Emperor Augustus, The Eternal Teenager

Although he died at age 76, Emperor Augustus was always portrayed as a 19-year-old. That was the age he first became consul, and First Citizen of Rome. His portraits are recognizable by the "swallow tail" or "lobster claw" of two locks of hair on his forehead.     Photograph courtesy of the Walters Art Museum

These Are The Oldest Footprints On Earth

Found on a prehistoric sea floor, the oldest footprints ever found were left between 551 million and 541 million years ago during the Ediacaran period. That is hundreds of millions of years before the dinosaurs.     The trackways tell scientists it was left by a bilaterian animal — that is, a creature with bilateral symmetry that has a head at one end, a back end at the other, and a symmetrical right and left side. Its paired appendages, scientists did not call them legs, were used to raise the animal off the sea floor as it moved.

Was the Persian Army so Big Its Arrows Really Blocked out the Sun?

The army of the Persian Empire had enough archers that they were said to be able to "block out the sun." You might remember the Spartan's famous answer to that: great, we "can fight in the shade."

Were those ancient chroniclers exaggerating? We do not know, but conservative estimates of the Persian army's capabilities was that they had 50,000 men in their army. Yes, that's a conservative estimate. Previous armies in the region are believed to have fought with mainly infantry, with archers being a supporting group; we know the Persians innovated by increasing the numbers of archers. Let’s crunch some numbers.

As a conservative estimate, let's say there are about 20,000 archers in the Persian battle line. Each archer can fire about 5 arrows a minute. And their quivers held 120 arrows, but let's assume they had to go hunting for dinner the last few nights, and give them 100 arrows. When you do the math, that means the Persian Army could fire 100,000 arrows a minute. And they could do that for as long as their arms held out, or until their arrows run out, so about 20 minutes.

The Persian army could fire 100,000 arrows a minute, for 20 minutes. As a conservative estimate. Now, I've never been on an ancient battle field, but that sounds like it could block out the sun.

Groundbreaking Bronze-Copper Age Chariots Found In Northern India

Three chariots dating to between 2000 and 1800 BCE have been unearthed in northern India. Swords with copper-covered hilts, shields, daggers, a helmet, beads, and combs were also recovered. The coffins in the burial pits were decorated with copper-plated figures with horns and leafy crowns, suggesting those buried in them may have been royalty. The site where they were found had eight burials. All, potentially, royal.
These chariots are the first found from this period in the Indian subcontinent. It was known that Mesopotamian states had swords, helmets, and horse-drawn chariots around this time. This is the first evidence that the Indian subcontinent had them by this point, too.  Although which civilization had them is unclear. So far, we know only that the artifacts are not from the Harrappan Civilization, also known as the Mohenjo-Daro Civilization.

Don't Mess With Assyria

The Assyrian Empire's army, in the 700s BCE, was between 150,000 and 200,000 men strong. It was the largest standing military force that the Middle East -- and heck, Europe and probably Africa -- had ever seen. Their combat field armies numbered approximately 50,000 men.  That's the equivalent of about two American Army corps or an entire American Marine Expeditionary Force.

An Emir Once Controlled Part of France

Yes, what you’re thinking is true, an Islamic ruler once ruled France?!?!

At the greatest extent of Al-Andalus, a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, it controlled a piece of southern France. As well as most of modern Spain and all of modern Portugal. From 719 to 759 -- that’s a full forty years -- Muslim rulers controlled the port city of Narbonne. Depending on the year, they also controlled various nearby cities including  Nîmes, Béziers, and Avignon. The Islamic rulers weren't entirely unpopular, either. Narbonne was satisfied enough with Umayyad rule that it successfully defended itself, twice, from Frankish attempts to retake the city.

Kalaw Lagaw Ya, the language spoken by central and western Torres Strait indigenous peoples, was a lingua franca before western colonization. Kalaw Lagaw Ya was the language often used by Papua New Guineans and Australians to communicate when trading or traveling.

Cato the Elder Almost Got Into Trouble For Cowardice, Talked His Way Out Of It

Here [in Hispania], as [Cato] was engaged in reducing some of the tribes by force, and bringing over others by good words, a large army of barbarians fell upon him, so that there was danger of being disgracefully forced out again. He therefore called upon his neighbours, the Celtiberians, for help, and on their demanding two hundred talents for their assistance, everybody else thought it intolerable that even the Romans should promise barbarians a reward for their aid; but Cato said there was no discredit or harm in it; for, if they overcame, they would pay them out of the enemy’s purse, and not out of their own; but if they were overcome, there would be nobody left either to demand the reward or to pay it.


quoted from a translation of "Plutarch's Lives"

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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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