A Beer By Any Other Name

The word “beer” is thought to be derived from the Latin "bibere," which means “to drink.” However, there is a competing theory: that “beer” comes from the proto-Germanic word "beuwoz," meaning “barley.”

A 1,800 Year Old Painted Tomb Uncovered In Jordan

An international team of archaeologists has excavated a tomb dating to the 100s CE in Jordan at the ancient site of Capitolias. The tomb has two rooms and a large basalt sarcophagus. It appears to have been robbed at some point before coming to the attention of archaeologists, unfortunately.

But the tomb is notable not for what they found inside it, but what they found on it: an amazing number and variety of murals. There is a large painting illustrating the construction of a rampart along with 60 inscriptions describing what the figures in the painting were doing. (Incidentally, this may be the earliest example of comics in Jordan.) The rest of the walls are decorated with more than 250 figures of humans, animals, and gods, in various mythological and everyday scenes. Taken all together, the artwork is thought to describe the founding of the city. Capitolias began in the late 1st century CE by the Roman Empire.

Let's Learn About Mexico!

The birthplace of plant domestication in the Americas. The first New World country to gain independence from the Spanish Empire. The eleventh-largest country in the world, by population. Like the United States, Russia, and China, this is a country that any informed citizen should have at least a basic knowledge about.


"The gifts of nature are infinite in their variety, and mind differs from mind almost as much as body differs from body."

Quintilian (~35 - 100 CE). A rhetorician during the early Roman Empire, he was also, apparently, an armchair psychologist!

Don't Mess With This Man

Two trophy heads are strung on the cords that criss-cross this Mexican man’s chest. His horned headdress suggests that he is a shaman or ruler, as both wore similar headdresses in his culture. Shamans were respected not just for their abilities to communicate with the spiritual world but also for their prowess as great warriors. And this man is showing, with his two trophy heads, that he was to be feared. Of course, rulers wanted to show their military prowess as well. So the trophy heads do not settle the question of shaman vs ruler.

During shamanistic rituals, religious men would drink hallucinogenic beverages. Perhaps to help them communicate with the world beyond? The cup this figure is drinking from really makes the argument that this was a shaman, not a ruler.

Circa 100 BCE - 300 CE.

A New Sphinx Discovered In Flooded Ancient Temple

When draining the flooded temple of Kom Ombo, near the southern Egyptian city of Aswan, archaeologists were surprised (and delighted) to find a previously-unknown sphinx statue. Hewn from the surrounding rock, it sits 28 cm (11 in) wide and 38 cm (14 in) tall. Small but mighty! It probably dates back to the Greco-Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 305 BCE to 30 BCE, because two reliefs of King Ptolemy V, similarly carved from sandstone, were also recently found at the temple.

The Immortality of Hathor

Hathor was one of the most commonly worshiped goddesses in ancient Egypt. She was primarily a mother goddess, and was often considered the mother of the pharaoh. But she had other aspects, too: she helped women to conceive, she helped mothers survive childbirth, she welcomed the deceased into the Afterlife, she was even "Mistress of Foreign Lands" meaning that as soon as an ancient Egyptian left their homeland, they were in Hathor's territory. Did I mention Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and sexual love, too? Really, with so much influence over so much of ancient Egyptian life, it is no surprise that Hathor was one of the most long-lived deities.

As early as the Fourth Dynasty (2613 - 2494 BCE), there is written and archaeological evidence of temples dedicated to Hathor. She was also revered in the New Kingdom, and Hatshepsut (1473 - 1458 BCE) dedicated a small shrine in her mortuary temple to Hathor. She remained popular even when Greek pharaohs ruled Egypt. The great temple at Dendera was built in her honor under the Ptolemies.

This fresco was found in Pompeii, with its colors amazingly preserved. It survived a volcanic eruption by almost two thousand years. But it was destroyed by the recent fire at Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

How Did Crassus Become So Wealthy?

English-speakers have perhaps heard the saying "as rich as Crassus." That's referring to this ancient Roman aristocrat. But how did he get his wealth?

Annoyed Roman Lady Didn't Enjoy Sitting Still For Her Bust

This bust was found in Rome, and dates to between 98 and 117 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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