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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788 views

When and where arose the first civilization?

I'm reading a bit about early human history, and was asking myself when and where the civilization showed up. First of all, Ancient Egypt came to mind, and I figured out that this civilization ...
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Why did Japanese samurai disembowel themselves?

Japanese samurais were known to commit ritual suicide by stabbing themselves in the belly. Why? Why not hang themselves? Cut their own throats? Does Japanese culture view disembowelment differently ...
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Why do Spaniards have their lunch and dinner so late?

I've been reading about it and many sites explain (unconvincingly, for me) that the reason why Spaniards currently have lunch around 2 and dinner around 9:30 is because during the 40s (after the civil ...
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Is the Krishna (a god within Hinduism), an appropriated historical figure?

Some people on quora etc, put claims to redefine the events within in the Hinduism theology as verifiable & scientifically true historical events and in such an attempt, the Mythological narrative ...
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Were there religious wars between two sects in Hinduism?

Shaivism and Vaishnavism, are two major sects within the umbrella of Hinduism, each with a different deity as their Supreme God. This difference, is thought to have, in the ancient and even recent ...
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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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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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Can anyone help identify this statuette?

The statuette has been in my family for 3 generations now. It is presumed to be from Morocco and was brought to us before the second world war. It is damaged and it had an ivory rosary that was stolen ...
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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. Is this the ...
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Why are some cultures historically more modest than others? [closed]

Ancient Greeks, for example, were obviously very comfortable with nudity, as reflected in a lot of their art. On the other hand, Islamic cultures value modesty much more. And of course there are ...
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Did the Duke of Cambridge wear rouge?

I'm looking for evidence that the Prince George, Duke of Cambridge - Queen Victoria's cousin and the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army - enhanced his complexion by the judicious and semi-discreet ...
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Did Vikings use of water bowls in this unhygenic way?

I am interested in understanding something which I have seen in the film 13th warrior where the Vikings all use the same bowl of water to clean themselves. It also happens in the TV show Vikings (No ...
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What knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Alexandria?

Of course we'll never know for sure, but do historians have some reasonable ideas about what knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Serapeum of Alexandria, when it was destroyed by the Decree ...
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What does this image symbolize or mean and who is in the image?

Aztec painting shown below sent to me by a friend trying to figure out who it is in the image, as well as what the image itself represents or symbolizes and the meaning behind it all as well as the ...
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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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Was the Kingdom of Nri truly pacifistic?

I have been reading about the Kingdom of Nri, a political entity that lasted from medieval times to 1911. It was apparently pacifistic and saw violence as an abomination on Earth. However, it is ...
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Why did Rome adopt 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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Who was “The famous American Roberts” in 1920's Europe?

Reading this clip from a German newspaper left me puzzled: Die praktischen, die smarten Amerikaner! Das Girl haben sie bei uns eingeführt und den Jazz und die Songs mit Rachenkatarrh, und die ...
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What was the hippie movement? Why did it decline? [closed]

When we look back at 1960s-1970s, many times we come across the term 'Hippie movement' or 'Counter-Culture'. Hippies were described as people who made themselves stand out from the rest of the world. ...
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Where can I find a historic recipe for red cherry-onion jam?

A while back, I had duck with red cherry-onion jam at a medieval restaurant. Allegedly, it was a historic recipe, originally prepared in 1445 for the wedding of one of René d’Anjou’s daughters. Does ...
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Is there a Mongolian ritual of throwing water in front of someone departing on a journey?

Is there a Mongolian (or Tengrist) ritual of throwing water in front of someone before they set off on a journey? Or is that just a Turkish thing?
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Who are the 20th century painters on this t-shirt?

I bought this t-shirt for a friend who is really into arts, but actually I don't know all the painters that are pictured on this shirt. Clock-wise, I recognize: René Magritte Edvard Munch Salvador ...
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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 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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How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

If we take hieroglyphic writings like the Egyptian one, an Egyptologist knows that this hieroglyph must be interpreted as Nefertiti. Or we can see in the following Sumerian cuneiform script that ...
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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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Which cultures did *not* produce alcohol?

I've been reading Harold McGee's fascinating On Food and Cooking, and the chapter on alcohol has some interesting historical notes. He describes the widely varied and creative methods used in various ...
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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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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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Have wartime conditions traditionally decreased or increased consensual sexual activity in the young?

In joshbirk's Answer to the question Hogwarts: So why aren't the kids doing it? he claims that wartime atmosphere would decrease sexual activity in the students: Towards the end of the series / ...
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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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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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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 cultures have had a lasting effect on Sicilian culture? [closed]

Considering that Sicily has been inhabited by multiple empires/peoples native Sicilians/Italians tribes and communes Greeks (partially) Carthaginians (partially) Romans Ostrogoths (very briefly) ...
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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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How old does an event have to be to be considered 'History'?

As I grew up, I advanced in my History classes until I graduated from high school in the year 2013. The problem is, I was only taught about events that happened until one or two years after World War ...
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Why do people say, “Alexander the Great conquered the world?”

In many books, articles, or even in folktales, whenever Alexander III of Macedon (referred to as Alexander the Great) is mentioned, it is said that he conquered the world. Even some historian say that ...
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Where and how did pinky promises / swear originate?

So I found this article around it, but does not mentioned references and not sure if its comprehensive. The pinky-promise, more serious than we thought Posted by Camayak plug-in | Nov 4, 2015 | ...
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Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years days, the Japanese have a curious custom where they perform Beethoven's 9th symphony. This has produced some stunning sights on youtube But there's nothing particularly festive ...
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What is the definition, usage, and etymology of “Sandy ware”?

Wikipedia has the category "Sandy ware in the Portable Antiquities Scheme" Is it a kind of pottery? Or a type of coating for pottery? That's what I would understand from this page. What would it have ...
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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 the cultural roots of the Lamp of the Genie?

I'm wondering what the "symbolic etymology", so to speak, is for the Lamp in the story of Aladdin and its relation to the Genie. Why would a genie be bound to an object and be made a servant to its ...
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How Did the Mongol Empire Get So Big?

Undoubtedly, the largest empire in the existence of human history was the Mongol Empire, once a hodgepodge of warring nomadic tribes from Central Asia before banding together under the banner of ...
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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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Why didn't Europeans before Gutenberg print with woodblocks?

Before the invention of the printing press and movable type (and some related innovations) by Johannes Gutenberg, books in Europe were generally only reproduced if someone copied them by hand. In ...
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Is the swastika in The Great Gatsby anti-semitic?

In the Great Gatsby, in Chapter 9 Fitzgerald writes that Nick visited Meyer Wolfsheim and that he was in an office with a door marked "Swastika Holding Company." The Great Gatsby was written between ...
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Were there any Ancient Greek theatres not built on a hill/slope?

I was wondering the other day whether there were any Ancient Greek theatres that weren't built on the side of a hill. Normally we associate them with having a curved, raised seating area. The purposes ...
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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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