Remains of Two Neanderthals Found In Kurdistan

Shanidar Cave, where the fossils of 10 Neanderthal individuals have been unearthed since the 1950s, has recently revealed two more Neanderthals' remains. One individual was buried on top of the other, and a rock appeared to have been placed over both.

What Was The Maratha Empire?

Sandwiched between the decline of one great empire, and the rise of another, the Maratha Empire lasted just under 150 years. Here’s the story of those 150 years.

Where Oghuz Lives

Oghuz is a sub-branch of the Turkish language family. Approximately 110 million people speak an Oghuz language, and they are broadly able to understand each other. The fun thing about looking at Oghuz languages' distribution: it maps out, very clearly, the historical migration of Turks from Central Asia to the Anatolian peninsula.

What Is This?

It is a Japanese incense burner! Dating to the 1800s, the bug is made of iron and gold, with a silver-lined inside.

Why Is Nepal's Flag Not Like Other Flags?

The flag of Nepal is in the shape of two pennants, one sewn on top of the other. They symbolize the Rana dynasty's two branches, which ruled the country from 1846 to 1951. In the 1800s, the two red pennants were joined to represent the nation of Nepal, and in 1962 the conjoined form was officially adopted by Nepal's constitutional government. To the Nepalese today, the flag symbolizes the country's two religions -- Hinduism and Buddhism -- living side by side.

Pennants like Nepal's flag used to be common for regional flags in Asia. But the rectangular flag, common in European countries, eventually took hold around the world, replacing regional symbols of allegiance.

The ancestor of the cultivated beet is the wild sea beet, which grew in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Beets have been around as longer than civilization. Their leaves have been eaten since prehistoric times, and we have records of them being grown in ancient Mesopotamia.


"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

Larry Niven, an American science-fiction writer, with a brilliant and unique analysis of the Cretaceous extinction

The Moon Star Flag: How Turkey’s Flag Came To Be

The Turkish national flag is mostly red, with a white star and a crescent in the center. Ottoman Sultan Selim III formalized the look in 1793, but the flag is actually much older.

The crescent-and-star combination has been used in Turkey since Hellenistic times (400s to 100 BCE). It likely came from ancient Mesopotamian iconocraphy. Ancient depictions of the symbol always show the crescent with horns pointing upward and with the star placed inside the crescent, for reasons that have been lost to time. When it came to Turkey, they gave it their own meanings. For Byzantium the moon symbolized Diana, also known as Artemis, the patron goddess of the city.

In 1453, when the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the flag remained unchanged. With time, it became not just Istanbul’s flag but the Ottoman flag, with its design formalized in 1793 and its status as national flag formalized in 1844. Turks affectionately call the flag "ay yildiz" -- the "moon star" flag.

Many nations that were once part of Ottoman Empire adopted the star-and-crescent when they gained independence, including Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. In the 1900s the symbol became associated with not just the Ottomans, but with Islam in general, and many states that were never part of the Ottoman Empire adopted it too, including Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Maldives. Pretty amazing that an ancient Mesopotamian symbol is flown around the world today.

A grandfather and his granddaughter in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China, 1932. The grandfather is smiling broadly, the granddaughter looks... a little less excited.

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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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