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
176 views

Why did almost every ancient civilization have a found religion? [closed]

I'm studying to be an Anthropologist and I've always had this question but I cannot get a definitive answer. Almost every ancient civilization I have studied, whether it be in the Old or New World had ...
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1answer
654 views

How is the accuracy of the Maya Calendar measured?

It is taken as a fact in many books and specialized publications that the Maya calendrical system - the Haab' and the Tzolk'in - was more accurate and closer to the real solar year than the Gregorian ...
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316 views

Why was Troy also called Holy Ilios?

Is there some evidence in the Iliad and the Odyssey why Troy was capitol and Holy city? Why was it the Holy city?
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209 views

How did the Trojan allies get to Troy?

Also, across which territory did they pass? From which side of the world did they come?
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376 views

What is the earliest evidence for the use of hearing aids?

D. N. Brooks, in Hearing aids – a historical survey states that Emperor Hadrian reportedly used to cup his hand behind his ear, the better to hear the affairs of state...Historically, the cupped ...
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333 views

Babylonian handbags - meaning?

What is the meaning of “handbags” that Babylonian gods are often depicted carrying ? ![god with handbag]
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141 views

Antoninus Pius coins

I have looked all over online and cannot find this specific coin. Can anyone help? We believe they are of Antoninus Pius, but I can’t identify anything on the back, although I believe the winged ...
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1answer
255 views

When was Sura in the Roman Empire?

I am curious about this statement: Sura was under Roman control in the time of Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) and Ptolemy (c. 100-170 CE) but was conquered by the Sasanian king Shapur I in 253 CE. ...
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383 views

Pythagoras: sinfulness of eating beans

I have read some of Pythagoras' commandments; they are strange. Any idea why he considered that eating beans was a sin? The book from which I took the data is 'history of western philosophy' by ...
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1answer
265 views

What is known about the people of Khazaria?

We know that the ruling elite and many other people of the Khazars have converted to Rabbinic Judaism. What happened to these people after the fall of the Khazar state? Why did they disappear?
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700 views

How did people first discover that food is food? [closed]

In ancient times, how did people figure out that certain things are edible? Did someone just pull a potato out of the ground and decide to see what happens if you cook it? Back a long time ago, no one ...
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372 views

What do we know about Archimedes text “On Sphere-Making”?

I originally put this question on Mythology SE, but was suggested I move it here. I was doing some mindless research and came across a Wikipedia page on lost works and went down to the classical ...
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What is the oldest road tunnel in the world?

At the Furlo Pass in the Apennines, the Via Flaminia passes through a tunnel built in 76 - 77 AD during the time of Emperor Vespasian, replacing an earlier tunnel. The tunnel built during the time of ...
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What would a Roman slave be legally required to do if his master vanished?

Say that I were a Roman slave around the time of the Empire, perhaps as someone who maintains his villa. I serve my master faithfully and then one day, without warning, he doesn't come home. The day ...
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2answers
251 views

Is Josephus account of destruction of Temple considered reliable?

I'm currently finishing up "The Jewish War" by Josephus. Josephus describes the lengths that Romans went to preserve the temple. On the one hand, I know Romans had rather a synthetic approach to ...
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249 views

How much more productive was Aegyptus in comparison to Africa Proconsularis in classical antiquity?

On the one hand, the Wikipedia page on Africa Proconsularis states, with no references, that it "produced one million tons of cereals each year, one-quarter of which was exported." On the other, 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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2answers
700 views

Why didn't Caesar hire free men to do slave work?

So one of Caesar's significant policies in Roman politics was helping the peasants have land and work to make a living. Wonder why didn't he push laws that restricted the use of slaves and made those ...
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3answers
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Were ancient ships named?

Nowadays almost all civilian and military vessel have a name. Was this so in the antiquity, did the ships of Athens, Carthage or Rome have formal individual names?
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266 views

What kind of impact did ancient armies have on civilians and the environments outside of combat?

Are there any notable studies of the impacts of ancient battles on civilian populations and the environment outside warfare? What happened to farms and villages that lie in the path of ancient armies?...
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Did ancient/medieval armies have music/chants to march to?

During battles or marching into battles did armies (like the Spartan or Eastern European armies) have music/chants to march to?
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498 views

How were documents written in Plato's time?

I'm writing an essay at the moment and I rather thoughtlessly wrote down that they used books. But it seems to me that this might not be the case and that books might be a relatively new invention. ...
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2answers
675 views

What do we currently know about the ethnic origins of Jews? [closed]

Putting aside the Old Testament, which details a story (perhaps true) of the origins of peoples including Jews, what has anthropology and genetics revealed so far about the origins of Jews? When did ...
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2answers
801 views

Was there a state or kingdom in the Maghreb of North Africa that predates the founding of Carthage?

Was there a state or kingdom in North Africa before the arrival of the Phoenicians and the foundation of Carthage in 814 BC, except the primitive Capcian civilization?
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160 views

What is a “tar shower?”

I'm reading about Sodom and Gomorrah on wiki when I come across this: "One such idea is that the Dead Sea was devastated by an earthquake between 2100 and 1900 BCE. This might have unleashed showers ...
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157 views

Why were harvest times in Cyrenaica earlier than in Greece in antiquity?

In The Corrupting Sea (2000), the authors state that Cyrenaica's harvest time was "a month earlier than that of most of Greece and well before that of the Black Sea" (p. 72), and because of this the ...
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228 views

Were Moses & Abraham historical figures?

History is not my area of specialization. I am curious to know about the historicity of Moses and Abraham from the viewpoint of modern critical scholarship. It would be great if references are ...
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Were/are the Gaels, Picts and Britons physically distinct?

Were they only different in culture and language or were there physical differences between the three groups? Did they all belong to the same ethnic group (Celts)? For those who don't understand "...
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279 views

How were artisans trained in Ancient Egypt?

I would like to know how artisans like potters and blacksmiths were trained to specialize in their trade in ancient civilizations. In particular, I am interested in how this was done in ancient Egypt. ...
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1answer
288 views

What coin/pendant is this and is it worth any money?

This was found a long time ago by my neighbour who has now passed it on to me. It has NAX IOIA on the coin with what I believe to be a kings or gods face on one side and some grapes and vines on the ...
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2answers
360 views

What impact did the migration of Germanic tribes have on languages in the rest of Europe?

I am currently looking for information about the migration of the Germanic tribes, and especially it's effects on European languages, or other languages. Google Search provided me information about ...
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696 views

Were there any Roman villas in Britain which were used rather than destroyed after the Romans left?

As noted in this post, the infrastructure and buildings which the Romans left behind gradually fell apart, mostly abandoned and used as sources of building materials for other constructions. However, ...
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1answer
218 views

Did the Romans hold the Isle of Wight and surrounding areas before the invasion in 43 AD?

In this video it shows the Isle of Wight and the area around it including Southampton and Portsmouth being under Roman control beginning during Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain. However my brief ...
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3answers
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Why did Danish people not “connect” with neighbor nations until Viking Age?

I was watching the excellent documentary Historien om Danmark and they basically said Denmark (and Scandinavia as a whole) was pretty much isolated until Viking Age starting in late 8th century (...
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9answers
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Why did Latin disappear so completely in Britain after the Romans left?

My impression, wholly prone to error, is that after the Anglo-Saxon invasions, Latin was virtually a dead language in Britain despite centuries of Roman occupation. Other countries such as France, ...
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Aside from the Pyramids, what is the tallest man-made structure still standing in Europe & the Near East from ancient times?

In the Americas, there is La Danta Temple (built c300 BC, 230 ft / 70.10m) in modern-day Guatemala. In Asia (Far East and South Asia), there is the Ruwanwelisaya (built c300 BC, 300 ft / 91.44m) in ...
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What Roman institutions were obsolete by the end of the Republic?

Background: Recently I've been reading about the Roman Republic, specifically about its last century of civil war and disorder, and I've noticed that some historians say that the Republic fell because ...
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3answers
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How to identify this coin with a bust on one side and the letters S and C on the other side?

I believe this coin is Roman but I'd like that confirmed. Can anyone give an approximate date and any other information possible (maybe difficult as it is quite worn). It measures between 2.5cm and 2....
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Valid source of Greek historical periods , in a URL [closed]

I am writing a paper and I have to include all the historical eras of Greece as a pre-defined "vocabulary" for a metadata schema. This vocabulary has to be online and be accessible via a URL. So I am ...
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19answers
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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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658 views

Did Zoroastrianism influence some Ancient Greek Philosophers?

Ancient Greek Philosophy, was never monolithic, that is to say, the diversity of thought represented in the Greek Philosophers is well documented and well chronicled. However, did the Persian ...
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Did the Designers of Teotihucan have an advanced understanding of Acoustics?

Teotihucan was one of the most impressively built and planned cities in ancient and world history. It is approximately 30 miles South of Mexico City and was founded around 200 BC/BCE-(though its ...
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How slowly, if ever, were Thracians Hellenized?

From my time in Greek school I have the impression that Thracians were very little Hellenize or Romanised. I tried to test this impression with a couple of google searches and looking into two books ...
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The squirrel which could cross an entire realm jumping from branch to branch

The metaphor (or meme) of the squirrel that could cross an entire territory without touching the ground is very old and, as far as the Iberian Peninsula is concerned, is attributed (maybe wrongly) to ...
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Why was January put around 450 BC as the first month?

According to wiki 'January became the first month of the calendar year either under Numa or under the Decemvirs about 450 BC (Roman writers differ)'. But why did they do this? Perhaps related is the ...
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Are there “Sumerian” figurines from the Uruk and Ubaid periods?

There are distinctive Sumerian figurines from the Early Dynastic period. One of the early arguments for indigenous Sumerians was that these figurines were also in the Jemdet Nasr, Uruk, and Ubaid ...
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284 views

Did the Palmyrene Empire actually own territory beyond the Euphrates?

On the Wikipedia article for the Palmyrene empire. It shows an image of the empire in 271 that includes territory beyond the Euphrates in Northern Mesopotamia. However the article mentions nothing ...
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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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Does Winckler's explanation of Semitic migrations have any merit?

Hugo Winckler's 1907 History of Babylon and Assyria, says something along these lines: Semitic people originated in the Arabian Peninsula. All Semitic migrations were caused by overpopulation. Syria ...
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787 views

Why didn't the Roman Princeps restructure or dismantle the Praetorian Guard?

Why did the princeps/emperors of various dynasties prior to Constantine the Great allow the Praetorian Guard to continue to amass such power and repeatedly cause trouble, including palace coups? It ...