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Articles on Roman Empire

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A view of the destruction in Antakya, Turkey, caused by the recent earthquake. AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Turkey’s historic city of Antakya, known in Roman and medieval times as Antioch, has been flattened by powerful earthquakes in the past – and rebuilt itself

A historian of the late Roman world, who visited earthquake-devastated Antakya several times, writes about the city’s rich history and recovery after being devastated in the past.
Ancient military innovations – like the bit and bridle that enabled mounted horseback riding – changed the course of history. Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin/British Museum via WikimediaCommons

The horse bit and bridle kicked off ancient empires – a new giant dataset tracks the societal factors that drove military technology

Did ancient technological advancements drive social innovation, or vice versa? Studying cause and effect in the ancient world may seem like a fool’s errand, but researchers built a database to do just that.
Medieval Christians believed that heaven was a realm filled with dancing. Italian painter Fra Angelico’s ‘Last Judgment’ showing dancing angels. Fra Angelico's Last Judgment/Wikimedia

Why Christianity put away its dancing shoes – only to find them again centuries later

Despite opposition from the early church, dance was an integral part of Christian devotion for many centuries before falling out of favor.
Army chaplain Emil Kapaun helps a soldier on the battlefield during the Korean War in 1952. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

US army chaplain Emil Kapaun advancing toward sainthood

In early Christianity, soldiers could be baptized only if they refused to kill other human beings. While this changed over the years, tensions linger over Christian goals.
Lent is a period of fasting and reflection for many Chistians. Pascal Deloche/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What are the origins of Lent?

The 40-day Lenten season, when many Christians observe fasting, began in mid-February. A scholar explains how the practice may have emerged around the fifth century.
A 19th-century engraving depicts the Angel of Death descending on Rome during the Antonine plague. J.G. Levasseur/Wellcome Collection

How 3 prior pandemics triggered massive societal shifts

Societies and cultures that seem ossified and entrenched can be completely upended by pandemics, which create openings for conquest, innovation and social change.

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