Landscape Painting in Nineteenth-Century Latin America

Works by artists like Velasco, Troya, Chartrand, and Oller offer an alternative to depictions by foreign artists. Painting Local Landscapes in Mexico Renowned Mexican landscapist, José María Velasco painted views of the Valley of Mexico more than seven times. In one of his famous versions, called the Valley of Mexico (1877), Velasco painted the valley[…]

The Skill of Inca Weavers in Their Textiles

By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction For the Incas finely worked and highly decorative textiles came to symbolize both wealth and status, fine cloth could be used as both a tax and currency, and the very best textiles became amongst the most prized of all possessions, even more precious than gold or silver. Inca weavers were technically[…]

A (Very) Brief History of Government since the Graeco-Roman World

One of the reasons humans prefer an organized government is that we’ve had them for thousands of years. Introduction For much of human history, people seem to prefer to live in organized groups. These groups took different forms in different times and places, but generally there seems always to have been a process by which[…]

Money and Banking in Ancient Rome

Banking was highly developed and subject to Roman Law, and money deposits were to be safeguarded and not lent out. Introduction Ancient Rome grew out of a small city state in today’s Italy to a great empire, that dominated much of Europe. Eventually, it broke apart, the Western part disintegrated, while the Byzantine Empire lived[…]

Ancient Persian Governors

Persian governors and the satrapy system established the paradigm recognizable in the present day of a central government. Introduction The Achaemenid Persian Empire functioned as well as it did because of the efficient bureaucracy established by its founder Cyrus the Great (r. c. 550-530 BCE) which was administered through the satrapy system. A Persian governor of[…]

Ancient Mesopotamia: ‘Between Two Rivers’

The ‘two rivers’ of the name referred to the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and the land was known as ‘Al-Jazirah’. Introduction Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning ‘between two rivers’) was an ancient region located in the eastern Mediterranean bounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian Plateau,[…]