Articles on Ancient history

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Writing wasn’t just invented once by a single person. Many different ancient societies invented writing at different times and places. www.shutterstock.com

Curious Kids: who came up with the first letters?

Writing has only been a part of the human story for the last 5,000 years. In comparison, humans began to communicate using speech some 50,000 years ago.
One important reason for the Spartans’ obsession with fighting was the constant possibility they would need these skills in war and also at home, in Sparta itself. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: who were the Spartans?

From about age seven, Spartan children learned to fight and practise obeying orders. They also staged pretend battles. Boys and girls were trained separately.
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) BabelStone

In ancient Mesopotamia, sex among the gods shook heaven and earth

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.
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

Essays On Air: Journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety

Journeys to the Underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety. The Conversation36.9 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

Meet the giant dinosaur that roamed southern Africa 200 million years ago

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. Diego Delso/Wikimedia

Friday essay: the recovery of cuneiform, the world’s oldest known 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.

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