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West Asian games – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:40:39+00:00September 13th, 2017|Games, West Asia|

Earliest known dice (Iran, ca. 2600 BC) See that the six is already opposite the one, as on modern dice? But check out this Harappan die. The people of West Asia really liked gambling games. The earliest dice in the world are from a backgammon set from ancient Persia (modern Iran), from about 3000 BC. Backgammon probably came from even [...]

Assyrian and Babylonian art – West Asia

By |2018-04-25T23:23:44+00:00September 11th, 2017|Art, West Asia|

Assyrian prisoners After the Dark Ages, by around 1000 BC, the Assyrians became the biggest power in West Asia, and they created many important works of art. The Assyrians continued the West Asian tradition of relief carving, and the Mesopotamian tradition of rounded forms, and continued to write over the surface of their stone carvings, and to represent their war [...]

Who are the Arawak? – South American history

By |2018-04-25T20:12:23+00:00September 8th, 2017|History, South America|

Arawak history: Arawak family in Trinidad, ca. 1500 AD The Arawak arrive in Venezuela The Arawak probably first arrived in South America with the second wave of people, around 15,000 BC. They were probably fishing people with canoes or boats, travelling south along the Atlantic coastline following the fish. The Arawak settled first in what is now Venezuela, [...]

Domitian’s palace – Domus Flavia – Roman architecture

By |2018-04-24T23:32:01+00:00August 26th, 2017|Architecture, Romans|

This is the facade, or front entrance, to Domitian's palace, the Domus Flavia Vespasian, the first emperor of the Flavian Dynasty in Rome, had been popular because he lived plainly and acted like he was equal to everyone else. He built the Colosseum. But his son Domitian was different. He wanted everyone to know that he was [...]

Roman baths – water and cleanliness in ancient Rome

By |2018-04-24T23:29:10+00:00August 25th, 2017|Architecture, Romans|

The big cold swimming pool at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. Roman people usually didn't have hot baths in their houses, because it was too hard to heat up the water. And people who lived in cities had to live in small apartments, often a whole family in one room, and so they didn't [...]

Native American games – lacrosse, swimming, dice

By |2018-04-11T18:30:20+00:00August 8th, 2017|Games, Native American|

Cherokee lacrosse players from 1888 People who lived in North America played both active games and the kind where you can sit down. Their favorite active game was lacrosse. Or actually lacrosse and a lot of other games that you play with a stick and a ball, with rules that were different in different parts [...]

European clothing – 1800s

By |2018-04-08T11:14:15+00:00August 4th, 2017|Clothing, Modern Europe|

Italian peasant, about 1850 (by Pierre Louis Dubourcq) At the very end of the 1700s AD, the invention of the cotton gin meant that the new country of the United States of America could produce tons of cotton very cheaply - if they forced people to work as slaves so the work was very cheap. European traders stopped getting their cotton from India and [...]

Medieval games – Games people played in Europe in the Middle Ages

By |2018-04-20T08:25:49+00:00August 1st, 2017|Games, Medieval|

Medieval games: Women playing chess Early medieval games: Dice, checkers, chess The games of medieval Europe were mainly the same as those of Egypt, Greece, and Rome: dice, knucklebones, marbles, checkers. But there were some new games, too. In the Middle Ages, chess came to Europe from the Islamic Empire. When the Arabs took over Spain, in 711 AD, they brought chess with them, and it [...]

Rustem swims away – a story in the Shahnameh

By |2018-04-07T17:04:30+00:00July 26th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

The Devil carries Rostem Like Odysseus or Anansi, Monkey or Br'er Rabbit, the Iranian hero Rustem was a trickster. He uses quick thinking to get out of this fix: Once when he was sleeping alone outside on the ground next to his horse Rukush, Rustem was trapped by the Devil, and the Devil started to carry him away. Rustem [...]

Rudaba and Zal in the Shahnameh

By |2017-07-25T22:24:21+00:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Rudaba lets down her hair Rudaba's name means "The River Water Girl". She was a character in the Persian epic Shahmaneh, written by the poet Ferdowsi about 1000 AD, at the height of Central Asian power (But the story must be much older than that). In the story, Rudaba's the daughter of the governor of Kabul, a Babylonian. [...]