Ancient history was from the beginning of recorded history (c. 4000 B.C.) until the fall of the Roman Empire (c. A.D. 500).

learn more… | top users | synonyms

4
votes
1answer
265 views

Archers laying on their back, was it real?

I have seen a movie the Hero from 2002. I know the movie has a lot of artistic scenes, and less to do with reality. In a scene many of chinese archers laid on the ground and used a big composite ...
8
votes
0answers
132 views

What were the thoughts of the Celts, Romans and other ancient European people about the standing stones which survive from prehistoric times?

All over Europe, there are monuments of stone such as stonehenge, although many are not so grand as stonehenge is. Contra Asterix, the Celts didn't carve out menhirs and things like that. The stones ...
5
votes
4answers
308 views

What happened to all the notable Roman families?

What happened to the numerous (patrician) families of Rome? Like the Gens Julia for example. There are no ancestors today leading back to them like for example the famous Medici family from ...
14
votes
4answers
452 views

What would be accurate illustrations of vikings and viking culture?

Vikings didn't have horned helmets as is often depicted. Where can I find accurate representations how vikings and viking society looked?
23
votes
9answers
6k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
9
votes
4answers
315 views

Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
12
votes
5answers
642 views

Did anyone in ancient times want to abolish slavery?

Did anyone in ancient times (let's say, up to 500 AD) want to abolish slavery, or even acknowledge the possibility that society could somehow work without it? I remember hearing once that Aristotle ...
8
votes
1answer
285 views

Did a forged seal ever seriously compromise a political or military operation?

Wax and clay seals have always struck me as a rather imperfect security mechanism. Better than nothing, of course, but imperfect. So I was interested to learn that Los Alamos National Laboratory's ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Oldest Exercising Equipments

What is the oldest exsistence of physical exercising equipments found in world, through literary evidences or archaeological excavations?
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Who were the pre-Celtic inhabitants of Western Europe?

I've heard it said that the Basque are conjectured to be the last remnant of Pre-Celtic Western Europe. When would have these people existed? What evidence do we have for their culture and habitation ...
42
votes
5answers
1k views

How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's “Guns, Germs, and Steel”?

Jared Diamond wrote a fascinating book that purports to explain, in a very broad way, the development of civilization. It has several explanations for the development of Eurasian civilization rather ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Historical use of alcohol as a source of clean water

I've heard that there were two common methods to disinfecting water in the past: boiling water or turning it into alcohol. Presumably, those in the East relied on boiling water, while those in the ...
-2
votes
2answers
153 views

Searching for a very powerful Indian sword [closed]

This question is about history of India. I have heard that a gentleman of Indian origin living in London did research on Indian history for 16 years and then he wrote a book, in his book he mentions ...
5
votes
2answers
360 views

Was Alexander the Great ever an emperor?

Why is it that in the many biographies of Alexander the Great, the lands where he ruled over is his "empire", but he is only a "king of Macedon"? Was he ever recognized in or after his time as an ...
2
votes
0answers
65 views

Is there any information about Soshandukht or her father?

This is mentioned on Wiki's page about the Sassanid dynasty Yazdegerd I's successor was his son Bahram V (421–438), one of the most well-known Sassanid kings and the hero of many myths. Bahram V's ...
6
votes
3answers
276 views

Before the use of Anno Domini dating (BCE/CE), how were years numbered?

Currently we use Anno Domini (A.D.) year numbering, sometimes secularized as "BCE" (Before Common Era) or "CE" (Common Era). What was the prevailing method of dating years in Western culture before ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Was Angkor wat built on top of water?

I was watching a National Geographic Documentary. In that, it said that Angkor Wat was built on top of water. It was also told that it used to be an ancient observatory. Is this true? I searched all ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it true that Proto-Ukrainians conquered Europe and India?

I am Ukrainian high school student. And recently we have been told by a teacher that Proto-Ukrainians, the people who lived in the modern territory of Ukraine and ancestors of modern Ukrainians once ...
52
votes
3answers
4k views

How did people distinguish slaves from free people in Ancient Rome?

I've tried to find some information about it, but failed. Somehow it doesn't seem to be important enough to write about it. Let's say there is an educated slave living in a relatively rich household ...
10
votes
1answer
412 views

Instances of Jauhar around the world

Are there any evidence that the practice similar to Jauhar existed in places other than India too? It seems like a pretty effective way, however brutal it may be, to escape slavery, rapes and ...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Does the forearm grip/handshake have a historical basis?

I was wondering where the forearm handshake came from. I found absolutely nothing in wikipedia, so I have no idea if this is really historically based or just a recent popular greeting. I was led to ...
7
votes
1answer
239 views

What are the earliest examples in history where one state/people stepped in to rescue another?

I started wondering about this after watching yet another World War II movie where the European people are freed by Mother Russia and Uncle Sam and also helped in their recovery. What are the ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome after the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal Barca defeated 8 Roman legions in the Battle of Cannae. At that time Carthage also had control over Hispania. Why did Hannibal not seize Rome at that time?
15
votes
5answers
3k views

How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn ...
23
votes
10answers
12k views

Why is Dravidian history ignored?

Whenever I read an article on ancient Indian history, I see people only writing about the Indus valley civilization and the Aryans. But what about Dravidians? Didn't they exist even before the Aryans ...
6
votes
3answers
223 views

Oldest appearance of “brand names” in history?

I was watching a documentary about the Ulfberht swords from Scandinavia, and one thing caught my attention: it mentioned that these swords were made over a range of time and location that was broad ...
4
votes
1answer
170 views

When did waving become a part of human interaction?

When did waving to others to say hello or goodbye first enter the historical record as part of a culturally accepted form of human interaction?
0
votes
1answer
64 views

When was the term “Dravida” first used and what is the context with which it was presented? [closed]

The term Dravida has been found in many contexts across language, people, architecture, politics, culture etc. While I find various material in various contexts, I am not able to find out the answer ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views
26
votes
4answers
9k views

Do Real Roman and Greek warriors have big muscles and six-pack abs like in the movie?

When watching movies like Spartacus (2004), Gladiator (2000), etc, I often see Roman or Greek warriors have a lot of big muscles and six-pack abs. What about real Roman and Greek warriors in real ...
7
votes
2answers
196 views

Did King Porus's men use snake poison against Alexander's troops?

This claim comes from about.com. It references this source which doesn't claim that Porus specifically did it, merely that such a practice was common. It also cites Adrienne Mayor who claims that ...
44
votes
9answers
2k views

History of scientific regression

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a civilization that never believed in God in the ancient times?

I'm not obviously talking about small groups or individuals but about an actual civilization that never believed about the existence of a supreme essence. Is atheism just a modern concept?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How were fortification doors protected against fire?

Ancient and medieval fortifications are often shown to have wooden gate doors in the midst of their stone walls. Now granted, these doors are often massive and incredibly thick, but it still seems ...
4
votes
3answers
342 views

Was Jesus depicted as dark skinned during the beginning of christianity

I have seen depictions of Jesus classified under "early christian art" and in the earliest depictions of Jesus he was of a much darker skin tone and I also seen the early "black madonnas" (the dark ...
2
votes
0answers
47 views
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and the Science [closed]

For someone who is born in India, some of the few mythological stories we watch on tv/hear from our grandparents are Ramayana, excerpts from Mahabharata or other Vedic stories of gods, the vedic way ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the oldest road in the world that has been in continuous use?

My suspicions are that a road in Rome, Italy, likely has a strong claim, or perhaps a road in Egypt. It just needs to be a road that has been in continuous use for traffic, whether it was some form of ...
8
votes
1answer
359 views

Did Hannibal start the Second Punic War prematurely?

IN 221 BC, Hamilcar, Hannibal's father, made a peace with Rome that divided Spain north and south between Rome and Carthage. The latter got the larger "piece," the area shaded in green on the map ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Was Alexander the Great Greek or Macedonian?

This question has been confusing me for a while. Was Alexander the Great Greek or Macedonian? He was born in Pella, Macedonia, but is he considered Greek? Did nationality and ethnicity mean different ...
2
votes
2answers
303 views

How could a chariot work against a phalanx?

During Battle of Gaugamela Darius now launched his chariots at those troops under Alexander's personal command... Those chariots who made it through the barrage of javelins charged the ...
21
votes
9answers
7k views

Which religion was the first monotheistic one?

Which religion was the first monotheistic one? Was it judaism or a religion which disappeared from practice?
0
votes
1answer
423 views

Were the ancient Israelites of a darker skin tone? [closed]

I have seen ancient depictions of the ancient Israelites and their features were different than I expected. Linguistic experts have stated that Hebrew is one of the early Asiatic-African languages. ...
7
votes
3answers
290 views

When did hanging emerge as a form of capital punishment?

As the title has it: when did hanging emerge as a form of legal execution? The Wikipedia article (linked) has nothing to say about this. I've done the best I can with a search in Google Scholar, but ...
17
votes
3answers
591 views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
7
votes
2answers
584 views

Was the Minoan civilization warlike?

Generally, is believed that the Minoan civilization on Crete was peaceful and their culture was more like a culture of peace than a culture of war. But I've read an article lately that suggests that ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

Why did Nebuchadnezzar keep King Jeconiah alive?

When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem he appointed Zedekiah as his puppet-king and took King Jeconiah and his sons home with him. For what reasons would the king of a large empire of antiquity, ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

Why didn't Hercules bring his family back from the underworld [closed]

My question is, "is there any story or body of work that explains why Hercules does not bring his own family (i.e. his wife Megara and kids) back from the dead, considering he is capable of doing so? ...
6
votes
2answers
240 views

Individual mobility in Greco-Roman world

As we know, the Greeks and later also the Romans built street networks to connect their settlements to each other. For me, this fact raised an issue: How did the Greeks and Romans move between their ...