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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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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 ...
8
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1answer
234 views

Why was the Records of the Three Kingdoms composed before that of the Later Han?

Our professor taught that Chinese historiographic tradition demands each dynasty to compose the history of the previous one, using the 實錄 or 起居注 provided by said dynasty. Browsing the Wikipedia ...
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Are there non-Biblical references to collecting foreskins?

The Old Testament is awfully big on foreskins (e.g. Genesis 34 and 1 Samuel 18:27). In particular, the Israelites are fond of collecting the foreskins of their enemies, usually after they have been ...
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How was body temperature checked before thermometers?

Medicine always advances, and it's obvious that many decades or centuries ago, some medical procedures were done differently. I'd like to find out about how body temperature was checked in the past ...
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Did Roman unmarried men have a preferred hand and finger for wearing their seal ring?

I have read that, generally, Roman men during the Empire would wear only one ring at a time. For instance here: http://m.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-clothing/roman-jewelry.htm An unmarried one ...
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1answer
114 views

Were Pharaohs still inscribed on walls and written on papyrus after their deaths?

If so, was it done for historical record, or tradition? Any details on this appreciated. Do we have any instances of artifacts depicting past Pharaohs or events that occurred before they were created?...
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1answer
153 views

Why did Archelaus move the capitol of Macedon to Pella?

Archelaus transferred the capitol of Macedon from Aegae to Pella in the early 4th century B.C. What could have been the reason for this?
3
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1answer
201 views

What is the oldest example of conurbation?

Georges Roux, in his book Ancient Iraq (Third edition, p. 68), says that The city of Uruk was born of the coalescence of two towns 800 metres apart: Kullaba, devoted to the sky-god An (or Anu), ...
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4answers
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Cooking on Ancient Ships?

In ancient times, ships would often be at sea for extended periods of time. During this time, I'm assuming they must have done some form of cooking, otherwise they would have just eaten cold, pre-...
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2answers
186 views

What is the history of time tracking?

Why did human decide to take track of time? how did human find out about time first? and when and how did they felt some thing called time? there are some guesses but I want to know if there is any ...
13
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2answers
361 views

Who titled the works of Aristotle?

I had always assumed that Aristotle titled his own works. But under the Wikipedia article on Metaphysics, it gives an alternative explanation for the origin of the work's title: Subsequent to the ...
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1answer
209 views

Major power shift in Gaul circa 350 B.C

I realize this is a little before history and therefore interpretive. I recall reading something about a shift that took place in Gaul, some time before the Romans came there. It may have been around ...
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0answers
151 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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2answers
386 views

Are there registers of the scores and participation in ancient Olympic games?

There are sources listing who (i.e. which country) participated in each Modern Olympic Game and the scores achieved by them. Does such data exist for the Ancient Olympic Games? Are there information ...
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1answer
460 views

What did ancient countries call themselves? [closed]

Especially non-European nations -- I'm under the impression that the names given to these countries, e.g. "the Maurya Dynasty", "the Qin Dynasty", "the Akkadian Empire", "the Old Kingdom of Egypt", ...
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2answers
398 views

Is there any evidence that Assyrian or Babylonian kings ate their enemies?

Is there any evidence that Assyrian or Babylonian kings took their captive/conquered enemies and actually ate their bodies (dead or alive)? EDIT I apologize for not explaining where I am coming from ...
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2answers
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What kind of object is pictured in these two Roman fresco wall paintings?

Both are paintings in the same house near Naples. They were excavated from the ashes of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Apparently, they picture the same kind of object. But what is it?
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1answer
263 views

Were the Tuatha De Danann really from India? [closed]

There is news claiming that the Irish folk gods, the Tuatha De Danann, were really Indian, and that their followers have similar practices to ancient Indians. Is that why the Celtic people are called ...
6
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1answer
391 views

Was Plato present at Socrates' trial?

According to Plato's version of Socrates's Apology, he was present at the trial. However, I could not find any other historical source which says he either was or wasn't at the trial. Are there such ...
2
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2answers
627 views

Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

Is there a relationship between these folks and the start of civilization? Mehrdad Izady suggests that they started civilization via establishing the agricultural production. How can this be possible, ...
2
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1answer
101 views

Name of a small state west of the Xiongnu and south of Wusun c. 50 A.D [closed]

There was a very small state in Western Mongolia which played a part in the politics of ancient Mongolia, circa 50 A.D. It sounded something like Wu-Shan-Mu or Wu-Shi-Mu. During a war between the ...
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0answers
155 views

What is the historical reason for the word “homosexual” to be perceived negatively by the LGBT community? [closed]

I'm preparing for a presentation about LGBT and I found this sentence on a website: Most gay people don't like to be referred to as homosexual because of the negative historical associations with ...
3
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1answer
247 views

Oldest manuscript of Arthashastra

Wikipedia page for Arthashastra states that three manuscripts have been recovered in the modern era for Kautilya's Arthashastra. One in 1905 which was identified by R. Shamasastry, and the other two ...
9
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1answer
414 views

What was the first example of a foreign mercenary unit?

Employing foreign mercenaries as royal guards is an ancient trend. The Pope employed Swiss guards starting with the Renaissance. The Basileus had his Varangian Guard. Even the Roman emperors briefly ...
13
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3answers
4k views

What ships did pirates use in ancient Greece and Rome?

I imagine they did not have the funds to buy or build heavy military ships, so I wonder what did they use. Did they re-purpose civilian ships?
10
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1answer
529 views

How old is the Egyptian winged disk? Is it Assyrian?

I assumed that the Winged disk was brought to Egypt by the Assyrians, and used prolifically during the Amarna period. However, I read on Wikipedia and elsewhere that it's known since the Old Kingdom, ...
9
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2answers
443 views

What jobs were available for migrants from the country to Rome?

I've read that the during the late Roman republic and early empire there was a great migration from country to urban living. Historians estimate in peninsular Italy 15%-20% of the population lived in ...
29
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5answers
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How prevalent were recreational drugs in the ancient world?

A recent discussion about the Queen Mab Speech in Romeo and Juliet, prompted us to wonder whether Mercutio was on drugs. Which then led to the question of how prevalent recreational drugs where ...
3
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0answers
151 views

A comparison between the reforms of Athens and Rome

Question: What made it possible that, during the times of Solon, Athens underwent reforms characterized by isonomia, — that is, equality among citizens, — whereas their approximately contemporary ...
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2answers
722 views

Was Marc Antony with Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon?

Question I had always been told that he was, and Plutarch's Life of Antony certainly seems to imply as much. But I just read a passage in Adrian Goldsworthy's book, Caesar's Civil War 49-44 BC, ...
15
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8answers
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Are there examples of pre-industrial cruise ship?

A writing site I frequent is running a month-long contest in which the prompt involves a maiden voyage of any sort. The idea I've generated in response to this is one about an ancient-era (e.g. ...
2
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3answers
509 views

Was Carausius the grandfather of Magnus Maximus?

According to Wikipedia, and Geni.com, the British usurper Carausius c. 286 is the grandfather of Magnus Maximus c. 383. This would chronologically make sense, but is a little bizarre. From what I ...
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1answer
127 views

When is the first time any variation of the name Misraim is used to refer to Egypt?

I asked a question here previously related to this, and I would like to be more specific in this question. There are numerous ancient records such as the Ugaritic tablets, the Assyrian & ...
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0answers
164 views

What were the PIE origins? [closed]

Is the origin of the Proto-Indo-European culture(s) known? They didn't just show up out of the blue, from what culture did they arise? The Yamna culture? The Corded Wear culture? Were they the first ...
10
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4answers
3k views

Why do people say, “Alexander the Great conquered the world?”

In many books, articles, or even in folktales, whenever Alexander III of Macedon (referred to as Alexander the Great) is mentioned, it is said that he conquered the world. Even some historian say that ...
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1answer
330 views

Historical Claims Against Jesus Christ's Existence? [closed]

According to this article, "no one in the ancient world ever flatly denied that Jesus performed miracles – let alone that he existed." Is this historically accurate? Are there any claims in history ...
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2answers
553 views

What is the true reason for the destruction of the Indus Civilisation? [closed]

I would like to know the views that the historians of this age give about the destruction of the Indus Civilisation. Some views were like foreign invasions, natural disasters and epidemics. But I ...
7
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3answers
745 views

Did ancient or medieval warriors “substitute” in and out of combat?

This question arose in the role-playing games SE Some claim that in archery, horse archery, or hand-to-hand combat, a warrior could function effectively for at most 2-3 minutes. Therefore, frontline ...
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1answer
3k views

The meaning of Pan-India Character? [closed]

What is meant by the Pan-India Character during the Mauryan Empire at the time of Chandagupta Maurya ?
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2answers
184 views

What was the role of state sacrifices and music in Ming China?

I don't understand what is the role of music in their lives and what is the relevance between sacrifices and music? As a historical ethnomusicologist, I wish I could do fieldwork in the Ming court, ...
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0answers
75 views

First Century (or earlier) gesture signifying peace between two parties?

I am working on a painting set in the first century which shows a military group confronting another group in the Middle East. I am trying to find a gesture which the leader of one army would make ...
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3answers
381 views

Why and when did countries develop long names that include the form of government?

Every country has different names, for example “China” vs “People's Republic of China”. But when I look back into history I see that countries in the past only had one name. For example the ancient ...
3
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0answers
156 views

Is Livy to much of a romantic to be considered credible? [closed]

If you compare, for example the writings between Titus Livius and his Greek counterpart from a century earlier, Polybius, does Livy prove himself credible with his fantastical writing styles and ...
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2answers
275 views

Did Nabataean traders use linen, or cotton, for their sails?

While studying the Arab and African sea trade along the Red Sea and points south, I read an article on Nabataea.net that reads It is thought that originally sails were woven from coconut of palm ...
3
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1answer
319 views

Did the people of the past consider plants alive? [closed]

Did the people of the past consider plants alive? If so, how did they come to the idea that plants have something in common with animals?
7
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1answer
535 views

Historicity of Agamemnon

Is there discussion among scholars about whether the Agamemnon of the Iliad was was closely based on a real person, probably with some embellishments and inaccuracies? What books, if any, could I read ...
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1answer
92 views

Which were the most entrepreneurial AND prosperous cities in different eras? [closed]

[For what I mean by "an entrepreneurial and prosperous city," see the bulleted points below.] We're looking for a name for a research project. We're trying to be creative with the name and one of the ...
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2answers
129 views

Was respiratory rate used as time measurement?

There is a Jewish source that an hour was split into 1080 parts and there seems to be an explanation for that number that it is the amount of breaths taken in an hour (18 breaths per minute (which is ...
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2answers
1k views

What did the ancient Egyptians think of Khufu?

What did the ancient Egyptians think of Khufu? Did they feel he was cruel, strict, kind, greedy, ect? I need this information for a school project I'm working on about Khufu.
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3answers
702 views

Where can I find reliable primary sources written by Ancient Egyptian laborers?

I am working on a Year 12 New Kingdom Pharaoh assignment. I have chosen Ramesses II and must determine if he was an effective king. I have decided that he was, but now I just have to provide the ...