Julius Caesar: The Faults Behind the Myth
Last March marked the anniversary of Julius Caesar's assassination over 2,000 years ago, and after two millennia, his legendary achievements still linger in today's consciousness just as they have for centuries. He was so revered that in...
The Crusades: Consequences & Effects
The crusades of the 11th to 15th century CE have become one of the defining events of the Middle Ages in both Europe and the Middle East. The campaigns brought significant consequences wherever they occurred but also pushed changes within...
Matilda of Tuscany
Matilda of Canossa (c. 1046-1115), the Countess of Tuscany (r. 1055-1115) and Vice-Queen of Italy (r. 1111-1115), was the final head of the noble House of Canossa following the deaths of her father in 1052 and her elder brother in 1055. One...
Council of Clermont
The Council of Clermont in central France was held in November 1095 and witnessed Pope Urban II's (r. 1088-1099) historic call for the First Crusade (1095-1102) to capture Jerusalem for Christendom from its Muslim occupiers. The Pope's speech...
Map of the First Crusade Routes
"This map shows the main routes taken by those who joined the First Crusade. The appeal was made by Pope Urban II in November 1095 CE but crusaders did not set out until the following summer. One route went through Hungary crossing the Byzantine...
Siege Warfare in Medieval Europe
Siege tactics were a crucial part of medieval warfare, especially from the 11th century CE when castles became more widespread in Europe and sieges outnumbered pitched battles. Castles and fortified cities offered protection to both the local...
Egyptian Funerary Stele from the First Intermediate Period
This is a door-shaped limestone stele of a priestess of the goddess Hathor. First Intermediate Period, 2134-2040 BCE. From Egypt. (Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul, Turkey).
The Coffin Texts
The Coffin Texts (c. 2134-2040 BCE) are 1,185 spells, incantations, and other forms of religious writing inscribed on coffins to help the deceased navigate the afterlife. They include the text known as the Book of Two Ways which is the first...
Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
The popular view of life in ancient Egypt is often that it was a death-obsessed culture in which powerful pharaohs forced the people to labor at constructing pyramids and temples and, at an unspecified time, enslaved the Hebrews for this...
Colossal portrait of Augustus
Colossal portrait of Augustus, 1st century CE. (Vatican Museums, Rome)