Cato the Elder Had an Interesting View of Families

A man who beat his wife or child laid violent hands, Cato the Elder said, on what was most sacred. A good husband he believed to be more worthy of more praise than a great senator. He admired the ancient Socrates "for nothing so much as for having lived a temperate and contented life with a wife who was a scold, and children who were half-witted."

In Ancient Greece, Cooking Was Magic!

In ancient Greece, the word for "cook," "butcher," and "priest" was all the same: mageiros, which shares its etymological root with the word "magic."

Phalanxes Had Problem: Everyone Wanted To Be Right

Ancient Greek soldiers would hold shields with their left arm, and swords with their right. This created an interesting dilemma. Thucydides, an Athenian general and historian, wrote that "fear makes every man want to do his best to find protection for his unarmed side in the shield of the man next to him on the right." The soldier who is farthest right must try to "keep his own unarmed side away from the enemy, and his fear spreads to the others who follow his example." In other words, the man farthest to the right would always try to go to the right of the enemy, so his unprotected right side would be safe. He would keep going to the right, and each man would follow, trying to protect their own unprotected right side. The result, Thucydides wrote: "the right wing tends to get unduly extended."

Ancient King's Tomb Is Being Opened To The Public In Turkey

The monumental tomb of King Hektamonos was discovered in 2010, as part of an archaeological dig in Turkey. King Hektamonos once reigned over Caria in western Anatolia, as a satrap for the Persian Achaemenid Empire. He was both a political appointee and a local power, establishing the hereditary dynasty of the Hecatomnids. So when he died in 377 BCE, King Hektamonos was buried in style.

Unfortunately, his tomb was robbed at some point, so the find was not pristine. Almost all the artifacts had been looted and sold on the black market. Still, the tomb is a marvel. A giant sarcophagus, decorated with life-like sculptures. Beautiful murals showing how Hektamonos handled the issues of the day. Marble walls and marble columns. His tomb is a pioneering example of the classical mausoleum. It was the predecessor of the more famous Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. And recently, a golden crown was identified as coming from King Hektamonos' tomb -- and it is being repatriated to Turkey!

The Architect Who Became A God

King Djoser (c 2667 - 2648 BCE) built what is perhaps the first true pyramid in ancient Egypt, the step pyramid. The architect of Djoser's pyramid was Imhotep, the king's vizier. He slowly grew in fame, slowly getting credited with medical powers, until he was worshiped as a god in the Ptolemaic Period (332 - 30 BCE) and equated with Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom, and Asklepios, the Greek god of healing.

Today, his name is perhaps better known for being the mummy that was brought back to life in the movie, The Mummy.

Reconsidering Bacchus

The ancient Roman god, also known as Dionysus, does not have a good image today. His name is linked to drunkeness, excess, madness. But the ancients did not see him as one-sided. He was the god of losing one's inhibitions. But he was also the god of getting together. Ancient nicknames included Bacchus the Liberator, Bacchus the Saviour, and Bacchus the God Who Gives Men's Minds Wings. Those do not sound all bad, right?

Bacchic cults were banned in Roman times, because their members held allegiance to "a parallel state," but at the same time, Roman leaders have quotes on how fantastic it is that conquered populations enjoy Roman wine so much -- it makes them easier for Rome to control. To the ancients Bacchus was an ambiguous god, both beneficial and harmful.

Have you heard of the “Blythe Intaglios”?

In 1932, pilot George Palmer was flying from Las Vegas to Blythe, Calif., when he saw drawings sketched on the desert. Someone had scraped away the dark surface soil to draw three human figures, two four-legged animals, and a spiral.

Like the more famous Nazca Lines in Peru, the Blythe Intaglios had gone unnoticed for so long because they were too big! The largest is over 170 feet long. Much too big to be seen from the ground. No local Native American group claims to have made them; radiocarbon dating places their creation between 900 BCE and 1200 CE.

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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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