Ancient Romans Didn't Believe Women Could Like Women

A lot of Romans simply didn’t believe lesbians existed. The poet Ovid called lesbianism “a desire known to no one,” musing that, “among all animals, no female is seized by desire for female.”

Ancient Egypt Affected By Climate Change?

Researchers recently claimed that ancient Egypt's highly advanced civilization may have been brought down by unrest, primarily caused by climate change and volcanoes. The study used modern climate science and Ptolemy-Dynasty texts to explore the impact of volcanic eruptions on the flow of the Nile River.

It found that riots were caused by famines, which happened due to natural events that reduced the summer flooding of the Nile River. Without a proper flood season, crop yield was low or the entire harvest was lost. And hungry citizens are not good citizens.

Immigrants have been 'moving and mixing' across Europe since ancient times, DNA research reveals

Groundbreaking research into the DNA of early Europeans has allowed unprecedented insight into the movement of people and cultures across the ancient world. Carried out by a large team of scientists from several international institutions, the ambitious genetic analysis of hundreds of human specimens from the Neolithic period, Copper Age and Bronze Age represents a fundamental challenge to traditional views about migration throughout history.

No European is “from” anywhere, is the conclusion of the study.The assumption that present-day people are directly descended from the people who always lived in that same area – is wrong almost everywhere.

Re-Coloring An Ancient Roman Bust

Ancient Romans (and Greeks) didn’t have pure marble-white art. They painted their stone art to imitate real-life color. Take this bust for example, found at the tomb of Publius Vergilius Maro in Naples, Italy. When it was first placed at his tomb, the bust would have been painted like so.       Side note: Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BCE – 19 BCE) known to most simply as Virgil, was a famous poet who enjoyed the favor of the first Roman emperor Augustus.  

Scythians were ancient horse nomads whose tribes controlled the Eurasian steppe from southern Siberia to the Black Sea from about the 800s BCE to 100s CE. Thanks to their high-latitude homeland, some Scythian burials became accidental mummies, preserved in frozen ground until archaeologists uncovered them.

Their well-preserved bodies mean we can tell they had tattoos. Lots of them! They didn’t tattoo their faces. But pretty much anywhere else was up for inking. Click through the image gallery to see photos of a modern man who is re-creating one particular Scythian mummy's tattoos!

Modern Scientific Mystery in Ancient Roman "Gates To Hell"

In southwestern Turkey's ancient city of Hierapolis, was a place called the "Gates to Hell." Here, in a grotto beneath the city's theater, Roman priests sacrificed animals to Pluto and Kore (or as the ancient Greeks called them, Hades and Persephone). But the priests didn't use knives or other human-made weapons to kill the beasts; rather, the victims suffocated on a deadly gas seeping from the cave, a new study finds.

Volcanic carbon dioxide (CO2) would kill the various goats and sheep brought for slaughter, without leaving a mark on their bodies. To the ancient Romans it looked like Pluto and Kore were killing the sacrifices. Today, we know the scientific cause behind the ancient mystery.

The Debate About Wealth Inequality Is Millennias Old

Specifically, two millennia -- in the first century BCE, Romans were already debating whether wealth and virtue could coexist. Philosophers, of course, had been discussing it for far longer. But in the late Roman Republic, as the divide between rich and poor became wider, the issue became one of public debate. And the divide only got worse when the Republic fell to the new Empire.

In Latin, “arena” means “sandy place.” So the amazing Roman amphitheatres, like this one at Arles, were weirdly round beaches. Basically.

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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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