Temples and Cities in Ancient Egypt

The temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple, dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Ramesses II’s chief consort, Nefertari, at Abu Simbel / Photo by Ad Meskens, Wikimedia Commons A close relationship with particular deities was an important aspect of regional identity in pharaonic Egypt. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology[…]

Bull-Leaping Paintings at Ancient Knossos: What Do They Tell Us?

Bull-leaping fresco from the east wing of the palace of Knossos (reconstructed), c. 1400 B.C.E., fresco, 78 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Jebulon, CC0) The most interesting question about the bull leaping paintings from Knossos is what they might mean. By Dr. Senta German / 08.15.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum[…]

Bull’s Head Rhyta and Their Ritual Significance in Ancient Minoa

Bull’s head rhyton from the palace at Knossos, c. 1550-1500 B.C.E., black steatite, jasper, and mother-of-pearl, 26 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Zde, CC BY-SA 4.0) Images of bulls are among the most important in Minoan art. By Dr. Senta German / 08.16.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford[…]

Building the City in Ancient Egypt

Ruins of ancient Thebes A team of four men could produce 3,000 mudbricks per day. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction Egypt, more particularly the Nile Valley between Aswan and Cairo, is blessed with a cornucopia of constructional resources. An ancient Egyptian who made the (sometimes very short) stroll from the[…]

How the Ancient World Invoked the Dead to Help the Living

The dead wait to be ferried across the River Styx. The Souls of Acheron (1898) by Adolf Hiremy Hirschl For the ancients, ghosts could be quite useful. By Dr. Evelien Bracke / 10.28.2016 Senior Lecturer in Classics Swansea University Dressing up, knocking on neighbours’ doors and asking for food is a very old tradition. Communities on the British Isles were[…]

Golden Tickets to the Underworld in Ancient Greece

Tablet with Instructions for the Deceased in the Underworld, 350–300 B.C., Greek. Gold, 7/8 × 1 7/16 × 1/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Gift of Lenore Barozzi, 75.AM.19 How some ancient Greeks navigated their passage to a happier afterlife. By David Saunders / 10.30.2018 Curator, Department of Antiquities J. Paul Getty Museum Introduction[…]

Janus: The Roman God of Beginnings and Endings

Detail from The Temple of Janus by Peter Paul Rubens. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons On January 1, we consider the origins of Janus, after whom this month is named. Dr. Caillan Davenport / 12.31.2017 Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow Macquarie University January 1 can be a day of regret and reflection – did I really[…]

The ‘Equites Legionis’ and the Roman Cavalry

A view on the Roman cavalry forces, especially the equites legionis. By Dr. Stefan Zehetner Institut für Alte Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Papyrologie und Epigraphik University of Vienna Introduction A view on the Roman cavalry forces, especially the equites legionis. The article describes a possible organizational chart of the legionary cavalry formation in imperial times. By[…]

The Social Effect of the Law on Prostitutes in Ancient Rome

Roman mosaic / Photo by Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wikimedia Commons Prostitution quickly became a popular source of income and pleasure for the Roman population, but it seemed to be viewed dichotomously. By Lauren Weisner / 12.01.2014 Prostitution quickly became a popular source of income and pleasure for the Roman population, but it seemed[…]

Phalanx Transformation of Ancient Greek Warfare, 431-331 BCE

From simple, organized Greek farmers to a powerful, flexible army. By Ian Joseph BA Cultural Anthropology, The University of Chicago MBA Pepperdine University Mantinea Introduction Three great battles—Mantinea (418 BCE), Leuctra (371 BCE), and Gaugamela (331 BCE)—demonstrate the development of Greek and Macedonian warfare from the simple hoplite phalanx employed by Greek farmers defending their fields, into[…]

Palaces in Ancient Egypt: Cities for Kings and Gods

Illustration of the ancient palace of Malkata The grandeur that early European explorers had come to expect in royal building programs seems to have been reserved for sacred space and funerary complexes. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction For early European explorers in Egypt, it was inconceivable that the massive monumental[…]

Noble Villas in New Kingdom Egypt

There were distinct differences between city and village (country) life, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Although, with exceptions at Amarna, there are few surviving traces of noble villas from the New Kingdom, we have some idea of how they must have looked[…]

Fortified Cities in Ancient Egypt

The Lion Temple Walls do seem to be a defining feature of many Egyptian settlements throughout the dynastic period. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool The origin of urbanism in Egypt includes the emergence of heavily defended walled settlements as major political and economic centres. The policy of providing enclosing walls for[…]

The Persian Wars and the Maritime Supremacy of Ancient Athens

Figure 1: Greek Colonization of western Asia Minor / Image by Alexikoua, Wikimedia Commons The development of naval supremacy and of democracy became interdependent. In the period of about 600–480 BCE, Ionian colonists emigrated from Attica to the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey [1]. There they inhabited a narrow coastal strip from[…]

Preserving Ancient Mosaics in the Mediterranean

A restorer removes mortar on a mosaic in Tipasa, Algeria. Image courtesy the Conservation and Restoration Workshop of the Arles Antiquities Museum Flexibility in a funding initiative for mosaics conservators leads to a range of positive outcomes. By Dr. Joan Weinstein / 11.27.2018 Acting Director Getty Foundation Introduction Grant-making is rarely a linear process. It often involves twists and turns along the[…]

City and Regional Government in Ancient Egypt

Examining  the roles and duties of the court, temple and provincial officials as the backbone of ancient Egyptian administration. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction The administration of towns and cities in dynastic Egypt was part of a complex pattern of central and regional government whose functions, and officials, often overlapped.[…]

The Development of Leisure Sports in Ancient China and Its Contemporary Sports Culture Value

Ancient Chinese golf / Creative Commons The traditional culture not only influences the life of modern people, but also promotes the sports undertakings in China. By Dr. Jianqiang Guo and Dr. Rong Li / 10.12.2017 School of Physical Education Changzhou University Abstract The traditional culture not only influences the life of modern people, but also promotes[…]

Shamanism in Ancient Korea

Cheongung, or the main Shrine Hall of the Three Sages, on the grounds of Samseonggung. Samseonggung Shrine is dedicated to the traditional worship of the three mythical creators of Korea: Whanin, Whanung, and Dangun. Its influence on ancient Korean culture is most tangible in surviving art, architecture, literature, and music. By Mark Cartwright / 11.08.2016 Historian Introduction Bangsadaps,[…]

The City of Gilgamesh: Temple Rule in Ancient Babylon

Passing lion, brick panel from the Procession Way which ran from the Marduk temple to the Ishtar Gate and the Akitu Temple / Photo by Jastrow, Louvre Museum, Wikimedia Commons Gilgamesh, legendary ruler of Uruk, famous drinker, womanizer and battler against monsters, was a King Arthur of Mesopotamian antiquity. By Dr. Paul Kriwaczek British Historian Uruk[…]

Stone Tools at Arabian ‘Crossroads’ Present Mysteries of Ancient Human Migration

Hand axes from the site of Saffaqah, Saudi Arabia. (Palaeodeserts/Ian R. Cartwright) Hominins made stone tools in central Arabia 190,000 years ago, and the hand axe technology raises questions about just who they were. By Brian Handwerk / 11.29.2018 early 200,000 years ago, at the confluence of two long-vanished river systems in the heart of Arabia,[…]

Stone Tools Date Early Humans in North Africa to 2.4 Million Years Ago

Archaeological excavation at Ain Boucherit, Algeria. Mathieu Duval, Author provided Ancient stone tools found in what is now Algeria show early humans likely spread across Africa more rapidly than first thought.    By Dr. Mathieu Duval (left) and Dr. Mohamed Sahnouni (right) / 11.29.2018 Duval: ARC Future Fellow, Griffith University Sahnouni: Archéologue et professeur, National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH) When did early humans first arrive in[…]

Ancient Trade Connections between West Africa and the Wider World

The archaeological evidence is clear, but the mechanisms of diffusion are still not entirely understood. By Dr. Sonja Magnavita Research Associate Commission for the Archaeology of Non-European Cultures (KAAK), Bonn, Germany Abstract The long-standing, more mythical than fact-based assumptions about ancient trade contacts between West Africa and the wider world prior to the Arab conquest[…]

Trade in the Ancient Phoenician World

A Phoenician-Punic ship from a relief carving on a 2nd century CE sarcophagus / Photo by NMB, Wikimedia Commons The Phoenicians established themselves as one of the greatest trading powers in the ancient world. By Mark Cartwright / 04.01.2016 Historian Introduction The Phoenicians, based on a narrow coastal strip of the Levant, put their excellent seafaring skills to good[…]

The Rise and Fall of Ur in Ancient Mesopotamia

Ruins in the Town of Ur, Southern Iraq / Photo by M.Lubinski, Flickr, Creative Commons Ur was an established city by 3800 BCE continually inhabited until 450 BCE. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 04.28.2011 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction Ur was a city in the region of Sumer, southern Mesopotamia, in what is modern-day Iraq. According to biblical tradition, the[…]

The Fertile Crescent: The ‘Cradle of Civilization’

A map illustrating the various political states within the Fertile Crescent c. 1450 BCE / Image by Свифт/Svift, Wikimedia Commons Virtually every area of human knowledge was advanced by these people. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 03.28.2018 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction The Fertile Crescent, often called the “Cradle of Civilization”, is the region in the Middle East[…]