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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Ancient Indian caste system in relation to martial arts

I know that in the area now known as India, there was a rigid caste system as a part of traditional Hindu beliefs. I also know that there are a number of Indian martial arts going back centuries. I ...
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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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How was body temperature checked before thermometers?

Medicine always advances, and it's obvious that many decades or centuries ago, some medical procedures were done differently. I'd like to find out about how body temperature was checked in the past ...
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What is the origin of the Scythians?

I am searching for Iranian languages and I encountered this chart shows Scythian as a Northeastern language. On the other hand, my history course indicated that Scythians are a Proto-Turkic tribe. ...
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Were the ancient Israelites a caste society?

I understand some were priests...etc. from one tribe, but was there a hierarchy to the whole thing? That is, were certain groups assigned to certain jobs as part of a "caste" system?
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Are there registers of the scores and participation in ancient Olympic games?

There are sources listing who (i.e. which country) participated in each Modern Olympic Game and the scores achieved by them. Does such data exist for the Ancient Olympic Games? Are there information ...
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Is there a majority viewpoint for the fall of the ancient Egyptian civilization?

This article on the end of the ancient Egyptian civilization posits four different points at which the civilization ended: Is it the definitive end of native Egyptian rule (at least until the 20th ...
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Was Alexander the Great ever an emperor?

Why is it that in the many biographies of Alexander the Great, the lands where he ruled over is described as his "empire", but he is only a "king of Macedon"? Was he ever recognized in or after his ...
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Organized crime as a historical phenomenon

Is there any scholarly consensus about the origins of organized crime historically? Do movements such as the Ndrangheta have analogues in the pre-Christian or Medieval world? Or is it a relatively new,...
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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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Why weren't the Egyptians attacked on sight in the ancient Battle of Megiddo?

In 1457 BC, Thutmose III and his army had to pass the mountains to reach Megiddo. He had three passes he could go through, one in the North, called Jokneam Pass, and another pass in the South, called ...
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How did they manage accuracy with traction trebuchets?

Traction trebuchets were the earliest kind of trebuchet, where instead of the more familiar counterweight, the force came from lots of men pulling ropes attached to the short arm: https://en....
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Did Archimedes spend time in Alexandria, Egypt?

We know that Archimedes was a native of Syracuse , Sicily and that much of his scientific and inventive works were conducted in this particular Eastern Sicilian city during the 200'S BC/BCE. However, ...
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What is the earliest known writing associating the number three with the dimension of the world?

Euclid's elements say: A solid is that which has length, breadth, and depth. This sentence recognizes that there are three dimensions in the world, and it was written in 300 BC. Are there any ...
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What was the origin of the Classical Antiquity culture?

I many times heard a version that the advances of the Ancient Greek culture were in fact borrowed from Egypt or the Middle East. I will not buy this. Classical Antiquity civilization had a lot of ...
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How was the Roman Princeps Senatus appointed?

In Republican Rome, the princeps senatus (~head of the senate) was supposed to have been nominated by the censors, who were elected every 5 years for 1 and a half years. What happened when the ...
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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 ...
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Individual mobility in Greco-Roman world

As we know, the Greeks and later also the Romans built street networks to connect their settlements to each other. For me, this fact raised an issue: How did the Greeks and Romans move between their ...
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Has anyone scanned ancient structures with x-rays or similar? And if so, were any major discoveries made by doing so?

Inspired by curious' question; I now have my own: Has anyone actually* scanned the pyramids or similar ancient structures with x-rays, gamma-rays, muons, ultrasound, thermal diffusion, gravity waves ...
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What did the Phoenician sailor trader eat?

I am not a historian my self, but I like to read history, ancient history. I am reading now about Phoenician civilization. I noticed in Wikipedia : the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading ...
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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 ...
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Was there public resistance to Queen Hatshepsut's reign in ancient Egypt?

Queen Hatshepsut ruled as pharaoh over ancient Egypt from 1479-1458 BC. From what I can tell, she was a highly successful pharaoh, both in wartime activities early on in her reign and later in ...
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Changing troops in first line during battle?

I remember Caesar in De Bello Gallico mentioning Romans changing fighting/resting troops in some siege defense while Celtic attackers didn't do this and lost the battle because of it. This is just one ...
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Where can I find detailed accounts of cash-less payment in medevial and ancient times?

In his book "Debt: The first 5000 Years" David Graeber writes that during most of the middle ages and antiquity coins were seldom used in day-to-day dealings, at least of the more rural population. He ...
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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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How far into the past was significance ascribed to the Golden Ratio?

I think everyone knows about the golden ratio or the divine proportion (I got to know more about it after reading the wikipedia article on it). It's present everywhere in nature and also in the human ...
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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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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 ...
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Was prostitution legal in the Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Solomon?

The wikipedia article is not clear: Prostitution was common in ancient Israel, despite being tacitly forbidden by Jewish Law. What was the law forbidding prostitution? Given that prostitutes ...
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Literacy in the classical world

How literate was the ancient world? I'm particularly interested in the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians in, say, the first few centuries BC. It's hard to find authors willing to give an explicit number, ...
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Why were there so many suffect consuls during the Principate?

As quoted from this wikipedia article, it states: If a consul died during his term (not uncommon when consuls were in the forefront of battle) or was removed from office, another would be ...
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What is the history of standing armies in India?

Specifically, the points I am looking answers to are: 1) What is the first recorded instance of a standing army in the Indian subcontinent. 2) When did it become a general practice to have standing ...
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What is the oldest road in the world that has been in continuous use?

My suspicions are that a road in Rome, Italy, likely has a strong claim, or perhaps a road in Egypt. It just needs to be a road that has been in continuous use for traffic, whether it was some form of ...
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Why did the Phoenicians let the Hebrews (Jews) settle in Canaan?

I know the Hebrews (Jews) started traveling from shumor and Mesopotamia before entering Canaan (Today it is Israel). The Phoenicians were located at the time in Lebanon and Israel area. The ...
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How did ancient mystery religions impact Christianity?

I recently learned about the existence of mystery religions while listening to lectures by Robert Garland about Daily Life in the Ancient World. Wikipedia seems to imply that the mystery religions ...
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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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How long ago was the yo-yo first used as a weapon?

How long ago was the yo-yo first used as a weapon?
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What was the median price for a slave child in the Augustan Rome?

Just for example, 8 years old boy or 9 years old girl. So, not a newborn baby or toddler (no need for extended expenses for dedicated child-rearing nannies, wet nurses, etc.), but still too small to ...
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When was the “New Kingdom” of Egypt first called that?

When was the New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1550BC to 1077BC) first called "New Kingdom" (or something cognate)?
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Roman aristocrat with slave assassins named after him?

I remember reading a few years back that there was a particular Roman strongman who had a very intense way of dealing with enemies. He had dozens of either slaves or former slaves (freedmen), but I ...
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Tarim Mummies origins and theories separating fact from fiction

Is there any conclusive evidence of where the Tarim Mummies originate from? What were these "westerners" doing in China? The theories I have heard are that they are the forebearers of the Kazaks or ...
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Was Marc Antony with Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon?

Question I had always been told that he was, and Plutarch's Life of Antony certainly seems to imply as much. But I just read a passage in Adrian Goldsworthy's book, Caesar's Civil War 49-44 BC, ...
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Did ancient or medieval warriors “substitute” in and out of combat?

This question arose in the role-playing games SE Some claim that in archery, horse archery, or hand-to-hand combat, a warrior could function effectively for at most 2-3 minutes. Therefore, frontline ...
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Did archers lay on their back to draw bows?

I saw a movie called "The Hero" from 2002. I know the movie has a lot of artistic scenes, and less to do with reality. In one scene, many of the Chinese archers laid on the ground and used a big ...
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How were Aksumite ships constructed?

The Kingdom of Aksum is known for its trading prowess, with trade partners as far away as India. Do we know what kinds of ships they built and used? Ethiopian freshwater tankwas are made of papyrus, ...
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When the term “president” was used the first time?

Wikipedia mentions that the term was used in Oxford and Cambridge universities at least in 1464. But I wonder whether the title was used somewhere before. Was is used under Ancient Rome?
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Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and the Science [closed]

For someone who is born in India, some of the few mythological stories we watch on tv/hear from our grandparents are Ramayana, excerpts from Mahabharata or other Vedic stories of gods, the vedic way ...
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Did the Carthaginians have the option of sending Hannibal to Sicily?

Sicily was a major focus of the First and Second Punic Wars. The first Punic war ended with Carthage handing over major grain-growing areas on the island, and the port of Lilybaem to Rome as spoils of ...
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Who was the first Pope?

I know that Peter is the first Pope, but I do believe that he is called a bishop and is one of several including the Bishops of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and others. Who was the first ...
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How were war elephants used against cavalry?

In this question: How do war elephants fight? it was mentioned that horses tend to dislike elephants, so they are effective against cavalry. How does this work in practice? I don't imagine it would be ...