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

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Monotheism/Atheism in Polytheistic societies

I would like to know if there are any documents telling us how common (or if it even existed) among people in polytheistic societies (like ancient Greece, Rome, etc.) it was to believe that there is ...
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1answer
48 views

To what extent the Jewish theatre of the late Antiquity resembled the Greek one?

Sometime ago I had watched the film Agora by Alejandro Amenábar Although the film's idea is impressing, it stroke me with some suspicious historical details. For example, the Christian monks are ...
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1answer
249 views

Ancient Civilization in non-Egyption Africa? [closed]

I am looking for ancient civilizations in central and south of Africa. Were there any ancient cities, such as Timbuktu, Benin, or Zimbabwe for which there are scientific tools or other artifacts ...
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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?
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3answers
858 views

Who invented the first flag?

An answer on this site claims that the first flags were heraldic flags used in battles. But when was this, and for which nations?
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1k views

Did the Celts really go into battle naked?

Yes, this of-repeated tale was reported by the Romans all the time, but it sounds a lot like rumor. Stuff the victors write about their former enemies, "they were so stupid, they went into battle ...
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1answer
810 views

Did the Romans “copy” their political system from the Greeks?

This is an outgrowth of the discussion here. My sense is that the Romans developed their system autochthonously, probably with some influence from their Etruscan neigbours and one-time-overlords. ...
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3answers
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Why the Romans were unable to conquer Germania?

Emperor Augustus ordered his army to subdue the Germanic tribes in what is modern Germany. This was promptly achieved and by 6 AD the Romans controlled Germany up to the river Elba. The Romans were ...
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Was there human sacrifice in ancient Crete?

Excavations on the hill of Kydonia, near Chania in Crete, where the third largest palace of the Minoan civilization was, revealed a small area fenced by rocks in the yard, with many animal bones and ...
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1answer
744 views

What is the state of the art historical analysis of claims that Carthaginians discovered America?

The Carthaginians, and the Phoenicians in general, are renowned for their seafaring abilities. There is evidence for their circumnavigation of Africa, and strong evidence for the fact that Hanno the ...
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3answers
295 views

Historical/legendary/mythological accounts that turned out to be true

Reading Herodotus' Histories, one is often baffled by passages like (3.102): {102} [...] Indians [..., of the North] make expeditions for the gold. For in the parts where they live it is desert on ...
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1answer
545 views

Who first wrote about deafness?

Aristotle referred to the sense of hearing in his work "The Problems". He correlated hearing with the capacity of learning, he believed that the sense of hearing was the most important in order to ...
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4answers
341 views

How did ancient armies keep the route of supplies to their battlefield?

How did ancient armies like the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, or even in later times, the Arabs and Mongols keep the route of supplies going to support their armies marching through the vast ...
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4answers
4k views

Was Alexander the Great Greek or Macedonian?

This questions 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? Do nationality and ethnicity mean different ...
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3answers
321 views

Which Babylonian tablets contains the list of squares and cubes?

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive writes Two tablets found at Senkerah on the Euphrates in 1854 date from 2000 BC. They give squares of the numbers up to 59 and cubes of the numbers up ...
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1answer
174 views

How big were the biggest elections during the ancient era?

According to this question - Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?, elections in the ancient era were mostly conducted in city-states, due to feasibility, logistical ...
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1answer
459 views

How many hours per day did a Sumerian farmer sleep?

I wonder about the life-styles of the inhabitants of ancient civilizations. As a particular case, if we consider the era of Sumer, what are the significant diversities compared to rural life today?
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1answer
733 views

How were war elephants used against cavalry?

In this question: How do war elephants fight? it was mentioned that horses tend to dislike elephants, so it is effective against cavalry. How does this work in practice? I don't imagine it would be a ...
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1answer
151 views

Legendary visits by Alexander the Great

There is a story about Alexander the Great visiting Jerusalem. This story is not supported by other sources, as far as I know, and so is probably not literally true (it may well reflect some ...
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6answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
226 views

Changing troops in first line during battle

I remember Caesar in De Bello Gallico mentioning Romans changing fighting/resting troops in some siege defense while Celtic attackers didn't do this and lost the battle because of it. This is just one ...
8
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2answers
608 views

What are the problems archaeologists face in deciphering Indus Valley writing?

From this link on Indus Valley writing, I came to know that: The first Indian script, developed in the Indus Valley around 2600 B.C. is still undeciphered. Thus, it is still not possible to fully ...
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2answers
636 views

What was the ancient Jewish pantheon?

I have read that before the invention of monotheism, the Jews worshipped multiple gods of which traces remain in various texts. So I wonder whether it is possible to reconstruct it and what the gods ...
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2answers
108 views

What were the origins of democracy?

I realize that many people say that Athens is where democracy started, but is there any solid proof that it was the first? On Wikipedia, it is stated that: there is evidence to suggest that ...
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1answer
161 views

Chart of total gold in possession of humans

Where can I find an approximate chart of total mass of metallic gold in possession of humans by centuries starting with Neolithic? I also would like to see this detailed by civilization/culture.
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2answers
254 views

When were the different stories of Hindu gods written?

I'm a Hindu by religion. And I really respect my religion like I respect others. But from my childhood, I'm listening a lot of stories about Hindu Gods and Goddess which are interrelated to each ...
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3answers
611 views

Are the Ramayana and Mahabharatha exaggerated stories or pure fiction?

I would like to know the opinion of historians on the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. I can accept that they are excessively exaggerated and glorify people as Gods, but are they totally fiction? Do we ...
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2answers
132 views

Is there any history magazine like “Foreign Policy” for politics? [closed]

I'm a college student. I'd like to read a history magazine (online preferred) that relates to History in the same way that "Foreign Policy" relates to Politics or "The Economist" relates to Economics. ...
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1answer
149 views

Is there a known society without cult of love?

Was there ever a society in which sex was viewed either as a functional necessity, duty before the gods or pleasure without any admiration of love?
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2answers
250 views

Army formation: veterans at the first line

I am trying to understand the early roman legion deployment. I can see some advantages to putting the inexperienced warriors at the first line and the veterans at the last. But have there been ...
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2answers
195 views

History of the Levant and Israel - 2000 BCE to the bronze age collapse - where to find info?

Where can I find information about the period 2000 BCE - 1300 BCE in the Levant with focus on Caanites and (possibly) proto-Hebrews? Period from the very beginning of the tribal organization of what ...
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1answer
846 views

Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and the Science

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 ...
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1answer
238 views

Cannabis in ancient Vedic Soma, are there any sound historical proofs?

Michael Wood says in his documentary The Story of India first episode: Soma is still used as a medicine in Central Asia. The active element in the plant is ephedrine, and the effect that it has, ...
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878 views

What was the legal framework in Ancient India?

We all know the immense contribution ancient Roman, medieval Roman (or Byzantine), and pre-modern HRE cannon law has made to the modern world. These empires relied on a written constitution (or code) ...
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345 views

How far into the past was significance ascribed to the Golden Ratio?

I think everyone knows about the golden ratio or the divine proportion (I got to know more about it after reading the wikipedia article on it). It's present everywhere in nature and also in the human ...
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1answer
271 views

Literacy in the classical world

How literate was the ancient world? I'm particularly interested in the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians in, say, the first few centuries BC. It's hard to find authors willing to give an explicit number, ...
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2answers
389 views

Early history of prime numbers

Prime numbers are those whole numbers greater than 1 which cannot be written as a product of numbers greater than 1. I'm curious about their very early history, say 200 BC and earlier. What I know: ...
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1answer
163 views

Did the Carthaginians have the option of sending Hannibal to Sicily?

Sicily was a major focus of the First and Second Punic Wars. The first Punic war ended with Carthage handing over major grain-growing areas on the island, and the port of Lilybaem to Rome as spoils of ...
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1answer
131 views

Are there any existing foreign language teaching texts from the Ancient Near East?

The various cultures of the Ancient Near East spoke a wide array of languages and we know that there was plenty of communication between cultures. We even have a language like Akkadian that served as ...
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1answer
397 views

What is the history of standing armies in India?

Specifically, the points I am looking answers to are: 1) What is the first recorded instance of a standing army in the Indian subcontinent. 2) When did it become a general practice to have standing ...
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2answers
3k views

Who is the earliest recorded person?

Who is the earliest person recorded in history? Whose fame has survived the greatest amount of time to come down to us today?
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1answer
249 views

Who is the most ancient Indo-European who is known by name?

Who is the most ancient historical Indo-European who is known by name? In other words, is it Pythonos, king of Kussara (17th century BC) or are there more ancient figures?
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1answer
192 views

Did the Latins see the Etruscans as a plague?

I've read that Latins considered the Etruscans as a plague. However, it seems that the Etruscans (being peaceful merchants) were more civilized and educated than the Latins.
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2answers
203 views

Animal “blood lust”

I remember reading in some older books about ancient combat that animals would sometimes get "into the fight" so to speak. For lack of a better term, this was evidenced by horses actually attacking ...
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2answers
890 views

Was lighter or darker skin pigment valued higher in ancient Greek civilization?

Did the ancient Greeks higher value lighter skin and hair, as do modern Indians?
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1answer
153 views

What city is 2000 years old?

In his 1988 song "The Star Called Sun" Viktor Tsoi sings about a city that is 2000 years old. His fans for a long time speculated which city he could mean. So it is interesting what cities were ...
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3answers
3k views

What was the first known war in history?

Not the first instance of warfare, which surely predates recorded history, but of an organized war between civilizations. For the purposes of this question I'll define a war as: Defined scope: the ...
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2answers
208 views

How Was Roman Military Equipment Created and Distributed

When discussing the logistics of Roman armies, I usually see consumables and seigework discussed the most. However, I've been wondering about how the arms, armor, and tools were created and ...
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2answers
1k views

How often did city-destroying floods happen in Mesopotamia?

I keep seeing Mesopotamia described as a floodplain, and I'm finding inklings of evidence that some cities in ancient Mesopotamia were actually destroyed by floods. But how common of an occurrence ...
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Was early Sumerian civilization wiped out by a flood?

Sumerian texts speak of a worldwide flood that wiped out most of mankind's achievements on earth. I had always suspected such a flood -- even if only covering all of Sumer -- was mythical, but then I ...