Ancient History Blog

  • 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
  • Heroes 2: back to the beginning

    The day before yesterday I announced a series of articles on the great scholars who contributed to our ever-changing image of Antiquity. The philologists, the archaeologists... Read more
  • Melqart in Leiden

    Right now, the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (which is, to my good fortune, located just a stone’s throw from where I live!) is hosting... Read more
  • Heroes 1: ancient histories, plural

    If you would have asked a Medieval scholar where history had begun, he would have said something like “Why? In the Garden of Eden of... Read more
  • The Egyptian sphinx

    In ancient Egypt, the sphinx was a mythical creature associated with kings, as well as divinities (in particular the sun god). They often served as... Read more

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