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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1answer
407 views

Which groups of people were awake at night in antiquity?

I've come across claims that prehistoric people didn't get much sleep, which seems to be extrapolated from observations of existing primitive cultures. I'm wondering whether there's something more ...
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What do historians infer about the world view of the ancient Egyptians based on the prophecy of Neferty?

Here are some excerpts of Neferty's prophecy Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 17- to 21 Utterly destroyed are those times of happiness at those basin lakes, with men set to slitting fish, ...
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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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Where did Cimon spend his time while in exile?

The Athenian statesman Cimon was ostracised from Athens for ten years (461-451 BC), after the Athenian expedition led by him and sent to help Sparta during the helot uprisings was dismissed by the ...
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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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What is the latest case of employment of Cretan archers in Antiquity?

It is known that Cretan archers were widely used (presumably as mercenaries) across Mediterranean by Greek armies and were occasionally included in Roman armies of Republic and of Imperial period. I ...
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354 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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Codex A for Herodotus' Histories and questions about discovery of the fragments of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri

This question is related to this one: Where can I find the primary source for Herodotus' Histories?. Thank you to everyone who provided information there. That really helped! I have some ...
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366 views

Earliest Traces of Slavery

The earliest example I know is from Sumer. That would be the earliest example of institutionalized slavery, because that's (one of) the earliest forms of urbanized civilization. However, what's the ...
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Where can I find the primary source for Herodotus' Histories?

I'm looking for information re: the primary source for Herodotus' Histories. The two primary sources on the Wikipedia page for Herodotus Histories both trace back to Godley’s translation. Godley's ...
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1answer
283 views

What's the most elaborate ancient mechanism?

I'm playing the latest installment of the Tomb Raider, where you uncover secrets of ancient Incas and Maya. The game is full of huge stone doors that open only when you go through an elaborate ...
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253 views

What is the earliest depiction of a crane?

Various sources on the internet - such as Crane (machine), A History Of The Crane and The sky is the limit: human powered cranes and lifting devices - state that the Ancient Greeks were the inventors ...
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1answer
128 views

When were the first heating apparatus used for bathing?

If in the Odyssey they already washed themselves with warm water prepared on fire, why didn’t the athletes in the loutrons of the palaestrae do the same? They used cold water, which is ineffective for ...
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Are there any documented cases from ancient or medieval times of someone escaping captivity by cross-dressing?

In 1642, at the beginning of the English Civil War, the Irish Royalist Daniel O'Neill escaped from the Tower of London where he had been imprisoned by the Parliamentarians by tying bed sheets and a ...
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186 views

Why is Anubis given a scarf in some representations?

Two links containing images of Anubis with scarf; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anubis_Shrine https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anubis In some representations Anubis wears what seems to be a scarf. ...
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Cultural understanding of Penelope's suitors

In the Odyssey, Penelope is courted by 108 suitors, who camp out in her house/royal court indefinitely, behaving badly, while she delays them. I'm having trouble understanding the historical and ...
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Where can I find high-resolution images of these Sumerian tablets

I've looked around quite a bit and couldn't find them. Looking for sketches, and a bonus images of the tablets, of the following Sumerian documents: Kesh temple hymn (maybe that is in here, not sure) ...
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Did foreign language phrase books exist in the ancient world?

I am finding out about the ancient equivalent to modern foreign language phrase books, used in conversations. Such as a medieval Italian-Latin conversational book, or an ancient English-French ...
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1answer
326 views

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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5answers
480 views

A magic system at least partially based on the real-world cultural history of magic?

EDIT: Just to clarify, when I refer to magic, I am referring to the supernatural variety, not the stage variety. PREFACE: It was recommended to me that I might try and have this answered by the ...
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2answers
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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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289 views

Did the ancients build elaborate, automated traps?

Quite a few movies with archaeology have as part of the plot ancient traps with elaborate automation that are triggered by pressing or lifting something (e.g. Indiana Jones and "Les rivières pourpres ...
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What is the oldest inscription of Yahweh found?

Is it true that Assyriologist Friedrich Delitzsch found an inscription of Yahweh around 2500 BC? I've heard of the Stela of Mesha dated around 900 BC but I also came across Friedrich Delitzsch and ...
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With no heavy infantry, how could melee units be effective, facing competition from ranged units?

Arrows can sometimes even penetrate heavy armor. Yet, as far as I'm aware, Egyptians or Persians did not have heavy infantry, but only had light units. In light of this, I am uncertain how could the ...
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Are there any records of javelin throwing techniques from antiquity? For example, ancient Greece, such as peltasts?

I can find plenty of information of contemporary javelin throwing techniques, but I am interested to know if there are surviving records of javelin throwing, particularly from ancient Greece, and ...
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Question about Tauri tribe in Crimea

The old name for Crimea is Tuarica and the tribe that for some time lived there is Tauri. The info I have is that they are schyto sarmatian tribe and etc, but the point of my question is; Does anyone ...
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Were the earliest Egyptian hieroglyphs ever discovered really found in Qustul in Ancient Nubia?

In a comment posted on an answer to the question, 'Does modern scholarship accept an Ethiopian origin for Egyptian hieroglyphs?', the user that posted the question wrote: "The oldest kingdom in ...
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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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Why did Hawaii become a dependent state of USA after USA was born 300 years ago? [closed]

I’m asking this because, I know that Hawaii is a very ancient civilization because it has an unique language, and you can’t find anywhere on Earth except in Hawaii, and when USA was born 300 yers ago, ...
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History of Moti Masjid

Who built the Moti Masjid? Google says it's Sahjahan who built it, but Wikipedia says it was built by Jahangir. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moti_Masjid_(Red_Fort) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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How did the ancient Greeks synchronize time?

How the time synchronization was achieved in ancient Greece? The context of this question is about Eratosthenes and his calculation of the size of the Earth based on Sun casting shadows with different ...
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763 views

Is there any historicity to the concept of Ghost Fences / Walls?

A Ghost Wall or Fence is a concept I keep coming across in historical fiction set around the Iron Age or Sub-Roman Britain. Generally, it appears as a boundary made of deceased peoples bones to either ...
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What was the relation between the biblical king Herod and the Parthian king Orodes II?

What was the relation between the biblical king Herod and the Parthian king Orodes II who was named Hyrodes Anaridus on coins? The son of Orodes II, Pacorus invaded Judea, however I could not find ...
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Roman desks and lacquer

I've been watching the Netflix piece on Ancient Rome and noticed a beautifully lacquered desk which I felt might not be accurate for the time. Does anyone have information about their use of lacquer ...
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813 views

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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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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Who was the first female ruler to be given the suffix, “the great”?

Down through the ages exceptional elite leaders have been referred to with the suffix, the great. Cyrus the Great of Persia, Alexander the Great of Macedonia, and perhaps Alaric the Great of the ...
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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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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 ...
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Are there any documented cases where a society was capable of large scale selflessness for the benefit of future generations? [closed]

Are there any documented cases in history where a society has altruistically created or conserved something exclusively for the benefit of next generations at a large scale? An good example of such ...
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What was the medium for Marcus Aurelius's Meditations?

I imagine Romans using papyrus and quills on a still table, allowing time for the ink to dry, which may not be possible in a battlefield. I once saw a documentary which depicts him walking off in ...
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What kind of musical instruments were used in ancient barbarian tribes?

I am a member of a reenactment group in Romania, and we mostly do Roman, Dacian tribes and other barbarian tribes (allies of Dacians). Some other members including myself want to form a band, and be ...
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How extensive and developed was the ancient Kushite (Nubian) horse trade?

In 1997 there was a fascinating paper published called The Horses of Kush by Lisa A. Heidorn in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies which summarized some finds about the popularity of horses from Kush ...
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1answer
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Need help identifying 2 old coins? Struck coins, one with two standing human figures facing each other

Can anyone tell me what these 2 coins are ? How can I safely clean them?
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488 views

What was the legal process of raising a legion in late Republican Rome?

I've read some about both the Roman army and the Late Republican period, but realized that, while I understand well enough how legions worked in the field, I have only a very incomplete idea of who ...
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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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670 views

How accurately could ancient soldiers/commanders maneuver during battles

I am currently working on a small strategy game/interactive simulation of historical battles, whose main goal is to give the player – playing as the general of a ancient army – a more realistic amount ...
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633 views

Is David Graeber correct to assert that patriarchy did not exist in Sumeria?

In Debt: The First 5000 Years, David Graeber incisively claims that As we’ll see, there is reason to believe that it is in such moral crises that we can find the origin not only of our current ...
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What was the significance of the seven wonders of the ancient world in ancient life? [closed]

What is the background of the 7 wonders of the ancient world? How significant were the wonders to those in ancient societies?
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How did Christianity replace Roman Paganism and other ancient religions?

Christianity seems to have been the first world religion that was interested in and successful with establishing itself as not only the state religion of but practically the only in an empire - namely,...