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!

How To Revive A Dead Language

As you probably know, Hebrew is the only language that has been brought back from the dead. It was not spoken as an everyday language since 200 to 400 CE, kept alive only as a sacred language used for prayers and writing. In the late 1800s it was revived as a common language, used among Jewish immigrants to the British colony of Palestine.

The problem with bringing a dead language back is that a lot of words are suddenly needed for things that didn't exist the first time around. Like electricity. And tomatoes. At first there was a Hebrew Language Committee, established in 1890 by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, which created literally thousands of new words that are used everyday in modern Hebrew. Everyday words, like ice cream, polite, art, and clock. In 1953 the committee was replaced by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, an official institution created by the Israeli government, which is the final authority on modern Hebrew. It has continued to create new words, publishing official additions every year (like the Oxford English Dictionary). Some of its creations include Hebrew-rooted words for junk food, gentrification, and sexism.

Historically Important Seal Uncovered In Jerusalem

Archaeologists have unearthed a one-centimeter clay nugget that appears to bear the name of the Prophet Isaiah. Since about half of the clay seal's impression is missing, we cannot reconstruct what the seal was for or what it said. But thankfully, what was left was enough to make history. It reads "Isaiah." Dating to about 700 BCE, that makes the impression the earliest reference to Hebrew prophet Isaiah, who has his own book of the Bible. Yesha’yah(u), Isaiah in Hebrew, is followed by the letters “nvy” — the first three letters of the Hebrew for prophet.

The seal impression, or bulla, was discovered in an archeological excavation at the Ophel, at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in a structure thought last used by the royal bakers.

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.

Golden Bracelets are Evidence of Ancient Art Trend

Incomplete circle (or "penannular") bracelets with animal-head ornaments on the ends of the bracelet (the "terminals") first developed in the First Persian Empire. Lions and antelopes were the most popular animals, and the bracelets were often more oval than circular, to make easier wearing on the wrist. This bracelet design hopped the Hellespont and became popular in Greece during the 400s BCE. The Greeks preferred hounds and lynx terminals, as well as lions and antelopes. Although they were worn by both genders, these particular gold bracelets were likely owned by a woman. The two bracelets were reportedly found alongside distinctively feminine jewelry. Greece, circa 300s BCE.

What Is An Ice Age?

When you read that, an image probably came to mind: giant glaciers, people huddling for warmth, maybe a giant woolly mammoth or two. The problem with that definition of "Ice Age" is it defines what life is like now on Earth as "normal" and giant glaciers over the north and south pole as "abnormal." But is that true? Are we, in fact, living in a period of relative coolness? Is right now an "abnormal" Earth?

A better description of an ice age would be that it’s a long stretch of time in which both the atmosphere and the planet’s surface have a low temperature, resulting in the presence of polar ice sheets and mountainous glaciers. An Ice Age can last for several million years. Within the Ice Age period, the Earth isn't uniformly covered in snow. There are periods of glaciation, characterized by ice sheet and glacier expansion over the face of the planet, and interglacial periods, where we would have an interval of several thousand years of warmer temperatures and receding ice. Turns out just the presence of ice caps on the north and south pole is abnormal! What we currently live in is an "interglacial period" in the middle of an Ice Age!

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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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