Without the scientific knowledge we have today, ancient cultures turned to myths and legends to understand celestial objects.
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC)
Sex was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia. And the authors of Sumerian love poetry, depicting the exploits of divine couples, showed a wealth of practical knowledge about the stages of female sexual arousal.
Puzzle: fragments of 2,000-year-old scrolls before reassembly.
Shay Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority, The Leon Levy Library of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Painstaking reconstruction of fragments of text has revealed the working draft of an ancient Jewish calendar and priestly duty schedule.
We think of the Druids as being embedded in British culture from the mists of ancient times. But what we think we know about Druids is of surprisingly modern provenance.
A central convention of Greek mythological narratives called katabasis, the hero’s journey to the underworld or land of the dead.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Journeys to the Underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety.
The Conversation 36.9 MB (download)
Our new podcast, Essays On Air, features the most beautiful writing from Australian researchers. Today, classics expert Paul Salmond explores how modern cinema directors borrow from Greek legends.
Kayentapus ambrokholohali footprints belong to an animal of about 26 feet long, dwarfing all the life around it.
Theropod image adapted by Lara Sciscio, with permission, from an illustration by Scott Hartman
Until this discovery, theropod dinosaurs were thought to be considerably smaller, at three to five metres in body length, during the Early Jurassic.
A relief at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis (now in modern Iran), including inscriptions in cuneiform, the world’s oldest form of writing.
Cuneiform was used for over 3,000 years in the Ancient Near East, but was only decoded in the 19th century. The writing form is still revealing amazing stories, from literature to mathematics.
The martyrdom of the Maccabees by Antonio Ciseri.
The violent evolution of martyrdom.
No go zone.
Explore the hidden origins of one of China's most significant historic sites.
Tut-mania reigned in the 1920s – and keeps returning to haunt us.
An equestrian statue of a Julio-Claudian prince, originally identified as Caligula.
©Trustees of the British Museum: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
The emperor Caligula lavished attention on his favourite horse Incitatus, holding parties for friends in the steed's grand stables. But did he make his horse a consul?
A Roman Feast by Roberto Bompiani (late 19th century).
via Wikimedia Commons
Roman decadence reached its peak with the vomitorium: a room where feasting elites threw up to make room for more food. Or so the story goes ...
Ostraka from classical Athens nominating the persons of Kallias and Megakles.
Cycladic Art Museum, Athens, Greece/Wikimedia Commons
For the first time in recent memory the possibility of imprisoning political rivals has entered the political discourse of a modern western election. But ostracism is an ancient democratic tradition that offers an alternative approach.
Being adopted by Julius Caesar didn’t do Augustus any harm.
One swashbuckling charioteer earned the equivalent of US$15 billion.
A thousand years of historical sources make it clear that migraine is more than just a headache.
© 2016 Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.
Films set in the ancient world can no longer adequately live up to the demands of the 'epic'. Instead, we should look to films set in space.
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi, where the wisdom of the oracle was dispensed.
Cicero asked: 'how to become famous?' Nero sought to know the timing of his death. The Oracle at Delphi offered pronouncements on all manner of topics - yet as with Google today, the question posed was as important as the answer.
Damian Evans/Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative
Space lasers developed in the 1970s are being put to a brand new use.
It's lunacy to believe you own the moon, so why is cultural heritage any different? The Parthenon sculptures at least belong together.
‘Alcibiades on his Knees Before his Mistress’ by Lagrenee.
A classics professor writes that Trump’s raucous campaign style is nothing new. He introduces us to a chariot-racing statesman from ancient Athens who may have given Trump a run for his money.