Times Were Different Then

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

In Latin, what we call “doggy style” was called "coitus more ferarum," which roughly translates to “sexual intercourse in the manner of wild beasts.” In the Kama Sutra, it is known as the “cow position.”

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 earliest cotton in the world was spun and woven in India. Roman emperors would wear delicate cotton from India that they would call “woven winds.”

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

The golden seal of warlord Yuan Shao, circa 202 CE. He held much of northern China during the eastern Han period, into the Three Kingdoms period. One of the most powerful warlords of his time, Yuan Shao spearheaded a coalition of warlords in 190 CE against Dong Zhuo, who held Emperor Xian of Han hostage in the capital Luoyang. The coalition failed, because the warlords distrusted each other, and the emperor remained a captive. Within a few years, all semblance of the Han Dynasty was gone. The Three Kingdoms period had begun.     Yuan Shao launched a campaign in 200 CE against his rival, the more-famous Cao Cao. But his attack failed after a decisive defeat at the Battle of Guandu -- the battle Yuan Shao is most remembered for was a loss. Two years later, Yuan Shao died, and Cao Cao conquered the fractured territories Yuan Shao left behind.

Vatican Jr.

Several popes and bishops were buried in the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, one of the first communal cemeteries in Rome which developed into the largest and most richly decorated. One famous area, where nine popes were laid to rest from the mid-200s to the 300s CE, was even nicknamed “the little Vatican.” But in the early 300s Christianity went mainstream and Christians could be buried above ground. For centuries, the catacombs rested undisturbed as its exact location slowly became forgotten.     Then, in 1849, the Catacombs of St. Callixtus was rediscovered by an archaeologist. The sensational find prompted Pope Pius IX to visit in 1854. He is believed to be the first pontiff to enter the catacombs’ galleries in over one thousand years. Pius IX was deeply moved, and was heard to murmur in awe: “Are these the tombstones of my predecessors?”

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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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