Culture, from the latin "to cultivate", references both the combined experience of a population and the works created by them. Thus culture is ultimately a combination of societal mores and taboos, historical memory, attitudes, and a people's contributions to literature, stagecraft, painting, ...

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2answers
168 views

What led to the romantic perception of the Mayan civilization?

When the territories of the Mayan civilization were conquered in Mesoamerica, the European priests burnt all the books and references they could find about the Mayan culture. It was not until 1839 ...
0
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1answer
111 views

What does Spivak mean by “epistemic violence” in her paper “can the subaltern speak”? [closed]

What does G. Spivak mean by epistemic violence in her essay "Can the subaltern speak"? Does she mean that intellectuals in Europe and first world countries are prolonging and fixing the ...
-1
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0answers
96 views

When did chewing with one's mouth open become unacceptable in the West?

What is the historical development for the practice of chewing with one's mouth closed in the West? Did it develop first in the West and was disseminated or did it develop elsewhere? Why does it seem ...
-1
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1answer
53 views

In historical accounts, what relevance did the color yellow have as it relates to cultures and custums? [closed]

I am just curious on the history of yellow and the significance it may have had. I know purple often represented power, but what about yellow? Thank you!
3
votes
1answer
125 views

What are the cultural roots of the Lamp of the Genie? [closed]

I'm wondering what the "symbolic etymology", so to speak, is for the Lamp in the story of Aladdin and its relation to the Genie. Why would a genie be bound to an object and be made a servant to its ...
8
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6answers
1k views

Is every major culture in the same year?

In the Western world the current year is 2014, which is the number of years since the birth of the Christian messiah. Given that Christianity is not the dominant religion in every part of the world, I ...
1
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0answers
71 views

Why are Indian states divided based on language [closed]

Why are Indian states divided on the basis of language? Is this kind of division followed only in India or are there other countries as well which are divided like this?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Viking culture: unhygienic use of water bowl

I am interested in understanding something which I have seen in the film 13th warrior where the Vikings all use the same bowl of water to clean themselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkcsLFSAS30 ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

What cultures did, or do, perform human sacrifice on a regular basis?

Looking at the Area 51 commitment page, I realized that some of the questions that were originally suggested there never got asked here, so I thought I'd add some of them. Something else I would like ...
8
votes
2answers
285 views

What was the social status of a man who failed the civil service exams in Imperial China ( 1200 - 1800 AD )?

Generally the merchant class was viewed with disdain while peasants were viewed with more respect as they were the producers. Scholars were perhaps most respected, and many important posts were held ...
5
votes
0answers
63 views

Were Uncles referred to by surname in Victorian England?

Merry Christmas, everybody! And speaking of Christmas ... In Charles Dickens' novelette, A Christmas Carol, the main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is referred to several times by others as "Uncle ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

What knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Alexandria?

Of course we'll never know for sure, but do historians have some reasonable ideas about what knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Serapeum of Alexandria, when it was destroyed by the Decree ...
12
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4answers
3k views

Why do Spaniards have their lunch and dinner so late?

I've been reading about it and many sites explain (unconvincingly, for me) that the reason why Spaniards currently have lunch around 2 and dinner around 9:30 is because during the 40s (after the civil ...
15
votes
3answers
806 views

Which cultures did *not* produce alcohol?

I've been reading Harold McGee's fascinating On Food and Cooking, and the chapter on alcohol has some interesting historical notes. He describes the widely varied and creative methods used in various ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Cultures of the image and cultures of the word

Steven Weinberg's 2002 review of Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science contains the following: In this, Wolfram is allying himself with one side in the ancient struggle between what (with much ...
9
votes
2answers
450 views

Writing month with roman numbers

I got an old wall clock. I'm not at all a clock expert and I would like to know more about its real age. It has a date engraved in its wood: 18/III 07. I assume that this is finishing-date and 18 is ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

What is the origin of Jataka tales?

Some of the Jataka Tales are supposed to be about the Buddha in prior lives so the entire collection is touted as Buddhist by many. However, other sources will say they are tales handed down through ...
5
votes
2answers
450 views

What are Kublai Khan's contributions to culture?

I was under the impression that Genghis Khan was an invader while Kublai was more of a patron of fine arts; but reading Wikipedia it mainly mentions his campaigns for the Mongol throne and the ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Why do soldiers keep their right hand inside the uniform blouse?

I don't know if generalising this kind of military culture, if there is one, to other countries is true but what I want to know is that why soldiers keep their right hand inside. An example:
38
votes
7answers
1k views

History of scientific regression

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Where can I find information about classical sailor culture/general nautical knowledge? [closed]

Out of strong curiosity, I would really love to know what it was like on sailing ships centuries ago. I can look up nautical terms all day, but those don't express the culture, or much of the ...
-3
votes
2answers
173 views

Are there any “general” historical theories about all the “cultural revolutions” in the mid-1960s?

THE cultural revolution (of 1966) was started in the People's Republic of China. At the behest of the "Maximum Leader," Mao Tse-Tung, young people in China rose up against their elders to "cleanse" ...
10
votes
5answers
326 views

What factors contributed to the popularity of Eastern cultures in the USA in late 20th century?

Question says mostly all. To be more concrete, I am talking about the popularity of Krishna and Buddhism on the religious side, and stuff like yoga on the more practical side. Some other things might ...
4
votes
0answers
118 views

Is one of the causes behind the cultural atmosphere surrounding the Scopes trial, and the concepts about family, “children are the future”? [closed]

To start, I noticed that during the peak of the American eugenics movement (1920-1929) that anti-evolutionary bills and eugenical bills were being passed in the same 37 states (well, just about), ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the first known organized religion in the world?

Which were the first religions to be created with well known scriptures, ceremonies and traditions? Was it that of the ancient Egyptians or the old kingdoms of the Middle East? What about Africa or ...
16
votes
2answers
419 views

When was the concept of “weekly day off” first introduced in Indian Subcontinent?

Did ancient & medieval indians have a weekly day off? Or was there even a generally recognized day as public holiday? Or did the concept get introduced with Arabs or Europeans?
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2answers
63 views

Any quotes from politicians about history? [closed]

Or any information about how politicians value the importance of history? I would truly appreciate any information on that! Thank you.
2
votes
4answers
157 views

Was there a single ancient religion that all others sprang from?

Many religions share same stories, Christianity, Judaism and Islam for example (the ones I know of at least). Some of those stories could even be traced to earlier civilizations in the Middle East ...
9
votes
1answer
323 views

The diminishing role of the “family name” throughout the Byzantine Empire

Why did the use of the family name (Cognomen), as one's surname, diminish and nearly disappear entirely during the 4th - 11th centuries throughout the Eastern Roman Empire? Brief history of the early ...
8
votes
2answers
482 views

Maintaining the status quo throughout the British Colonies of North America

Though Nathanial Bacon himself may not have been poor, the rebellion he became a leader of in 1676 eventually proved to be evidence of the class envy that existed in the British colonies of North ...
1
vote
0answers
222 views

Effect of natural environment on the development of cultures [closed]

Let there be this quantitative question: how do the specifics of a natural environment influence the development of a newborn culture? Following are the specifics of the question: Which ...
13
votes
3answers
894 views

Gender Color Association: When did boys become blue and girls pink?

What historical evidence exists for the origin of the association of blue colors with boys, and pink colors with girls? I realize this is a cultural specific trait. An article "Beyond Pink and ...
4
votes
3answers
247 views

Earliest examples of “pop culture” in history

What is the earliest evidence of pop culture/viral trends throughout history? By pop culture I mean music, theater etc... Basically "gangam style" of the olden days. I understand that any sort of ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

When did Harvard give its last entrance exam?

I saw this article pointing out how different college admissions used to be, pre World War II. Entrance exams are still used around the world today but it seems like no American universities give out ...
15
votes
1answer
213 views

Why did people in some countries start to drive on the right?

Most people are right-handed and it seems natural that people used the left hand side of the road when riding horses or simply walking. In case of conflict a weapon could be easily put between you and ...
5
votes
4answers
294 views

Which historical figures are remembered for actions contradictory to their intentions?

Some historical figures are remembered for their actions (Alexander of Macedon, Napoleon), while others are remembered for their intent (Charles de Gaulle). Which historical figures are remembered for ...
4
votes
2answers
102 views

'Sub rosa' council meetings

Wiktionary's etymology of the term sub rosa reads: The rose's connotation for secrecy dates back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to ...
19
votes
2answers
352 views

When was the term “Nationality” first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?

When was the term "Nationality" first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? When we refer to Ancient Civilizations, did they consider themselves a nation in the modern ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

When and where did socks become common?

To be clear, I mean the socks you wear on your feet, to insulate you form your shoes/boots/other footwear. By common, I mean easily available to the masses, rather than just to the rich.
12
votes
2answers
283 views

What are the reasons of the ethnical fragmentation of the Caucasus?

While investigating on Albania, I kept finding peoples I never heard of before. Notwithstanding my vast ignorance, this was systematic to the point that I started investigating. Take a look at this ...
9
votes
2answers
136 views

When was grass seed first imported specifically for aesthetic reasons?

Wikipedia states that the term lawn dates to no earlier than the 16th century, and that in early 17th century Europe the concept of a closely cut lawn was born. I understand that certain luxuries were ...
6
votes
1answer
201 views

What are the social preconditions for division of labour, when compared in different emerging civilizations?

I would like to know if historians/economists/sociologists agree on the preconditions required for division of labour in ancient and/or earlier societies. Are there any common preconditions and ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Can the University of Bologna be considered the first university in the world?

There are usually two different opinions: the first group considers the University of Bolgona to be officially the first one, some others instead claim that there might have been other groups of ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

Do onsen geisha still exist?

Japan's most famous geisha are from Kyoto, Japan's former capital and still a major cultural capital of Japan. But I've also heard of onsen geisha, far away from the big cities, who are at the bottom ...
9
votes
2answers
349 views

What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

In the Middle Ages there was a big country in Europe between France and German kingdoms, Burgundy. What language did they speak there? Were they more German or French in origin?
11
votes
2answers
250 views

From where does the superstition about Friday the thirteenth originate?

There are several interesting stories about this, but what historical information do we have that would indicate the correct one?
4
votes
3answers
248 views

Did the roman conquerors have directives/guidelines to either integrate or assimilate foreign tribes/folks?

It is likely that Romans made no distinction between today's terms integration and assimilation. They did everything that was necessary for the expansion of the Roman empire and worked from ...
16
votes
1answer
262 views

Did the Romans pour wine down wells for health purposes?

I've heard some kind of story that after the Romans would conquer a new village or city, they would pour wine (or other alcohol?) down the wells to kill the bacteria and make it safe for future ...
4
votes
1answer
240 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
831 views

What was the typical peasant's diet like in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

I know that wheat, barley, rye, onions, lettuce-like plants and turnips were common but how common were other things like meat or cheese? I've heard the "plowman's lunch" was a concoction of the dairy ...