius Verus; 169 – 177 alone; 177 - 180 with Commodus), was born in Rome (or, according to other sources, Spain) to an aristocratic family. His birth name was Marcus Annius Verus which he held until adopted by his uncle (and Emperor Hadrian’s successor... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Parmenides (c. 485 BCE) was a Greek philosopher from the colony of Elea in southern Italy. He is known as the founder of the Eleatic School of philosophy which taught a strict Monistic view of reality. Philosophical Monism is the belief that all of the sensible world is of one, basic, substance and being, un-created and indestructible.  According... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 April 2011
Faras was an important town near Abu Simbel in southern Egypt/northern Kush (modern-day Sudan). It was a center of trade and administrative offices which was founded between 2040-1750 BCE. In the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BCE) a temple to Hathor of Ibschek was built and it has been suggested that Ibschek was the ancient name of the town. A temple to the Pharaoh Tutankhamun... [continue reading]
by
published on 14 July 2010
Heraclitus of Ephesos (c. 500 BCE) was known to his contemporaries as the 'dark’ philosopher, so-called because his writings were so difficult to understand. Seeming to hold the common understanding of the nature of life and the purpose of human life in contempt (as, in fact, he seemed to hold most, if not all, the human beings... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 February 2014
King Ergamenes (also known as King Arkamani I, reigned 295-275 BCE) was the first great king of Meroe (located in modern-day Sudan) who broke free from Egyptian dominance to help direct a wholly distinct culture. The city of Meroe is cited by many ancient writers (Herodotus among them) as an almost fabled city of wealth and mystery, and scholars credit Ergamenes... [continue reading]
by
published on 11 August 2010
Egyptian faience is a glassy substance manufactured most expertly by the ancient Egyptians (though the process was first developed in Mesopotamia, first at Ur and, later, Babylon). Some of the greatest faience-makers of antiquity were the Phoenicians of cities such as Tyre and Sidon who were so expert in making glass that it is thought they invented... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 March 2014
The Akkadian/Sumerian poet Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is the world’s first author known by name and was the daugher of Sargon of Akkad (Sargon the Great). Whether Enheduanna was, in fact, a blood relative of Sargon’s or the title was figurative is not known. It is clear, however, that Sargon placed enormous trust in Enheduanna in elevating her... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 October 2010
Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, procreation, and of war who later, became identified with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, and further with the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, among others. She was also seen as the bright star of the morning and evening, Venus. Through the work of the Akkadian poet and high priestess, Enheduanna... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2011
Marcus Antonius (known popularly as Mark Antony) was a Roman general and statesman. As Julius Caesar's friend and right-hand man, he gave the funeral oration after Caesar's assassination which turned the tide of popular opinion against the assassins. As part of the Second Triumvirate of Rome, he ruled uneasily with Octavius Caesar... [continue reading]
by
published on 14 February 2011
Pythagoras (ca. 571- ca. 497 BCE) was a Greek philosopher born on the island of Samos, off Asia Minor, where his ancestors had settled after leaving Phlius, a city in the northwest Peloponnese, after the civil war there in 380 BCE. While this 'fact’ of Pythagoras’ life is held to be true, it, like so much else written of the man, is impossible to verify... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 February 2011
Democritus (c. 460 - c. 370 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and younger contemporary of Socrates, born in Abdera (though other sources cite Miletus) who, with his teacher Leucippus, was the first to propose an atomic universe. Very little is known of Leucippus and none of his work has survived but he is known by ancient writers as Democritus’ teacher... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 February 2011
Critias (c. 460-403 BCE) was an Athenian politician who, earlier in life, was one of Socrates’ followers and Plato’s mother’s cousin. One of the hated “Thirty Tyrants” of Athens, Critias was held in especially low esteem for his practice of confiscating citizen’s property by mis-using his power and executing those who disagreed... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 February 2011
Zeno of Citium (c. 336 – 265 BCE) was the founder of the Stoic School of philosophy in Athens which taught that the Logos (Universal Reason) was the greatest good in life and living in accordance with reason was the purpose of human life. If one lived according to the instinct of impulse and passion, one was no more than an animal; if one lived... [continue reading]
by
published on 22 February 2011
In ancient Mesopotamia, the meaning of life was for one to live in concert with the gods. Humans were created as co-laborers with their gods to hold off the forces of chaos and to keep the community running smoothly. According to the Mesopotamian creation myth, the Enuma Elish, (meaning,'When on High') life began after an epic struggle between... [continue reading]
by
published on 05 March 2011
Godin Tepe is, today, an archaeological site in the Kangavar valley of Luristan, in western central Iran. The name means "hill of Godin" though what the settlement was called originally is unknown. The site was first discovered in 1961 during an archaeological survey conducted by the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and excavation... [continue reading]
by
published on 05 March 2011
Zakutu (c. 701-c.668 BCE) was the Akkadian name of Naqia, a wife of King Sennacherib of Assyria, who reigned between 705-681 BCE. Though she was not Sennacherib's queen, she bore him a son, Esarhaddon, who would succeed him. She ruled as Queen after her son's death and was grandmother to his successor, King Ashurbanipal. Writings about Naqia-Zakutu... [continue reading]
by
published on 01 March 2011
Beer is one of the oldest intoxicating beverages consumed by human beings. In the west, evidence of early beer brewing has been confirmed by finds at the Sumerian settlement of Godin Tepe in modern-day Iran going back to between 3500-3100 BCE. The Sumerians loved beer so much they ascribed the creation of it to the gods and beer plays a prominent role in many... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 July 2011
Amenhotep III (c. 1386-1353 BCE) was the ninth king of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. He is also known as Nebma’atre, Amenophis III, Amunhotep II, and Amana-Hatpa, all of which relate to the concept of the god Amun being satisfied or, as in the case of Nebma’atre, with the ideal of satisfied balance. He was the son of the pharaoh Tuthmosis IV... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 July 2011
Tiye (also known as Tiy, 1398-1338 BCE) was a queen of Egypt of the 18th dynasty, wife of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, mother of Akhenaten, and grandmother of both Tutankhamun and Ankhsenamun. She exerted an enormous influence at the courts of both her husband and son and is known to have communicated directly with rulers of foreign nations. The Amarna letters also... [continue reading]
by
published on 21 December 2011
Flavius Belisarius (505-565 CE) was born in Illyria (the western part of the Balkan Peninsula) to poor parents and rose to become one of the greatest generals, if not the greatest, of the Byzantine Empire. Belisarius is listed among the notable candidates for the title of `Last of the Romans’ by which is meant the last individual who most perfectly... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 December 2012
Mencius (372-289 BCE) also known as Mang-Tze or Mang-Tzu, was a Confucian philosopher born Mang Ko in the state of Zhou during The Warring States Period in China (476-221 BCE). Latin scholars rendered his name as `Mencius’ in the same way they changed K’ung-fu-Tze to `Confucius’. He was a strict Confucian and the most famous Chinese philosopher... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 January 2013
Ancient Egyptian culture flourished between c. 5500 BCE with the rise of technology (as evidenced in the glass-work of faience) and 30 CE with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. It is famous today for the great monuments which celebrated the triumphs of the rulers and honored the gods of the land. The culture is often misunderstood... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 January 2013
Egyptian Mythology was the belief structure and underlying form of ancient Egyptian culture from at least c. 4000 BCE (as evidenced by burial practices and tomb paintings) to 30 CE with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt.  Every aspect of life in ancient Egypt was informed by the stories which related the creation... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 January 2013
Egyptian burial is the common term for the ancient Egyptian funerary rituals concerning death and the soul’s journey to the afterlife. Eternity, according to the historian Bunson, “was the common destination of each man, woman and child in Egypt” (87) but not `eternity’ as in an afterlife above the clouds but, rather, an eternal... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 July 2012
The Maya are an indigenous people of Mexico and Central America who have continuously inhabited the lands comprising modern-day Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The designation Maya comes from the ancient Yucatan city of Mayapan, the last capital of... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 October 2012
The Knap of Howar is a Neolithic site on the island of Papa Westray in Orkney, Scotland. The name is Old Norse for `mound of mounds’ or `large barrow’.  The building preserved at the site is considered the oldest stone house in northern Europe and is dated to 3700-3500 BCE. The site consists of two structures, commonly referred to... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 October 2012
The Ness of Brodgar is a Neolithic Age site discovered in 2002 CE through a geophysical survey of the area of land in Stenness in Orkney, Scotland, which separates the salt water Stenness Loch from the fresh water Harray Loch. Excavation of the site, which covers 6.2 acres (2.5 hectares), began in 2003 CE, when a stone slab was ploughed up north... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 October 2012
Skara Brae is a Neolithic Age site, consisting of ten stone structures, near the Bay of Skaill, Orkney, Scotland. Today the village is situated by the shore but when it was inhabited (c.3100-2500 BCE) it would have been further inland. Steady erosion of the land over the centuries has altered the landscape considerably and interpretations of the site... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 October 2012
Maeshowe (pronounced `maze-ow’ or `maze-oo’) is a large Neolithic chambered cairn, dating from between 3000-2800 BCE, in the Stenness parish of Orkney, Scotland. According to Dr. Berit Sanders, of Lund University, the name means `Meadow Mound’ and comes from Old Scandinavian; the present location of both Maeshowe and the nearby site... [continue reading]
by
published on 21 October 2012
Dating from the late Neolithic period, the Balnuaran of Clava (popularly known as Clava Cairns) consists of three well-preserved cairns (two of which are passage graves) and a number of free-standing stones strategically placed for astronomical purposes. The site is located east of the modern day city of Inverness, Scotland, and dates from c. 2500... [continue reading]
by
published on 25 October 2012
The Barnhouse Settlement is a Neolithic village located in Antaness, Orkney, Scotland, which was inhabited between c. 3300 and 2600 BCE. The present designation of `Barnhouse’ comes from the name of the farmland on which the village was discovered in 1984 CE by the archaeologist Dr. Colin Richards. Excavation of the site began in 1986 CE, revealing... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 November 2012
Hadrian’s Wall (known in antiquity as the Vallum Hadriani or the Vallum Aelian) is a defensive frontier work in northern Britain which dates from 122 CE. The wall ran from coast to coast at a length of 73 statute miles (120 km). Though the wall is commonly thought to have been built to mark the boundary line between Britain and Scotland, this... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 December 2012
Teng Shih (6th century BCE) was a Chinese Sophist who lived and wrote in the province of Cheng. He is best known for teaching “the doctrines of the relativity of right and wrong” and for his persistent opposition to the government of Tse-Tsan, magistrate of Cheng. Little is known of Teng Shih and the meagre sources available are mostly hostile... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2012
Lao-Tzu (also known as Laozi or Lao-Tze) was a Chinese philosopher credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism. He is best known as the author of the Tao-Te-Ching, the work which exemplifies his thought. The name by which he is known is not a personal name but an honorific title meaning `Old Man’ or `Old Teacher’ and there has been countless... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2012
Mo Ti (470-391 BCE, also known as Mot Tzu, Mozi, and Micius) was a Chinese philosopher of the Warring States period. He is best known as the founder of Mohism, a philosophical system which emphasized universal love as the meaning of life and the solution to all conflict. Mo Ti strongly disagreed with Confucius and his legalistic system and maintained that... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 December 2012
Yang Zhu (440-360 BCE, also known as Yang Chou or Yang Chu) was a hedonist philosopher who lived and wrote during The Warring States Period in China. Little is known of his life but his work survived through the writings of the Confucian philosopher Mencius and others who condemned his ideas (as well as those of Mo Ti) as subversive and dangerous. In summarizing... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 December 2012
Shi Huangti (259-210 BCE, also known as Qin Shi Huang, Qin Shih Huandi, Shih Huan-ti) was the first emperor of a unified China. The name `Shi Huangti’ means `First Emperor’ and is a title, not a proper name. The Qin Dynasty he founded (pronounced `Chin’) gave its name to China and it was he who first initiated the building of the Great... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 December 2012
The Battle of Gaixia (202 BCE, also known as Kai-Hsia) was the decisive engagement of the Chu-Han Contention (206-202 BCE) at which Liu-Bang, King of Han, defeated King Xiang-Yu of Chu to found the Han Dynasty. After the death of Shi Huangti, the first emperor of a united China, his son Qin Er Shi took the throne and ruled so poorly that the country erupted... [continue reading]
by
published on 04 January 2013
Sun Tzu is known as a Chinese military strategist, Taoist philosopher, and general in the 6th century BCE who is widely recognized for his work The Art of War, a treatise on military strategy (also known as The Thirteen Chapters). Whether an individual by the name of `Sun-Tzu’ existed at all has been disputed (in the same way scholars and historians... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 February 2014
In 2009, film director Alejandro Amenabar brought the story of Hypatia of Alexandria (c. 370-415 CE) to the screen through the feature film Agora. Prior to the film’s release, and more so following, Christian writers criticized the movie’s historical inaccuracies and its depiction of Christians specifically. On his weblog, one John Sanidopoulos... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 February 2014
The Queen of the Night (also known as the `Burney Relief’) is a high relief terracotta plaque of baked clay, measuring 19.4 inches (49.5 cm) high, 14.5 inches (37 cm) wide, with a thickness of 1.8 inches (4.8 cm) depicting a naked winged woman flanked by owls and standing on the backs of two lions. It originated in southern Mesopotamia (modern day... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 March 2014
Artemisia of Caria (also known as Artemisia I) was the queen of the Anatolian region of Caria (north of ancient Lydia, in modern-day Turkey). She is most famous for her role in the naval Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE in which she fought for the Persians and distinguished herself both for her conduct in battle and for the advice she gave the Persian... [continue reading]
by
published on 21 March 2014
The Popol Vuh is the story of creation according to the Quiche Maya of the region known today as Guatemala. Translated as `The Council Book', The Book of the People' or, literally, `The Book of the Mat', the work has been referred to as "The Mayan Bible" although this comparison is imprecise. The Popol Vuh is not regarded by the Maya... [continue reading]
by
published on 27 March 2014
Yax K'uk Mo' (pronounced `Yash Kook Mo') was the founder and first king of the dynasty that ruled the Maya city of Copan (in modern day Honduras) for 350 years. Known formally by his royal name, K'inich Yax K'uk Mo', he reigned for eleven years from 426-437 CE. His name is translated as `Radiant First Quetzal Macaw' or `Sun-Eyed... [continue reading]
by
published on 28 March 2014
K'inich Janaab' Pacal (23 March 603 CE - 31 March 683 CE) was the Maya king of Palenque in the modern-day State of Chiapas, Mexico. Also known as Pacal (which means 'shield') and Pacal the Great, he is most famous for raising the city of Palenque (known as B'aakal) from relative obscurity to a great power, his building projects... [continue reading]
by
published on 01 April 2014
Tutankhamun (also known as Tutankhamen and `King Tut') is the most famous and instantly recognizable Pharaoh in the modern world. His golden sarcophagus is now a symbol almost synonymous with Egypt. His name means `living image of [the god] Amun’. He was born in the year 11 of the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (better known as Akhenaten... [continue reading]
by
published on 03 April 2014
Ankhsenamun (born c. 1350 BCE and known as Ankhesenpaaten in youth) was the daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. She was married to her father and may have borne him one daughter, Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit (`Ankhesenpaaten the Younger'), before she was thirteen years old. While still a young girl, and possibly already married... [continue reading]
by
published on 10 April 2014
Once upon a time, in the land known as Sumer, the people built a temple to their god who had conquered the forces of chaos and brought order to the world. They built this temple at a place called Eridu, which was “one of the most southerly sites, at the very edge of the alluvial river plain and close to the marshes: the transitional zone between... [continue reading]
by
published on 14 April 2014
Nefertiti (c. 1370 - c. 1336 BCE) was the wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. Her name means, `the beautiful one has come’ and, because of the world-famous bust created by the sculptor Thutmose (discovered in 1912 CE), she is the most recognizable queen of ancient Egypt. She grew up in the royal palace at Thebes, probably the daughter... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 April 2014
Daily life in ancient Mesopotamia cannot be described in the same way one would describe life in ancient Rome or Greece. Mesopotamia was never a single, unified civilization, not even under the Akkadian Empire of Sargon the Great.  Generally speaking, though, from the rise of the cities in c. 4500 BCE to the downfall of Sumer in 1750 BCE, the people... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 April 2014
Akhenaten (r. 1353-1336 BCE) was a pharaoh of Egypt of the 18th Dynasty. He is also known as `Akhenaton’ or `Ikhnaton’ and also `Khuenaten’, all of which are translated to mean `successful for’ or `of great use to’ the god Aten. Akhenaten chose this name for himself after his conversion to the cult of Aten. Prior to this conversion... [continue reading]
by
published on 22 April 2014
Horemheb (reigned 1320-1292 BCE) was the last pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. He is also known as Dejserkheprure and Horemhab. His name means, “Horus is in Festival” and he came from the lower classes of Egypt, worked himself up through the ranks of the army, became commander-in-chief of the Egyptian military, and finally pharaoh. Little... [continue reading]
by
published on 16 May 2014
Medical texts from ancient Mesopotamia provide prescriptions and practices for curing all manner of ailments, wounds, and diseases. There was one malady, however, which had no cure: passionate love. From a medical text found in Ashurbanipal’s library at Nineveh comes this passage: When the patient is continually clearing his throat; is often... [continue reading]
by
published on 20 May 2014
Suppiluliuma I (1344-1322 BCE) is considered the most powerful and impressive king of the Hittite Empire. He was the son of Tudhaliya II (also known as Tudhaliya III) and is credited with founding the New Kingdom of the Hittites (also called the Hittite Empire). His dates are disputed owing to the manner in which the Hittites recorded their... [continue reading]
by
published on 21 May 2014
In ancient Mesopotamia the gods infused every aspect of daily life and this, of course, extended to health care. The goddess Gula (also known as Ninkarrak and Ninisinna) presided over health and healing aided by her husband Pabilsag (who was also a divine judge) and her sons Damu and Ninazu and daughter Gunurra. Gula was the primary deity of healing and health... [continue reading]
by
published on 07 August 2014
Naram-Sin (reigned 2261-2224 BCE) was the last great king of the Akkadian Empire and grandson of Sargon the Great (reigned 2334-2279 BCE) who founded the empire. He is considered the most important Akkadian king after Sargon (or, according to some, even ahead of him) and, along with his grandfather, became a near-mythical figure in Mesopotamian legend and story... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 June 2014
Shulgi of Ur (2029-1982 BCE) is considered the greatest king of the Ur III Period in Mesopotamia (2047-1750 BCE). His father was Ur-Nammu, who founded the Third Dynasty of Ur and helped to defeat the occupying forces of the Gutians, and his mother was a daughter of King Utu-Hegel of Uruk (her name is not known) who first led the uprising against... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 June 2014
Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BCE) was among the most powerful kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and, according to many scholars, the founder of the empire (as opposed to the claims for Adad Nirari II (912-891 BCE) or Ashurnasirpal II (884-859 BCE) as founder). His birth name was Pulu (or Pul, as he is called in the biblical books of I Kings and... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 June 2014
Adad Nirari I (reigned 1307-1275 BCE) was the king of the Assyrian Empire who initiated the first major expansion of the Assyrian kingdom from the city of Ashur throughout the region of Mesopotamia. He also instituted what would become standard Assyrian procedure: relocating large segments of the population in conquered regions. Adad Nirari I ruled during... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 June 2014
Tiglath Pileser I (reigned 1115-1076 BCE), an Assyrian king of the period known as the Middle Empire, revitalized the economy and the military that had been suffering, more or less, since the death of the king Tukulti Ninurta I (1244-1208 BCE). The old kings like Adad-Nirari I, Shalmaneser I, and Tukulti-Ninurta I had expanded the empire out from... [continue reading]
by
published on 25 June 2014
Tukulti-Ninurta I (reigned 1244-1208 BCE) was a king of the Assyrian Empire during the period known as the Middle Empire. He was the son of Shalmaneser I (reigned 1274-1245 BCE) who had completed the work of his father, Adad Nirari I, in conquering and securing the lands that had once been the Kingdom of Mitanni. Tukulti-Ninurta I, therefore, inherited... [continue reading]
by
published on 30 June 2014
Ashur (also known as Assur) was an Assyrian city located on a plateau above the Tigris River in Mesopotamia (today known as Qalat Sherqat, northern Iraq). The city was an important center of trade, as it lay squarely on a caravan trade route that ran through Mesopotamia to Anatolia and down through the Levant. It was founded c. 1900 BCE on the site of a pre-existing... [continue reading]
by
published on 30 June 2014
The Neo-Assyrian Empire (934-610 BCE or 912-612 BCE) was, according to many historians, the first true empire in the world. The Assyrians had expanded their territory from the city of Ashur over the centuries, and their fortunes rose and fell with successive rulers and circumstances in the Near East. Beginning with the reign of Adad Nirari II (912-891... [continue reading]
by
published on 03 July 2014
Sargon II (reigned 722-705 BCE) was one of the most important kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire as founder of the Sargonid Dynasty which would rule the empire for the next century until its fall. He was a great military leader, tactician, patron of the arts and culture, and a prolific builder of monuments, temples, and even a city. His greatest building project... [continue reading]
by
published on 05 July 2014
It is often when one is faced with the most difficult circumstances that one is given the greatest opportunity for clarity. History provides ample evidence of this experience in showing how, when faced with seemingly impossible situations, people found a way to see beyond their situation and prevail against it. These stories span centuries and civilizations... [continue reading]
by
published on 05 July 2014
Dur-Sharrukin (modern day Khorsabad, Iraq) was a city built by Sargon II of Assyria (reigned 722-705 BCE) as his new capital. The name means “Fortress of Sargon” and the building project became the king’s near obsession as soon as it was conceived. The city covered 1.11 square miles (1.78 kilometers) with a length of 5,770 feet (1,758.6... [continue reading]
by
published on 04 February 2014
In April of 2003, the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was looted of over fifteen thousand priceless artifacts. In only two days, from the 10th to the 12th of April, historical artifacts from ancient Sumerian cities like Uruk, Ur, and Eridu, as well as pieces from Babylon, the Akkadian Empire, and Nineveh, were lost or destroyed. The looters were native to the region... [continue reading]
by
published on 09 July 2012
The names of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are forever linked to the Maya and Mayan studies as the two great explorers who documented the ruins from Copan in the south to Chichen Itza in the north. The stories told by Stephens in his Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (1841) and Incidents of Travel in Yucatan (1843) complemented... [continue reading]
by
published on 04 February 2014
The Technology of Mesopotamia by Graham Faiella is a children's/young adult work detailing the inventions and innovations of the people of Mesopotamia. It is one title in the series The Technology of the Ancient World brought out by Rosen Central of the Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. Beginning with an introduction to the cradle of civilization, the... [continue reading]
by
published on 09 January 2013
The Egyptian Book of the Dead was known in ancient Egypt as `The Book of Coming Forth by Day' and contains spells and prayers to help the deceased in navigating the safest route to the afterlife in the Field of Reeds. Composed c. 1550 BCE, the work reflects the most deeply held beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and provides fascinating insight into the culture... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 December 2012
The Silk Road was a network of trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, which linked the regions of the ancient world in commerce. As the Silk Road was not a single thoroughfare from east to west, the term 'Silk Routes’ has become increasingly favored by historians, though 'Silk Road’ is the more common and recognized... [continue reading]
by
published on 09 January 2013
Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference To the Myths, Religions, Pyramed And Temples Of The Land Of the Pharaohs by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin is among the best books on ancient Egypt I have ever read. The prose is light and well written but very comprehensive in scope. The images which accompany the text are beautiful and well chosen. Probably the best aspect... [continue reading]
by
published on 26 December 2013
Elizabeth Scholl's work Ancient Mesopotamia is an excellent introduction to Mesopotamian civilization for children. Part of the How'd They Do That In...? Series, Scholl's book begins with a story of a young girl named Kammani going to visit the doctor in the ancient city of Ur. The story is fictional but the details presented are historically accuracte... [continue reading]
by
published on 09 January 2013
Dr. Salima Ikram's Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt is among the best works on the subject presently on the market. Dr. Ikram earned her Ph. D. in Egyptology and Museum Studies at Cambridge and yet her work breathes with a love of the subject matter and, refreshingly, lacks the academic jargon which mars so many otherwise fine books on this subject. ... [continue reading]
by
published on 11 December 2013
A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC by Marc Van De Mieroop is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the region of ancient Mesopotamia. His writing style is very accessible and the chapters are carefully constructed to provide a reader with a comprehensive understanding of the subject under consideration. Regarding the rise of the Neo-Assyrian... [continue reading]
by
published on 07 July 2012
The Maya of Mexico and Central America have continuously inhabited the lands comprising modern-day Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras.  The `Mysterious Maya’ have intrigued the world since their `discovery’ in the 1840's by John Lloyd Stephens... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 July 2012
The Popol Vuh is a religious text of the Maya people. Written down between 1701 and 1703 by the Spanish priest Francisco Ximenez, from much older source material, the book tells the story of the creation of the world, of human beings, and of the great adventures of the Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanche. Dennis Tedlock's translation has become the most popular... [continue reading]
by
published on 17 February 2014
Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up In A War is a fine re-telling of the ancient tale by Kathy Henderson with beautiful illustrations by Jane Ray. The fly leaf of the book states, "Older than the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran, the tale of Lugalbanda speaks to us in a startlingly fresh voice across nearly five thousand years of history" and this... [continue reading]
by
published on 01 March 2014
Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization, by Paul Kriwaczek, is a highly readable, engaging work which presents the history of Mesopotamia clearly and comprehensively. An essential addition to the library of anyone with a passion for Mesopotamian history, the book would also appeal to a reader interested in history in general and the development... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 July 2012
The Hidden Life of the Ancient Maya by Clare Gibson is a very comprehensive and easy to read volume which covers key aspects of the Maya Civilization. Beautiful photographs of Mayan art and architecture accompany the text which provides accurate and well researched information. Topics covered range from the Calendars and Cosmos section through the Gods... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 March 2014
The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction by Professor Amanda H. Podany is a concise, but very comprehensive, work on the history of Mesopotamia. Part of the Very Short Introduction series from Oxford University Press, the book is comprised of ten chapters which detail the history of the region from Archaeology and Environment (Chapter 1) through... [continue reading]
by
published on 21 June 2012
Kathleen Freeman was a writer who paid close attention to detail and was able to bring the past alive through her prose (as in her The Greek City States which is a personal favorite and highly recommended). In her Ancilla to Pre-Socratic Philosophers she brings this same care and quality of work. The fragments of the great Pre-Socratic philosophers are presented... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 March 2014
Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia by Professor Stephen Bertman is an indispensable treasure for anyone interested in the history of the Near East. The book is formatted for easy reference of topics ranging from the Geography of Mesopotamia (Chapter 1) through Religion and Myth (Chapter 4) to the Legacy of Mesopotamia (Chapter 13). Each chapter presents... [continue reading]
by
published on 12 March 2014
Herodotus: The Histories, translated by Robin Waterfield, is an excellent version of the famous work. As with all of Waterfield's translations, the prose is lively, easy to read, and instantly engaging. Some readers may be put off by a translation which chooses a colloquialism such as `a lot' instead of `a great deal of' or `a plethora of' but... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 June 2012
Mr. Robin Waterfield's Athens: From Ancient Ideal to Modern City is an excellent work. Whether one is a scholar of the ancient world or simply has an interest in Greek history, this book rewards one's time and effort. The history reads like a novel and the prose moves quickly without sacrificing the integrity of the subject matter. Any of Mr. Waterfield's... [continue reading]
by
published on 19 June 2012
Originally a small town on the banks of the Tiber River, Rome grew in size and strength through trade. The location of the city provided merchants with an easily navigable waterway on which to traffic their goods. Greek culture and civilization, which came to Rome via Greek colonies to the south, provided the early Romans with a model on which to build their... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 July 2014
The kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire have long been considered some of the most ruthless monarchs in ancient history. However, at the same time they were sacking cities and slaughtering those who rebelled against them or resisted conquest, they often pursued gentler interests. Sennacherib (reigned 705-681 BCE) enjoyed gardening and loved flowers. His son, Esarhaddon... [continue reading]
by
published on 22 July 2014
The Sargonid Dynasty was the last ruling house of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 722-612 BCE. It began with the reign of Sargon II (reigned 722-705 BCE) and ended with fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 612 BCE. Some of the most famous kings in the history of Assyria come from this dynasty, and the period in which they ruled is considered the high point... [continue reading]
by
published on 23 July 2014
Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek hero Herakles, the most popular figure from ancient Greek mythology. Hercules was the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus, who was always chasing one woman or another, took on the form of Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, and visited Alcmene one night in her bed, and so Hercules was... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 July 2014
Deianira was the second wife of the Greek hero and demi-god Herakles (better known as Hercules, son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene). She was the daughter of King Oeneus and Queen Althaea of Calydon. During the time of Hercules' famous Twelve Labors, he had taken a kind of side-adventure to sail with Jason and the Argonauts and, on this trip... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 July 2014
Megara was the first wife of the Greek hero Herakles (better known as Hercules). She was the daughter of King Creon of Thebes who gave her in marriage to Hercules in gratitude for his help in winning back Creon's kingdom from the Minyans. Megara's story is best known through the work of the Greek playwright Euripides (480-406 BCE... [continue reading]
by
published on 24 July 2014
Alcestis was the mythical queen of Thessaly, wife of King Admetus, who came to personify the devoted, selfless, woman and wife in ancient Greece. While the story of Admetus' courtship of Alcestis was widely told, she is best known for her devotion to her husband in taking his place in death and her return to life through the intervention of the hero Herakles... [continue reading]
by
published on 25 July 2014
The Shield of Heracles (also known as The Shield of Herakles and, in the original, Aspis Herakleous) is a poem of 480 hexameter lines written by an unknown Greek poet in the style of Hesiod (lived 8th century BCE). It deals with the Greek hero Heracles (also known as Hercules) and his nephew Iolaus and their battle with Cycnus, son of the war-god Ares... [continue reading]
by
published on 25 July 2014
The Shield of Heracles (also known as The Shield of Herakles, Aspis Herakleous) is a poem of 480 hexameter lines written by an unknown Greek poet in the style of Hesiod (lived 8th century BCE). It deals with the Greek hero Herakles (also known as Hercules) and his nephew Iolaus and their battle with Cycnus, son of the war-god Ares. It is unclear... [continue reading]
by
published on 26 July 2014
For the ancient Greeks, the quality of arete (personal excellence) and the concept of eusebia (social duty) were most important. Aristotle discusses both of these at length in his Nichomachean Ethics and relates arete to eudaimonia - translated as "happiness" but actually meaning "to be possessed of a good spirit". To have arete, Aristotle... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 August 2014
Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404-323 BCE) was a Greek Cynic philosopher best known for holding a lantern (or candle) to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was searching for an honest man. He was most likely a student of the philosopher Antisthenes (445-365 BCE) and, in the words of Plato (allegedly), was “A Socrates gone mad.&rdquo... [continue reading]
by
published on 02 August 2014
Crates of Thebes ( c. 360-280 BCE) was one of the most important Cynic philosophers of ancient Greece. He was born to a wealthy family in Thebes but gave away his inheritance after realizing the futility of material possessions. He then moved to Athens where he studied philosophy with Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404-323 BCE). Like Diogenes, Crates lived... [continue reading]
by
published on 03 August 2014
Kalhu (also known as Caleh, Calah, and Nimrud, in modern-day northern Iraq) was a city in ancient Mesopotamia that became the capital of the Assyrian Empire under Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 884-859 BCE) who moved the central government there from the traditional capital of Ashur. The city existed as an important trade center from at least the 1st millennium BCE... [continue reading]
by
published on 06 August 2014
Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404-323 BCE) was a Greek Cynic philosopher best known for holding a lantern to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was searching for an honest man. He was most likely a student of the philosopher Antisthenes (445-365 BCE) and, in the words of Plato (allegedly), was “A Socrates gone mad.” He was driven into exile... [continue reading]
by
published on 07 August 2014
Gorgo was the queen of the Greek city-state of Sparta, daughter of the king Cleomenes (reigned 520-490 BCE), wife of King Leonidas (reigned 490-480 BCE), and mother of King Pleistarchus (reigned 480-458 BCE). Her birth and death dates are unknown but it is generally believed, based on inferences from Herodotus, that she was born in either 518 or 508... [continue reading]
by
published on 08 August 2014
Crates of Thebes (c. 360-280 BCE) was one of the most important Cynic philosophers of ancient Greece. He was born to a wealthy family in Thebes but gave away his inheritance after realizing the futility of material possessions and the shallow values espoused by society. After renouncing his personal wealth, he moved to Athens where he studied philosophy... [continue reading]
by
published on 08 August 2014
The Curse of Agade is a story dated to the Ur III Period of Mesopotamia (2047-1750 BCE) though thought to be somewhat older in origin. It tells the story of the Akkadian king Naram-Sin (reigned 2261-2224 BCE) and his confrontation with the gods, particularly the god Enlil. Naram-Sin is considered the most important ruler of the Akkadian Empire after its founder... [continue reading]
by
published on 11 August 2014
Zeno of Citium (c. 336 – 265 BCE) was the founder of the Stoic School of philosophy in Athens, which taught that the Logos (Universal Reason) was the greatest good in life and living in accordance with reason was the meaning of life. He was born in the Phonecian-Greek city of Citium on Cyprus in the same year that Alexander the Great ascended to... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 August 2014
In the 19th century CE, archaeologists descended on the region of Mesopotamia seeking physical evidence which would corroborate the biblical narratives of the Old Testament. While this may not have been initially their driving purpose, their need for funding (based on public interest to justify such funding) soon made it so. When the archaeologist Austen... [continue reading]
by
published on 13 August 2014
Antisthenes of Athens (c. 445-365 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who founded the Cynic School. 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... [continue reading]
by
published on 15 August 2014
Mesopotamian Naru Literature was a literary genre, first appearing around the 2nd millennium BCE, which featured a famous person (usually a king) from history as the main character in a story that most often concerned humanity's relationship with the gods. These stories became very popular and, in time, seem to have replaced the actual historical... [continue reading]
by
published on 16 August 2014
Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-356 BCE) was a hedonistic Greek philosopher who was one of Socrates' students along with other pupils such as Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, and Phaedo. He was the first of Socrates' students to charge a fee for teaching and, since Socrates had charged nothing, this, and the accusation he had betrayed Socrates'... [continue reading]
by
published on 18 August 2014
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]
by
published on 20 August 2014
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]