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42

Architecture: Roman Cement Concrete was widely used throughout antiquity by the Persians, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Romans. The Romans technique in creating concrete allowed them to build the Pantheon, Colosseum, aqueducts, and spectacular baths (big ones, awesome ones). Amazingly many structures built with this Roman Cement are still standing. The recipe ...


25

That depends on what you mean by 'socks'. Hesiod (Greece, ~700 bce) recommends that farmers line their boots with felted wool for extra insulation. That wool layer could be considered the first sock, and it was commonly available to people who weren't particularly rich. When the Romans invaded northern Europe (ie, Gaul), they started wearing sewn foot ...


21

Here is one noting: The European medieval diet was largely determined by social class. For the majority of the of the people, peasants, a large portion of their daily diet was made up of grains such as wheat, rye, oats or barley(carbohydrates). The grains were boiled whole in a soup or stew, ground into flour and made into bread, or malted and brewed ...


17

Japan shut out the West very successfully so its emergence from isolation was all the more abrupt, and Japan's history to 1945 could be seen as trying to integrate Japan's self-image and national mythologies, and its powerful social factions, into a post-feudal, industrial state. And quickly! The Japanese leadership made a quick but effective plan to ...


16

As I recall from my readings, the floor of the theatre was where the masses sat, when they attended. Most would probably be drunk, considering the state of water sanitation at the time beer was the favored drink over raw water, and most would probably be ill-mannered. The well-to-do when they attended sat in the box seats above the "rabble", so that should ...


13

These did not have indigenous alcoholic beverages, aiming to be as exhaustive as possible: Inuit (called "Eskimos" in Hornsey "Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society", p. 1) peoples of Tierra del Fuego (South America) (ibid) Australia (ibid) most of the natives of the North America (ibid) including Navajo (Hornsey, p. 554) including Hopi ...


12

The Maya did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_religion , in most cases this seemed to be more extaordinary and in a way of trying to get the attention of the gods in extreme circumstances, such as famine, flood or alternately kings ascending the throne. As did the Aztec: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec#Human_sacrifice , although I have never seem much ...


12

All the mathematical works of Hypatia of Alexandria for example were lost. From the secondary sources we do have, she was an amazing mathematician. Her death could be argued as the end of the classical times and the decent into the Dark Ages...


12

I'm kind of suprised nobody has brought up the Siesta. In Spain and many other subtropical and tropical climes they have a tendency to nap during the hottest parts of the day. You'd logically have to then work that much later to put in the same amount of work. That would shift your entire calendar back likewise, including the evening meal. Its is actually ...


12

The Jewish calendar is in year 5774 (between September of 2013 and October of 2014, it's a leap year), so the "Jewish civilization" is not in 2014. The state of Israel, which is really the only official body to recognize the Jewish calendar, determines all of its holidays and memorial days on the basis of the Jewsih calendar. However, all of the civil dates ...


11

The Burgundians were originally a Germanic tribe that settled the area that became known as Burgundy. Because it was so deeply in the heart of "French" territory, it adopted the French language and culture as soon as the Franks started pushing back the Saxons under King Charles Martel, and his grandson, Charlemagne. After the death of the latter, it ...


11

I think this is not specific to the U.S. at all. (Although I freely admit that, from what I know American education, it would certainly benefit from being less concerned with only the U.S., and a bit more with the rest of the world.) Politics had always been a game of power, and, historically, the only, or at least the most successful, way to gain power ...


11

Computer? The Antikythera mechanism device for computing eclipses. Nothing much like it appears in history until Charles Babbage created his machines in the 1800's. The following BBC special further explores the device. Probing the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism (Preview) The Antikythera Mechanism as it is known, is regarded as the ...


11

Spain is in the western end of the Central European Time. This means despite the same clock, they have later actual sun cycle (e.g. later actual sunrise, noon, sunset, etc.) than other countries. Human activities are partly influenced by the sun cycle, so it is logical that their meal schedule is later than the rest of Europe as well. For example, for 21 ...


10

Perhaps one of the most influential things that raised awareness and popularity with these cultures was the involvement of the Beatles in exploring their own "spiritual awareness". At the height of their popularity, they drew a lot of attention to these alternatives to spirituality. The drug culture of the late 1960's included a very large movement of ...


10

The Serapeum is actually a smaller "branch" of the original library, formally part of the Temple of Serapis. The temple was converted to a Christian church by Theophilus around 390 AD, and it appears this is the reference you have noted above. This "branch" was not actually destroyed, but there is no doubt that many documents were destroyed during the ...


10

Here's my proposition, basically it's just a set of Caucasus characteristics making this region especially interesting. By which we mean: there're numerous languages, 3 distinct language families, characteristic just for this region. My first point is, language diversity / fragmentation is normal for regions without a strong state / commerce / any unifying ...


10

I found at least one source that advances the notion that Crichton is referencing a source who had an agenda, and may have exaggerated for effect. Ahmad ibn Fadlan wrote about his visit to the Rus: § 84. Every day they must wash their faces and heads and this they do in the dirtiest and filthiest fashion possible: to wit, every morning a girl ...


9

There wasn't such a huge distinction between high culture and low culture at the time, especially in the early english drama. Some of the earliest english drama, including the mirable and mystery plays, were put on by guilds, and had a rather amateurish quality.


9

The concept of praying to the Roman Gods as well as to whatever local deity did mean that the Republic then Empire could assimilate a lot of cultures. After all, they were always worshuiping the same gods, and now they can have access to all the good things that Rome provides -- see Life of Brian's "What did the Romans ever do for us?" speech. Even when the ...


9

Superstitions are hard to nail down as to the source, but this one doesn't seem to go back far and from what I have been told, in the US, it originates or resonates from the Last Supper. Jesus had 13 at the dinner the night before he was killed. So if you take many of the following sources at face value: 13 in numerology is unlucky because it's an ...


9

If you heard that the pouring of wine was to kill bacteria, you know it's a fake. You have to wait till Louis Pasteur for bacteria. Also, unless there was a whole lot of wine/alcohol poured, it would have no effect whatsoever on the water in the well. Wine was very expensive in Roman times -- up to several slaves for a barrel in Gaul around 50BC as Caesar ...


9

According to Katherine Grier author of Pets in America: A History (2006, UNC Press, arguably the authoritative work on the subject), the sentiment is probably rather recent, since the 1970s. I will first make a couple of quick points: You are asking about the rivalry between so-called "cat people" and "dog people," not between dogs and cats themselves. ...


9

Archeologists have found evidence of religious rituals in Neanderthal burial sites 300,000 years ago. So this was likely a behavior we shared with our common ancestor, Homo Rhodensiensis at least 350K years ago when they diverged. Unsurprisingly, the first literate societies, Sumer and Egypt, used their literacy to record some of their religious practices. ...


9

The Gregorian calendar, Western calendar or the Christian calendar, is a calendar that was a reform in 1582 to the Julian calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named. But was is an adaptation of a calendar designed by Italian doctor, astronomer and philosopher Luigi Lilio. And it is not nesassarly based of Jesus birth ...


8

Italian author Lucio Russo in his book "Forgotten revolution" argues that a large part of the scientific knowledge of Hellenistic world has been lost. I find his arguments very convincing. Exact sciences in the modern sense of this word originated in Ptolemaic Egypt and other Hellenistic states, and reached very high degree of development. Few first class ...


8

The end of Japan's isolation wasn't voluntary - Japan was forced out of its isolation by American gunboats sailing into Tokyo Bay. Basically, they saw the world being divided into colonizers and the colonized, and decided they'd rather be the former. (Despite being theoretically closed to all outside contact before then, Japan did get some news from ...


8

Nixon is of course known for Watergate. Benedict Arnold is known for his betrayal. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait with the intent of dominating the Middle East in the name of Arab nationalism and Islam. He believed the US would not wish to get involved. Yet, it united the UN including Egypt and Syria against him, leading to his defeat. Instead of being ...


8

"Nationalism" as a term in its modern definition Regularly being referred to as an author of remarkable influence on the terms nationality and nationalism in their modern recipation is Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803). In his work Ideas for the Philosophy of History of Humanity (1784–91), he is at least one of the first to claim that human societies ...


8

This is not a complete answer because your question is actually a huge topic with many possible approaches. Birth is ethnicity My personal view on this is that, long ago, at a time when the nomadic way of life was the rule, nations did not relate to geographical origin but rather to birth. The etymology of various IE languages is very clear on this: ...



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