The Women of Athena’s Ancient Cult

The cult of Athena allowed women to fully participate in the life of the city from the time they were young girls. By Dr. Joshua J. MarkProfessor of PhilosophyMarist College Introduction In ancient Athens, women had no life outside the home unless they were prostitutes or were engaged in religious activities such as festivals. Every Greek deity in every city-state had their[…]

Pherenike, the Female Olympic Trainer in Ancient Greece

She dressed as a man to coach her son. After she was caught, all trainers had to enter the stadium naked to prove they were males. By Dr. Joshua J. MarkProfessor of PhilosophyMarist College Introduction Pherenike (l. c. 388 BCE, also known as Kallipateira) was an athlete from Rhodes who, because she was a woman, could not[…]

Hipparchia the Cynic: Wife, Mother, and Outspoken Ancient Greek Philosopher

Hipparchia turned the ancient Greek paradigm of women being homebound and serving men upside down. Introduction Cynic philosopher, wife of Crates of Thebes (l. c. 360 – 280 BCE), and mother of his children, Hipparchia of Maroneia (l. c. 350 – 280 BCE) defied social norms in order to live her beliefs. She is all the more impressive in[…]

Amazonomachy: A Nation of Women Warriors in Ancient Greek Mythology

Amazonomachy represents the Greek ideal of civilization. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction In Greek mythology, Amazonomachy (English translation: “Amazon battle”; plural, Amazonomachiai) was one of various mythical battles between the ancient Greeks and the Amazons, a nation of all-female warriors. Many of the myths portrayed were that of Heracles’ ninth labor, which was the retrieval of the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the[…]

Cultural Appropriation: What It Is and How It Differs from Cultural Appreciation

Guidance on when it is sharing another culture out of appreciation and when it is appropriation. By Dr. Joshua E. KaneLecturer in Social ScienceArizona State University Introduction Fashion companies are increasingly being taken to task for selling expensive versions of traditional Indigenous dress. Gucci’s kaftans came with a US$3,500 price tag, which is far more than[…]

The Grand Tour: Tourism and Cultural Appropriation in Early Modern Europe

The advent of popular guide did much to popularize these trips and the elite considered travel to such centers as necessary rites of passage. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The Grand Tour was the 17th- and 18th-century custom of a traditional trip through Europe undertaken by upper-class young European men of sufficient means and rank (typically accompanied by a chaperone,[…]

Over Hill, Over Dale: Travel in Classical Antiquity

The first instances of long-distance travel in the broader Mediterranean world occurred in what are today Egypt and Iraq. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Travel in classical antiquity over long distances was a specialised undertaking. Most travel was done in the interest of warfare, diplomacy, general state building, or trade. Social motivations for travel[…]

Noah Webster: Chronicler of Disease and Epidemics in the 18th and 19th Centuries

As a newspaper editor, he covered the outbreak of yellow fever; as an historian, he searched for the causes of epidemics. Noah Webster was an all-around do-gooder of the founding generation. He is remembered specifically for his blue-backed speller and the leading role he played in the creation of an American dictionary. In the speller,[…]

Benjamin Franklin’s Fight against a Deadly Virus in 1721

When Bostonians in 1721 faced a deadly smallpox outbreak, a new procedure called inoculation was found to help fend off the disease. By Dr. Mark CanadaExecutive Vice Chancellor for Academic AffairsIndiana University Kokomo By Dr. Christian ChauretDean of School of Sciences, Professor of MicrobiologyIndiana University Kokomo Introduction Exactly 300 years ago, in 1721, Benjamin Franklin[…]

John Haygarth and Paying People to Get Vaccinated in 1798

He raised donations to pay local doctors to perform the procedure and to pay poor families for bringing their children. By Dr. Margaret DeLacyPresidentNorthwest Independent Scholars Association Several states now offer incentives for COVID vaccinations, hoping that enough people will sign up to drive the infection rate down and protect the entire community. When this[…]

Broken Mirrors and Bad Luck: How Did the Superstition Start and Why Does It Still Exist?

In both ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, reflected images were thought to hold mysterious powers. By Dr. Barry MarkovskyDistinguished Professor Emeritus of SociologyUniversity of South Carolina Introduction Every human culture has superstitions. In some Asian societies people believe that sweeping a floor after sunset brings bad luck, and that it’s a curse to leave chopsticks[…]

The Separation of Christianity from Judaism in the Second Century CE

Some Jews accepted the claim that Jesus was their messiah, while the majority did not. By Dr. Rebecca DenovaEmeritus Professor of Early ChristianityUniversity of Pittsburgh Introduction In the mid-2nd century CE, Christianity began a gradual process of identity-formation that would lead to the creation of a separate, independent religion from Judaism. Initially, Christians were one of many groups of Jews[…]

Zenobia: Mighty Ruling Queen of Ancient Palmyra

She challenged Rome by defeating the Roman prefect Tenagino Probus and conquering Egypt. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Zenobia was a Syrian queen (240-after 274 C.E.). After her husband’s death, she became a powerful military leader in her own right, conquering both Egypt and much of the Eastern Roman Empire. The descendant of various royal ancestors, Zenobia became queen[…]

Atlas: Titan of Ancient Greek Mythology with the World on His Shoulders

A common misconception today is that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders, but he was actually holding the celestial spheres. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction In Greek mythology, Atlas is a Titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens or sky for eternity after the Titanomachy. Atlas also plays a role in the myths[…]

Heracles: Strongman of Ancient Greek Mythology

The core of the story of Heracles has been identified as originating in Neolithic hunter culture and traditions of shamanistic crossings into the netherworld. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Heracles, born Alcaeus[1] (Ἀλκαῖος, Alkaios) or Alcides[2], was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and the foster son of Amphitryon.[3] He was a great-grandson and half-brother (as they are both[…]

A Renaissance Palace in Venice Turned into World’s First Casino

If you think that Las Vegas is the birthplace of grandiose casinos, it’s time to go back to the history books. In fact, the oldest casino in the world is the Casino di Venezia and it dates back to 1638! What’s even more intriguing is that the casino is still in operation today and is[…]

Philadelphia 1844: When Protestants Burned Catholic Churches in the Name of “Religious Liberty”

Political anti-Catholicism gained new adherents in the 1830s that culminated in violence. By Dr. Zachary M. SchragProfessor of HistoryGeorge Mason University Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum has deservedly lost his position at CNN for his April speech in which he described all of Native American culture as “nothing.” But he made that remark in service[…]

Art and Religion: The Investiture Controversy in the Holy Roman Empire

The investiture dispute grew gradually in the 11th century between the Catholic Church and the German Salian Dynasty. By Michael GriffithHistorian Introduction The Investiture Controversy, also referred to as the Investiture Contest or Investiture Dispute, was a conflict lasting from 1076 to 1122 between the papacy of the Catholic Church and the Salian Dynasty of German monarchs[…]

Constantine’s Conversion to Christianity

Although Constantine is acclaimed as the first emperor to embrace Christianity, he was not technically the first to legalize it. Introduction Constantine I (Flavius Valerius Constantinus) was Roman emperor from 306-337 CE and is known to history as Constantine the Great for his conversion to Christianity in 312 CE and his subsequent Christianization of the Roman Empire. His conversion was motivated in part[…]

Betrayed with a Kiss: Biblical Stories and Historicity of Judas Iscariot

We can find no earlier evidence than Mark of a story of betrayal or this individual. Introduction Judas Iscariot was one of the original disciples of Jesus of Nazareth (d. c. 30 CE), one of the twelve apostles. For handing Jesus over to the authorities, as described in the gospels, he has become the epitome of the act of betrayal in[…]

The Spice Trade and the Age of Exploration

Some of Europe’s elite began to ponder how they could get direct access to the spices of the East without paying Eastern and Arab merchants. Introduction One of the major motivating factors in the European Age of Exploration was the search for direct access to the highly lucrative Eastern spice trade. In the 15th century, spices[…]

The Eastern Trade Network of Ancient Rome

Silk became so popular that the Roman Senate periodically issued proclamations to prohibit the wearing it on both economic and moral grounds. By Dr. James HancockProfessor Emeritus of HorticultureMichigan State University Introduction The life of wealthy Romans was filled with exotic luxuries such as cinnamon, myrrh, pepper, or silk acquired through long-distance international trade. Goods from the Far East[…]

Agriculture in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent

The birth of agriculture was a pivotal moment in human history that allowed the earliest civilizations to arise in the Fertile Crescent. By Jan van der CrabbenFounder and CEOWorld History Encyclopedia Introduction The ancient Near East, and the historical regions of the Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia in particular, are generally seen as the birthplace of agriculture. In the 4th millennium BCE,[…]

The Modern History of Wills

While creating wealth is an important aspect of financial planning, deciding what happens to the accumulated assets after death is equally vital. The smoothest way to transact this is by leaving behind a will, which is a legally enforced document, to make sure the right person, or persons, get their respective shares after you are[…]

A Modern History of the Rise of Third Wave Coffee

The concept of “third wave coffee” was inspired by the ideas behind the three waves of feminism. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The term ‘third wave coffee’ is a label given to coffee businesses opened after the year 2000, which share a similar mission statement or goal: to deliver high quality coffee. [1] Those who[…]

Huntington’s ‘Three Waves of Democracy’ since the 19th Century

Scholars debate the precise number of democratic waves and their causes. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction In political science, the waves of democracy are major surges of democracy which have occurred in history. Although the term appears at least as early as 1887,[1] it was popularized by Samuel P. Huntington, a political scientist at Harvard University in his article published in the Journal[…]

Past and Present: The Idiocy, Fabrications, and Lies of ‘Ancient Aliens’

Using the “Gish Gallop” – spouting off a series of misinterpretations and falsehoods to bury his opponent under an avalanche of fictions and distortions. By Riley BlackFreelance Science Writer Until now, I have assiduously avoided Ancient Aliens. I had a feeling that if I watched the show—which popularizes far-fetched, evidence-free idiocy about how human history has[…]

The Temple of Kukulcán: El Castillo in Chichen Itza

The construction of Kukulcán (“El Castillo”), like other Mesoamerican pyramids, likely reflected the common practice by the Maya. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction El Castillo, Spanish for “the castle”), known as the Temple of Kukulcán (or also just as Kukulcán), is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. The pyramid building[…]