57 votes
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Did ancient Germans take pride in leaving the land untouched?

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 ...
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  • 110k
52 votes

Why does this statue have five legs?

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 ...
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  • 2,236
47 votes

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

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 ...
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  • 96.2k
40 votes

Earliest evidence of objects intended for future archaeologists?

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 ...
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  • 76.4k
38 votes
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Did germophobia exist in classical antiquity?

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 ...
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  • 77.2k
34 votes
Accepted

Did early northern Europeans drink alcohol?

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 ...
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  • 76.4k
33 votes

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

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 ...
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  • 12.1k
31 votes

What is the oldest known work of fiction?

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 ...
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  • 76.4k
29 votes
Accepted

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

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 ...
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  • 17.9k
28 votes
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In Antiquity, were Persian arrows considered superior to their Greek counterparts?

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’...
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  • 77.2k
28 votes

Were Roman males ever named after their mothers?

Yes, they were, but not until the Imperial period. A specific example is this one: The practice of Constantinius Aequalis and Pacatia Servanda is typical of the later first or second century. The ...
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27 votes
Accepted

What is the oldest known work of fiction?

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 ...
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26 votes

Do historians support the existence of brothers to Jesus?

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 ...
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  • 77.2k
24 votes

How did early Judaism and Zoroastrianism influence each other, if they were so far apart?

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 ...
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24 votes
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Do we have any surviving texts by Romano-Celtic authors?

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 ...
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  • 17.4k
24 votes
Accepted

Does anyone know what type of structure this is?

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 ...
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  • 3,316
21 votes
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Where does Herodotus discuss judging the wisdom of decisions by the evidence at hand vs. the consequences?

Macaulay, 1890 the counsel which has been taken is no less good, though it has been defeated by fortune; while he who took counsel badly at first, if good fortune should go with him has lighted on a ...
20 votes
Accepted

Where are the ancient books now?

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 ...
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  • 37.5k
19 votes

Classical battle sizes vs medieval battle sizes

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 ...
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19 votes

Earliest evidence of objects intended for future archaeologists?

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 ...
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  • 9,473
18 votes

How much did a ship cost in Ancient Greece?

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 ...
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18 votes

Do we have any surviving texts by Romano-Celtic authors?

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", ...
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  • 4,326
18 votes
Accepted

Were there "Taxes Paid" slave tattoos in the Roman Empire?

Apparently yes, that is one possible way of reading one surviving inscription. But it is not so clear cut easy. This is evidenced by one find, a rather isolated appearance from Ephesos: often ...
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  • 77.2k
16 votes

How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?

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 ...
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15 votes

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

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 ...
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  • 3,165
14 votes
Accepted

How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?

Wikipedia has a video which shows pretty much every aspect. Firstly the ice was cut from mountains or frozen lakes. Then it was transported to its destination. Obviously there is a risk of melting ...
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  • 1,107
14 votes

Did the Romans see Africa as a black continent? Was there a perception of a divide between Africa and Europe?

You can't really compare the two, because the Romans lived in such a different world than we do. The Romans didn't really have the concept of a "continent", as they didn't know for a fact that land ...
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  • 110k
14 votes

Did germophobia exist in classical antiquity?

Obsessive compulsive disorders do not exist in a vacuum - you have to put them in their context. Mysophobia is stereotyped as excessively washing hands today, but it is not intrinsically about hand ...
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  • 96.2k
13 votes

Where are the ancient books now?

In Roman-Greek times (before 300 AD) there were no books in the Roman Empire, just papyrus scrolls, each chapter being one scroll. So a work like the Republic would be divided into many scrolls. ...
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  • 37.3k
13 votes

Did ancient Germans take pride in leaving the land untouched?

Unless specified further it seems quite contestable that Caesar wrote much to this effect. If any ancient Roman author comes to mind, with sufficient detail, then it is primarily Publius Cornelius ...
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  • 77.2k

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