Seeing Hera in the Iliad

Restored ruins of the Temple of Hera, ancient Doric Greek temple at Olympia, Greece / Photo by Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Seemee Ali Associate Professor of English Carthage College Hera is the most under-appreciated deity in the pantheon of Homer’s Iliad. Inseminating mortals with thoughts and understanding the secret plans of Zeus, Hera[…]

The Origin of Fermentation and Mead in Ancient Egypt

Painted wooden model group: four figures preparing food and beer. 6th Dynasty, Sidmant, Egypt. / © Trustees of the British Museum, London By Dr. Ethan Watrall / 02.05.2014 Assistant Professor of Anthropology Michigan State University The ancient Egyptians were known to be avid practitioners of fermentation. They purposefully created alcohol for the purpose of consumption. Fermentation occurs[…]

Stuffed Ox, Dummy Tree, Artificial Rock: Deception in the Work of Richard and Cherry Kearton

“Shouldering the imitation ox”, from a 1909 edition of Richard Kearton’s Wild Nature’s Ways / archive.org John Bevis explores the various feats of cunning and subterfuge undertaken by the Kearton brothers — among the very first professional wildlife photographers — in their pioneering attempts to get ever closer to their subjects. By John Bevis /[…]

Divine Images as Beings in Western Europe, 1500-1960: Blood, Sweat, and Tears

By Dr. William A. Christian Former Visiting Professor of Religious History, University of California, Santa Barbara Historian of Religion, MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program Toribia del Valintroduced one of the ways of connecting with the divine: the visit of a supernatural with counsel and instructions for a specific purpose, in her case to end a drought[…]

Rite of Spring: Frank Gehry and the Walt Disney Concert Hall of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, 2004. / Photo by John Sullivan, Wikimedia Commons The inside story of how Gehry secured the commission for Disney Hall, and then completed the “slow, awesome task” of perfecting the design. By Dr. Thomas S. Hines / 05.25.2017 Architectural Historian Professor Emeritus University of California, Los Angeles[…]

Thinking Iranian, Rethinking Greek

“Wanderer above the sea of fog” (ca. 1818), Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840). Image via Wikimedia Commons. By Dr. Gregory Nagy / 03.13.2015 Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University Introduction What do you first think of when we hear the words Iranian[…]

Sieving the Mesolithic

By Dr. Jessi Halligan / 08.05.2016 Assistant Professor of Anthropology Florida State University The rain was mercifully holding off and the mid morning breeze had all but blown itself away as I crouched at the edge of a sand lined pool in the rough corner of a reed-thick, marshy field and slowly lifted the tarnished[…]

The Art of Mexican Independence

Anonymous, Allegory of Independence (detail), 1834 (Museo Histórico Curato de Dolores, Guanajato, INAH) By Dr. Maya Jiménez / 02.17.2017 Lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art and Assistant Professor of Art History Kingsborough Community College, CUNY The first two, and most notable, countries in the Americas to gain independence were the United States (1776), led[…]

The Academy of San Carlos

Site of the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City since 1791 (photo: Steven Zucker) By Dr. Maya Jiménez / 02.17.2017 Lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art and Assistant Professor of Art History Kingsborough Community College, CUNY From its beginnings in the sixteenth century, the Viceroyalty of New Spain had been home to many[…]

Nero: The Myth and the Actual Story

Nero: had a reputation as an arsonist even in antiquity. Wikimedia Commons    By Dr. Caillan Davenport (left) and Dr. Shushma Malik (right) / 01.19.2017 Caillan: Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, The University of Queensland Malik: Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, The University of Queensland If asked to[…]

Incitatus: Caligula’s Horse in Popular Myth and Reality

An equestrian statue of a Julio-Claudian prince, originally identified as Caligula. ©Trustees of the British Museum    By Dr. Caillan Davenport (left) and Dr. Shushma Malik (right) / 01.19.2017 Caillan: Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, The University of Queensland Malik: Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, The University of[…]

The Tomb of Fastia Velsi from Chiusi

By Dr. Richard De Puma Professor Emeritus of Art History University of Iowa Etruscan Studies 11:9 (2008), 134-149 The modern Tuscan town of Chiusi is the site of one of the major inland cities of the ancient Etruscans. For centuries the settlement, its cemeteries and the extensive satellite communities have been explored, plundered and excavated.[…]

An Ancient Roman Vomitorium: NOT a Place to Vomit

A Roman Feast, by Roberto Bompiani, late 19th century / Getty Center, Wikimedia Commons    By Dr. Caillan Davenport (left) and Dr. Shushma Malik (right) / 01.19.2017 Caillan: Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, The University of Queensland Malik: Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, The University of Queensland After[…]

Patron Deities and Politics among the Classic Maya

Maya mask. Stucco frieze from Placeres, Campeche. Early Classic period (c. 250 – 600 AD) / Photo by Wolfgang Sauber, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City By Dr. Joanne Baron Lecturer in Anthropology University of Pennsylvania Introduction Most modern scholars agree that religious belief played at least some role in the exercise and legitimization of[…]

Hangover? There’s an Ancient Cure for That!

Should have stuck to white … / Creative Commons By Dr. Laurence Totelin / 12.31.2014 Lecturer in Ancient History Cardiff University Slightly over-indulged in wine this festive season? Suffering from throbbing headache, dry mouth, and nausea after the office Christmas party? The hair of the dog somehow does not appeal? Are you looking for time-tested[…]

Love, Death, and Blissful Ignorance: Pliny and the Origins of Photography

By Dr. Peter Kruschwitz / 04.23.2017 From The Petrified Muse Professor of Classics Fellow of the Pontifical Academy for Latin (Pontificia Academia Latinitatis) University of Reading Pliny the Elder, ancient Rome’s great encyclopedist, did not, of course, describe the origins of modern photography – a technique and art that was greatly advanced in Reading, Berkshire,[…]

The ‘Vienna Genesis’

The fall of man and God’s covenant with Noah, from the Vienna Genesis, folio 3 recto, early 6th century, tempera, gold and silver on purple vellum, 31.75 x 23.5 cm (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 05.05.2017 Associate Professor of Art History Indiana University Wealthy Christian families living in the Byzantine world may[…]

Instrumental Music in Representations of Ancient Greek Cult

By Dr. Gullög C. Nordquist Professor of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Uppsala University Introduction Music was indispensable in Greek cult: almost all kinds of musical performances, hymns and dithyrambs as well as the musical agones[1] and theatre performances, belonged to cult in one form or another. It is of course this art-music that has[…]

The Art of Conquest in England and Normandy

Horses disembarking from Norman longships, Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 05.05.2017 Associate Professor of Art History Indiana University The Invasion On September 28, 1066, the tiny community of Pevensey (on the south-east coast of England), huddled inside the ruins of a late[…]

Medieval English National Identity

People in Medieval England, illustrated here by a section of the Bayeux Tapestry / The Bayeux Tapestry Museum, France By Dr. Robert Bartlet Emeritus Professor of History University of St. Andrews The East Asian Journal of British History 1 (2011), 1-12 Introduction “Articles of Union otherwise known as Treaty of Union”, 1707 / Parliament of[…]

A Brief History of Coffee

By Tori Avery / 04.08.2013 Second only to oil, coffee is the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world. We love it, we rely on it, and we drink it in massive quantities. It is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day worldwide. New Yorkers are said to drink 7[…]

The Women of Mycenaean Pylos and Knossos

Fresco from Mycenae (1250-1180 BCE). Photo by Mark Cartwright, Archeaological Museum Mycenae By Judith Weingarten / 11.27.2016 Archaeologist Eritha, A Mycenaean Uppity Woman Around the year 1300 B.C.E., a priestess named Eritha argued a law suit against the governing council of the district of Pa-ki-ja-na (= Sphagianes, “the place of ritual slaughter”).  Eritha was high-priestess[…]

Pumapunku: A Capable and Innovative Culture, not ‘Ancient Aliens’

Photo by Brattarb, Wikimedia Commons Though some claim the stone structure at Pumapunku were alien, archaeologists find no real mysteries there. By Brian Dunning / 08.20.2010 Today we’re going to climb high into the Andes and take a look at an ancient structure that has been cloaked with as much pop-culture mystery as just about[…]

The Bow and Arrow in Archaic Greece

By Dr. Todd Alexander Davis Instructor of Classics Belmont Hill School Introduction Despite a renewed interest in scholarship about archaic warfare, hoplites, Homeric society, and other related areas, archery in the Archaic period has managed to escape comprehensive study for half a century.[1] Scholarship on the subject stands in urgent need of update and revision.[…]

Satraps of Ancient Persia

Syrians bearing tribute to Darius the Great of Persia / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Lori Khatchadourian Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies Cornell University Introduction Hushang ascended the throne after his grandfather and declared himself the king of the seven realms. During the forty years of his reign, Hushang spread justice and enriched the world[…]