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 "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

What Were The Ancient Japanese Eating?

Millet was replaced by rice as the main staple food from around 300 BCE. So there's the main source of carbohydrates. Seafood was preferred to meat, both for its abundance and because Buddhism, introduced in the 500s CE, largely prohibited the killing of animals and birds. So there's the main source of protein. Agriculture (nogaku) in ancient Japan, as it remains today, was largely focused on cereal and vegetable production, with meat only being produced in relatively limited quantities. Vegetables, seafood, and rice made up most of the ancient Japanese diet as they do today.


"I quit life as from an inn, not as from a home"

Marcus Tullius Cicero, 44 BCE

What Were The Senegambian Stone Circles?

Divided into four large sites across Senegal and Gambia, the Senegambian Stone Circles cover an area of approximately 18,500 square miles (30,000 square kilometers). Constructed somewhere between 300 B.C.E and 1,600 C.E., the circles consist of approximately 29,000 stones, 17,000 monuments and 2,000 individual sites. That's a lot! The stones are, on average, 6.5 feet tall (2 meters) and weight 7 tons. They were hewn out of a common rock, laterite, but would have required intricate knowledge of geology, especially since the stones weren’t carved in pieces but rather, like obelisks, hewn out of the rock in solid pieces and dragged to their final locations. That's damn impressive. Giant monoliths, carved out of single blocks of stone, dragged to a spot and arranged precisely in circles, all without breaking.     More is known about the stones than the people who built them. Since constructing the circles would have required organization, surplus food, and and construction know-how, it is believed the society which built the Senegambian Stone Circles was prosperous and organized. The site in Sine Ngayene is the largest of the four, and several iron smelting sites and quarries were discovered close by. Evidence of hundreds of homes was also found nearby, and layers of materials that indicate four nearly distinct cycles of use.

The Mother of Carthage

Tannit -- or Tannou or Tangou or Tinnit -- was the main maternal goddess of Carthage alongside her consort Ba`al Hammon. She was the goddess of war, of mothers, and to a lesser extent of fertility. She remained popular even after the fall of Carthage. She was first venerated in North Africa under the Latin name of Juno Caelestis, the romanized version of the goddess. Outside the sphere of Roman influence, the Berber peoples of North Africa adopted her cult under her original Carthaginian name. In modern-day Tunisian Arabic, it is still customary to invoke "Omek Tannou" or "Oumouk Tangou" (Mother Tannou or Tangou depending on the region), in years of drought to bring rain.

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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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