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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Is there any evidence of arachnophobia in ancient history?

Are there any sources that would tell us whether (any) ancient Greeks or Romans were afraid of spiders?
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71 views

How was the Roman Princeps Senatus appointed?

In Republican Rome, the princeps senatus (~head of the senate) was supposed to have been nominated by the censors, who were elected every 5 years for 1 and a half years. What happened when the ...
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4answers
5k views

Why did Sun Tzu believe you shouldn't wait besides a river when eager to fight?

In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter 9 (The Army on the March), Verse 5, Tzu says If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. My thinking ...
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0answers
78 views

What words were obliterated from the Great Colonnade at Palmyra?

One of the columns at the Great Colonnade at Palmyra features a dedicatory inscription to Zenobia and Odaenathus. It is bilingual, recording the same text in Greek and Palmyrenean: It appears that ...
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2answers
102 views

At what point in time did Judaism become popular? [Pre Christianity]

When did Judaism become popular in the ancient world, and what caused it to spread faster at that point in time? (ex: Christianity had its spread assisted by Emperor Constantine in the Roman Empire)
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7answers
624 views

Are there ancient historical sources which have been permanently lost?

I'm in a Year 11 Ancient history class studying Rome, and whenever I look over ancient sources on wikipedia, there is always a list of lost works, and occasionally a sentence describing how ...
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4answers
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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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62 views

Which civilization is the first to know about the existence of the Arctic circle? [closed]

Are there any ancient peoples who discovered the Arctic circle, similar to the discovery of the equator?
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59 views

The Oldest Joke: Which Source is True(r)? [closed]

I wanted to find out what the oldest recorded joke is, so I did some searching. In the end, I found two sources: an article from the free online edition of Smithsonian Magazine from 2008 February, and ...
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4answers
3k 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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4answers
7k 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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1answer
116 views

What was the average weather during the times of the Ancient Greeks?

That's the question. Was it rather warm over the entire country, in the middle, or unbelievably cold?
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0answers
84 views

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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2answers
171 views

Is there a relationship between the Pelasgians and Sea Peoples?

Wikipedia describes the Pelasgians as follows: all the indigenous inhabitants of the Aegean Sea region and their cultures before the advent of the Greek language. And that these people where ...
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1answer
211 views

Why do Strabo, Pliny and Diodorus cite Pytheas in disbelief?

According to the wikipedia page on Germanic tribes, (direct quotation) The first news about the Germanic world are contained in the lost Pytheas work. It is believed that Pytheas travelled to ...
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2answers
321 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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6answers
5k views

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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4answers
2k views

Is it true that Proto-Ukrainians conquered Europe and India?

I am a Ukrainian high school student. Recently we were told by a teacher that Proto-Ukrainians, the people who lived in the modern territory of Ukraine and ancestors of modern Ukrainians, once ...
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1answer
522 views

Instances of Jauhar around the world

Is there any evidence that the practice similar to Jauhar existed in places other than India? It seems like a pretty effective way, however brutal it may be, to escape slavery, rapes and imprisonment ...
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1answer
568 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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1answer
109 views

When and where, exactly, did the concept of a male god eating grapes orginate?

I am sure you have seen, somewhere, of a male god eating grapes or in some classical romantic settings, a half-naked woman putting grapes in the mouth of a half-naked man. I am very curious, where ...
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3answers
1k 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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1answer
72 views

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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1answer
145 views

What was the fertility rate in Ancient Rome and how did this number evolve over time? [closed]

Is it known what the fertility rate in ancient Rome was and how did this number evolve over time, especially towards its end? As in, how many children did each woman give birth to on average? The ...
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2answers
98 views

In Europe, why were hereditary dynasties were more prevalent in the medieval world than in the ancient world? [closed]

I know that at least in Western Europe, the various dynasties that held the title of Holy Roman Emperor claimed descent from Charlemagne. In France, the Capetians were the first to call themselves ...
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2answers
110 views

What's the relationship between Solomon's Temple and Christians? [closed]

An Evangelical-Pentecostal church has built a huge replica of Solomon's Temple in Brazil. But why Solomon's Temple? What does it have to do with Jesus Christ and the Christian faith? It's very odd to ...
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3answers
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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
130 views

Was the wall of the Second Temple part of the fortification of Jerusalem?

In the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, there is a 1:50 model of Jerusalem from the Roman period (Holyland Model of Jerusalem). There it shows that the Temple was at the edge of the city and seemingly one ...
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1answer
91 views

First reference to the city of Kish

I wanted to ask when exactly in the cuneiform record was the name Kish first mentioned. I realize as a Sumerian nation Kish has existed as early as 3000/2900 BC, but when was the city given an ...
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3answers
180 views

What was the most northern region/city in the Roman Empire that spoke Greek as the native language?

My understanding is that prior to the migrations/invasions of the Goths, Huns and Sklavenoi into the Balkan peninsula, Greek and Latin where the most common native languages, alongside other steadily ...
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3answers
5k views

How did Alexander III of Macedon get the title “the Great”?

Alexander III of Macedon is referred to as Alexander "the great", but who gave him this title? At what point in history was he acknowledged as such and why is he considered so great?
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2answers
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Is there any evidence that the book of Isaiah was written before Cyrus?

The OT Prophet Isaiah lived in the 8th-century BC. Cyrus, the Emperor of Persia, lived well over one hundred years later: Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. Yet The Book of Isaiah in ...
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1answer
959 views

Where did Hannibal cross the Pyrenees?

Hannibal's passage through the Alps has been extensively studied, regarding the route chosen and logistics involved in passing a large army through difficult terrain. Before that, Hannibal would have ...
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2answers
320 views

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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Why did monarchy become common practice after the fall of Rome?

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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1answer
106 views

Name of the ancient law that forbade naming/publicising the name of a criminal?

I think it was a Roman law, and it said that when a horrific crime was committed, the criminal could not be named, and anyone who disobeyed would suffer capital punishment. I can't remember the name, ...
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5answers
5k views

Did Antarctica remain entirely unvisited by humans until the early 19th century?

Antarctica today is covered permanently by thick layers of ice, making it extremely inhospitable to humans. And, unlike the Arctic regions, it had no indigenous population of humans when modern man ...
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1answer
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What is the story of war that started with “if”?

I was told about a story, of how one army sent terms to another army threatening 'if' they did not obey them, they would be punished. The receiving army replied to the threat with one word "if". I ...
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2answers
398 views

How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
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1answer
330 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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1answer
173 views

Are there any examples of soldiers faking their death a combat before the modern era? [closed]

Let me give you a simple scenario, let's say two huge armies are attacking each other, thousands of soldiers are attacking, one of the armies starts to have a lot of casualties and begins to retreat ...
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3answers
234 views

Wanderwort origins and the Indus Valley Civilization? [closed]

I have noticed that there seem to be many words that have travelled the globe due to trade, such as the word orange or rice, which have plausible origins in proto-Dravidian. Meanwhile, it is ...
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2answers
245 views

Are Russians descended from Varangian Vikings? [closed]

Some historians say yes, but some do not. There had been archaeological diggings in Saint-Petersburg and the Novgorod region, as seen in one rare documentary on Youtube. ( haha I am not studying ...
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5answers
732 views

Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
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1answer
242 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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12answers
16k views

Why is Dravidian history ignored? [closed]

Whenever I read an article on ancient Indian history, I see people only writing about the Indus valley civilization and the Aryans. But what about Dravidians? Didn't they exist even before the Aryans ...
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3answers
514 views

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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2answers
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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1answer
115 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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1answer
130 views

What was the main role of alcoholic drinks in ancient to medieval times? [closed]

I assume that alcoholic drinks served two main purposes in centuries gone by: To purify water for consumption Drunkenness I'm not clear on number one being the case, and if it is I'm not sure ...