Ancient History Blog

  • Time, part 6: the sundial of Augustus

    In an earlier blog post in this series, I wrote about water clocks, which were used to track the passage of time, especially during the... Read more
  • Time, part 5: festivals and holidays

    We are used to having weeks of seven days each, of which five are designated as ‘work days’ (even if not everyone is employed full-time... Read more
  • Time, part 4: the date of Easter

    In the first article of this series, I wrote about the quest for a good calendar, and I mentioned the Babylonian version: a cycle of... Read more
  • Time, part 3: lists, lists, lists

    Dating events and objects is one of the most basic things a historian can do, but that does not mean it is simple. Radiocarbon dating... Read more
  • Time, part 2: water clocks

    When and where did people first start to divide the day into hours? The earliest evidence points toward Egypt at the end of the third... Read more
  • Time, part 1: measuring time

    Let’s face it: life is just one day after another. “The sun ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he... Read more
  • Mandaeans on Pluto

    The bowl on this photo, which you can see in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, is an ‘incantation bowl’. It is decorated with an almost... Read more
  • Heroes 5: Erasmus

    Yesterday, I discussed how Poliziano discovered the principles of textual criticism . In other words, he found out how scholars might reconstruct texts of ancient... Read more
  • Heroes 4: from Poliziano to Lachmann

    Yesterday, I wrote about Angelo Poliziano, the man who realized that ancient sources are sometimes dependent on each other and should be dealt with accordingly... Read more
  • Heroes 3: Angelo Poliziano

    There’s a lot to say about Angelo Ambrogini. Some biographical details first. Born in 1454 in the wine city of Montepulciano, and therefore nicknamed “Poliziano”... Read more

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