The Mysterious Religion of Carthage

Carthage's beliefs originated from its founding civilization, Phoenicia, but Carthage developed its own version of the Phoenician pagan polytheistic religion. This video has a nice overview of the city's religious origins, their pantheon, and their religious practices.

New Discovery in the Heart of the Roman Forum

An intriguing stone sarcophagus has been found in an underground chamber lying below what was once the steps into the Curia Julia, or the Roman senate house, in the Roman Forum. The Curia Julia was built by Julius Caesar in 44 BCE as a new and modern senate house. But the sarcophagus and stone cylinder in front of it have been dated to as early as the late 500s BCE, based on studying the layers of the forum.

The combination of the sarcophagus and the cylinder suggest the cylinder could be an alter. Potentially even a symbolic tomb or shrine to the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus, at the center of the city that he founded. Similar monuments to mythic founders or ancient heros are known to have existed in other cities in the Graeco-Roman world. Excavations were due to continue in April 2020, which might have revealed more about the rediscovered chamber...but, well...

Using Genetics To Understand Central Andean Populations Across Time

A recent genetic study of ancient human remains found in the highlands and coastal regions of Peru’s Central Andes Mountains indicates that around 7,000 BCE, groups that lived in the highlands were genetically distinct from those that lived along the Pacific coast, and that by 3,800 BCE, the population that lived in the north was genetically distinct from the population in the south.

This is not to make too strong a statement about populations living in isolation from each other: there was some evidence of intermarriage between these groups. But the rate of gene exchange slowed around 2,000 years ago. And these groupings are still in evidence today, in the genes of Peru's modern inhabitants.

Because the researchers found a high level of genetic continuity, the study suggests that the fall of Andean cultures such as the Moche, Wari, and Nazca were not the result of massive immigration. Nor did local people did not die out when they were invaded. If such mass population changes had occurred it would have been shown in the genetic record. However, remains from urban centers do show evidence of diverse origins: cities were gathering places for individuals from varied genetic (and geographical) backgrounds.

Skeleton Analyses in Mongolia Suggest Millet Increasingly Part of Their Ancient and Medieval Diet

An international team of researchers examined the ratios of stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes in collagen and dental enamel samples obtained from the remains of some 130 individuals who were buried in Mongolia between 4500 BCE and 1300 CE. The analysis suggests that during the Bronze Age, the Mongolian diet was based on milk and meat and supplemented with local plants. From about the 200s BCE to the late first century CE, during the Xiongnu Empire, some people continued to eat the Bronze Age animal-based diet, while those living in political centers began to eat more millet-based diets. Grain consumption and thus the practice of agriculture appears to have continued to increase into the period of the Mongolian Empire of the Khans. Empires based in Mongolia thus presided over a mixed population of both pastoralists and farmers. Their varied food strategies gave the empires strength in diversity.

The epic poet Ennius lived from 239 BCE to 169 BCE in the Roman Republic. He basically created Latin poetry in the Latin literary tradition, and was quoted extensively throughout the Roman period, because everyone had read Ennius. Sort of like how modern authors can casually throw in "but soft, what light through yonder window breaks" and expect everyone to understand. But no works of Ennius' survive, merely those random quotations.

Beautiful Celtic Shield Found in Warrior's Grave

Some archaeological finds have to be seen to be believed, and the discovery of the 2,200-year-old grave of a male Celtic warrior in England has experts very excited indeed – as you'll understand once you take a peek at the haul. Read the full article on the find here.

The ancient Roman orator and politician Cicero once wrote poetry! And it was notoriously poor, too. Over a hundred years after Cicero’s death, the Roman historian Tacitus quipped that Julius Caesar and Brutus wrote poetry too, and "though they were no better poets than Cicero, they were more fortunate, because fewer people know about their poetic endeavors."

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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