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57

Architecture: Roman Cement Concrete was widely used throughout antiquity by the Persians, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Romans. The Romans technique in creating concrete allowed them to build the Pantheon, Colosseum, aqueducts, and spectacular baths (big ones, awesome ones). Amazingly many structures built with this Roman Cement are still standing. The recipe ...


57

It's probably nonsense, but it's nonsense with an interesting history. The actual ancient Germanics were herders and farmers, with cattle, barley, and wheat as their staples. Given the natural woodlands of the areas they inhabited, this generally involved slash-and-burn agriculture, which is pretty much the most environmentally-destructive practice within ...


48

According to Wikipedia, The Assyrians typically prominently placed lamassu at the entrances of cities and palaces. From the front they appear to stand, and from the side, walk. Something confirmed by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art: The sculptor gave these guardian figures five legs so that they appear to be standing firmly when viewed ...


44

A major reason would be logistics. It's not all about population sizes. The strength of an army is constrained not just by its manpower sources, but also by the logistical infrastructure available to pay for, feed, and equip it. The Romans in particular were much better at this than the feudal states of Medieval Europe, which tended to be quite factious and ...


40

Coins, dedications, and other 'ritual' objects have been buried in the foundations of buildings since prehistory. The function of these artefacts is unclear, but they do not appear to have been placed there for future generations. What you are looking for is usually called a 'time-capsule', and as the Wikipedia article observes: A time capsule is a ...


37

PTSD, or stress reactions from battle, were well known during the Greek and Roman era. The Greeks understood it very well. Alexander the Great's men are said to have mutinied after suffering "battle fatigue." These examples of Roman era PTSD are taken from a blog of ancient examples sourced from Max Hastings', An Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes: ...


34

Yes. Residue analysis has found chemical signatures consistent with the presence of honey, and organic compounds associated with fermentation suggesting that mead was being drunk by the late Neolithic / early Bronze Age "Beaker peoples" in Britain and northern Europe. If you want more details of the processes involved, and the nature of the evidence, and ...


32

Things to consider: First, it is difficult to assess the size of armies in the Middle Ages. Roman troop strength is relatively easy to calculate by knowing the legions involved (the legions usually having the same size), but medieval armies usually had no such regularity. Smaller polities (kingdoms and or counties instead of empires) meant smaller ...


32

What is germaphobia? It's an obsession, it "is a pathological fear of contamination and germs. " If we look for something similar in antiquity we just need to turn that onto its feet: this is about purity or impurity. Purity rules! As well for Greeks as for Romans also. The classical contribution to concepts of contagion and infection thus related ...


31

I remember being taught that the oldest known work of fiction was the Ancient Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers. The story was one of those found on the Papyrus D'Orbiney, which has been dated to the 19th Dynasty (c 1215 BCE) and is now owned by the British Museum: Image source British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) The text is written in hieratic script, but a ...


28

A slightly different translation reads as follows: The Persian bows were also large, so that such of their arrows as were taken were useful to the Cretans, and they continued using their enemies’ arrows; and they practiced shooting them upward, sending them a long way. They found a lot of gut in the villages, and lead, which they could put to use for ...


27

There are a lot of great answers here focusing on the material side of things: how many soldiers can a state feed/arm/support/hire? I want to complement these with an ideological factor. While people can be conscripted or paid to fight, mobilization is always easiest when the population is eager to serve. Some ideologies increase the supply of willing ...


27

If folktales count, then The Poor Man of Nippur (c. 1500 BCE) probably beats the Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers by at least a few centuries. It's certainly not mythological in any modern sense, being a simple trickster tale of a clever beggar exacting revenge on an ungrateful mayor by tricking him three times (and consequently beating him up worse and worse ...


25

Historians quite widely agree that there very probably was a historical person called Jesus. They do agree that this person provided the blueprint or projection space for the belief that centered on and around him. A belief that was a Jewish sect during his lifetime and later slowly forming into what we know today as Christianity. I wrote "widely" as there ...


24

This is a roman fountain at Djemila, Algeria (Latin: Cuicul or Curculum). There's a vast amount of literature and web material on Djemila in general (and some on the fountain), for example: The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (Richard Stillwell et al), on Cuicul in general Cuicul: New/Severian Town The french Wikipedia article on Djemila is quite ...


23

I'll answer just the part about the Roman Republic, if that's alight for now. The Roman Republic is probably best described as a pseudo-democracy of sorts. Its creation and initial set-up actually pre-dated Athenian democracy by a single year, though even until its dying days it was more of a "democracy for the privileged" than anything. Hence, Classical-...


23

They weren't in fact far apart at all. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the Achaemenid Empire, which encompassed Israel. Its actually even closer than this map implies though. In the period of time that a large amount of the Hebrew scriptures were first being written down, a large part of the Jewish nation was living in exile (slavery) in Babylon. ...


21

Since I have a good memory, I remembered and/or looked up a few names of Roman citizens who lived in Gaul or Britain or came from Gaul or Britain to other parts of the empire, and who wrote. These writers could be in ancestry anything from 100 percent Roman, or Spanish, or Egyptian, or Syrian, or Greek, or whatever, to 100 percent native Gauls or Britons ...


20

The ancient Sumerians and Babylonians, from about 3000 BC on, used to bury clay tablets in the foundations of their temples and other major buildings giving the name of the king who founded the temple and threatening to curse anyone who might in the future destroy the building. These inscriptions were not addressed to their contemporaries (they were buried ...


19

This is a complex matter (some authors like Delbruck thought that the classical numbers are very inflated) but one may point out to logistics - classical states were much better able to extract and stockpile resources (human and material) than high medieval polities with their fragmented political authority and erratic currency. As for the Romans' ...


19

I suppose you are talking about Plato's books. No major classical work from ancient Greece survived in the original. (Exception is some recently found papyri originating from the Roman Egypt, which are usually just small fragments). All those books that survived (and specialists estimate that about 1% of the ancient Greek and Roman literature survived) were ...


18

There is a certain Rutilius Namatianus who lived in the early 5th century Gaul. I do not know how much Celtic ancestry he had. He admired Rome and considered his family part of its "sacred Genius", but his poem clearly shows patriotic emotions to his narrower homeland: Rather will you marvel, reader, that my quick return journey (to Gaul) can so soon ...


17

I have dealt with this question in my article, "Nudity as a Costume in Classical Art," in American Journal of Archaeology 1989, which can be accessed either through JSTOR or through Academia.com, under my name. I am also editing a multi-author book, Nudity as a Costume in the Ancient Mediterranean, where I take up the subject of Greek nudity again. The ...


16

All the mathematical works of Hypatia of Alexandria for example were lost. From the secondary sources we do have, she was an amazing mathematician. Her death could be argued as the end of the classical times and the decent into the Dark Ages...


16

Never mind pre-Industrial Revolution. As late as 1910 and 1920 the most efficient way for most people in Toronto and Hamilton to get ice in the summer was for it to be harvested off of Hamilton Harbour (aka Burlington Bay) in the winter and stored in Niagara Escarpmnt cliffs. Canada in the early 20th century may not have been an industrial powerhouse ...


14

Computer? The Antikythera mechanism device for computing eclipses. Nothing much like it appears in history until Charles Babbage created his machines in the 1800's. The following BBC special further explores the device. Probing the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism (Preview) The Antikythera Mechanism as it is known, is regarded as the world's ...


14

I'm not a linguist so I can't comment on whether 150 years are enough or not to thoroughly Latinize a language. However, I think I can point out that the analogy with Egypt is deeply flawed. When the Romans conquered Egypt from the Ptolemaic dynasty they took over a country that had roughly speaking two distinct populations: a "Greek" elite and semi-elite ...


14

Two talents may confidently be assumed, [...] as a moderate estimate of the cost of both hull and rigging of a trireme. (p. 364) Source: Frank Egleston Robbins, The Cost to Athens of Her Second Empire, Classical Philology, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Oct., 1918), pp. 361-388. Newer authors (relying, as far as I can tell from a very cursory examination, upon ...


13

The Roman Forum was initially constructed in the 8th century BC (as a temple to Vesta), started hosting games sometime around the 4th century BC, and was continually rebuilt and upgraded until about 29 BC. So it can be fairly said that it was (somewhat organically) designed to service the entertainment needs of the capital of the Roman empire, home to ...


13

The other answers cover most of what is being asked here but I thought I should add that a major factor in what caused these inabilities was a lack of economies of scale. Whereas the Romans had highly organised production, distribution and retail of both consumables and materials, the Feudal era was highly decentralised. The Feudal era fiefs had only small ...


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