antiquity

Auguste Mariette and the Discovery of the Serapeum

Auguste Mariette and the Discovery of the Serapeum

On January 19, 1881, French scholar, archaeologist and Egyptologist François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette passed away. Mariette conducted major excavations throughout Egypt, revealing much about the earlier periods of Egyptian history. Sent by the Louvre, in 1850, to purchase papyruses, at Saqqara he discovered the Serapeum, the burial place of the Apis bulls, living manifestations of the god Ptah. A Burning Passion for Egyptology Born on 11 February 1821 at Boulogne-sur-Mer, where his father was a town…
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Herodotus – the Father of History

Herodotus – the Father of History

About in 484 B.C., ancient Greek historian Herodotus was born. A contemporary of Socrates, he is widely referred to as “The Father of History“. Herodotus was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation: specifically by collecting his materials systematically and critically, and then to arrange them into a historiographic narrative. Despite Herodotus‘ historical significance, little is known of his personal…
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Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastos of Eresos, who studied in Plato’s philosopher’s school, is most famous for his groundbreaking work on plants. Thus, he is often referred to as the ‘father of botany’. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. Theophrastus of Eresos was a native of Eresos in Lesbos and his given name was Tyrtamus. It is believed that…
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The Battle of Zama and Hannibal’s Final Defeat

The Battle of Zama and Hannibal’s Final Defeat

Around October 19, 202 BC, the Battle of Zama was fought between a Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (Scipio), who defeated a Carthaginian force led by the commander Hannibal. Despite Hannibal possessing numerical superiority, Scipio conceived a strategy to confuse and defeat his war elephants. The defeat on the Carthaginians‘ home ground marked an end to the 17-year 2nd Punic war. The Second Punic War The second Punic war between…
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The World is in Ever-Present Change – Heraclitus of Ephesus

The World is in Ever-Present Change – Heraclitus of Ephesus

Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus was famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe, as stated in the famous saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice”. This position was complemented by his stark commitment to a unity of opposites in the world, stating that “the path up and down are one and the same”. Through these doctrines Heraclitus characterized all existing entities by pairs of contrary…
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The Works of Sallust

The Works of Sallust

On October 1, 86 BC, Roman historian, politician Gaius Sallustius Crispus was born. Sallust is the earliest known Roman historian with surviving works to his name, of which we have Catiline‘s War, The Jugurthine War, and the Histories (of which only fragments survive). The Bellum Catiline, Sallust‘s first published work, contains the history of the memorable year 63 and the story of Catiline’s Conspiracy. Back in school I already made the acquaintance…
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Charles Thomas Newton and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Charles Thomas Newton and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

On September 16, 1816, British archeologist Sir Charles Thomas Newton was born. Newton excavated sites in southwestern Turkey and disinterred the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (at present-day Bodrum, Turkey). Newton also helped to establish systematic methods for archaeology. Charles Thomas Newton received his Masters Degree in 1840 from the Christ Church, Oxford. From the beginning of his studies, he was probably interested in…
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Herostratus burning down one of the Seven Wonders of the World

Herostratus burning down one of the Seven Wonders of the World

On July 21, 356 BC, Herostratus, in an attempt to immortalise his name, set fire to the to the wooden roof-beams of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. For this outrage, the Ephesians sentenced Herostratus to death and forbade anyone from mentioning his name. Eversince this time, the term “Herostratic fame” relates to Herostratus and means, roughly, “fame at any cost”. Modern archaeologist found that three successive…
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Michael Ventris and the Minoan Linear B

Michael Ventris and the Minoan Linear B

On July 12, 1922, English architect and linguist Michael Ventris was born. Along with John Chadwick and Alice Kober, Ventris deciphered Linear B, a previously unknown ancient script discovered at Knossos by Arthur Evans. He showed that the Minoan Linear B script was a very early form of Greek, the oldest known examples. Michael Ventris was born as the only child into a traditional army family to Edward Francis Vereker Ventris, a…
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Archimedes lifted the world off their hinges

Archimedes lifted the world off their hinges

Without knowing his exact date of birth or even death, we focus today on one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity: the ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer Archimedes of Syracuse, who was born around 287 BC and died at about 212 BC. Only a few details of his life are known, but he is considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. Archimedes…
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