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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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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381 views

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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470 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 ...
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151 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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251 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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971 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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389 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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1answer
164 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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297 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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545 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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650 views

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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424 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?
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232 views

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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350 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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65 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
247 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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75 views

Why did monarchy become common practice after the fall of Rome? [on hold]

Why did the government of most nations after the fall of Rome and the beginning of medieval age turn to monarchy? Before the fall of Rome most nations seem to be organized after different model and ...
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75 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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4answers
371 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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229 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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157 views

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 ...
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350 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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716 views

How regularly did the Romans bathe?

I guess the answer may be different for rich people who had their own baths and others who visited the public baths.
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193 views

Athenian tribute lists

Who were the Athenian tributes in the 434/433 and 430/29 periods?
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305 views

Construction of the Great Cothon of Carthage

I'm fascinated by the Great Cothon of Carthage, but when I try to learn more about it online, there's surprisingly little information. Everyone has physical descriptions of the size and shape, but ...
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249 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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180 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, ...
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205 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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174 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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185 views

Tarim Mummies origins and theories separating fact from fiction

Is there any conclusive evidence of where the Tarim Mummies originate from? What were these "westerners" doing in China? The theories I have heard are that they are the fore bearers of the Kazaks or ...
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1answer
242 views

How did people clean their teeth in the past? (Greco-Roman to medieval age)

How did people clean their teeth in the past? How in these days the tooth decay was faced?
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1answer
151 views

Was Marcus Marcellus faced with Viridomarus or Britomartus?

I seem to have come to a discrepancy, as I'm sure a lot have, concerning the event in which Marcus Claudius Marcellus is supposedly meant to have slain the King of the Insubres in 222 B.C.E. Plutarch ...
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132 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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86 views

Earliest Recorded Name in History? [duplicate]

Is there an agreed upon earliest recorded name in history? I'm guessing it would be a king, pharaoh, or other important person. By recorded I mean a name that is written somewhere like on a grave ...
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136 views

Was prostitution legal in Israel during the reign of Solomon? [closed]

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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179 views

What's the name of the (false) assumption that people in past ages were less able to reason? [closed]

In arguments involving past decisions or tradition, people frequently blow off the claims of tradition by using the (false) assumption that people in days gone by, or even in ancient civilizations, ...
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1answer
167 views

Is there a known society without cult of love? [closed]

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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377 views

How much faster/better are European printing press compared to Chinese block printing?

Some says China invented the printing press. However, another says that Gutenberg invented the printing press. Nevertheless, western printing press is superior for 2 reasons We know Gutenberg ...
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239 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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1answer
1k views

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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2answers
273 views

Oldest Code of Law? [closed]

King Hammurabi of Babylon was known for his "Code of Laws." Is his the oldest Code of written law that still exists today? If there is an even older code of laws, perhaps one not still in use, who ...
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3k views

Which is the oldest language in the World? [closed]

I want to know which are the oldest languages in the world? And within those, which is still in use?
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191 views

How was iron obtained in ancient times? [closed]

Today we have advanced machines to mine iron, but it was not so a millennium ago. How did our ancestors locate the presence of iron deposits, mine them and make weapons out of them? How did they ...
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2answers
1k views

What evidence is there that Jesus went to India?

Do we have any historical evidence that Jesus visited India? What is the evidence and the source for the belief held by many people in India that the Roza Bal shrine is the tomb of Jesus?
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1answer
147 views

How strong is the current theory of the beginnings of Chinese writing?

I've heard the claim that the current Chinese calendar was introduced some times around 2637 BCE by Emperor Huang Di. Apparently, written records date back to about 4,000 years ago and before that the ...
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1answer
213 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 ...
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1answer
584 views

Which nation on Earth has been under foreign rule the longest? [closed]

The Philippines was under Spanish rule for over 333 years. After the Battle of Manila Bay and the Treaty of Paris (1898), rule of the Philippines was transferred from Spain to the USA. From a brief ...
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1answer
153 views

How did pre-modern historians explain Qin's unification of China?

The Qin state unified China at the end of the Warring states period. After centuries of incessant warfare, in just under a decade Qin managed to conquer its opponents in quick succession. Modern ...
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1answer
164 views

How many people did Liu Pengli kill?

He was a 2nd-century B.C. Han prince. He is one of the earliest serial killers attested by historical sources. My questions are: how many people did he kill, why did he kill them, and is he depicted ...