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Roman Roads


The long straight roads built by the Romans wherever they conquered have, in many cases, become just as famous names in history as their greatest emperors and generals. Building upon more ancient routes and creating a huge number of new ones, Roman engineers were audacious in their plans to join one point to another in as straight a line as possible whatever the difficulties in geography and the costs…


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Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth


Sammu-Ramat (reigned 811-806 BCE) was the queen regent of the Assyrian Empire who held the throne for her young son Adad Nirari III until he reached maturity. She is also known as Shammuramat, Sammuramat, and, most notably, as Semiramis. This last designation, “Semiramis”, has been the source of considerable controversy for over a century now, as scholars and historians argue over whether Sammu-Ramat…


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New Young Adult Novel


Born in Algeria to Iraqi refugees, Ms. Seja Majeed grew up in the United Kingdom, where her family claimed asylum. Impassioned by history, archaeology, and especially Iraqi culture, Seja yearned to be a writer. In her dbut novel for young adults, The Forgotten Tale of Larsa, Seja explores the themes of love, loss, change, and exile in an ancient Near Eastern setting. In this conversation with James…


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Inca Civilization


The Inca civilization flourished in ancient Peru between c. 1400 and 1534 CE, and their empire eventually extended across western South America from Quito in the north to Santiago in the south, making it the largest empire ever seen in the Americas and the largest in the world at that time. Undaunted by the often harsh Andean environment, the Incas conquered people and exploited landscapes in such diverse…


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Zenobia


Zenobia (born c. 240 CE, death date unknown) was the queen of the Palmyrene Empire who challenged the authority of Rome during the latter part of the period of Roman history known as The Crisis of the Third Century (235-284 CE). This period, also known as The Imperial Crisis, was characterized by constant civil war, as different Roman generals fought for control of the empire. The crisis has been further…


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Pottery


Pottery is the first synthetic material ever created by humans. The term refers to objects made of clay that have been fashioned into a desire shape, dried, and either fired or baked to fix their form. Due to its abundance and durability, pottery is one of the most common types of items found by archaeologists during excavations, and it has the potential of providing valuable information about…


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Slavs


The term “Slavs” designates an ethnic group of people who share a long-term cultural continuity and who speak a set of related languages known as the Slavic languages (all of which belong to the Indo-European language family). Little is known about the Slavs before they are mentioned in Byzantine records of the 6th century CE, and most of what we know about them prior to this time is mainly derived…


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Alemanni


The Alemanni (also known as the Alamanni and the Alamans, meaning “All Men” or “Men United”) were a confederacy of Germanic-speaking people who occupied the regions south of the Main and east of the Rhine rivers in present-day Germany. Many historians claim that the Alemanni first enter the historical record in 213 CE when Cassius Dio records the campaigns of Caracalla and his duplicitous…


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The Inca Road System


The Inca road system formed a network known as the royal highway or qhapaq ñan, which became an invaluable part of the Inca empire, not only facilitating the movement of armies, people, and goods but also providing an important physical symbol of imperial control. Across plains, deserts, and mountains, the network connected settlements and administrative centres. Well-built and lasting, many roads…


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Alaric


For centuries the people of Rome lived comfortably behind the walls of their city. The empire was continually expanding, and the army, under a long series of capable military commanders, kept the dreaded barbarians safely away from the city’s gates. Unfortunately, the supremacy of Rome began to slowly decay when the empire was split into two by Diocletian, and the power base gradually moved…


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Stupa


The stupa, an architectural structure usually housing the cremated remains or possessions of important saintly figures, is considered to be the structural emblem and the most important type of monument of Buddhism. Most stupas have a very distinctive semi-spherical shape, often surrounded by a fence. As Buddhism was introduced in different regions, the basic architectural features of stupas…


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Diodorus Siculus’ Account of the Life of Semiramis


Semiramis is the semi-divine Warrior-Queen of Assyria, whose reign is most clearly documented by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (90-30 BCE) in his great work Bibliotheca Historica (“Historical Library”) written over thirty years, most probably between 60-30 BCE. Diodorus drew on the works of earlier authors, such as Ctesias of Cnidus (c. 400 BCE), which are no longer extant. Ctesias…


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The Legend of Sargon of Akkad


Sargon of Akkad (also known as Sargon of Agade and Sargon the Great, reigned 2334 to 2279 BCE), the founder of the Akkadian Empire, was a man keenly aware of his times and the people he would rule over. While he was clearly a brilliant military leader, it was the story he told of his youth and rise to power that exerted a powerful influence over the Sumerians he sought to conquer. Instead of representing…


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Indus Script


The Indus Script is the writing system developed by the Indus Valley Civilization, an ancient civilization located in what today is eastern Pakistan and northwest India, on the fertile flood plain of the Indus River and its vicinity. The earliest use of the Indus Script dates back to 2500 BCE, and it has been found in pottery, amulets, carved stamp seals, and also in weights and copper tablets. Despite…


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