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Ethnicity and Identity Within the Four-Room House


The process of determining ethnicity is a problematic venture, even more so when interpreted through the archaeological record. Despite this issue, evidence, such as the four-room house, has been preserved that can be interpreted to represent ethnic markers and help illuminate the lives of individuals and groups from the past. Following the theoretical perspective of Fredrik Barth, ethnicity is understood…


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Pizarro and Atahualpa:The Curse of the Lost Inca Gold


In November 1532 CE, Francisco Pizarro led a group of about 160 conquistadors into the Inca city of Cajamarca. The illiterate and illegitimate son of an Extremaduran nobleman and an impoverished woman, Pizarro had spent his entire life on a quest to become wealthy and be remembered. After hearing of how a distant cousin of his, Hernan Cortes, had looted millions in gold from the Aztecs, Pizarro…


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Hercules and Alcestis: Personal Excellence and Social Duty


For the ancient Greeks, the quality of arete (personal excellence) and the concept of eusebia (social duty) were most important. Aristotle discusses both of these at length in his Nichomachean Ethics and relates arete to eudaimonia - translated as “happiness” but actually meaning “to be possessed of a good spirit”. To have arete, Aristotle claims, one must associate oneself with those…


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Shield of Heracles


The Shield of Heracles (also known as The Shield of Herakles, Aspis Herakleous) is a poem of 480 hexameter lines written by an unknown Greek poet in the style of Hesiod (lived 8th century BCE). It deals with the Greek hero Herakles (also known as Hercules) and his nephew Iolaus and their battle with Cycnus, son of the war-god Ares. It is unclear when the action of the poem takes place in the story…


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The Shield of Heracles:The Complete Poem Translated by Evelyn-White


The Shield of Heracles (also known as The Shield of Herakles and, in the original, Aspis Herakleous) is a poem of 480 hexameter lines written by an unknown Greek poet in the style of Hesiod (lived 8th century BCE). It deals with the Greek hero Heracles (also known as Hercules) and his nephew Iolaus and their battle with Cycnus, son of the war-god Ares. It is unclear when the action of the poem takes…


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Megara (Wife of Hercules)


Megara was the first wife of the Greek hero Herakles (better known as Hercules). She was the daughter of King Creon of Thebes who gave her in marriage to Hercules in gratitude for his help in winning back Creon’s kingdom from the Minyans. Megara’s story is best known through the work of the Greek playwright Euripides (480-406 BCE) and the later Roman playwright Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE) both of whom…


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Alcestis


Alcestis was the mythical queen of Thessaly, wife of King Admetus, who came to personify the devoted, selfless, woman and wife in ancient Greece. While the story of Admetus’ courtship of Alcestis was widely told, she is best known for her devotion to her husband in taking his place in death and her return to life through the intervention of the hero Herakles (better known as Hercules). There are…


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Deianira


Deianira was the second wife of the Greek hero and demi-god Herakles (better known as Hercules, son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene). She was the daughter of King Oeneus and Queen Althaea of Calydon. During the time of Hercules’ famous Twelve Labors, he had taken a kind of side-adventure to sail with Jason and the Argonauts and, on this trip, met the hero Meleager, Oeneus’ son…


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Hero of the People: The Life of Hercules in Myth and Legend


Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek hero Herakles, the most popular figure from ancient Greek mythology. Hercules was the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus, who was always chasing one woman or another, took on the form of Alcmene’s husband, Amphitryon, and visited Alcmene one night in her bed, and so Hercules was born a demi-god with incredible strength and stamina…


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New: Videos, Links, and Book Reviews on AHE


We are excited to announce that we’ve redesigned our contribute page! Now users and volunteers can submit videos in addition to articles, definitions, book reviews, and web links. If you know of great content you would like to share with us, go ahead and submit it! Anyone with knowledge of ancient history can submit content to Ancient History Encyclopedia. All submissions are reviewed by our editorial…


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Sargonid Dynasty


The Sargonid Dynasty was the last ruling house of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 722-612 BCE. It began with the reign of Sargon II (reigned 722-705 BCE) and ended with fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 612 BCE. Some of the most famous kings in the history of Assyria come from this dynasty, and the period in which they ruled is considered the high point of Assyrian culture and military power. The last…


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Stone Age


From the dawn of our species to the present day, stone-made artefacts are the dominant form of material remains that have survived to today concerning human technology. The term “Stone Age” was coined in the late 19th century CE by the Danish scholar Christian J. Thomsen, who came up with a framework for the study of the human past, known as the “Three Age System”. The basis…


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The Banquet Stele of Ashurnasirpal II


When he came to the throne in 884 BCE, Ashurnasirpal II had to attend to revolts which broke out across the empire. He ruthlessly put down all rebellions, destroyed the rebel cities and, as a warning to others, impaled, burned, and flayed alive any who had opposed him. He fortified and strengthened his borders and then expanded them through campaigns that filled the royal treasury with booty. Having secured…


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The Greatest Party Ever Thrown: Ashurnasirpal IIs Kalhu Festival


The kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire have long been considered some of the most ruthless monarchs in ancient history. However, at the same time they were sacking cities and slaughtering those who rebelled against them or resisted conquest, they often pursued gentler interests. Sennacherib (reigned 705-681 BCE) enjoyed gardening and loved flowers. His son, Esarhaddon (reigned 681-669 BCE) was more interested…


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Sennacherib


Sennacherib (reigned 705-681 BCE) was the second king of the Sargonid Dynasty of Assyria (founded by his father Sargon II). He is one of the most famous Assyrian kings owing to the part he plays in narratives in the biblical Old Testament (II Kings, II Chronicles, and Isaiah) and, since the 19th century CE, from the poem “The Destruction of Sennacherib” by the English poet Lord Byron…


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