Late Medieval Translation of Ancient Texts

During the fifteenth century, and notably in Italy, the art of translating was profoundly changed by Humanists as well as by a better knowledge of the Greek language and Greek texts. Practices changed and multiplied, while an increasingly intense theoretical reflection emerged regarding the very phenomenon of translation. Summary The Renaissance was a crucial period[…]

Mesoamerican Architecture from the Ancient to Medieval Worlds

Mesoamerican architecture is the set of architectural traditions produced by pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations of Mesoamerica. Introduction Mesoamerican architecture is the set of architectural traditions produced by pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations of Mesoamerica, traditions which are best known in the form of public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures. The distinctive features of Mesoamerican architecture encompass a number of different[…]

Megalithism and Tribal Ritualism: A Passage through the Kurumbas of Attappadi

Analyzing the existence of Megalithic traits as a living tradition among the Kurumba tribe of Attappadi. Abstract The study of mortuary practices of Megalithic communities and its use as the basis for reconstructing the past society is unique in archaeology as it represents the direct and purposeful culmination of conscious behavior of the followers of[…]

Quests for Fire: Neanderthals and Science Fiction

By 1914, paleoanthropology recognized five species of human ancestors, two sub-species, and the tangible evidence of humanity’s antiquity proved utterly captivating. The Quest Begins: Neanderthals Meet Science Fiction In 1856, workers at a limestone quarry in the Neander Valley of Germany turned over a curious set of skeletal remains to a local amateur naturalist, Johann[…]

The Architectural Patronage and Political Prowess of Herod the Great

Herod created architecture that implemented Roman technology, designs, and styles, while co-mingling them with his existing Hellenistic style of architecture. Abstract After supporting Marc Antony in the Battle of Actium (31 B.C.), King Herod, fearful of losing his power, went to Rome, apologized to Augustus and assured him that he was his biggest supporter. Augustus,[…]

The Probable Pagan Origin of an Ancient Jewish Custom: Purification with Red Heifer’s Ashes

The Jewish red heifer ash ritual may have originated in surrounding pagan cultures reflecting the transition from pantheism to monotheism. Dr. Efraim LevAssistant Professor of Israel StudiesUniversity of Haifa Dr. Simcha Lev-YadunProfessor of BiologyUniversity of Haifa Abstract One of the most enigmatic of all ancient Jewish religious customs was the use of ashes of a[…]

The Magyars, from Prehistory to Modern Hungary

Hungary’s traits are rooted in this a history of fluid borders, as well as the strong migratory tendencies of people of Hungarian ancestry. Introduction Hungarians or Magyars[5] are an ethnic group primarily associated with Hungary. The word Hungarian has also a wider meaning, because – especially in the past – it referred to all inhabitants of the Kingdom of Hungary irrespective of their[…]

Aspasia of Miletus: The Art of Eloquence

Aspasia was a woman of formidable intelligence and eloquence who influenced many of the important writers, thinkers, and statesmen of her time. Aspasia of Miletus (470-410 BCE, approximately) is best known as the consort and close companion of the great Athenian statesman Pericles. She was a metic (a person not born in Athens) and, accordingly, was not allowed to marry[…]

Tuned to the Senses: An Archaeoacoustic Perspective on Ancient Chavín

The ancient pilgrimage center at Chavín provides the multifaceted material evidence needed for an archaeoacoustic case study. By Dr. Miriam KolarLead InvestigatorChavín de Huántar Archaeological Acoustics ProjectStanford University Sound and Archaeology Buttressed into the Peruvian Andes, the ancient mortared-stone complex at Chavín de Huántar resonates with sound and story. Visitors to this 3,000-year-old ceremonial center[…]

Acoustics of Ancient Greek Theaters

The sound quality in ancient times was likely much better than it is today. By Brigit Katz It is often said that the acoustics of ancient Greek theaters were so sophisticated that spectators in the back row could hear the actors with perfect clarity, long before microphones came into the picture. In modern times, tour guides will[…]

Ancient Walls

Walls began to rise around cities throughout Mesopotamia shortly after urbanization began. Introduction The English word ‘wall’ is derived from the Latin, ‘vallus’ meaning ‘a stake’ or ‘post’ and designated the wood-stake and earth palisade which formed the outer edge of a fortification. The palisades were in use early on and are mentioned by Homer in the[…]

The Rock-Cut Tombs of Qizqapan, Iraqi Kurdistan of the Median-Achaemenid Periods, 600-330 BCE

The story of a cave, a man, and a girl he abducted for marriage. By Dr. Osama Shukir Muhammed AminAssociate Professor of NeurologyShorsh Military General Teaching Hospital O Creator of the material world, at what distance from the holy man (should the place for the dead body be)?” Ahura Mazda replied: “Three paces from the[…]

Classical and Christian Conceptions of Slavery and Gender, and Their Influence on Germanic Gaul

Roman honor and shame became Christian virtue and shame. The Christian reinterpretation of the classical Roman dichotomy of “honor” and “shame” into “virtue” and “shame” in Late Antiquity did not benefit enslaved men and women equally. Enslaved men experienced a moral elevation of their suffering, which allowed them to recast their vulnerability as a strength[…]

Religion in the Ancient World

There is no culture recorded in human history which has not practiced some form of religion. Introduction Religion (from the Latin Religio, meaning ‘restraint,’ or Relegere, according to Cicero, meaning ‘to repeat, to read again,’ or, most likely, Religionem, ‘to show respect for what is sacred’) is an organized system of beliefs and practices revolving around, or leading to, a[…]

“The Lying Pen of the Scribes”: A Nineteenth-Century Dead Sea Scroll

Historical research is important not simply for its own sake, but for what we can learn from it and apply to the future. The original version of Deuteronomy. That’s how the newly-discovered text was billed in August 1883. Several fragments of a 2,800-year-old scroll had made their way into the hands of Moses Shapira, an[…]

The Rise and Decline of Pharaohnic Power in Ancient Egypt

Examining the emergence and decline of the pharaoh in ancient Egypt from the Old to New Kingdoms. Introduction The Pharaoh in ancient Egypt was the political and religious leader of the people and held the titles ‘Lord of the Two Lands’ and ‘High Priest of Every Temple’. The word ‘pharaoh’ is the Greek form of the Egyptian pero or per-a-a, which was the designation for[…]

Menes: Legendary First King of Egypt

In the early days of Egyptology, Menes was accepted as the first historical king based upon the written records. Introduction Menes (c. 3150 BCE) is the legendary first king of Egypt who is thought to have united Upper and Lower Egypt through conquest and founded both the First Dynasty and the great city of Memphis. His name is known from sources such[…]

Ptolemy I Soter: Greek Founder of Egypt’s Ptolemaic Dynasty

The synthesis of Greek and Egyptian customs, beliefs and practices created by Ptolemy I and his heirs remains a subject for study and research. Introduction Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaĩos Sōtḗr, i.e., Ptolemy the Savior, (ca. 367 B.C.E. — ca. 283 B.C.E.) was a Macedoniaian general under Alexander the Great who became ruler of Egypt (323 B.C.E. — 283 B.C.E.) and founder of Ptolemaic dynasty which ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest in 30 C.E. In[…]

Dividing the Spoils: The Babylon Conferences for the Empire of Alexander the Great

Immediately after the death of Alexander the Great, the power play began. By Robin WaterfieldBritish Classics Scholar and Author Introduction Immediately after Alexander’s death, while the embalmers got busy with his body, those of his senior officers who were present in Babylon met and began to make arrangements for the future. The power play began.[…]

Freedom and Destiny in Ancient Greek Thought

Examining the ancient Greek interpretation of freedom and its collateral of responsibility. Scientific Deliberation and Practical Wisdom―Exclusive Skills? In the history of ancient Greek thought the question of how to live a livable life is the principal arouser of those who dedicate time to think about the meaning and sense of the human being and[…]

Punishment in Ancient Athens

Athenians preferred to memorialize punishments for eternity. By Dr. Danielle S. AllenJames Conant Bryan University Professor of Political TheoryUniversity of Harvard Here we can no longer avoid turning to the gory details. I will begin with a simple list of the penalties imposed in Athens, say a few words about the most interesting penalties, and[…]

The Hellenization of the Hasmoneans

Analyzing the Hasmonean rulers’ approach to Hellenistic culture. Abstract The archaeological excavations of the Hasmonean palaces in Jericho and the numismatic evidence on the Hasmoneans are examined in order to understand the Hasmonean rulers’ approach to Hellenistic culture. They enable us to see not only the extent of Hellenistic influence, but also how and why[…]

Antiochus IV Epiphanes: The ‘Little Horn’ of the Jewish Revolt, 165-164 BCE

His rule resulted in revolt and eventually in territorial loss, and in the loss of political prestige, for his successors. Introduction Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Επιφανής, Greek: Manifest), originally named Mithradates, but renamed Antiochus either upon his ascension or after the death of his elder brother Antiochus (c. 215 B.C.E. – 163 B.C.E., reigned 175 B.C.E.[…]

The Strategic Importance of Byzantine Constantinople

Built in the seventh century BCE, the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Introduction Built in the seventh century BCE, the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Because it lay on the European side of the Strait of[…]

Göbekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?

The fact that hunter–gatherer peoples could organize the construction of such a complex site as far back as the 10th or 11th millennium BC poses a serious challenge to the conventional view of the rise of civilization. Introduction Located in modern Turkey, Göbekli Tepe is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. The[…]

Greek Fire: A Byzantine Weapon Lost to the Ages

The weapon ceased to exist by the time the Ottoman Empire finally conquered Constantinople in 1453. September 1, 718. With the clear motivation to defend Constantinople, Byzantine ships filled with anxious soldiers were surrounding the mainland. On the horizon, Arab Muslim forces, bringing with them a fleet of large and robust wooden ships, started to[…]

Greek Fire: Byzantine Weapon of Mass Destruction

The napalm of ancient warfare. By Mark CartwrightHistor Introduction Greek Fire was an incendiary weapon first used in Byzantine warfare in 678 CE. The napalm of ancient warfare, the highly flammable liquid was made of secret ingredients and used both in catapulted incendiary bombs and sprayed under pressure so as to launch flames at enemy ships and fortifications.[…]

War Machines of Archimedes

One area in which Archimedes excelled was in the design and construction of great war machines. By Martyn ShuttleworthHistorian of Science Introduction Archimedes (c. 287 BCE – c. 212 BCE) was a truly great inventor, mathematician and philosopher, writing many insightful and extensive treatises on geometry and applied mathematics. His work on pulleys and levers[…]