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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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,[…]

Listen and Learn: Debunking the Pseudarchaeology and Revisionism of ‘Ancient Aliens’

Completely incorrect, intentionally deceptive, and outright fabricated. Video Presentation from Frederik Larsen In this three-hour presentation, Chris White demonstrates that Ancient Aliens series are not wrong on just some information, but on every single point where they assert the Ancient Astronaut theory to explain evidence. He also demonstrates the often deceptive means they use to[…]

Pyramid Construction Techniques in Ancient Egypt

One of the major problems faced by the early pyramid builders was the need to move huge quantities of stone. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Egyptian pyramid construction techniques are the controversial subject of many hypotheses. These techniques seem to have developed over time; later pyramids were not constructed in the same way as[…]

Oppidum: An Ancient Celtic Fortress

The Celts of Iron Age Europe, thanks to developments in agriculture and manufacturing, were able to prosper and so small urban settlements became more populous. Introduction Celtic hilltop forts, often called oppida (sing. oppidum), after the Latin name given to larger settlements by the Romans, were built across Europe during the 2nd and 1st century BCE. Surrounded by a fortification wall and sometimes[…]

Iron Age Celtic Bronze Shields

The Celts commonly decorated shields whether they were intended for battle, display, or as votive offerings. Introduction The ancient Celts produced magnificent bronze shields in Iron Age Britain which were most likely for ceremonial purposes and display. Several fine examples have miraculously survived as evidence of the imagination, skill, and artistry of Celtic craftworkers. The[…]

Celtic Society in Iron Age Europe

Within Celtic society there was a binding system where powerful individuals undertook to look after others. Introduction The society of the Celts in Iron Age Europe was made up of several distinct hierarchical groups. At the top were rulers and elite warriors, then there were the religious leaders, the druids, and then specialised craftworkers, traders, farmers, and slaves. Our knowledge[…]

An Overview of the Ancient Celtic Pantheon

We have a reasonable picture of at least some of the vast number of deities the ancient Celts worshipped, often described as a ‘fertile chaos’. The ancient Celtic pantheon consisted of over 400 gods and goddesses who represented everything from rivers to warfare. With perhaps the exception of Lugh, the Celtic gods were not universally worshipped across Iron Age Europe but were very[…]

The Heat Was On: Control of Fire by Prehistoric Humans

Use and control of fire was a gradual process, proceeding through many stages. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The control of fire by early humans was a turning point in the technological evolution of human beings. Fire provided a source of warmth and lighting, protection from predators (especially at night), a way to create more advanced hunting tools, and a method for cooking food. These cultural advances allowed human[…]

Historiography of the Fall of the Western Roman Empire

The end of the Western Roman Empire traditionally has been seen by historians to mark the end of the Ancient Era and beginning of the Middle Ages. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The causes and mechanisms of the fall of the Western Roman Empire are a historical theme that was introduced by historian Edward Gibbon in his[…]

Top Five Ancient Roman Sites in Southern Spain

The south of Spain was fertile and ideal for export wine, olive oil and garum (fermented fish sauce). Introduction Almost 700 years of continuous Roman occupation have left impressive traces in the Spanish landscape. Spain was then known as ‘Hispania’ and is now a fascinating location for the archaeological traveller. The Spanish provinces were amongst the first[…]

A Guide to the Monuments of Hadrian’s Ancient Roman Villa

Approximately 40 hectares (98 acres) of parklands at Hadrian’s Villa are open for visitors to explore. Introduction Hadrian’s Villa near Tivoli, Italy, is an opulent, sprawling garden-villa covering some 120 hectares (296 acres). It was built by Emperor Hadrian (76-138 CE) between 125-134 CE for use as his country estate, although the land may have originally[…]

The Grief of Demeter and Persephone in Ancient Greek Mythology

The story of Persephone’s descent into the realm of Hades, and her emergence from it, speaks to the notion of death and rebirth. By Dr. Chris MackieProfessor of ClassicsLa Trobe University Introduction The student of Greek mythology is often struck by the fact that some gods and goddesses have extensive roles in the mythical narratives,[…]

Shaping the Pain: Ancient Greek Lament and Its Therapeutic Aspect

Although tragedy belongs to literary tradition, it is a trustworthy source for ancient Greek ritual practice. By Dr. Đurđina ŠijakovićResearch AssociateInstitute of Ethnography, SASA, Belgrade Introduction In this paper, which is the first part of a wider research, I focus on different aspects of ancient Greek lament. One of its most important aspects is the[…]

Past and Present: The Sacred Band – A Legacy of Same-Sex Love from Ancient Thebes

This infantry regiment of 150 male couples defeated the Spartans in open battle. By Dr. James RommJames H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of ClassicsDirector, Classical Studies ProgramBard College Among the many roads leading up to the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on same-sex marriage, one of the more significant routes passes through Boeotia in central Greece.  This[…]

‘Cao Cao Loved Him’: Same-Sex Love at the End of Han Dynasty China

By Laurie RayeEditor-in-Chief, GwyllionFellow, Royal Asiatic Society The end of the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) was a time of turmoil popularly known as the Three Kingdoms period, where rival warlords vied for hegemony as imperial power declined. War and famine led to an estimated seventy percent drop in total population by the beginning of[…]

Images of Same-Sex Love and Courtship in the Ancient Mediterranean

Sex, gender, and relationships were viewed very differently in the ancient world across cultures. Introduction This gallery explores the expression of same-sex love in the ancient Mediterranean through art. The Mediterranean was home to many cultures and societies, each with differing views on gender, sex, and relationships. Art was used to celebrate cultural ideals of love and[…]

Ten LGBTQ Facts from the Ancient World

History, both modern and ancient, tells the stories of many people whose sexuality is downplayed or ignored. Introduction Issues in the modern-day regarding gender identity and civil rights for members of the LGBTQ community are a relatively recent phenomenon as are the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’. In ancient societies, there was no distinction made between same-sex[…]

Ancient Roman Legions of the Parthian Wars

In search of glory and riches, seven legions were led in an unprovoked attack on the Parthians. Introduction Parthia had always been a thorn in the side of the Roman Empire. The initial campaigns by Crassus and Mark Antony were total failures, and although Trajan and Syrian governor Cassius made some progress in the 2nd century CE, both failed to eliminate the Parthians[…]

Legions of Ancient Roman Britain

As a result of the various crises that plagued the Western Roman Empire in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, the ability to control the island waned. Introduction After the Roman emperor Claudius (r. 41-54 CE) successfully conquered Britain in 43 CE, four legions were left there to maintain the peace: XIV Gemina, II Augusta, IX Hispana, and XX Valeria[…]

The Legions of Ancient Spain, Roman Africa, and Egypt

These four legions were a vital part of the empire. Introduction The legions of Spain, Roman Africa, and Egypt did not see the intensity of action that prevailed elsewhere in Europe. However, the presence of these four legions – VII Gemina, IX Hispana, XXII Deiotariana, and II Traiana Fortis – was still essential for the stability of the empire. Although often[…]