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From Xerxes to Alexander – the later Persian Empire

By |2018-04-23T07:27:11+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

The Persian shah, Xerxes, from the 400s BC. Death of Xerxes and revolt King Xerxes was killed in 465 BC. His assassin may have been his son Ardashir I (Artaxerxes in Greek), who succeeded him. Ardashir was a weak king, and a lot of the conquered countries revolted while Ardashir was king. By this time, [...]

What is a midwife? History of childbirth

By |2018-11-01T07:47:47+00:00August 16th, 2017|Economy, Science|

A Roman carving of a midwife at a birth (Isola Della Sacra, Ostia, 1st century AD) Who delivered babies in the ancient world? A midwife is a woman who helps other women give birth to their babies. In ancient and medieval times, doctors didn't usually have anything to do with women having babies - that was the [...]

Constans II – Byzantine history

By |2017-08-01T17:45:13+00:00August 1st, 2017|History, Medieval|

Mu'awiya on a Sassanian-style coin When Heraclius died in 641 AD, his sons Heraclonas and Heraclius Constantine took over as Byzantine emperors, ruling together. They only lasted a few years. Heraclius Constantine died within the year. His son Constantine (usually called Constans II) succeeded him, even though he was only 11 years old. Soon afterwards [...]

Comneni Dynasty – Byzantine history

By |2018-04-12T00:08:00+00:00August 1st, 2017|History, Medieval|

Alexios I Comneni, the Byzantine emperor (1081 AD) TheBattle of Manzikert in 1071 was the end of Basil's Armenian Dynasty. The Byzantines had lost Armenia to Alp Arslan and the Seljuk Turks, and Alp Arslan took the Roman Emperor prisoner. So a new dynasty took over the Byzantine Empire, the Comneni. Alexios Comneni succeeded in reconquering part [...]

The Mamluks – Medieval Islamic history

By |2018-07-12T09:50:47+00:00July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Mamluks: A Mamluk inn for merchants in Cairo Mamluks were enslaved soldiers The Mamluks were originally enslaved bodyguards of the Abbasid caliphs of the Islamic Empire (the word "mamluk" just means "slave" in Arabic). Starting around 850 AD, the Abbasid caliphs captured or bought young boys who were not Muslims as slaves. (More about the Abbasids) The caliphs brought the boys [...]

History of cats – Where did cats come from?

By |2018-10-29T10:58:40+00:00June 12th, 2017|Egypt|

History of cats: Sumerian clay head of a cat (Iraq, ca. 3000-2000 BC) Evolution of cats Wildcats first evolved from earlier mammals in Europe during the late Tertiary period, about four million years ago. By around 50,000 years ago, wildcats had spread into West Asia, and by around 40,000 BC, there were cats [...]