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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3answers
920 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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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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Are there any examples of recurring payments in ancient times?

I'm interested in the history of recurring payments. The farthest I could get to is the feudal system, where peasants paid rent to knights once every so often. Obviously the banking system in the late ...
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What was the role of the mountain ranges surrounding India in developing India's civilization?

I am reading 'The Wonder That Was India' by A.L.Basham. In chapter 1, Introduction the author says, India's isolation has never been complete, and the effect of the mountain wall in developing her ...
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Did they use nicknames in ancient Rome?

Praenomens in ancient Rome seemed to have been rather limited, especially by the time of the empire. There must've been cases where close friends or cousins and the like would've had the same ...
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Why were the cities of the Eastern European Plain founded much later than those elsewhere in Europe?

As site on which to found a city, Moscow seems to have a lot going for it. It's surrounded by fertile farmland - Russia produces more grain than the United States - it's located on a watercourse which ...
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1answer
509 views

Is there any evidence in history to suggest that there was a Melanchro (dark-skinned) population in Colchis as claimed by Herodotus?

On Quora, I encountered a variety of unsourced claims on this subject which I will list below There are accounts of Black Colchians: In 522-443, a Greek poet named Pindar described the ...
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Was Pericles the only famous loss from the plague in Athens?

Reading about the Plague of Athens in The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, I was struck by this question. The plague killed an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people in a city full of famous people, but ...
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Do (modern) audio recordings exist for the sound of Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Coptic, or other ancient languages?

Here are audio recordings of the Akkadian or other Babylonian languages. They are of modern people reenacting it, but it sounds great. Good intro to the real ancient world. Do any audio recordings ...
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How did archers judge distance before range finders?

Before electronics, was there a method for judging distance in archery? What methods were used historically? How were combat archers trained to judge distances?
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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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How much contact did Sub-Saharan Africa actually have with the rest of the world since the beginning of civilization?

The book 'Guns, germs and steel' introduced me to the fact that the Sahara desert actually isolated Sub-Saharan Africa from the developments elsewhere since the beginning of civilization until ...
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How often did city-destroying floods happen in Mesopotamia?

I keep seeing Mesopotamia described as a floodplain, and I'm finding inklings of evidence that some cities in ancient Mesopotamia were actually destroyed by floods. But how common of an occurrence ...
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Is there any record of ancient Israelite contact with Indo-Europeans?

It is well-documented that the ancient Israelite tribes came into contact with Indo-European groups in Canaan such as the Philistines (P'lishtim) (most likely migrants from Crete), and later the ...
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1answer
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Is there a reconstruction for whom and when were the peoples of the ancient Levant just before Israel, Judea and Edom?

Primarily from viewing lectures and interviews about the ancient history of the Levant, I understand that before Israel, Judea and perhaps also Edom states were created, their area included groups ...
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Did the Romans know about China?

Could there be a possibility that some Romans knew that there was a country north east of India? Because as far as I know the Romans traded with Indians.
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How many Spartan boys survived army training?

Spartan combat training was very rough and dangerous. What percentage of boys survived their training?
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How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
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Are there any sound historical proofs that soma contained cannabis?

Michael Wood says in his documentary The Story of India first episode: Soma is still used as a medicine in Central Asia. The active element in the plant is ephedrine, and the effect that it has, ...
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Have historians attempted to reconstruct the polytheistic Semitic pantheon, dividing it into sub pantheons?

Historians reconstruct pantheons to better understand their role in society (see below for examples of reconstruction as a historical method). Has there been any attempt to apply this historical ...
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1answer
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What is the difference between galli and metragyrtai?

I have occasionally heard of the galli, castrated priests of Kybele in Rome. Now, I noticed that Greek Lexika also refer to another type of said Godess’s priest, namely a metragyrtes (ΜΗΤΡΑΓΥΡΤΗΣ). ...
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Were there any Ancient Greek theatres not built on a hill/slope?

I was wondering the other day whether there were any Ancient Greek theatres that weren't built on the side of a hill. Normally we associate them with having a curved, raised seating area. The purposes ...
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Were Roman males ever named after their mothers?

We know that Roman men often named sons after them, and daughters were usually given the feminine form of their father's name. But are there any records or evidence that a Roman man was ever given the ...
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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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648 views

Is there a database of ancient/current names of cities?

I am working on map of Ancient Etruscan civilization and I can't identify the exact location of Spica city. Based on minimap from Wikipedia page about Etruscan civilization, the city should lie about ...
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Are there any hypotheses on how the Dorset disappeared?

I read an article about how anthropologists have discovered artifacts from an ancient Arctic culture known as the Dorset that disappeared centuries ago and were the precursors to the Inuit in the ...
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Could women make contracts in ancient Rome? [closed]

I'm writing a story and the main character is a wealthy widow who runs the estate for her rather lazy son. Could women in ancient Rome (specifically the 3rd Century Empire) legally make contracts, or ...
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Are the Sabean people of Cushitic or Ethiopian origin?

The Sabeans are widely acknowledged to be of Semitic or south Arabian origin. Historical sources like Josephus Flavius and sections of the Bible seem to create conflicts about their origin. There is ...
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1answer
533 views

Was Yahweh a god in a possible Edomite Pantheon?

I understand from the Bible, from the Wikipedia articles Yahweh and Yahwism and from lectures of various scholars that polytheism was practiced by at least some religious leaders, priests, kings and ...
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Why was being a school teacher something looked down upon in Ancient Greece?

I'm currently doing research on Epicurus for an article and I came across an passage from Timon (a central student of Pyrrho) where he calls Epicurus "Grammadidascalides", as if an epithet, along with ...
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Who were the first leaders of the Yahwistic sect?

From reading the Bible and from studying from various lectures I have tried to synthesize who was or who were the first leader/s of the Yahwistic sect (Yahwism) in ancient Israel (the allegedly ...
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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
320 views

How did Jerusalem function as an ancient city without a major water source? [closed]

Jerusalem seems to be an exception to the rule that all ancient cities must either be on a river or freshwater lake. First settlement is estimated at 3500 BC. The nearest major river as far as I can ...
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What actually happened during the elephant duel (Songkram Yutahatti) between King Naresuan of Ayutthaya/Siam and Mingy Swa of Hongsawadee/Burma?

Before we start, I just want to say that I find Thai history and the history of Southeast Asia in general to be extremely fascinating and interesting. I think that it’s just as interesting as Chinese ...
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1answer
324 views

Did migrating people ever maintain contact across the Bering Strait?

The Inuit ranged from Alaska to Greenland. The Yupik were in Alaska and Russia. Would peoples have kept in contact across islands in the Arctic but not across the Bering Strait? This question could be ...
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Was hitchhiking common in ancient Rome?

I am writing a story about a soldier who survived an ambush and he hid several days. Then he walked to a village. While he was on the way (walking on a road) he saw a caravan ... So my question is: ...
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Why are there so many laws about eye injuries in the Code of Hammurabi?

Why are there so many laws about eye injuries in the Code of Hammurabi? (And so few laws about other body parts injuries.) I want to concentrate on injuries mentioned as the crimes of physical ...
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1answer
321 views

Examples of ancient maps that gave names based on a cardinal direction

Years ago I read that civilizations had maps like that of the Herodotus, who was an ancient Greek historian. Said maps named lands or peoples according to cardinal directions, but without referring to ...
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2answers
422 views

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

I have been looking at arts (drawings, sculptures) from different archeological periods (40000BC up to now). A pattern that I have picked up consistently when looking at arts from these periods is ...
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2answers
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Did anyone ever win a kingdom through single combat without a backing army or blood tie to the throne?

I've read of instances where historians suggest that single combat of champions has been used to preempt wholesale slaughter on the battlefield; and I think I've read instances where blood relatives ...
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1answer
220 views

Are there sources that record ancient women in patriarchal societies' thoughts about patriarchy?

Are there any sources describing what women in ancient patriarchal societies (like Greece, Rome, etc.) thought about the patriarchy? I've heard of feminist movements throughout history; this ...
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0answers
106 views

What would one call a skilled metal worker in Jerusalem, circa 600 BC?

I'm doing research for a book of fiction in which the main character is a skilled metalworker in ancient Jerusalem, circa 600 BC. I want to be authentic and historically accurate. This person is ...
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How to you reply to Henry Ford and Otto von Bismarck? [closed]

All history is bunk -- Ford All history is fairy tales rewritten by the winner of the last war -- Bismarck There is a LOT of truth to what they say. And with PhD thesis like the courtmartial of ...
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Who invented the first flag?

An answer on this site claims that the first flags were heraldic flags used in battles. But when was this, and for which nations?
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Has a battering ram been used to breach a gate?

I am looking for a specific example of a battering ram used to breach the gate of a castle or fortification in Europe. I can find lots of indirect references to the use of battering rams on gates (...
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6answers
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Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome after the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal Barca defeated 8 Roman legions in the Battle of Cannae. At that time Carthage also had control over Hispania. Why did Hannibal not seize Rome at that time?
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Were there any Roman villas in Britain which were used rather than destroyed after the Romans left?

As noted in the post Are there any ideas as to what the English landscape was like before the arrival of the Angles? , the infrastructure and buildings which the Romans left behind gradually fell ...
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Why were the Romans unable to conquer Germania?

Emperor Augustus ordered his army to subdue the Germanic tribes in what is modern Germany. This was promptly achieved and by 6 AD the Romans controlled Germany up to the river Elba. The Romans were ...
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13answers
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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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1answer
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What was the early understanding of static electricity shocks?

What was the common understanding of electric shocks caused by static electricity in the ancient world and middle ages? I'm talking about the shock when you touch something on a dry day for example. ...

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