How Ancient Queens Put Their Names In The History Books

Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were built by women! The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were planted by Queen Semiramis, of Assyria, and the Masoleum of Halicarnassus was built by Queen Artemisia, of Caria.

The Bodhi Tree

In Bihar, India is the spot where the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, found enlightenment after 49 years of meditation. He was sitting under a tree when it happened. So the tree became famous, and was named the Bodhi Tree or "Enlightenment Tree." The ancient Mauryan Emperor Ashoka I (304 to 232 BCE) converted to Buddhism, and regularly paid homage to the tree. So much so, that legend says his jealous wife tried to "kill" the Bodhi Tree by stabbing it with thorns. The tree survived, and a shrine was eventually built near its base.

Of course, the original Bodhi Tree eventually did die -- Gautama lived more than 2,000 years ago -- and Buddhist tradition says that the current Bodhi Tree is a direct descendant of the original. Emperor Ashoka's daughter apparently took a branch from the original, and planted it, and that branch is today's Bodhi Tree.

Times Were Different Then

Archers at the original Olympic Games in ancient Greece used tethered doves as their targets. Yes, live doves.

Athenian Agora Excavations: an Interactive Guide

The city of Athens flourished in the 400s and 300s BCE, setting the course for modern European civilization and eventually for democracy's re-emergence. Even when her power waned, Athens remained the cultural and educational center of the Mediterranean until the 500s CE. And the agora, or marketplace, was the center of city life throughout this time. In it was built beautiful and functional public buildings, first by proud city citizens, then as gifts from Greek kings and eventually Roman emperors.
Since the 1930s, modern excavations have been underway to study where the agora once stood. And they have an excellent website, with an interactive map of what has been recovered and discovered, so far, of the ancient Athenian agora. 

An Animated History of Ukraine

Really, really good history! Since I know next to nothing about Ukraine's national history, I particularly appreciated the accessibility -- the vlogger assumed we had been born yesterday, and it worked.

The ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, who lived from about 460 to 370 BCE, was the first known person to theorize that the Milky Way is made of stars.

The "nine familial exterminations" or "nine kinship exterminations" was the most extreme punishment someone could receive in ancient China. Our first record of this punishment comes from a history of the Shang Dynasty and Zhou Dynasty. Apparently it was common for military officers to threaten before battle that if a subordinate disobeyed orders, all their family would be killed.

This eventually evolved into an elaborate, and legal, method of punishment. The nine familial exterminations varied by dynasty, and how often it was used varied as well. Generally, those to be executed included:

  • the criminal's living parents
  • their living grandparents
  • all children over a certain age (which varied) and all their children's spouses
  • all grandchildren over a certain age, and all their grandchildren's spouses
  • siblings and their sibling's spouses
  • the criminal's uncles and aunts, as well as their spouses
  • cousins (in Korea, this could go to second and third cousins)
  • nieces and nephews, and their spouses
  • the criminal's spouse
  • the criminal's spouse's living parents
  • the criminal

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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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