Questions tagged [ancient-history]

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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2
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2answers
924 views

Is a wheel older than a wall?

I caught a snippet from the president’s remarks. He was talking about the wheel and how it is older than the wall. Is there historical fact to back such a statement? Or the other way around?
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Why, in ancient battles, did being encircled mean defeat?

Why, in ancient battles, did being encircled mean defeat? The classic example of that is the Battle of Cannae, where 80,000 Roman infantry were surrounded by 40,000 Carthaginian infantry. Every ...
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Earliest evidence of objects intended for future archaeologists?

In modern times, it is not unusual for people to wonder what, if anything, will archeologists of the future (human or otherwise) will learn about our civilization from various artifacts we leave ...
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How did early farmer societies “know” about protein contents of peas and lentils?

According to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (pp 125-126), the domestication of local grains (e.g. wheat, barley) and pulses (e.g. peas, lentils) lauched food production (farming) societies in ...
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Is there any corroborating evidence for the story of Shadrach, 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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1answer
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When was the first recorded example of a race competition in human history?

Individuals in a race compete with another or others to see who is fastest. But when the race competition was invented? It is reported that races were popular in the ancient Olympic games: (see https:/...
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1answer
278 views

What’s this odd hat/crown and is it related to Baal?

So I was looking at a history book and it was set in ancient Egypt, in the temple of karnak. They were talking about how their were doors only the pharaohs and priests were allowed in, and how they ...
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105 views

Question on names in ancient Rome

I'm writing a novel set in 268 AD and the character is called Marcus Piavonius Victorinus, one of the many upstart military emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century. I've heard that by this ...
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231 views

Have large human bones been used as measuring instruments?

Have any of the six types of large bones from the arms1 or legs2 of human beings ever been used (to a significant or considerable extent), in ancient or prehistoric times, as measuring instruments for ...
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2answers
329 views

Where were Racka sheep brought to Europe from and when?

These are Racka sheep. The Racka is a unique breed with both ewes and rams possessing long spiral shaped horns. This sheep is a bit of a mystery, a mystery whose solving will shed new light on the ...
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3answers
688 views

When did Herod the Great die?

I have read the article Did Herod the "Great" Really Die In 4 B.C.? which argues that Herod the Great might have died in 4 BC instead of 1 BC. What is the evidence of this claim? Is this new date ...
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Does modern scholarship accept an Ethiopian or Nubian origin for Egyptian hieroglyphs?

Diodorus Siculus made the claim that the Hieroglyphs were actually an Ethiopian script, which was held sacred by the Egyptians and was learned and transmitted only within the priestly families of ...
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1answer
209 views

In Classical Athens, what did the portico of the archon basileus look like?

In Plato's Euthyphro, Socrates and his titular interlocutor meet at the portico of the archon basileus - or chief archon. I've been looking for an image of the portico but had no luck so far, and am ...
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Fermat's statement about the ancients: How serious was he?

I am extremely interested in the idea that there was a period in time when, at least in the west, people looked upon the ancients (Romans/Greeks) as possessors of wisdom that had been lost. Fermat ...
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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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What is the historical significance of pottery?

Pottery is often portrayed as being a landmark in the evolution of humanity. But do we just see it that way because it is one of the few things from those times that has survived in a tangible form? ...
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1answer
170 views

How old is the practice of a woman accompanying another woman to the ladies restroom? [closed]

I am curious to know how old is the practice of a woman accompanying another woman to the ladies restroom. I assume that this practice began in America and Europe when indoor plumbing and indoor ...
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1answer
268 views

Did the “ancients” use lead plates to prevent pain in their knees?

While reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, I came upon the following line: Just before tea I told Nantz the anecdote of the ancients using lead plates to prevent pain in their knees, the ...
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Did the ancients or other pre-industrial civilisations engage in unsustainable practices?

A popular rhetoric we hear regarding sustainability is that modern life after industrialization and arrival of plastics and hydrocarbon fuels have led to environmental degradation on Earth and our ...
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1answer
280 views

What sources could Tacitus or Appian have used that have since been lost?

I was fascinated by the announcement of the 'virtual unrolling' of a fire-burned scroll in En-Gedi that has been analysed and found to be part of the book of Leviticus. As the Guardian noted, the ...
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2answers
925 views

Did Greek traders visit the Philippines in the 1st century AD?

According to the article Cebu, a Port City in Prehistoric and in Present Times, The Visayan Islands had earlier encounter [sic] with the Greek traders in 21 A.D. This is repeated in the ...
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What is the etymological origin of the Marsi, the ancient Italic people?

The English Wikipedia article does not provide any etymological explanations on the demonym. The Italian article, which is marked as "recommended", points the name's origin to the Italic deity Mamerte,...
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What are the problems archaeologists face in deciphering Indus Valley writing?

From this link on Indus Valley writing, I came to know that: The first Indian script, developed in the Indus Valley around 2600 B.C. is still undeciphered. Thus, it is still not possible to fully ...
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718 views

Which is the Historical Khorasan [closed]

The word Khorasan finds mention in many ancient texts pointing to a place in Middle east to Afghanistan . The question is what were the boundaries of the historical Khorasan which parts of the Middle ...
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1answer
246 views

When is the Cumaean Temple to Apollo dated?

Cumae was founded by Ionians from Euboea around 750. Cumae had a Temple to Apollo and Sibyline oracle that channeled Apollo. In Greece, Apollo and its oracle became active in the eighth century. It ...
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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 ...
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Did ancient Romans anticipate the fall of Rome?

Background: The Fall of Rome The Roman Empire collapsed as a political entity in several stages during the 5th, 6th, and 7th century CE. Specifically, these are: the crossing of the Rhine by the ...
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0answers
154 views

Is there any information about Soshandukht or her father?

This is mentioned on Wiki's page about the Sassanid dynasty Yazdegerd I's successor was his son Bahram V (421–438), one of the most well-known Sassanid kings and the hero of many myths. Bahram V's ...
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1answer
226 views

Has the drought also revealed ancient structures in France as it did in Ireland?

I was wondering whether the drought has also revealed ancient structures in France as it did in Ireland (see the BBC article Dry weather reveals ancient site in Meath's Boyne Valley). I searched the ...
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2answers
394 views

Why didn't slaves just leave? [closed]

How did ancient cultures keep their slaves from just walking away? Record-keeping in these societies was quite poor. Even if paperwork did exist stating that someone was a slave, the next town over ...
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1answer
190 views

Are there any famous people who died from cancer before 1800? [closed]

Cancer was described by the ancient Egyptians by 1600 BC and, much later, by Hippocrates and then Celsus during the early empire. Cases were diagnosed but there is no mention of people who were famous....
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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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What evidence is there of the vision aids people used before the invention of eyeglasses in about 1286?

The Wikipedia article on glasses says ‘scattered evidence exists for use of vision aid devices in Greek and Roman times’ but only cites the example of Nero’s emerald. This article on Magnifying ...
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9answers
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Did anyone in ancient times want to abolish slavery?

Did anyone in ancient times (let's say, up to 500 AD) want to abolish slavery, or even acknowledge the possibility that society could somehow work without it? I remember hearing once that Aristotle ...
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1answer
250 views

What did the ancient Eastern world think of the ancient Greeks?

The opinions of the Greeks the Eastern world which notably included the Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Indians and Egyptians are known to all. They elaborated at length through their literature ...
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1answer
163 views

Why did the ancient Romans kill deer so often? [closed]

I've heard that they killed deer for tools and food,but why always deer? they also killed other animals, but why deer most of the time? was there some sort of benefit? many books say," they do it for ...
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How did societies adapt to using alcohol to make water safer?

I've heard that there were two common methods to disinfecting water in the past: boiling water or turning it into alcohol. Presumably, those in the East relied on boiling water, while those in the ...
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1answer
193 views

Demonym for someone from the kingdom of D'mt

D'mt is a little-studied kingdom which lasted from the 10th to 5th centuries BC, in Eritrea and Ethiopia. For further information, you can look here and just about nowhere else. The civilization is ...
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351 views

Why do very old arts (paintings, sculptures) look pretty inaccurate and abstract? [closed]

I have been looking at arts from different archeological periods (40000BC up to now). One pattern that I noticed consistently when looking at arts from different periods is that the accuracy of such ...
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How long ago was the yo-yo first used as a weapon?

How long ago was the yo-yo first used as a weapon?
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What was the condition of women in “primitive societies” around the world?

In Book I, Chapter IV of "An Essay on the Principle of Population" (6th edition, 1826), Thomas Malthus states how terrible the condition of women was among "savage societies" (to which he meant ...
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0answers
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Was early Mari Sumerian or multicultural?

Mari was a multicultural Semitic and Sumerian city in central Mesopotamia. Despite its rich history during the historical period, I have found almost no discussion of the earliest period. This was ...
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Were slave rowers ever chained to the ship?

UPDATE I want to know whether there is any evidence that rowers were ever chained to the ships or oars in Ancient Greece and Rome. In my view it could be too expensive to chain people at that time, ...
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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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Micromanagement before the modern era?

We read a lot about the problem of micromanagement today, particularly in examples of failed leadership. And Google Ngram Viewer shows the first occurrences of the word in the 1970s. Did ancient (...
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1answer
221 views

Who were some Greek Plebeian Gentes, especially from Magna Graecia?

I'm looking for foreign influences on the Plebeians. Who are some Plebeian Gentes that were Greek, perhaps from Magna Graecia or Sicily? I vaguely recall reading about one from Campania, who came in ...
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How did people distinguish slaves from free people in Ancient Rome?

I've tried to find some information about it, but failed. Let's say there is an educated slave living in a relatively rich household of Rome. What would prevent him from fleeing, going to some smaller ...
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2answers
276 views

How did the Graeco-Bactrian empire come to accept Buddhism?

I am trying to find something along the lines of acceptance of Buddhism by Graeco-Bactrians. I would like to learn more about western India and Graeco-Bactrian empire especially from a political, ...
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European Life Expectancy Comparable? Now or When?

Question: Was their ever a people in European history where life expectancy was similar to Now? 21st century? 70+ years of age? Average or Median? I realize conventional wisdom would inform us ...
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1answer
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Is the entire history, we read, accurate? [closed]

In today's era, having great advanced technologies, we get many rumors. So how can we write the historical facts so firmly. We talk about ancient personalities, their quotes, their lives, etc. so ...