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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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We’re in Public Libraries


Our Ancient Greece content is now available in three prestigious public libraries in the United States: the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Brimmer and May School Library. Through our publishing partnership with BiblioBoard, our eBook Greece, The Archaic and Classical Periods: An Ancient History Encyclopedia Collection is part of the Archives of the World module of BiblioBoard…


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Greece’s Top Ten Stops


The fortified ghost town of Vathia, on Greece’s Mani Peninsula, was once as wild as our Wild West. (photo: Rick Steves) I was in Athens, on a rooftop restaurant under a floodlit Acropolis, marveling at how a Greek salad never gets boring. It was the last day of a long trip. I was reviewing, as I always do after completing an itinerary, how effectively our time was spent. We had kept our focus more…


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The Life of Aristippus in Diogenes Laertius


Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-356 BCE) was a hedonistic Greek philosopher who taught that the meaning of life was pleasure and that the pursuit of pleasure, therefore, was the most noble path one could pursue. Along with Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, and others, he was one of the followers of Socrates. He was also the first of Socrates’ students to charge a fee for teaching philosophy and, partly…


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The Life of Antisthenes of Athens in Diogenes Laertius


Antisthenes (c. 445-365 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who founded the Cynic School of Athens. He was a follower of Socrates and appears in Plato’s Phaedo as one of those present at Socrates’ death. He is one of the primary interlocutors in Xenophon’s works Memorabilia and Symposium. Antisthenes, like Crito, was among the older students of Socrates’, and Charles Kahn writes that…


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The Mutual Destruction of Sennacherib and Babylon


The reign of Assyrian king Sennacherib (705-681 BCE) was chiefly characterized by his difficulties with Babylon. Throughout the history of the Assyrian Empire, Babylon had caused problems and had even been destroyed by the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I in c. 1225 BCE. Even so, there were direct cultural bonds between Babylon and Ashur, capital of the Assyrian Empire, and the city was always re-built…


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Moche Civilization


The Moche civilization (also known as the Mochica) flourished along the northern coast and valleys of ancient Peru, in particular, in the Chicama and Trujillo Valleys, between 1 CE and 800 CE. The Moche state spread to eventually cover an area from the Huarmey Valley in the south to the Piura Valley in the north, and they even extended their influence as far afield as the Chincha Islands. Moche territory…


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Ten Noble and Notorious Women of Ancient Greece


There were, no doubt, many notable women in ancient Greece, but history books are usually silent on female accomplishments. According to the historian and novelist Helena P. Schrader, this is because, “Herodotus and other ancient Greek historians are far more likely to mention Persian queens than the wives of Greeks – not because Persian women were more powerful than their Greek counterparts…


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Semiramis


Sammu-Ramat, more famously known as Semiramis, was the queen regent of the Assyrian Empire (reigned 811-806 BCE) who held the throne for her young son Adad Nirari III until he reached maturity. She is also known as Shammuramat or Sammuramat. She was the wife of Shamshi-Adad V (reigned 823-811 BCE) and, when he died, she assumed rule until Adad Nirari III came of age, at which time she passed the…


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The Aeneid


The Aeneid, written by the Roman poet Virgil, is a twelve-book-long epic poem that describes the early mythology of the founding of Rome. The eponymous hero Aeneas, a Trojan prince and son of Venus, faces trials and tribulations as he escapes Troy as it burns and sails the Mediterranean searching for a new home. Virgil spent the last ten years of his life (70-19…


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Cleobis and Biton


Two over-life-size Archaic kouroi (6.5m) are housed at the Delphi Museum, and date to c. 580 BCE. Their names (Cleobis, and Biton) are actually written on their bases, and the sculptor is given as Polymides of Argos: such inscriptions are unusual for this early date. They are ideal representations of strength and masculinity, in the Peloponnesian style. The myth of Cleobis and Biton is told in Herodotus…


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Aristippus of Cyrene


Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435-356 BCE) was a hedonistic Greek philosopher who was one of Socrates’ students along with other pupils such as Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, and Phaedo. He was the first of Socrates’ students to charge a fee for teaching and, since Socrates had charged nothing, this, and the accusation he had betrayed Socrates’ philosophy, created a life-long friction between Aristippus…


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