Questions tagged [cultural-history]

Culture, from the Latin "to cultivate", references both the combined experience of a population and the works created by them. Thus culture is ultimately a combination of societal mores and taboos, historical memory, attitudes, and a people's contributions to literature, stagecraft, painting, sculpture, and other forms of art.

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What is the origin of lighting candles on birthdays?

What is the origin people start lighting the candles on birthdays. Also please explain what is the reason/logic behind it?
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What are the hay effigies in this Japanese movie?

I am moving this question from Movies.SE in hope of getting the answer here The movie The Blind Swordsman Zaitochi (2003) takes places somewhere in a small town in Japan, probably around the 19th ...
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What did the Greeks and Romans think of large breasted women? [closed]

From what I know, the Greeks and Romans held men with large penises in contempt as in their eyes; they allegedly couldn't control their sexual urges while men with smaller ones where approved because ...
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How did Juneteenth come to be the primary national celebration of the end of slavery in the United States?

Wikipedia explains that the celebration of Juneteenth (originally Jubilee Day) began in Texas and later spread to other parts of the South. The date commemorates June 19th, 1865 when General Gordon ...
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How widespread was the use of red ochre by sapiens in prehistory?

It appears that red ochre, color based on iron oxide, has been used very abundantly by prehistoric peoples, especially sapiens (Homo sapiens sapiens), but also to a lesser extent, Neanderthals. ...
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Why did Rome adopt the Greek culture?

Initially, I understand the Macedonians had a Greek culture (Art, Religion, etc) because they were Greek. But then the Romans dominated the Macedonian Empire and adopted their culture too, and that ...
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When and how did Seethekami, the tribal version of Ramayan, come into existence amongst the Haalaki in Karnataka?

Ramayan, an ancient Sanskrit text, though true or not forms an integral part of numerous cultures not only in India but in several Asian countries. But across cultures and this text is not consistent ...
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Why wasn't Grover Cleveland chided more gratingly for marrying his 21 y.o. wife when he was 49? [closed]

I'm surprised the public or Cleveland's opponents (Republicans) didn't castigate his marriage with Frances Folsom on June 2 1886 when she was 21. This age difference in 2020 would attract castigation,...
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What was the first college in an English-speaking country to use Latin in their motto?

I have looked at many universities and seen how in English speaking countries, their mottoes tend to be written in Latin. What was the first college/university in an English-speaking nation-state (...
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Perception of the state by an average person in pre-modern times [closed]

I would like to better understand the experience of being governed and interaction with the centralized state (or lack thereof) in pre-modern times. A cursory search did not return anything ...
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What are the historical equivalents of cooperative storytelling like modern role-playing games?

I understand the direct history of RPGs mostly coming from Dungeons and Dragons, which had grown out of the combat game Chainmail, but I am wondering if there were any close equivalents in older ...
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What is the origin and significance of karahafu (唐破風)?

The karahafu (唐破風) is perhaps the most instantly recognisable Japanese architectural feature, yet it's origins are not well established in Western literature. Folk etymology suggests that the style ...
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What exactly is a Tang dynasty 壺 (pot)?

I have asked this question on Chinese Stack Exchange but received no satisfactory answer there so far. I think it is relevant to the History Stack Exchange and will link these two questions together. ...
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Who are these red flag worshipers from these early maps?

While doing some research into maps over the last month or so, I came across an interesting item which I found recurring on two different sources. I first encountered this scene on a copy of the ...
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Was Mark Twain's book 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' banned in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany)?

I am currently studying the film Barbara directed by Christian Petzold for my undergraduate dissertation. This film is based in the former German Democratic Republic=GDR (East Germany). The ...
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Who are some people (or well-known fictional characters) that drew a lot of media attention in 18th/19th century Europe/US?

Suppose someone is suddenly exposed to a barrage of media attention today, they might say something like "I feel like a Kardashian". What if I have a character (in Europe) experiencing something ...
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What do we know about the location of Islamic schools in pre-colonial Africa?

There is much research in history and social science on how Christian missionary schools changed the formation of human capital in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, I find very little ...
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Are there sources that record ancient women in patriarchal societies' thoughts about patriarchy?

Are there any sources describing what women in ancient patriarchal societies (like Greece, Rome, etc.) thought about the patriarchy? I've heard of feminist movements throughout history; this ...
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Where did prejudice against left-handed people originate from?

I came across this Tweet recently which lists many different words used in traditional dialects to refer to left-handed people[.] It looks like a majority of the English terms listed there are all ...
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How to you reply to Henry Ford and Otto von Bismarck? [closed]

All history is bunk -- Ford All history is fairy tales rewritten by the winner of the last war -- Bismarck There is a LOT of truth to what they say. And with PhD thesis like the courtmartial of ...
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Are paintings in history generally darker? Are they related to the pigment verdigris?

I've long had a feeling that the scenes in the paintings created at least 150 years ago are generally darker than those created more recently. I just read the article "Why Renaissance Paintings Aren’t ...
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Did soldiers and/or athletes of ancient times perform any kind of stretch or warmup exercises?

There are some 'time travel' stories where the protagonist, hailing from a modern age, does stretches and warmup exercises (calisthenics, radio, etc) and the natives have no idea what that is. There'...
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Which culture used no personal names?

The blog post Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names – With Examples claims that: There was an isolated culture in which no one had names – they referred to everyone in relative terms, such ...
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Is there an example of one picture painted by different painters?

s there a (famous) example of the same art work created by different painters? I mean the following situation: painter X starts a painting, painter Y continues the same painting, and painter Y ...
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Where can I find information about “stone power” / lapidaire?

While doing some research about Middle-Ages jewelry, where stones comes from and the economy around it, I found a website mentioning this book and mention beliefs in some magical properties of ...
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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:/...
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Any information about the photo with Army Uniforms

Found an old photo and want to identify which period does it belong to and where it could have been taken or which country are these soldiers from. Found word "Brattig" on the other side, maybe ...
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What could explain the myth (or truth) of drunken defenders during the battle of the plains of Abraham?

I have come across popular references towards the sodden or sozzled state of the French and Canadien defenders of Quebec City during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Mostly, these references are ...
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Has anyone written Australian history from the perspective of the original inhabitants - the aborigines?

I once read that an aboriginal man from Australia in an ironic gesture planted a flag on English soul and proclaimed it now was a part of the aboriginal empire. I’m curious as to whether there have ...
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Have any large scale cultural or ideological shifts ever been successfully reversed by those who opposed it?

Looking at the current political and cultural scene in many societies, one sees a pattern of tension between on one hand modernists and progressives, who see themselves as moving forward and being on ...
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How long have culture wars/cultural dichotomies been around? [closed]

It seems that most contemporary societies have some sort of cultural dichotomy or culture war going on. In the West it is Left vs. Right. In Middle Eastern countries it is Secular vs. Religious. In ...
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Was touching your nose a greeting in second millenium Mesopotamia?

I ran across a curious sentence today, in a Mesopotamian prayer to a personal god (the grammar looked better in verse format): "Daily worship your god with offerings, prayers and appropriate ...
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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 ...
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A question about the definition of heresy (13th. C)

I write considering a definition of heresy, given by Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (fl. 1235), who's words are widely cited in regards to the history of the inquisition: An opinion created by human ...
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History of monogamy [closed]

Is monogamy a feature of advanced cultures that emphasize a person’s individuality? I mean cultures that treat someone as person and not as an anonymous part of something else, e.g. nature or a tribe.
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Are there any historical examples of (non government-approved) fake news having a strong effect?

Right now there is great concern about "fake news", with calls to regulate journalists and social media to prevent people from seeing or propagating fake news stories. I would like to know what kind ...
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When did worship of Baal cease to exist?

I read in Luke a spot where people, witnessing a miracle of Jesus, attribute it to Beelzebub "the chief of the devils." The other apparent reference to that deity, in the Bible, is in 2 Kings 1. I ...
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Have breasts been proudly and publicly uncovered, in any culture, without general disapproval?

Are there, or have there been, any cultures in which women uncover and treat their own breasts in much the same way that some men treat their own beards (either with pride, or as a display of ...
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Examples of ancient maps that gave names based on a cardinal direction

Years ago I read that civilizations had maps like that of the Herodotus, who was an ancient Greek historian. Said maps named lands or peoples according to cardinal directions, but without referring to ...
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Are “pots of memory” an historical custom?

I found a term "pots of memory" in a novel. I searched on the web but I could not find any clues. The novel, "Kokushikan Satsujinjiken" by Mushitaro Oguri was published 1934 in Japan and people ...
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To prevent sex were men bound in bags or locked in beds?

I remember in the past, before marriage, a woman’s family would bind her man when he stayed with her in a sleeping bag or bed. Essentially it would lock him into this bag/bed thing so he couldn’t ...
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Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century?

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century? Glass windows frequently appear in gothic architecture since 11th century but why Medieval Islamic architecture lack ...
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What is the history of the “surrender” gesture?

The surrender gesture seems to be obvious to us - you drop your weapon, put your hands up and maybe drop to your knees or even prostrate yourself. But were those gestures universal across the globe ...
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How do we know baroque art depicted obese ladies because of a different ideal of beauty?

I've often heard that the obesity of women in baroque art signs that such women were the ideal of beauty. How could we know that? And how could we know it wasn't just "cultural rationalization" of a ...
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Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

Laconophilia was near universal among the important Athenian philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and his followers - all praised Spartan culture and its laws, even after Sparta fell from glory ...
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What are canonical sources about fifth century BCE Athens?

I am looking for a history book on fifth century BCE Athens, preferably with emphasis on culture and the daily lives of the Athenians. I found recommendations of books about Ancient Greece in general, ...
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When and where did people first start wearing underpants?

Specifically, when did people start wearing short underpants in addition to trousers? Loincloths and breechcloths have been worn since at least the neolithic, and various types of skirts since ancient ...
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398 views

When did tea become “a thing” in England?

Tea was certainly available to the aristocracy from at least the mid 18th century, but the concept of "tea" (as in tea break, afternoon tea, high tea, etc.) didn't become prominent until its adoption ...
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In epic migrations, why keep going?

Over time human cultures tend to naturally migrate, influenced by various push and pull factors. According to the gravity model of migration and specifically the concept of distance decay, very few of ...
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Did “The Cosmic Race” inform “The Anthropophagic Manifesto”?

José Vasconcelos published The Cosmic Race in 1925. In his view Mexico could construct a new, better race from the diverse origins of its people. Oswald de Andrade published his Anthropophagic ...

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