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Who were the Parthians? Iran – West Asian history

By | 2017-09-14T15:38:49+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Grasslands of Central Asia - the steppe Around 300 BC, some new people invaded West Asia from Siberia in the north. These people were called the Parthians. Like the Scythians, and like the Persians when they first came to West Asia, the Parthians were nomadic people. They travelled around Siberia with their horses and their cattle, and grazed the cattle and [...]

Mauryan art in India – 300 to 100 BC

By | 2017-09-14T17:17:58+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Art, India|

Buddha comes down from heaven. Butkara I, Swat Valley, Pakistan, 100s BC. (Now in Swat Museum.) The rise of Buddhism in India during the Mauryan Empire brought with it a new interest in carving the stories of the Buddha's life. And Indian artists were now seeing scenes from Greek mythology on the metopes [...]

West Asian architecture – Ancient Mesopotamian architecture

By | 2017-12-11T00:21:54+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Mesopotamian architecture: The Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon, built during the Neo-Babylonian period (600s BC). Now in Berlin. Mesopotamian architecture Builders in Mesopotamia always had a serious problem. There was not enough stone or wood. But there was lots and lots of clay. So their buildings were usually built of brick, or mud-brick. West Asian builders got used [...]

What is malaria? History of diseases and medicine

By | 2017-09-07T08:22:43+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Africa, Science|

A baby with malaria (from World Health Organization) You catch malaria by being bitten by a mosquito that has malaria parasites living inside it. (Female mosquitoes bite people to get blood. That gives them enough energy to make baby mosquitoes.) When the mosquito bites you, the malaria parasites go from the mosquito's mouth into your blood. [...]

Maccabees – Jewish history

By | 2017-10-09T17:20:27+00:00 August 24th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Alexander the Great Under the Persians the Jews did very well. They were able to worship their own God, and even to travel around the Persian Empire converting people to Judaism. But in 331 BC Alexander the Great, who was from Macedon, conquered the Persian Empire and "liberated" (as he called it) the Jews from Persian rule. [...]

Stoics – Greek and Roman philosophy

By | 2017-08-16T15:25:13+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Greeks, Philosophy|

Cicero, a Roman philosopher The Stoics were a group of philosophers who first began teaching their ideas in the Hellenistic period. Stoicism was founded by a man named Zeno, who lived from 335-263 BC. He was friendly with the successors of Alexander who ruled Greece. Zeno lived in Athens, which was a great center of learning. He used to [...]

Who was Euclid? History of Geometry

By | 2017-07-18T11:26:44+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Science|

An Egyptian papyrus from about 100 AD which is a piece of one of Euclid's books Nobody knows much about Euclid's life anymore - it is all forgotten. We only know that he worked at the University of Alexandria, in Egypt, for a while. There are no pictures of him. We can't even be sure [...]

Who was Eratosthenes? Astronomy and math

By | 2017-07-18T11:19:43+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Science|

A classroom at the University of Alexandria (al-Ahram 2004) Eratosthenes was born about 276 BC in Cyrene (modern Libya). When he was still young he moved to Alexandria, in Egypt, and in 236 BC, when he was forty years old, he became the chief librarian at the great library there. Eratosthenes spent the rest of his life in Alexandria, where [...]

Who was Aristarchus of Samos?

By | 2017-07-18T07:51:54+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Greeks, Science|

A copy of Aristarchus' work on parchment from Constantinople, about 950 AD. It shows the relative sizes of the sun, the Earth, and the moon Aristarchus, who was born on the Greek island of Samos around 310 BC, spent most of his life working at the University of Alexandria in Egypt. Aristarchus is the first person we [...]

What is an astrolabe? Greek science

By | 2017-07-16T15:42:52+00:00 July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Science|

An Islamic astrolabe (832 AD) About 140 BC, the Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Rhodes invented the science of trigonometry. Hipparchus figured out that you could use an imaginary right triangle whose corners were the sun, the earth, and the planets or stars, to calculate the movements of the planets and stars. To measure the angles of these right triangles accurately, Hipparchus invented [...]