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Roman food – rich and poor

By |2018-04-25T09:05:47+00:00September 1st, 2017|Food, Romans|

Roti bread made with millet Romans ate a lot of fish Although the first people who came to the Mediterranean were probably following along the coast, and ate mainly fish, shellfish, seaweed, and wild figs, by the time the Roman Republic got started, there were far too many people in the Mediterranean to be able to live entirely from [...]

Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah – Jewish holidays

By |2017-08-25T11:57:45+00:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Apples For thousands of years, the Jews celebrated their New Year around the beginning of spring, just like everybody else in West Asia. Passover was probably port of this old New Year celebration. Sometime before 100 AD, though, the Jews split off from this ancient tradition and began to celebrate a different new year, the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, [...]

Adam and Eve – Bible stories

By |2017-08-23T15:18:26+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Adam and Eve eating the apple. The woman in the tree is the snake (Notre Dame Cathedral, 1200s AD) According to the Book of Genesis in the Bible, God created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Then God placed them in a wonderful place called the Garden of Eden. But God warned [...]

Thanksgiving – American holidays

By |2018-10-29T14:26:47+00:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Religion|

History of Thanksgiving: A map of Wampanoag village at Plymouth Bay in 1613 AD,just before the Puritans arrived. See the growing crops around each house? Green Corn Ceremony Beginning about 100 AD, when they started farming their food, all throughout the middle and eastern parts of North America, people celebrated the Green Corn Ceremony every fall [...]

Christmas Trees – American holidays

By |2017-08-14T14:26:19+00:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Northern Europe, Religion|

Christmas Tree in Germany (late 1700s, by Joseph Keller) Because Christmas is related to old celebrations of the winter solstice, evergreen trees have always been popular decorations in northern countries at Christmastime. They're green when everything else is dead and white. In the time of the Roman Empire, people sometimes hung small bits of metal from trees at this [...]

David Hume – European philosophy

By |2018-04-24T09:15:54+00:00August 6th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

David Hume, the European philosopher Soon after Hobbes and Locke died, starting in 1739 AD, David Hume published more important books about philosophy. Hume disagreed with Descartes' idea that people did what their reason or logic told them was best. Hume thought people were more likely to just do what they wanted, even if they knew it was wrong [...]

The Yamnaya and the Indo-European language family

By |2018-04-21T13:20:00+00:00July 27th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Yamnaya get around: Map of the spread of Indo-European languages Who were the Yamnaya? People we call the Yamnaya (Ukrainian for "People who lived in pits") seem to have been speaking an early version of the Indo-European language at least as early as 5000 BC in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian [...]

Garden of Hesperides – Labors of Herakles

By |2018-04-23T10:07:40+00:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Herakles (on the left) frees Prometheus (now in the Louvre) For another of his labors, Herakles had to go bring back three golden apples from the tree of the Hesperides. The Hesperides were the spirits of the evening. The golden apples were a gift from Gaia, the Earth mother, to her daughter Hera, who hated Herakles. On his way to [...]

Atalanta and the golden apples – Greek myth

By |2018-04-23T10:11:30+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Atalanta (see her name misspelled on the vase?) Atalanta was a woman who was very good at all kinds of sports (in the story; this is a story). She was a fast runner and a sharp-shooter and a strong wrestler and a great huntress. An oracle told Atalanta that she would be ruined if she got married, so she didn't [...]

Ancient Greek food – History of Food – Ancient Greece

By |2018-04-22T18:46:32+00:00July 6th, 2017|Food, Greeks|

Ancient Greek food - Platter with fish (Metropolitan Museum of Art) Sacrifice and Greek food Food, for people in Ancient Greece, was what separated people from animals, and from the gods. Gods didn't need to eat, and people did. Animals ate their food raw, but people cooked their food and were civilized. Civilized [...]