antiquity

William Lassell and the Discovery of Triton

William Lassell and the Discovery of Triton

On October 10, 1846, English merchant and astronomer William Lassell discovered Triton, the largest moon of Neptune, just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle. Besides, Lassell also discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two moons of planet Uranus [3], as well the Saturn moon Hyperion. Lassell started a brewery business about 1825, after a seven-year apprenticeship. He became interested in astronomy and, in 1844, began construction of…
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Themistokles and the Battle of Salamis

Themistokles and the Battle of Salamis

On September 29, 480 BC, the Battle of Salamis took place, a naval battle between the Greek city-states under Themistocles and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes, which marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece. Our main source for the Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus, often referred to as the ‘Father of History’.[1] The Greek city-states of Athens and Eretria had supported the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt against…
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Giuseppe Fiorelli’s Excavations in Pompeji

Giuseppe Fiorelli’s Excavations in Pompeji

On June 8, 1823, Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli was born. Fiorelli’s systematic excavation at Pompeii, the ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples that was buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, helped to preserve much of the ancient city as nearly intact as possible and contributed significantly to modern archaeological methods. Born in Naples Giuseppe Fiorelli was born in Naples, Italy, and not much…
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Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

On May 7, 558, the main dome of Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom and seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, collapsed completely during an earthquake. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Emperor Justinian I himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up until the…
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Ramesses II – King of Kings am I

Ramesses II – King of Kings am I

Ramesses II was born 1303 BC, third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Ramesses II often is regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. His successors often referred to him as “the Great ancestor”. The reason, why we include this ancient Egytian ruler in SciHi Blog is not only his historical relevance. Recently we have been invited to join the Ramesses II exhibition at…
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Gertrude Caton Thompson and Prehistoric Egypt

Gertrude Caton Thompson and Prehistoric Egypt

On February 1, 1888, English archaeologist Gertrude Caton Thompson was born. Thompson was an influential archaeologist at a time when participation by women in the discipline was rather uncommon working primarily in Egypt. She was able to distinguish two prehistoric cultures in the Al-Fayyum depression of Upper Egypt, the older dating to about 5000 BC and the younger to about 4500 BC. Archaeology with Flinders Petrie Gertrude Thompson traveled to Egypt with her…
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François Lenormant and the Akkadian Language

François Lenormant and the Akkadian Language

On January 17, 1837, French assyriologist and archaeologist François Lenormant was born. Lenormant recognized, from cuneiform inscriptions, a language now known as Akkadian that proved valuable to the understanding of Mesopotamian civilization 3,000 years before the Christian era. Youth and Education Lenormant’s father, Charles Lenormant, distinguished as an archaeologist, numismatist and Egyptologist, was anxious that his son should follow in his steps. He made him begin Greek at the age of six,…
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The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

On January 6, 2005, the mummy of Tutankhamun (c. 1355-1346 B.C.) was removed from its tomb in the Valley of the Kings to be subject of a state-of-the-art non invasive CT scan, which gave evidence that the young king had suffered a compound left leg fracture shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected, and did not support the popular assumption that the king had been murdered. The Discovery…
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Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician in the second century BC. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. His other reputed achievements include the discovery and measurement of Earth‘s precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe, also of the armillary sphere, which…
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Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today. He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. The son of Aglaos, Eratosthenes was born in 276 BC in Cyrene. Now part of modern-day Libya,…
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