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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How can we be confident that Tacitus really wrote his Histories and Annals?

How can we be confident that Tacitus really wrote any of the works attributed to him, namely his Histories and Annals? The background here is that when we discuss the historicity and/or accuracy of ...
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2 answers
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Did Lucian of Samosata make this joke on purpose?

This is going to be a bit of a niche question, so bear with me. Recently I've been reading the work of famous satirist Lucian of Samosata. He's pretty funny, but the thing is, I can't read the ...
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Are there any books with history short/summarised stories?

I was recently reading Atrocities by Matthew white, which has stories about the 100 greatest atrocities in world history. It is the first history book I have managed to complete. I prefer to read a ...
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1 vote
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What early sources other than the books of Maccabees and Josephus are there for Judean rebellions under Antiochus IV?

Other than the books of Maccabees and Antiquities of the Jews (book XII) by Josephus, can anyone help me by pointing me to other early (3rd century or earlier) sources for the Judean rebellions under ...
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Where did this claim about the Egpytian Theban army come from?

In this old Locomotive Engineers Journal, there is a short discussion of ancient vs modern army sizes. The writer gives a list of very large ancient armies. Most of the items on the list have easy ...
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What was the calendar used by ancient Palmyrenes?

An inscription found on one column in Palmyra, dated on April 252 AD, reads "To Septimius Odaenathus […] in the month of Nisan the year 563" (April, 252) Found on the book The Roman ...
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29 votes
2 answers
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When did horseback riding start? Are Doosheh cave petroglyphs authentic and correctly dated?

I am trying to reconcile 3 answers I have got so far. Perhaps there are more. My main question is about when horseback riding started. In Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, UK), the information panel in the ...
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What was the most historically accurate part of Zecharia Sitchin's account of Sumeria?

As a trained economist / logistics guy, it's little wonder that Zecharia Sitchin's Sumerology has many holes. His cuneiform was apparently self-taught and this led to major distortions of the original ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is this cairn/mound-like structure in Germany real or imagined?

EDIT: I have found the answer - it was Waldviertel Pyramid. I have provided details in the answer. The thing is that I have either read about or seen on a TV documentary about a certain cairn-like ...
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Why did Hadrian put Jupiter's statue in Beith Hamikdash?

The third Roman Jewish war happened 'because Hadrian put Jupiter's statue in Beith Hamikdash' (Temple in Jerusalem). Why would he do so? I've heard that originally his relationship with his Jewish ...
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3 votes
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In terms of citizens living standards, how did Athenian democracy compare to other ancient Greek city-states using different political systems?

Athenian democracy Athenian democracy is described as having been a direct democracy whereby the citizens directly controlled all parts of the political process. World History Encycopedia In Athenian ...
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7 votes
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What route would 1st century BCE travellers have taken from Alexandria to Jerusalem?

The Babylonian Talmud recounts a story in which a sage, Yehoshua ben Perachaiah, and one of his students travel from Alexandria, Egypt to Jerusalem (Sotah 47a, Sanhedrin 107b). The story takes place ...
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Why do ancient Jewish sources increasingly downplay Rome's role in Jerusalem's destruction?

Josephus, the (in)famous Judeo-Roman historian, in his pivotal account of the Jewish-Roman war, seeks to persistently and systematically distance the Romans from any moral responsibility in the Temple'...
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Why is there such a dramatic shift in Tamil script during the 3rd to 5th centuries AD?

I have already asked this question in Linguistics.SE but I didn't get any answers and the comments there spoke of historical reasons rather than Linguistics shifts so I'm asking here. Recently, I was ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Why wasn't Akkadian translated into other more common languages?

From what I have gathered I believe there are currently no examples of Akkadian literature, written on cuneiform tablets, being translated into other languages onto papyri outside the Mesopotamian ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Was Haman (who is mentioned the Book of Esther) a historical person?

according to wikipedia Haman is the main antagonist in the Book of Esther, who according to the Hebrew Bible was a grand vizier in the Persian empire under King Ahasuerus, commonly identified as ...
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2 answers
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What were the dimensions of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem? [duplicate]

I think I remember reading somewhere that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem - either Solomon's temple, the Second Temple, or Herod's Temple - was very tall overall. What I seem to remember was that its ...
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As far as Themistocles's journey after his exile is concerned why do modern historians conclude that Plutarch meant Thasos instead of Naxos?

I am referring to the flight of Themistocles after his ostracism. When he finally reached Macedon and to Pydna he tried to reach Asia via a merchant ship. Thucydides says that a storm forced him to ...
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5 votes
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Was the Achaemenid Empire richer than the Sasanian Empire?

A while ago I read a passage regarding the economy of different Persian empires. The passage was implying that the Achaemenid Persian empire (a.k.a first Iranian empire) was in total ``far richer"...
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1 vote
1 answer
374 views

From where did Aryans originate?

When one reads the Ancient Indian History and Ancient History as a whole, the much-discussed theory of Indo-European migration to India often comes up. Ancient Indian History in introductory books is ...
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What made Seleucid monarchy so unstable?

I would not claim that the Seleucid monarchy was more unstable than other Hellenistic monarchies (though contemporary Antigonid Macedonia appears to be more politically robust) but throughout the 3rd ...
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How did ancient people handle lightning in practical life?

..and any culture before the ubiquitous recognition of lightning in our current everyday understanding. In particular those who were especially exposed in everyday life: For instance Scandinavia had ...
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1 vote
3 answers
381 views

Where did the idea of weeks originate and why do they have seven days?

Years, months and days are based on obvious astronomic cycles, which makes them largely standardized and ubiquitous across all societies. Weeks, on the other hand, have no relationship to astronomical ...
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How safe were ancient boats on the sea? [closed]

On Wiki, it is said that even in the Bronze Age, sea people looted with boat. But is it safe to cross the sea by boat in the Bronze Age? If not, since when has it been stable to cross the sea by boat? ...
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Any evidence of woman named Claudia being a Welsh princess?

There is a passage in the Bible (II Timothy 4:21) about a woman named Claudia, whom presumably was married to a man mentioned in the same passage named Pudens. I've read various blogs that suggest ...
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Are the sources in Flora Unveiled correct?

According to the book, Flora Unveiled: The Discovery and Denial of Sex in Plants by Lee Taiz and Lincoln Taiz published by Oxford, Chapter 8: Plant sex from Empedocles to Theophrastus (pg 213), the ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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How did gladiators/assyrians kill large predators in single combat?

Bears & lions & other megafauna are super powerful and dangerous animals, even many smaller caliber guns can't pierce their skin. They're also too fast and too strong to easily subdue with ...
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When State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) start to be practiced widely in ancient times?

I was wondering if our current archaeology reveals whether ancient governments did business (trading for profit, raising cattle for profit, farm for profit, investing in their people's or other ...
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1 vote
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Greek/Roman play in which a woman encourages a pregnant slave to marry a slave owner and pass off the baby as his?

I can’t for the life of me remember which play this is, or indeed whether it’s Greek or Roman? There’s presumably a lot more to the plot than this, but all I remember is that a young woman is sold ...
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From 1200 B.C. until 100 A.D. did people in the Middle East sit on mats or mainly on chairs? [closed]

Did people sit on mats in the Middle East from 1200 B.C. until 100 A.D. (like some Arabic cultures nowadays) or did they sit mainly on chairs? But maybe the term 'Middle East' is too broad and can ...
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1 vote
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What historic documents do we have supporting women wearing veils as historically continuous since Assyrian law?

The documentation of Assyrian law is given in the answer to this question. What is the earliest history of Middle Eastern women wearing veils for modesty while in public? What historic documents do we ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Is there evidence that the culture of graffiti and tags and their motifs is not accepted in some ancient culture?

I have found some cases in google but I am interested in knowing what was the intention of it in the past times, since there were no mass media or materials to represent these expressions, currently ...
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3 votes
1 answer
217 views

Why wasn't Persepolis on Darius' royal road?

I am curious about the routing of the Royal Road. It bypasses Ecbatana by some distance, which seems odd, and ends in Susa, even odder. It would seem that at least some of the empire's business was ...
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1 vote
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Why do Qing Dynasty coins frequently have cinnabar rubbed into them?

I collect Chinese coins. I would really like to know, why do Qing Dynasty coins frequently have cinnabar rubbed into them? I know the mystical properties of cinnabar or “dragon blood”, but if it was ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Do we know why the Scythians and Sarmatians were overpowered by the Goths, Huns, and Slavs so quickly?

I'm doing a project on the Scythians and Sarmatians and so I've been reading up on ancient wars involving them and I've noticed the following: So, from around 500 BCE to 1 CE the Scytho-Sarmatians ...
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6 votes
1 answer
290 views

What is the earliest history of Middle Eastern women wearing veils for modesty while in public?

The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh, Christian Old Testament) recorded women wearing veils as early as Rebekah in Genesis (Breshith). See Judaism stack exchange However, there is debate over whether women wore ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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How did Majapahit 14th century timepieces tell the time?

The Majapahit Kingdom existed from 1293-1527. In that period, international trade was already being done. I'm looking at the cultural history and customs from Majapahit Kingdom, and I was wondering if ...
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3 votes
1 answer
293 views

What key technologies allowed construction of the Gutenberg printing press?

First, what are the key technologies required in the construction of the Gutenberg printing press? According to Wikipedia, the key technology necessary is the screw press Given the answer to the above,...
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1 vote
0 answers
188 views

How did the Ptolemaics inherit the tradition of royal incest?

Cleopatra (VII), the last queen of Egypt, was forced to marry her younger brother to keep the royal blood in the family. This, of course was a form of royal incest. From what I understand, the ...
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How were warriors wielding axes deployed in combat?

IIRC ancient & medieval soldiers have been wielding axes in battles since Sumerian times. My question is essentially, how were these warriors deployed in an Army? Most soldiers were in tight ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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What were the demographics of the ancient Crete (any population estimates from 500BCE to 1BCE will do)?

I am looking for any estimates on the population of ancient Crete in the time period 500BCE to 1BCE. I have searched for such estimates on google but I haven't found anything relevant. (Note: The ...
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2 answers
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Will we ever be able to understand history with 100% accuracy [closed]

First of all, I am not a historian or anything of the like, but this question was bothering me for quite some time. As far as I understand, the current methodology historians use to explain our ...
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1 vote
1 answer
371 views

Do historians use Rig Veda as a reliable source of historical event?

Rig veda is the oldest text in Hinduism, it is as old as 1500 BCE. It contains many historical reference so, do historians use the historical accounts mentioned in the Rig Vedas as reliable sources of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Did most major ancient cultures (e.g. the Mesopotamians) consider the heart as the main cognitive organ?

The Egyptians, Greeks (e.g. Aristotle), and Chinese certain did so. They believed that thinking was done by the heart. Was this true about all major ancient civilizations? Were there exceptions? ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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Who does Irenaeus call "a certain person among the ancients"?

In his Against Heresies (c. 180 AD), Ireneaus of Lyon writes [God] pronounced no curse against Adam personally, but against the ground, in reference to his works, as a certain person among the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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What are the best primary textual sources I could point to regarding the existence of Julius Caesar? [closed]

I recently got in a discussion with a man claiming that there is more reliable historical proof of the existence of Jesus Christ than of Julius Caesar. On face value, this claim seems ridiculous — ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Did the Indus Valley Civilization use cotton as a writing material?

Cross-posted from Skeptics SE In his book, Science and Secrets of Early Medicine, Jürgen Thorwald writes about the script of the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa civilizations: (in rough translation) Seals, ...
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4 votes
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How would the Israelites have girded their loins?

I stumbled upon the Art of Manliness guide to girding their loins earlier. However, their source is a Historyzine article which doesn't have any references. Also, on Youtube, you can find an ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What happened to the Parthians?

I've always been very much interested in the origin of these people and the way they served Iran. However, the origin and fate of these people has always been a mystery for me and despite reading ...
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-4 votes
2 answers
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What made the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb such a significant archeological find? [closed]

The discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt is often regarded as one of the most notable archeological finds of recent history, and is certainly one of the most famous ones. Before its discovery ...
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