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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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3answers
16k views

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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Are Americans More Obsessed With the Military Aspect of History? If so, why? [closed]

If there is anything in my mind that has been particularly pronounced about American historical interests it has been an overriding interest in the military aspects of history. This can be viewed in ...
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From where does the superstition about Friday the thirteenth originate?

There are several interesting stories about this, but what historical information do we have that would indicate the correct one?
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Where does this hairstyle originate from?

I've seen the shaved head with a pony tail hairstyle in some cartoons and video games. Examples: Are these hairstyles "historically accurate"? Are they based upon a certain culture / history or were ...
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Can someone explain the joke that killed Chrysippus of Soli?

There are a number of versions of how Chrysippus died, one of which says he drank some overproof wine while another says that he died of laughter*. Apparently, he died laughing at his own joke. The ...
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What factors contributed to the popularity of Eastern cultures in the USA in late 20th century?

Question says mostly all. To be more concrete, I am talking about the popularity of Krishna and Buddhism on the religious side, and stuff like yoga on the more practical side. Some other things might ...
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1answer
484 views

How much did the culture of Anatolian Gallic settlers differ from their kin in Gaul?

It is known that some Gallic tribes emigrated to Anatolia in Roman era. In Livy's History of Rome, 38.16 - (cited from a reddit article), it is mentioned about their arrival to Anatolia by an ...
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What's the historical origin of drinking champagne on New Year's Eve?

With the new year right around the corner, I got wondering: what's the historical origin of drinking champagne on New Year's Eve? How did it become such a global trend? Where did this trend originate ...
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1answer
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How voluntary was Sati during the Mughal era?

So the ritual of sati (where a women must throw herself onto the funeral pyre of her dead husband) was widely practiced throughout South Asia in the Ancient era and Middle Ages. In the Mughal era, ...
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225 views

When was grass seed first imported specifically for aesthetic reasons?

Wikipedia states that the term lawn dates to no earlier than the 16th century, and that in early 17th century Europe the concept of a closely cut lawn was born. I understand that certain luxuries were ...
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Is there evidence that the annual pilgrimage to Mecca facilitated cultural exchanges?

I've read once (but I don't recall where anymore) that the Hajj, that is, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, had an important non-religious consequence in medieval times, namely the fast spread of new ...
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Which company offered this aircraft interior in the 60s?

I found this image on LinkedIn post. This was economy class back in the 1960s. [...] I'm not sure whether it's fake or not. Was there a company that offered this aircraft interior in the 60s? If ...
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Writing month with roman numbers

I got an old wall clock. I'm not at all a clock expert and I would like to know more about its real age. It has a date engraved in its wood: 18/III 07. I assume that this is finishing-date and 18 is ...
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1answer
375 views

Where does the concept of traffic keeping to the “right” side of the street originate?

In any nation that has cars, there are well-understood rules about how to operate them. If a road is shared by traffic going both ways, everyone will, by law and convention, stick to either the right ...
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Maintaining the status quo throughout the British Colonies of North America

Though Nathanial Bacon himself may not have been poor, the rebellion he became a leader of in 1676 eventually proved to be evidence of the class envy that existed in the British colonies of North ...
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1answer
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What was the early understanding of static electricity shocks?

What was the common understanding of electric shocks caused by static electricity in the ancient world and middle ages? I'm talking about the shock when you touch something on a dry day for example. ...
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What was the third best-selling book in the antebellum US?

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel in antebellum America and the second best-selling book overall. The Bible, of course, was number one. Here's an insanely detailed rundown of UTC's sales ...
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823 views

Why do foreign dignitaries inspect guards of honour upon arrival?

I've been watching videos of various dignitaries (heads of state, heads of government, important officials, etc.) arriving for state visits in foreign countries. I noticed that upon disembarking from ...
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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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What Happened to Hacker Culture After 1970?

"Hacker Culture" centers mainly around being really good at something for its own sake, especially in programming. I've read a lot about it, but what I read suggests that Hacker Culture no longer ...
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When did furniture become common in the homes of most people in the British Isles?

When did they (regular people, rich people, etc.) start using stools and benches in the British Isles? My question is about daily life, not just the earliest archaeological finds. Specifically, I'm ...
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546 views

What surface area per person is required for hunter-gatherers?

I am sure I have read it somewhere, but I can't figure out in which book anymore (I think Steve Pinker's How the Mind Works) Most of human (pre-)history (and evolution) has happened in a foraging ...
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Has any generation generally agreed that the next generation was better? [closed]

The tendency of each generation to look fondly on the "good old days" and to disparage the next generation is well-known. I remember reading some poem from ancient Egypt lamenting the moral failings ...
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What did 19th century playgrounds look like?

In the beginning of the novel Cold Mountain, a character recollect his childhood at a school house (maybe in the 1840s or 1850s in rural North Carolina) and describes flinging his hat out onto the ...
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What are Kublai Khan's contributions to culture?

I was under the impression that Genghis Khan was an invader while Kublai was more of a patron of fine arts; but reading Wikipedia it mainly mentions his campaigns for the Mongol throne and the ...
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Pre-Islamic cultural inheritance in contemporary Iran

In contemporary Iran, what are the effect of pre-Islamic Persian cultural heritage that are not linked to Islamic culture, religion and literature? In a previous question, I asked about ...
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What was the social status of a man who failed the civil service exams in Imperial China ( 1200 - 1800 AD )?

Generally the merchant class was viewed with disdain while peasants were viewed with more respect as they were the producers. Scholars were perhaps most respected, and many important posts were held ...
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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 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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What is the first known organized religion in the world?

Which were the first religions to be created with well known scriptures, ceremonies and traditions? Was it that of the ancient Egyptians or the old kingdoms of the Middle East? What about Africa or ...
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When did “cultural appropriation” become a concept?

Acts which nowadays are called cultural appropriation have been going on for a long time in the US, at least since the 19th century. But when did certain behaviours start getting labelled in the US as ...
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710 views

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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658 views

How did society regard identical twins in the 17th century in Europe?

How did society react about and approach identical twins in Europe, mainly around the 17th century?
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What is the significance of “Flappers” in American history?

The Flapper image of the 1920's American history of cosmetics seems to transform the cultural image of the feminine. However, I cannot piece together exactly how this change came about. I read about ...
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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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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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1answer
775 views

Was classical Alexandria really this brutal and class-segregated?

"The Perniciously Persistent Myths of Hypatia and the Great Library" by David Bentley Hart in the journal First Things claims that while Hypatia was indeed murdered by a mob of angry Christians, this ...
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What examples are of French and Arab cultural integration?

In the last centuries there were very close tights between the French Empire and its colonies in the Maghreb before and the immigrants and citizens of France after the decolonisation. What are the ...
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221 views

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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755 views

Were Uncles referred to by surname in Victorian England?

Merry Christmas, everybody! And speaking of Christmas ... In Charles Dickens' novelette, A Christmas Carol, the main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is referred to several times by others as "Uncle ...
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1answer
309 views

Was it common practice for men to kiss on the lips in 1920s USA?

I recently watched a documentary about Eugene Debs, which included film of his release from prison in 1921. I was surprised to see that many of the men present greeted him by kissing him on the lips. ...
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Did the division between East and West Germany coincide with cultural boundaries?

I understand that at the conclusion of World War II, Germany was divided into East Germany (under the Soviet Union) and West Germany (under the Western powers). Prior to the division, was there any ...
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4answers
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Did the medieval Europe have an active “lowbrow” culture?

When we look back on another age, we tend to skip to the highlights. That goes double for things like art, sports, literature, and music. But in our own time, we recognize that by divine fiat 90% of ...
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Where was the cultural inheritance of the Greco/Roman world/antiquity preserved?

In school and later in media (this is northern Europe) I was/am always told that it was the Arabs/Muslim world that preserved the science, technology, literature, art, culture etc from the Greek and ...
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Earliest examples of “pop culture” in history

What is the earliest evidence of pop culture/viral trends throughout history? By pop culture I mean music, theater etc... Basically "gangam style" of the olden days. I understand that any sort of ...
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Was there a constant 'fear of the bomb' in the Soviet Union and America during the Cold War?

Was there a constant 'fear of the bomb' in the Soviet Union and America during the Cold War? Or were there times where there wasn't such a fear? Possibly during the Nixon-Brezhnev détente, or ...
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1answer
360 views

When did Harvard give its last entrance exam?

I saw this article pointing out how different college admissions used to be, pre World War II. Entrance exams are still used around the world today but it seems like no American universities give out ...
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Looking for 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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1answer
211 views

Which was the earliest book of names for naming babies?

Nowadays one finds books and online websites that help you to name babies. What are the earliest instances of these? I would assume that these would be in Europe, China or the Middle East, but if ...
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What was the ancient Greeks view on people of African descent?

I am interested in sources (reference author, work, paragraph/fragment) describing the view ancient Greeks held about people of African descent. By that I mean those whom they called Αιθίοπες (...