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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Resources on the History of African Civilization

I was wondering if anyone might be aware of any good resources on the history and development of African civilizations? I will of course be seeking council from the Most Wise and Great God Google, ...
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How did melee soldiers in the front rank of a formation fight without getting tired?

The Romans used a system of rotating out the front rank through a shield push. But how did other soldiers, for example the Greek Hoplites, fight in battles which often lasted hours without getting ...
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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 ...
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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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Has anyone scanned ancient structures with x-rays or similar? And if so, were any major discoveries made by doing so?

Inspired by curious' question; I now have my own: Has anyone actually* scanned the pyramids or similar ancient structures with x-rays, gamma-rays, muons, ultrasound, thermal diffusion, gravity waves ...
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183 views

How did early farmer societies “know” about protein contents of peas and lentils?

According to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (pp 125-126), the domestication of local grains (e.g. wheat, barley) and pulses (e.g. peas, lentils) lauched food production (farming) societies in ...
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361 views

How to validate a historical source

You can learn and understand history various ways such as learning in a university, reading books, being taught by someone with a background in history, watching TV, browsing the internet, or, in my ...
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300 views

How could ancient people determine the winter solstice was occurring?

How could astronomers in the ancient world determine that the winter solstice was occurring? According to whoever edited the Wikipedia article on the winter solstice, it's too hard for modern ...
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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 ...
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351 views

What is the most widely accepted theory on the ancient “Sea Peoples”?

There are many theories as to who they are the wiki has SIX. What is the most widely accepted theory on who the ancient Sea Peoples are?
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229 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 ...
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108 views

Are the following 5 tenets of historical record examination considered complete today?

In his lectures recorded in the book Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records, p. 39, (https://archive.org/details/historicaleviden1862rawl), George Rawlinson outlines 4 laws or ...
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202 views

Was there public resistance to Queen Hatshepsut's reign in ancient Egypt?

Queen Hatshepsut ruled as pharaoh over ancient Egypt from 1479-1458 BC. From what I can tell, she was a highly successful pharaoh, both in wartime activities early on in her reign and later in ...
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908 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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254 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 ...
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Why were there so many suffect consuls during the Principate?

As quoted from this wikipedia article, it states: If a consul died during his term (not uncommon when consuls were in the forefront of battle) or was removed from office, another would be ...
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Historical reasons of peaceful co-existence between China and India?

It is quite interesting to observe that for millenia, two neighbouring countries, ethnically, linguistically, racially diverse and for some time religiously as well were able to co-exist for thousands ...
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302 views

What is known about early history of Judaism?

What do we know about early history of Judaism? Do we know the timeline when these modern traits of modern Judaism developed: 1 Lifestyle restriction that we now find in Torah, such as the ...
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249 views

Was it not possible to exploit the gaps between each pre-modern melee formation?

Soldiers seem to be split into their respective companies or battalions but on the battlefield instead of presenting a complete front line they split up and leave gaps in the line between each ...
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287 views

Did anyone ever win a kingdom through single combat without a backing army or blood tie to the throne?

I've read of instances where historians suggest that single combat of champions has been used to preempt wholesale slaughter on the battlefield; and I think I've read instances where blood relatives ...
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How widespread was the practice of chaining slave rowers to the ships?

In many historical paintings one can see slave rowers chained to the ships. I wonder whether this practice was indeed widespread? Were the chains permanent or allowed quick disconnection? Were the ...
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979 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 ...
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164 views

When the term “president” was used the first time?

Wikipedia mentions that the term was used in Oxford and Cambridge universities at least in 1464. But I wonder whether the title was used somewhere before. Was is used under Ancient Rome?
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197 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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755 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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346 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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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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How did ancient mystery religions impact Christianity?

I recently learned about the existence of mystery religions while listening to lectures by Robert Garland about Daily Life in the Ancient World. Wikipedia seems to imply that the mystery religions ...
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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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180 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 ...
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267 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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398 views

Were early accounts of ancient child prostitution accurate?

Well I'm doing a research about the history and background of Child Sexual Abuse and due to the few sources related to the topic, I've been stucked ,but recently a I found this book "The Encyclopedia ...
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How much food value is a horse to a cavalryman?

Suppose you have a group of say, 1,000 cavalry, that were besieged on a fortress awaiting relief. As such, they are dismounted and fight like infantry. Suppose they are short on food, but they can ...
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Did Ancient Egyptians in the 2nd millennium BC practice Astrology?

I'm aware that Ancient Egyptians did chart stars and have a relatively robust understanding of astronomy for the time. However, did they (say, in the 2nd millenium BC) practice astrology, such that ...
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Is there a majority viewpoint for the fall of the ancient Egyptian civilization?

This article on the end of the ancient Egyptian civilization posits four different points at which the civilization ended: Is it the definitive end of native Egyptian rule (at least until the 20th ...
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Are there any independent historical records of ancient Persia allowing freedom of worship for the Jews?

Starting from this claim that the king of Persia respected the Jewish' God. http://niv.scripturetext.com/daniel/6.htm The only surviving text is the Jewish text. Are there independent sources of ...
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329 views

What do written sources say about disability in early civilisations?

Inspired by a previous question on the historical treatment of the disabled, I wonder if there are any written sources from Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Babylonian and civilizations from before 1400BCE ...
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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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267 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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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 ...
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620 views

When was Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians?

When reading literature about the Babylonian the destruction of Jerusalem I always wonder which year it took place. Some books says 586 B.CE. and some says 587 B.CE. Is this because one don't know? Or ...
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When were the lictors abolished?

I wonder when the institute of lictors was abolished in the Ancient Rome? Who was the last emperor to have lictors as companions?
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What was the origin of the Classical Antiquity culture?

I many times heard a version that the advances of the Ancient Greek culture were in fact borrowed from Egypt or the Middle East. I will not buy this. Classical Antiquity civilization had a lot of ...
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55 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 AmenĂ¡bar 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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217 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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What were the relative contributions of oral & literary education in 5th century BCE Athens?

I've read an article about Plato's Academy and how knowledge was spread in Athens in the middle of 5th century BCE. It was thought that knowledge was spread through speaking (orally). But some ...
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521 views

Did Romans know about China?

Could there be a possibility that some Romans knew that there was a country north east of India? Because as far as I know the Romans traded with Indians.
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What religions (other than Judaism) worshiped only one god? [closed]

I am thinking of before Christ kind of ancient. Also it's difficult to differentiate Judaism with other religions. Other religions have lesser gods below the supreme gods. Jews' god have angels ...
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How early did restrictions on hunting start?

Today in the US you can only hunt certain game during certain seasons. In medieval England, only certain people were allowed to hunt deer and boars. Legal restrictions on who could hunt what, where, ...
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When did ancient kings, tribes etc. started to think about becoming an own part of history and act accordingly?

This question is probably tricky to answer accurately. One possibility is probably to look when ancient people and societies started to be seriously interested in history of earlier tribes or started ...