The Rosetta Stone is not the only trilingual stele from Egypt. In fact, there are three three-language stele that are slightly earlier than the Rosetta Stone! These have become known as the "Rosetta Stone Series" or "Ptolemaic series." Any of these stele would have been enough to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs -- it just so happened that the famous Rosetta was the first one found.

Ancient Greek Askos

An askos is a vessel for holding oil. You can see the little golden protrusion from the neck, which is to hold the wick. This particular one has been carved from solid agate, with gold mountings. Egypt's Ptolemaic Dynasty, 100s - 1st century BCE.

Would Not Want To Get Hit By This

This fine stone carving was slipped onto a wooden shaft to form a mace, a sophisticated club used for war. Since it is such a fine example of stone carving, we do not know if it was intended to see battle, or if it was always for ceremonial uses. From Peru's Salinas culture on the northern coast. Circa 200 BCE - 100 CE.

Traces of a square-shaped building have been detected under the Main Plaza at Monte Albán with the use of ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistance, and gradiometery. Each side of the newly detected structure measures about 60 feet long, and more than three feet thick. A Zapotec site in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca, Monte Albán was established around 500 BCE and collapsed around 850 CE. It is estimated that the plaza was in use for about 1,000 years before the collapse. Which makes the existence of a building under the plaza rather interesting...

Ancient Egyptian Bracelet

From the 200s to 100s BCE, so when Egypt was ruled by the Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty. Courtesy of the Getty Museum

Long-Overlooked Desert City Reopened In Saudi Arabia

The once-prosperous Arabian trading hub of Hegra (also known as Madain Saleh) has been abandoned and virtually untouched for the past 2,000 years. You might notice that it looks remarkably similar to another rock-cut city of Petra. That's because they were part of the same Nabataean kingdom. Petra was its main city and capital, and Hegra was its second most important city, its southern trading city.

The Nabataeans were desert nomads who leveraged their importance in trading routes to eventually control the incense and spice trade routes through Arabia and Jordan to the Mediterranean, Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia. The Nabataeans used their wealth to build stupendous rock-cut buildings and tombs. Unfortunately they were an illiterate people. We have occasional comments on them from their literate neighbors, and scanty archaeological investigations. But we simply do not know that much about the mysterious people who built Hegra and Petra.From the 300s BCE to the 1st century CE, the Nabataeans remained wealthy and powerful in their desert kingdom, until the expanding Roman Empire annexed the kingdom and took over their trading routes.

Saudi Arabia recently opened Hegra to tourists as part of the country's efforts to diversify its oil-focused economy, and since Petra sees nearly a million visitors a year, Saudi Arabia was clearly hoping Hegra will become a similar draw.

Archaeologists have found evidence that Tui na, a form of Chinese massage, was being practiced as early as 2700 BCE. One of the most famous ancient Chinese treatises on medicine was the Huang Di Nei Jing from the 200s to 100s BCE. It also includes how to use massage techniques and what diseases can be treated with massage. So massage has been around since the earliest days of Chinese medicine.

A marble altar encircled with a coiled snake carved in relief has been unearthed at the ancient city of Patara in southern Turkey. It is estimated to be more than 2,000 years old placing it around the time that the city was fought over by Macedonia, then Rhodes, then the kingdom of Pontus before finally being permanently annexed to the Roman Empire. The altar was found near Roman baths and Roman walls.

The First Patent

The first example of a patent in history comes from ancient Greece. Athenaeus in the late 200s CE described how the Greek city of Sybaris, in today's southern Italy, held annual culinary competitions in the early centuries BCE. The winner of the competition would then have exclusive rights to their recipe for one year. Until the next competition, of course.

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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