6
votes
1answer
554 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
810 views

What were acceptance criteria/process to the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in 1906-7?

One famous applicant rejected by the Vienna Fine Arts Academy was of course, Hitler. I got to thinking: so who was accepted instead? To make sense of this we would need to know how was the admission ...
6
votes
5answers
656 views

What kinds of WW2 POWs were treated best?

We all know that the harshest attitudes were toward Jews overall, and maybe Russian POWs in German concentration camps too. Conditions for German soldiers who were held as prisoners in USSR were also ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Roosevelt's New Deal lift the U.S. out of the depression or did it actually prolong the Depression and cripple American capitalism? [closed]

While the New Deal did much to lessen the worst affects of the Great Depression, its measures were not sweeping enough to restore the nation to full employment. Critics of FDR's policies, on both ...
5
votes
3answers
956 views

Did the Greeks win the battle of Salamis because their rowers were “free”?

While I was at university in the late 1970s, I was told by a faculty advisor that the Greek rowers at the Battle of Salamis were given cushions that greatly increased their comfort and efficiency (and ...
5
votes
2answers
234 views

Motivation Behind the USSR Assisting China's Nuclear Program

What motivated the USSR to assist China with the development of Nuclear Weapons? Why would the USSR want China to have this technology during the 1950s and early 1960s? What did they get out of this ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What degree of choice did slaves have over their sexual autonomy?

What degree of choice did chattel slaves in the United States of America1have over their sexual autonomy? Was this codified in any law? 1. Assuming scope is the USA, given the source of the Roots TV ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Decline of the Spanish empire?

What caused the gradual decline of the Spanish colonial empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? A post I read claimed that the Spanish overestimated their wealth, and my teacher pointed ...
3
votes
4answers
284 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
377 views

Why is literacy difficult? [closed]

This question continues from Literacy in the classical world It seems that literacy rates for populations prior to mass education becoming prevalent were estimated to be 20% or lower. However, it can ...
27
votes
11answers
6k views

Why of all units is Time standard?

I'm an American science student, and as such have to constantly fight with the Metric and English unit systems. One thing that a couple other students and I were wondering is why, of all the different ...
27
votes
4answers
4k views

How did Medieval Armies survive the use of mail armor in the deserts of the Middle East?

Something that has long puzzled me is the use of full mail hauberks and the like in the Crusades. How did Crusaders and their various enemies avoid cooking inside their armor? I know many of them did ...
24
votes
9answers
19k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

What was the reason for Soviet troops to withdraw from Yugoslavia in World War II?

For all these countries that the Red Army entered (Poland, Romania, part of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), the procedure was straightforward. Once the Soviets beat the Germans they become de facto ...
20
votes
7answers
13k views

Why were Albanians the only nation in the Balkans who converted to Islam during the Ottoman occupation?

The Ottoman Empire conquered the Balkans and occupied it for half a millennium. They managed to convert most of the Albanians to Islam, however, all the other nations in the area remained Christian. ...
19
votes
3answers
8k views

Why wasn't San Marino unified with Italy?

Why wasn't San Marino unified with the Kindom of Italy during the unification process? Were there plans or efforts at the time to unify the two states? Did either government at any time try to annex ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

World War 1 Indian propaganda posters

In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it true that medieval villages didn't have names?

Recently I've read a certain book about the Middle Ages that has been quite popular with laymen but is held in utter contempt by professional medievists. In fact, I hadn't known the book's reception ...
18
votes
3answers
952 views

What is the evidence to claim that political order in ancient Rome was sufficiently different under “kingdom”, “republic” and “empire”?

Traditionally the following stages are counted for the political order of the Ancient Rome: Kingdom Republic Empire (subdivided into Principate and Dominate) The "kingdom" is usually regarded as ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Did “droit du seigneur” actually exist in medieval Europe?

Droit du seigneur, also known as "jus primae noctis" (right of the first night), was the supposed right of a feudal lord to sleep with his serfs' brides on their wedding night. Was it actually ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

What caused the Iranian 1979 revolution to become Islamic?

How did an initially anti-Shah revolution become an Islamic revolution? Was it because of Khomenei's return to Iran such that he seized the Iranian revolution?
17
votes
3answers
7k views

Were there any attempts to assassinate Joseph Stalin?

Were there any attempts to assassinate Stalin? I haven't learned of any attempt to kill him, was he so brutal that no one tried to kill him?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

Gail Jarvis, in an encomium to the Dunning School writes: William A. Dunning fervently opposed slavery but his reading of the trends of the times led him to the conclusion that the institution ...
16
votes
2answers
285 views

Why was Iceland not a part of the Danish-Swedish deal in Kiel in 1814?

In the Treaty of Kiel of 1814, Norway was essentially given from Denmark to Sweden as a "sorry we were on the other side", but Iceland was not a part of this deal at all. This is in spite of the fact ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
16
votes
1answer
897 views

Was there any theological opposition to the lightning rod?

Apparently, there was some opposition to the lightning rod at the time of its invention because lightning was seen as "the wrath of God" and should not be controlled. I'd like to find some citations ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What was the original process for becoming a US citizen?

So it's 1789 and the US constitution has just come into force. Who is now a citizen of this new government? Were some granted citizenship automatically, or were there also forms to fill out and ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Which country traces its roots back to the oldest civilization? [closed]

Which country is recognized or documented as having the first prominent civilization? After reading so many articles, I couldn't determine which country should be acknowledged as having the oldest ...
16
votes
4answers
991 views

Why didn't Henry A. Wallace become President in 1945?

Henry A. Wallace was Roosevelt's vice-president during WWII. Shortly before Roosevelt's death (82 days) following a slow decline in health, the Conservative wing of the Democratic Party started an ...
15
votes
1answer
372 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
20k views

Average height of Ancient Roman Men and Women?

On a field trip to Philadelphia as a child I visited Betsy Ross' house. I was only 11 at the time and yet my head almost reached the ceiling. The tour guide said that Americans used to be shorter than ...
15
votes
3answers
500 views

What are the most comprehensive historical references for ancient India?

India is referenced in many ancient Greek and Persian sources, but these are often fragmentary. Which sources (if any) exist which describe ancient India in detail? Since ancient can be interpreted ...
15
votes
1answer
311 views

What were the key factors to the fall of domestic socialism in the USA?

During the late 1800s, and early 1900s the United States saw the rise of trade union membership, the coming and going of the populist party, and watched the progressive era come to institute reforms ...
15
votes
2answers
970 views

Did ancient miners have ways of predicting ore/stone deposits before the 19th century?

When miners in the ancient world went looking for materials in the earth, like gold or iron, did they have ways of predicting where those might be found? For example, we now know that diamonds are ...
15
votes
2answers
391 views

How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
14
votes
3answers
7k 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?
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What were Hispanic people called in the US in the 1800s?

Today in the US, people from Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas are called by various names: Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, etc. What was the term used by Americans for such people in the 1800s? ...
14
votes
4answers
858 views

What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did baseball become more popular than cricket in the USA?

Recently I started reading a very interesting comic about high school baseball. I found that baseball shares so many similarities with Cricket. So I tried to look for some information regarding the ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1?

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1? The Eastern Crisis pertains to problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. Primary among these problems ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

How does the amount of equipment carried by various historical infantries compare?

I've heard many statements amount the weight of supplies and munition carried by soldiers of various historical forces. In particular, I've heard many comments about the amount that the British ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there any archaeological evidence for the Dorian Invasion in Greece?

My books on ancient Greece are pretty old. And they have have the same explanation for Doric vs. Ionic ethnicity/history. Are there any archaeological evidence for a Dorian invasion?
13
votes
7answers
712 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
814 views

Why did civilisation/city states never take root in Australia and North America?

I recently read that the Australian Aborigines numbered close to a million during the time of Botany Bay and comprised of ~250 tribes/nations. The Native Americans of North America also boasted ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

Why did Mozambique join the British Commonwealth?

In short, the Commonwealth originated in the British Empire, as an association of Britain and its former colonies. Why did Mozambique (a former Portuguese colony) join?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Was there ever any organization of thieves or pickpockets?

Can anyone suggest any historical examples of an established group specifically dedicated to organized thievery (any combination of property based crimes such as pick-pocketing, lock-picking, fencing, ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

How quickly could the roman legions march? How does it compare to the mobile cavalry?

In the history of Rome there are numerous instances of legions being marched up and down Europe, from Spain to Rome and from Rome to Syria. I'm interested to know how quickly these armies could move? ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Where did the term “Middle Ages” come from?

Where did the term "Middle Ages" come from? Who was the first known person to use that term?
12
votes
2answers
866 views

To what extent was Prohibition supported by the American public?

I read an answer here that said the prohibition was imposed on cities against their will. A bit of research on Google seem to say that it was pushed through because people didn't realize even wine ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?

By Victorian era I mean the moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. We had the same culture in France but I can't find the proper term to phrase it. For example how would you translate "...

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