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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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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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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291 views

Are there any examples of balistas, scorpions, or other catapult-like weapons being used in field battles

I know balistas, scorpions, and other war machines were used for sieges, but I'm wanting to know if they were ever used as offensive weapons for field battles. I've heard about the Battle of Jaxartes, ...
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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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498 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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233 views

Was prostitution legal in the Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Solomon?

The wikipedia article is not clear: Prostitution was common in ancient Israel, despite being tacitly forbidden by Jewish Law. What was the law forbidding prostitution? Given that prostitutes ...
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Why did the Phoenicians let the Hebrews (Jews) settle in Canaan?

I know the Hebrews (Jews) started traveling from shumor and Mesopotamia before entering Canaan (Today it is Israel). The Phoenicians were located at the time in Lebanon and Israel area. The ...
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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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323 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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425 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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When did monogamy become the norm in Ancient Greece?

This article says The case for an automatic association between Christianity and monogamy is weakened further by the fact that socially imposed monogamy was first established in ancient Greece ...
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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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345 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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349 views

Ancient Christianity

Around the 1st century AD, the three biggest religions in the Roman empire were the Roman pantheon, Judaism, and Christianity. Why was Christianity so much more successful in gaining and keeping ...
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1k 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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462 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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317 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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460 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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400 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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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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215 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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116 views

Ancient Indian caste system in relation to martial arts

I know that in the area now known as India, there was a rigid caste system as a part of traditional Hindu beliefs. I also know that there are a number of Indian martial arts going back centuries. I ...
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367 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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454 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 ...
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611 views

Archers laying on their back, was it real?

I saw a movie called "The Hero" from 2002. I know the movie has a lot of artistic scenes, and less to do with reality. In one scene, many of the Chinese archers laid on the ground and used a big ...
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Alexander the Great and Religion

Did Alexander impose his Greek polytheism on the Persians he conquered or did the Hellenization happen naturally over the course of time and Greek soldiers and traders living among them? Or was it ...
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171 views

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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283 views

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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199 views

Were there more than 4 River Valley Civilizations? [closed]

If you graduated U.S. Public School education system(k-12), you might have learned about the 4 great River Valley Civilizations: Indus, HuangHe, Nile, Euphrates. They were basically the birthing ...
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176 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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Marcellus and his work “Aethiopica”

According to the philosopher Proclus, a man named Marcellus was an author of a book called "Aethiopica". This i presume, is a historical work about Africa. According to Proclus, Marcellus gives a ...
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831 views

Use of war elephants in Egypt

In a discussion with a friend, we came up with this topic. We know that Indians, Carthaginians and Persians were famous for their use of war elephants in ancient warfare. But the games like Age of ...
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663 views

Who suppressed the Book of Jubilees and why?

Wikipedia says the Book of Jubilees was suppressed in 4th century CE: The Book of Jubilees (Hebrew: ספר היובלים Sepher hayYobelim), sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient ...
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Did the Roman senate immediately send new governors after the death of proconsuls/propraetors?

I would like to know whether the Roman senate sent replacements for deceased governors (due to illness, accident, war, ...) immediately after hearing of their death or was content to entrust the ...
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275 views

How is it known that Phidias used the golden ratio in the Parthenon?

I can see it is widely accepted he did, so there must be some source backing this up, since no work of his has survived (except for a vase in Olympia with the inscription "I belong to Phidias"). What ...
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How did people cut their nails in the past?

How did people cut their toe and fingernails before we got nail clippers after the industrial revolution? Would they have had a fair amount of ingrown toenails, especially in the colder regions where ...
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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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424 views

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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When did waving become a part of human interaction? [closed]

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?
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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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295 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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Ancient Israelite contact with Indo-Europeans?

It is well-documented that the ancient Israelite tribes came into contact with Indo-European groups in Canaan such as the Philistines (P'lishtim) (most likely migrants from Crete), and later the ...
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80 views

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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523 views

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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279 views

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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364 views

Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?

Prisons where evidently known to Israelites quite early (see the story of Joseph). Nevertheless, I could find no legislation in the Torah on imprisonment - it seems that this form of punishment was ...
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How was Alexander the Great able to rule so much territory?

Alexander the Great conquered so much territory so quickly that I'm always surprised he was able to maintain control of it as his army pushed further east. What kept territories from reverting to ...
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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 ...
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Is there any corroborating evidence for the story of Sadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

Is there any historical evidence from the Babylonian or Persian side corroborating the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found in Daniel chapters 1-3? What is the general state of records of ...