A Brief History of the Kingdom of Israel before the Assyrian Captivity

Israel was a regional superpower, but unable to retain its independence in the face of Assyrian imperialism. According to the Bible (the only thorough source for this period of Israel), the united kingdom of Solomon was divided after his death in ca.931. His son Rehoboam, we are told, increased the taxes, and provoked a rebellion[…]

The Constantinian Shift: Rome’s Transition from Pagan Tolerance to Christian Supremacy

Roman religion and tolerance for others drastically began to change following the Edict of Milan. Introduction Constantinian shift is a term used by some theologians and historians of antiquity to describe the political and theological aspects and outcomes of the 4th-century process of Constantine’s integration of the Imperial government with the Catholic church that began with the First Council of Nicaea.[1] The term was popularized[…]

Ancient Rome’s First and Second Triumvirates: Uneasy Transition from Republic to Empire

Balances of power and ambitious pursuits. Introduction A triumviratus is literally a college of three men. In the ancient Roman republic, there were several boards of tresviri. For example tresviri agro dando divided newly conquered land among farmers; tresviri capitales were responsible for the jail and prisoners; tresviri coloniae deducendae founded new towns (coloniae); tresviri epulones took care of the dinners that[…]

Ancient Phoenician DNA Tells a Story of Settlement and Female Mobility

A study investigate how Phoenicians integrated with the Sardinian communities they settled. By Tessa Gregory The Phoenicians were an ancient civilization that emerged in 1800 B.C. in the northern Levant and by 800 B.C. had spread their culture across the Mediterranean to parts of Asia, Europe and Africa through trade networks and settlements. Despite their[…]

The Phoenician Alphabet and Language

Phoenician is a Canaanite language closely related to Hebrew. Introduction Very little is known about the Canaanite language, except what can be gathered from the El-Amarna letters written by Canaanite kings to Pharaohs Amenhopis III (1402 – 1364 BCE) and Akhenaton (1364 – 1347 BCE). It appears that the Phoenician language, culture, and writing were[…]

Ancient Chinese Warfare: Confucianism and Absence of Glory

The absence of a glorification of war in China was largely due to Confucian philosophy and literature. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction In ancient China warfare was a means for one region to gain ascendancy over another, for the state to expand and protect its frontiers, and for usurpers to replace an existing dynasty of rulers.[…]

The Most Popular Gods and Goddesses of Ancient China

There were over 200 gods and goddesses worshipped throughout ancient China, but if one were to count every deity or spirit, the number would be over 1,000. By Emily MarkHistorian Introduction There were over 200 gods and goddesses worshipped throughout ancient China, but if one were to count every deity or spirit, the number would be[…]

Initiation of Religions in Ancient India

Vedic religion had a strict code of rituals. Introduction The religious practices of the early Indo-Aryans, known as the Vedic religion (1500 BCE to 500 BCE) were written down and later redacted into the Samhitas, four canonical collections of hymns or mantras, called the Veda, in archaic Sanskrit. The Late Vedic age (9th to 6th centuries BCE) marked the beginning[…]

The Script of the Ancient Indus Valley

An overview of the earliest form of writing known in the Indian subcontinent. By Cristian ViolattiHistorian Introduction The Indus Script is the writing system developed by the Indus Valley Civilization and it is the earliest form of writing known in the Indian subcontinent. The origin of this script is poorly understood: this writing system remains[…]

Symbols in Ancient Egypt

Symbols in a largely illiterate society serve the vital purpose of relaying the most important values of the culture to the people generation after generation, often changing in form and function. Introduction Religion in ancient Egypt was fully integrated into the people’s daily lives. The gods were present at one’s birth, throughout one’s life, in the transition from[…]

The Eternal City’s 17th-Century Building Craze also Bolstered Urban Planning

“Did the public have a voice in the development of a theocratic city?” As University of Tennessee professor Dorothy Metzger Habel examined architectural archives for seventeenth-century Rome, she started hearing voices. The many participants in the Eternal City’s building boom at that point—when 30 percent of the work force was engaged in the construction industry—came[…]

Medical Treatments in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians experienced the same wide array of disease that people do in the present day. Introduction The ancient Egyptians experienced the same wide array of disease that people do in the present day, but unlike most people in the modern era, they attributed the experience to supernatural causes. The common cold, for example,[…]

Between Gods and Animals: Becoming Human in the Gilgamesh Epic

In short, the new fragment reveals a vision of humanity as a process of maturation that unfolds between the animal and the divine. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Babylonian poem composed in ancient Iraq, millennia before Homer. It tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of the city of Uruk. To curb his restless and destructive[…]

The Discovery of Infectious Diseases in 2,000-Year-Old Silk Road Feces

How a research team identified parasites in ‘hygiene sticks’ that travellers on the Silk Road effectively used as their toilet paper. Once travelled by famous historical figures such as Marco Polo and Genghis Khan, the Silk Road was a hugely important network of transport routes connecting eastern China with Central Asia, the Middle East and[…]

The Prehistoric Origins and Historic Growth of the Silk Road

The Silk Road provided a conduit not only for silk, but also offered a very important path for cultural, religious and technological transmission. Introduction The Silk Road was an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, including North Africa and Europe. These trade routes enabled[…]

Dilmun: Ancient Polity of Modern Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia

The great commercial and trading connections between Mesopotamia and Dilmun were strong and profound. Introduction Dilmun, or Telmun,[2] (Arabic: دلمون) was an ancient Semitic-speaking polity in Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards.[3][4] Based on textual evidence, it was located in the Persian Gulf, on a trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization, close to the[…]

The History, Burials, and Artifacts of the Bronze Age Wadi Suq

The Wadi Suq culture defines human settlement in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the period from 2,000 to 1,300 BCE. Introduction Wadi Suq takes its name from a wadi, or waterway, East of Sohar in Oman and follows on from the Umm al-Nar culture. Although archaeologists have traditionally tended to view the differences in human settlements and[…]

The Bronze Age Culture of Umm an-Nār

Umm an-Nār in the area of modern-day United Arab Emirates and Northern Oman. Introduction Umm al-Nar (Arabic: أُمّ الـنَّـار‎, translit. Umm an-Nār, lit. ‘Mother of the Fire’) is the name given to a Bronze age culture that existed around 2600-2000 BCE in the area of modern-day United Arab Emirates and Northern Oman. The etymology derives from the island of the same name which lies adjacent[…]

Sacred to Secular: Religion in Ancient and Medieval China

Modern Taoists in China (and elsewhere) worship many gods at private altars and in public ceremonies which originated in the country’s ancient past. By Emily MarkHistorian Introduction Religious practices in ancient China go back over 7,000 years. Long before the philosophical and spiritual teachings of Confucius and Lao-Tzu developed or before the teachings of the Buddha came to China, the people worshipped personifications[…]

Sewing Needles Reveal the Prehistoric Roots of Fashion

Humans have crafted garments for more than 40,000 years—and prehistoric tools suggest that warmth wasn’t their only concern. By Jacob Pagano The Inya River in southwestern Siberia winds through a landscape of striking seasonal changes. In the summer, crystal clear waters lap below alpine forests. As winter approaches, the river freezes, fierce snowstorms shroud the[…]

The Significance of the Earliest Beads

A key requisite for the use and appreciation of all beads and pendants is a level of hominin self-awareness that essentially expresses full cognitive modernity. Abstract This paper attempts to explore beyond the predictable and banal archaeological explanations relating to early beads and pendants. It recounts replication experiments to establish aspects of technology so as[…]

Border Security in Ancient Rome

There are lessons from ancient history that could prove instructive. A caravan of Goths – the Thervingi and the Greuthungi – were massing along the Danube river, at the border of the Roman Empire. This was not an invading army, but men, women, and children fleeing the enemy at their backs: a seemingly invincible army[…]

Exploring the Religion of Ancient Carthage

Most Carthaginian gods were inherited from the Phoenicians, but these were adapted, and their names and functions evolved over time. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Carthage was founded by the Phoenician city of Tyre in the 9th century BCE, and along with many other cultural practices, the city adopted aspects of the religion of its founding fathers. Polytheistic in nature, such important Phoenician[…]

Ancient Phoenician Religion

The Phoenician Religion, as in many other ancient cultures, was an inseparable part of everyday life. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Phoenician Religion, as in many other ancient cultures, was an inseparable part of everyday life. Gods such as Baal, Astarte, and Melqart had temples built in their name, offerings and sacrifices were regularly made to them, royalty[…]

Drinking in Ancient Greece

Archaic and classical Greek culture was steeped in spirit. Archaic and classical Greek culture was steeped in spirit. Drinking parties for the elite were a ritual that eventually filtered down to the man in the street. What went on at these gatherings and how were inebriation and public displays of drunkenness justified in cultural terms?[…]

Relations between Late Antique-Early Medieval Armenia and the Byzantine Empire

The relationship between the Byzantine Empire and ancient Armenia was a constant and varied one with an equal mix of wars, occupations, treaties of friendship, mutual military aid, and cultural exchange. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Regarded as a vital defence to the Empire’s eastern frontiers, emperors used various means of influence from outright takeover to gifts[…]

The Unique Identity of Ancient Armenia

Its first recorded state proper was the kingdom of Urartu from the 9th century BCE. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Ancient Armenia, located in the south Caucasus area of Eurasia, was settled in the Neolithic era but its first recorded state proper was the kingdom of Urartu from the 9th century BCE. Incorporated into the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century[…]

Animal Skin Artifacts from the Bronze Age Salt Mines of Hallstatt

The social context of cloth from the Neolithic to Bronze Age as seen in the Hallstatt prehistoric animal skin artifacts. Introduction My PhD research focused on the social context of cloth from the Neolithic to Bronze Age with case studies from the Alpine area. One aspect of this is the interrelationship of the technologies used[…]