"Fear is stronger than arms."

Aeschylus, circa 467 BCE.

He was a playwrite, known as the “Father of Tragedy.” His plays are the earliest tragedies that we have the text for. Though unfortunately only seven of Aeschylus’ plays survived, of an estimated seventy to ninety plays he wrote.

Yokai are shape-shifting creatures native to Japan; they can appear as animals like turtles or deer, or as inanimate objects, or even plants! They live on the edge of towns and between villages. Yokai come in many forms, some bringing good fortune, some bringing calamity and illness.

This Famous Gladiator Was So Good, He Got Compared To Hercules

In ancient Rome, Carpophorus was the most famous of the beast-fighting gladiators, called bestiarii or venatores.  We know he was famous enough to have been part of opening the Flavian Ampitheatre, more famously known as the Colosseum, in 80 CE. He frequently dealt with bears, lions, leopards, and boars. One time he even defeated and killed a rhinoceros with a single spear!

But the most famous story about Carpophorus is that he killed twenty animals, by himself, in a single battle. The poet Martial compared him to the mythical age: "Let the glory of Hercules' achievement be numbered, it is more to have subdued twice ten wild beasts at one time."

Throwing Things Around

A catapult is technically any kind of machine that causes a projectile to travel a great distance. That means everything from a slingshot up is a catapult. But when most of us think of a catapult, we think of a medieval weapon of war. So that's what this post is about.

The catapult was invented in China (unsurprisingly) in the 300s or 200s BCE. Its first form was basically a giant, meaner crossbow. The catapult was good enough at its job, of killing people and taking cities, that more and more sophisticated versions were invented. Today we actually still use catapults, albeit much less than they did in the middle ages. For instance, sophisticated version of the humble catapult launches planes off the decks of aircraft carriers!

On January 1st, 404 CE, the city of Rome saw its last official gladiator battle. The Emperor Honorius declared the tradition finished in 399 CE.

Why Crossbows Were Used Up Until The 1500s

The horizontally-held crossbow was invented by the Chinese around 2,000 years ago. And it was a huge improvement over the simple bow-and-arrow -- with a crosspiece and stock added, the crossbow does the work of pulling and holding the string, not the person. This meant the string could have more tension, and therefore the arrows could fly farther and with more power.  A well-aimed crossbow arrow could pierce armor.

Attacking from further away also meant the crossbowmen were relatively better-protected -- except against other crossbowmen, of course.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Fiji was settled in three waves of immigration between 1230 BCE-860 BCE by early Polynesian peoples. Cannibalism came soon after: estimates say that cannibalism on Fiji started around 400 BCE. In fact, Ratu Udre Udre, a Fijian war chief, is the most prolific cannibal in history. He is reported to have eaten between 872 and 999 people!

Antikythera shipwreck yields bronze arm – and hints at spectacular haul of statues

It was found using a metal detector, buried under half a meter (1.5 feet) of sediment, on the boulder-strewn slope where the shipwreck lies. Based on the metal detector's readings, and that an arm has already been found, it is predicted that at least seven statues from the 1 BCE Greek shipwreck, already the source of one of the most extensive and exciting ancient cargo ever found

What Did The Hanging Gardens of Babylon Look Like?

Here are a couple different possibilities, by different researchers. So far the actual site of the Hanging Gardens has not been conclusively identified. So no one knows what the faux-mountain looked like, and some dispute whether it existed at all!

 

Pañamarca has impressive ruins from the Moche culture, which flourished on the northwest coast of Peru between 200 CE and 900 CE. Amazingly, many murals in Pañamarca still retain their colors, over 1,000 years after the last painter laid down his brush. The site was deliberately buried sometime around 750 CE. And in doing so, the Moche unintentionally preserved their art for future archaeologists to discover.

   

This mural is on one of the pillars of the imaginatively named "Temple of the Painted Pillars." The figures hold typical Moche objects, including a plate with three purple goblets, a multicolored stirrup-spout bottle, and a feather fan.

 

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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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