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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Organized crime as a historical phenomenon

Is there any scholarly consensus about the origins of organized crime historically? Do movements such as the Ndrangheta have analogues in the pre-Christian or Medieval world? Or is it a relatively ...
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330 views

Did the Gallic army besieged in Alesia conduct itself well when expecting relief?

During a Gallic revolution against Rome, a Gallic army of some 80,000 men took shelter in the fortress town of Alesia, where they were besieged by some 50,000 Romans under Julius Caesar. (His army may ...
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656 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 ...
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329 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 ...
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How was Sahara desert formed?

According to U-Like C.B.S.E CCE Sample Papers with Solutions and Model Test Papers for Revision in SOCIAL SCIENCE, the Sahara desert resulted from overgrazing by herbivores. This happened because the ...
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187 views

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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199 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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247 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 ...
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499 views

What did the Phoenician sailor trader eat?

I am not a historian my self, but I like to read history, ancient history. I am reading now about Phoenician civilization. I noticed in Wikipedia : the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading ...
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384 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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520 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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227 views

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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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 ...
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330 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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620 views

When was the “New Kingdom” of Egypt first called that?

When was the New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1550BC to 1077BC) first called "New Kingdom" (or something cognate)?
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294 views

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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391 views

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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423 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 ...
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233 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 ...
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299 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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227 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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465 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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266 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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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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396 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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224 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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271 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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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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288 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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416 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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749 views

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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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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277 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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352 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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362 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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295 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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980 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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362 views

The monumental/architectural sculptures of Petra - has there been any research on the likely craftsmen who executed them?

The Nabatean people who founded Petra are described as a pre-Islamic Arab people. Centrally located on the spice trade routes, they achieved fabulous wealth and settled in the city of Petra. A recent ...
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216 views

Roman aristocrat with slave assassins named after him?

I remember reading a few years back that there was a particular Roman strongman who had a very intense way of dealing with enemies. He had dozens of either slaves or former slaves (freedmen), but I ...
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203 views

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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216 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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332 views

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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979 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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109 views

Were there rules about the number of retainers for the Achaemenid Empire?

In Rome, magistrates (and later the emperors too) each had a fixed number of lictors, according to the rank of the office they held. Is a similar regulation of the number of retainers according to ...
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177 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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328 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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813 views

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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767 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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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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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 ...