Category Archives: Articles

By the Rivers of Babylon: Life in Ancient Babylon’s Thriving Jewish Community

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In the 6th-century BC, the armies of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah. They tore down the city walls, burned the temples, and ran down every person who tried to escape. The few survivors were dragged out of their homeland and forced to live in Babylon as vassals to the men who butchered their children.

And yet, when the Jews in exile won their freedom, most of them didn’t leave. They stayed in Babylon – and kept a thriving community that lasted for more than 2,000 years.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

The 1,500-Year-Old Love Story Between a Persian Prince and a Korean Princess that Could Rewrite History

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More than a thousand years before the first European explorer reached Korea’s shores, the Persian Empire was writing love stories about Korean princesses.

It’s a little-known story that could change the way we see our history. Recently, historians took a second look an old Persian epic written around 500 AD and realized that, at the center of the tale, was the unusual story of a Persian prince marrying a Korean princess.

It’s an incredible discovery. Up until recently, we weren’t sure that the Persians of that time even knew Korea existed. This new revelation shows Persia didn’t just make contact with Korea – these countries were intimately connected. And it might just call for a total rewrite of history.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

William Levitt and the Disturbing Origins of the American Suburb

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“For Sale: A New Way Of Life.”

Bill Myers had seen the promise splashed across newspapers and magazines around the country. Life in Levittown, America’s first suburbia, meant more than just moving into a community filled with completely identical houses. It meant having a home, a community, and a sense of security. It meant moving into a new America.

But there was one thing the Myers family didn’t realize until they’d moved in. Those rows upon rows of two-story houses with white picket fences weren’t the only things in Levittown that were identical. The people were, too.

America’s first suburbs were filled, as a strict policy, with rows upon rows of nothing but white faces — and when Bill Myers and his family became the first black family in the American suburbs, they’d find out just how little they fit in.

[Read the full article at All That Is Interesting.]

The Full Story Of The Burning Monk Who Changed The World

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Would America have even entered the Vietnam War if not for one strike of a match?

“No news picture in history,” John F. Kennedy once said, “has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.”

This was no exaggeration. When the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself alive on the streets of Saigon on June 11, 1963, it sparked a chain reaction that changed history forever.

[Read the full article at All That Is Interesting.]

Unleashing The Power of the Gods: Hexes and Black Magic in the Ancient Greek Olympics

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When the ancient Olympics began, the greatest athletes in Greece gathered before a statue of Zeus Horkios, the god of oaths. Laid before its feet would be the freshly cut meat of a boar sacrificed by priests in a mystical ritual that brought down the power of the gods.

Beneath the vengeful stone gaze of the god of lightning, the athletes would have to swear an oath. They would use no foul play to win these games. They would not bribe their judges, they would not sabotage their opponents – and above all, they would not use black magic.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

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Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other side. If they wanted eternal life, they would have to fight for it.

The souls of dead Egyptians had to battle their way through the twelve chambers of hell, overcoming demons and monsters, crossing over lakes of fire, and finding their way past gates guarded by fire-breathing serpents. The path through the afterlife was violent, brutal, and dangerous. They could be killed in hell, and a death there meant an eternity in oblivion.

If they made it through unscathed, they would meet their judgement day. They would stand trial before the gods, who weigh their hearts against the weight of a feather. The worthy might go on to paradise, or even become a god – but the unworthy would have their hearts cast to the demons, torn to shreds, and devoured.

 

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

Archaeologists Found a Medieval Body With a Tumor That Was Growing Teeth

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Digging up a graveyard in Lisbon, Portugal, archaeologists found the remains of a woman who had died sometime between the 15th and 18th century. They can’t be sure what killed her, but it may have been the thing that was growing inside of her womb. Because this woman had an ovarian tumor – and it had grown teeth .

Five teeth had sprouted out inside of her pelvis by the time she died. These teeth were hard, jagged bones that had pushed their way through the growth inside of her body. Their tips were split and frayed like an old, rusted knife. She had likely felt it inside of her – but it’s unlikely anyone had seen it. It was her secret, buried inside of her; even she had no idea what was growing in her body.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

Inside Rhinocolura, The City of Noseless Criminals

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Near the city of Gaza, 3,000 years ago, laid a city unlike any other in the world. The Greeks called it Rhinocolura, named for strange faces of the people who lived there – because every person there had no nose.

These men were criminals, and Rhinocolura was their prison. The city was built by one of the kings of ancient Egypt as a punishment for thieves. The men who lived there had all been caught stealing. Their noses were cut off of their faces and they were condemned to live in this city on the edge of the desert.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

This 2,800-Year-Old Stele Tells A Bible Story From A Different Point Of View

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As soon as you fit the words “Bible” and “history” into the same sentence, people start reacting. Most people are in one of two camps: either every word of the Bible is completely, literally true, or else the whole thing is a made-up fairy tale.

The truth, though, is a bit more complicated. There are stories in the Bible that we know for a fact really happened. We have found ancient tablets created by other countries that tell the same stories written in the Bible – proof that these things really happened.

But they’re never exactly the same. The people who went to war against Israel don’t write about how great Israel is – they tell the story from their own point of view. And from the other side, it’s always a little bit different.

Case and point: the Moabite Stele , a 2,800 year-old stone slab that tells the story of 2 Kings 3 , about a war between the kingdom of Moab and Israel. The author of this stone slab, though, is the King of Moab – and from his point of view, he wasn’t some evil, pagan warlord. He was a hero.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]

Did This Ancient Explorer Make It To The Arctic In 325 BC?

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The first arctic explorer isn’t who you think. More than 2,300 years ago, Pytheas of Massalia traveled to the Arctic Circle and back – and, when he came home, nobody believed him.

In a time when most people believed that the sun was dragged across the sky by a god, Pytheas made it to a place where the sun doesn’t rise all winter long. He found a place covered in permafrost, a frozen ocean, and drifting icebergs, and he had to come home and try to explain what he’d seen.

He made discoveries so incredible that they were literally unbelievable – and it took more than a thousand years before we found out he was telling the truth.

[Read the full article at Ancient Origins.]