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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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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 ...
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Which Babylonian tablets contains the list of squares and cubes?

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive writes Two tablets found at Senkerah on the Euphrates in 1854 date from 2000 BC. They give squares of the numbers up to 59 and cubes of the numbers up to ...
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Did Antarctica remain entirely unvisited by humans until the early 19th century?

Antarctica today is covered permanently by thick layers of ice, making it extremely inhospitable to humans. And, unlike the Arctic regions, it had no indigenous population of humans when modern man ...
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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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Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

In spite of various fringe historians claiming to have found remains of Ice Age civilizations on lost continents, Atlantis and what not, there is - to the best of my knowledge - no tangible evidence ...
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What was the legal framework in Ancient India?

We all know the immense contribution ancient Roman, medieval Roman (or Byzantine), and pre-modern HRE cannon law has made to the modern world. These empires relied on a written constitution (or code) ...
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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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Are there ancient historical sources which have been permanently lost? [closed]

I'm in a Year 11 Ancient history class studying Rome, and whenever I look over ancient sources on wikipedia, there is always a list of lost works, and occasionally a sentence describing how ...
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Is there a civilization that never believed in God in the ancient times?

I'm not obviously talking about small groups or individuals but about an actual civilization that never believed about the existence of a supreme essence. Is atheism just a modern concept?
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What is the state of the art historical analysis of claims that Carthaginians discovered America?

The Carthaginians, and the Phoenicians in general, are renowned for their seafaring abilities. There is evidence for their circumnavigation of Africa, and strong evidence for the fact that Hanno the ...
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Why haven't Etruscan texts survived?

In Wikipedia it's claimed that Etruscan Civilization had a rich literature, but only one Etruscan text has survived. And AFAIK at the same moment we have many Ancient Greeks texts roughly from the ...
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Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
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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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Pre-Christian use of the Greek Septuagint

I'm interested in the pre-Christian use of the Septuagint, as well as the Greek language, within Jewish everyday life in Israel and in the synagogues of Israel. Is there evidence that the LXX or ...
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Did Ancient Roman insulae reach more than 10 storeys?

High-rise apartments flourished in classical antiquity. Ancient Roman insulae there and in other imperial cities reached 10 and more storeys. Beginning with Augustus (r. 30 BCE-14 CE), several ...
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How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
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Were slave rowers ever chained to the ship?

UPDATE I want to know whether there is any evidence that rowers were ever chained to the ships or oars in Ancient Greece and Rome. In my view it could be too expensive to chain people at that time, ...
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Historical/legendary/mythological accounts that turned out to be true

Reading Herodotus' Histories, one is often baffled by passages like (3.102): {102} [...] Indians [..., of the North] make expeditions for the gold. For in the parts where they live it is desert on ...
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Is there any evidence of arachnophobia in ancient history?

Are there any sources that would tell us whether (any) ancient Greeks or Romans were afraid of spiders?
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In what language did Caractacus deliver his speech to the emperor Claudius?

In The Annals, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus wrote about the British chieftain Caractacus and how he was captured by the Romans. According to him, Caractacus was taken to Rome along with his ...
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How much is known about the Punic language (of classical Carthage)?

How much is known of the Carthaginian language, which as I understand it is called Punic and descended from Phoenician? Google searches show some sketches of alphabet characters and such, but do we ...
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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,...
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Did ancient miners have ways of predicting ore/stone deposits?

When miners in the ancient world went looking for materials in the earth, like gold or iron, did they have ways of predicting where those might be found? For example, we now know that diamonds are ...
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Has history mistreated Nero?

Nero is (wrongly) "known" as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned." But he did kill a number of prominent people, including his own mother. He is treated by much of history as a psychopath, and ...
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What was the first known war in history?

Not the first instance of warfare, which surely predates recorded history, but of an organized war between civilizations. For the purposes of this question I'll define a war as: Defined scope: the ...
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What really happened to the Maya civilization?

Are there any reliable sources that explain the "disappearance" of the Maya? I am highly skeptical about the following account as it states that the cities were destroyed by the war when in actual ...
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How did Roman armies survive in the desert?

I'm writing a novel set in the third century. A general is marching his army through the middle of the Syrian Desert. How did Roman armies with tens of thousands of soldiers survive in the arid ...
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What are the most comprehensive historical references for ancient India?

India is referenced in many ancient Greek and Persian sources, but these are often fragmentary. Which sources (if any) exist which describe ancient India in detail? Since ancient can be interpreted ...
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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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Who was the first woman ruler?

I've found that speaking of the first woman ruler in history, most common materials (like Wikipedia or Britannica) point at the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, living in the 16th century BCE. As a source ...
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Buddhists in ancient Alexandria and Rome

I came across this quote in an interview with British philosopher Jonardon Ganeri: What I would add is that philosophy did not have a single origin, but many origins around the world, and each of ...
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Where was human history first purposely recorded?

I recently read about ancient cave paintings in France. Would this be an example of the first purposely recorded human events? If not, what was? When did it happen and where? I am not much of an ...
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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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Who came up with the name “Peloponnesian War”?

If I understand correctly, Thucydides actually called his book just History. If that is correct, then at what point did it become known as History of the Peloponnesian War? EDIT: Here is how he ...
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What would be accurate illustrations of vikings and viking culture?

Vikings didn't have horned helmets as is often depicted. Where can I find accurate representations how vikings and viking society looked?
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How Was Roman Military Equipment Created and Distributed

When discussing the logistics of Roman armies, I usually see consumables and seigework discussed the most. However, I've been wondering about how the arms, armor, and tools were created and ...
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Was there an ancient cult of worshiping one's own reflection?

Are there any sources about an ancient cultic worship of one's own reflection (in water)? Have historians found any evidence of such a phenomenon? The idea is found in some early Jewish commentaries: ...
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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. ...
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How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn al-...
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Did the Tamil People discover that the earth was round 2000 years ago?

I heard "Tamil People found that the earth was round 2000 years ago. They named the planets 2000 years ago." Is this true? The Tamil poet Manikkavachakar wrote about the earth in Tiruvacakam: By ...
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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 ...
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How did ancient armies keep the route of supplies to their battlefield?

How did ancient armies like the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, or even in later times, the Arabs and Mongols keep the route of supplies going to support their armies marching through the vast ...
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Does the forearm grip/handshake have a historical basis?

I was wondering where the forearm handshake came from. I found absolutely nothing in Wikipedia, so I have no idea if this is really historically based or just a recent popular greeting. I was led to ...
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What were the origins of Etruscan Civilisation?

Given the differences between Etruscan civilisation and other Italian peoples of the same period, is the conclusion that Etruscan civilisation was autochthonous sensible?
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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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Is it true that Proto-Ukrainians conquered Europe and India?

I am a Ukrainian high school student. Recently we were told by a teacher that Proto-Ukrainians, the people who lived in the modern territory of Ukraine and ancestors of modern Ukrainians, once ...
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Why did Latin disappear so completely in Britain after the Romans left?

My impression, wholly prone to error, is that despite centuries of Roman occupation, after the Anglo-Saxon invasions, Latin virtually became a dead language in Britain. Other parts of the Roman ...
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Is Josephus a legitimate historical text?

Are Josephus and other ancient writings considered historically sound or does the fact that his numbers are sometimes overly inflated to aggrandize his fellow countrymen make it a source of ...
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What were the thoughts of the Celts, Romans and other ancient European people about the standing stones which survive from prehistoric times?

All over Europe, there are monuments of stone such as stonehenge, although many are not so grand as stonehenge is. Contra Asterix, the Celts didn't carve out menhirs and things like that. The stones ...
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Which undeciphered writing system has the largest corpus of text?

Dozens of ancient writing systems are still undeciphered. My question is: Which of them has the largest number of known inscriptions (and might thus be most accessible to future decipherment, though ...