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).

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
47
votes
3answers
11k views

Did slaves have slaves?

Anywhere in history were the enslaved able to enslave others? Was there a slave hierarchy? I read the slavery wikipedia entry, it mentions that in various cultures people retained some rights while ...
67
votes
6answers
7k views

How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's “Guns, Germs, and Steel”?

Jared Diamond wrote a fascinating book that purports to explain, in a very broad way, the development of civilization. It has several explanations for the development of Eurasian civilization rather ...
-2
votes
0answers
29 views

Does the Story of Ahiqar exist online in Aramaic Script?

I found a copy of the Aramaic bible online but I haven't seen any other Aramaic docs in Aramaic script. This site has a few photos/illustrations of Aramaic scripts, and transliterations, but no ...
-2
votes
0answers
58 views

Are there examples of Phoenician writing with illustrations?

There are ample sources of cuneiform tablets that are then drawn in black and white so you can clearly see the individual glyphs, to be found on etana.org. The illustrations make it a lot easier to ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Are there more long Egyptian texts in pure hieroglyphics available online?

So far I've only found 3 or 4: https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/oip34.pdf (This has a lot of fragments) http://etana.org/sites/default/files/coretexts/14900.pdf ...
10
votes
1answer
466 views

Did ancient people regularly suffer from colds?

It seems that most people suffer some kind flu or a cold each year, particularly throughout winter. Did ancient people tend to regularly suffer seasonal sickness such as colds and the flu?
8
votes
2answers
909 views

When did Northern India and N. China begin to dominate in global demographics?

Video: Human Population Through Time This simple video says that there were 170 million people in the world at the beginning of the current era. Each dot represents a million people -there are about ...
66
votes
4answers
12k views

Did ancient peoples ever hide their treasure behind puzzles?

I just saw the film Dora and the Lost City of Gold, in which there is a somewhat meta running commentary over whether so-called "jungle puzzles", intellectual challenges typically requiring explorers ...
4
votes
2answers
198 views

Where is it recorded that Spartan common meals were followed by a recounting of noble deeds?

I'm having trouble finding a particular historical reference. In On Manly Courage: A Study of Plato's Laches, on page 57, the author implies that Spartan common meals were followed by the recounting ...
1
vote
1answer
322 views

Why is the Harappa (Indus Valley) civilization considered one of the six independent cradles of civilization?

In addition to the proven Sumerian presence in Harappa, all its crops originates in the Fertile Crescent or Far East, which proves that they have been influenced by foreigners since the Neolithic ...
3
votes
1answer
242 views

What are some of ancient maps created from a single perspective?

Years ago I read that other civilizations had maps like that of the Herodotus, naming lands or peoples according to cardinal directions but without referring to them as continent or ethnicity. But ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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?
106
votes
13answers
30k views

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 ...
41
votes
3answers
8k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
918 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
241 views

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:/...
5
votes
1answer
284 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
111 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
338 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
717 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
34
votes
6answers
7k views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
600 views

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 ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

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? ...
0
votes
1answer
172 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
275 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 ...
125
votes
19answers
25k views

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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
951 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

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,...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
720 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
249 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 ...
62
votes
6answers
19k views

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 ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
406 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
212 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....
6
votes
9answers
14k views

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 ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
30
votes
9answers
6k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
280 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 ...
-4
votes
1answer
168 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
20k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
197 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
359 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 ...