How the Karatepe bilingual inscription from the 8th century B.C. led to the decipherment of Anatolian hieroglyphs

Just as the Rosetta Stone was fundamental in the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs, other writing systems followed a similar process, sometimes more rugged and convoluted. Some contributed in part to the decipherment of the Anatolian hieroglyphs, in a sort of curious domino effect. In 1694, the Cippi of Melqart, two pedestals bearing bilingual inscriptions, in…Continue readingHow the Karatepe bilingual inscription from the 8th century B.C. led to the decipherment of Anatolian hieroglyphs

The mysterious seismic pulse that repeats every 26 seconds, coming from the Gulf of Guinea

Seismic detectors around the world have been capturing a curious and strange phenomenon for decades. Every 26 seconds the earth emits a pulse, a small microseism barely perceptible, that nobody knows why it happens or what causes it. Until recently, no one knew where it came from either. The first to document the phenomenon was…Continue readingThe mysterious seismic pulse that repeats every 26 seconds, coming from the Gulf of Guinea

The Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

About 80 kilometers southwest of Paris stands the city of Chartres, one of whose main cultural attractions is its Gothic cathedral built between 1194 and 1220. It was built in the same place where other churches and cathedrals had been before, the first one around 360 A.D., all of them destroyed by fires: the first…Continue readingThe Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

The world’s largest globes

A globe is a three-dimensional scale model of planet Earth represented on a sphere where, sometimes, the topography of the surface is shown (obviously exaggerated because, depending on the scale, it would be difficult to see). The circumference of the planet is approximately 40 million meters. The oldest of those that remain is the Erdapfel…Continue readingThe world’s largest globes

Hippika gymnasia, the Roman cavalry tournaments

We are used, thanks to literature and cinema, to the image of medieval horsemen engaged in chivalry tournaments. Although this type of competition and its rules are exclusively of medieval invention, in reality similar exercises existed long before, such as the one practiced by the Roman cavalry, probably due to Greek influence. It was called…Continue readingHippika gymnasia, the Roman cavalry tournaments

How Sumerians named substitute kings during eclipses and the custom survived even in Alexander’s time

Between 1805 and 1799 B.C. (according to short chronology) or 1868 and 1861 B.C. (according to medium chronology) King Erra-Imitti ruled in the Sumerian city-state of Isin in present-day Iraq (about 20 miles south of Nippur). His name comes to mean something as a follower of Erra, who was a god of war, riots and…Continue readingHow Sumerians named substitute kings during eclipses and the custom survived even in Alexander’s time

The British Museum objects that no one can see and that Ethiopia claims

Although the British never conquered or colonized Ethiopia, in April 1868 a battle took place there that ended the so-called British Expedition to Abyssinia (as the country was then known). It all began in October 1862 when Emperor Theodore II of Ethiopia, beset by internal unrest and external threats, requested military assistance from Queen Victoria…Continue readingThe British Museum objects that no one can see and that Ethiopia claims

The Lemnos Stele, a funerary inscription from the 6th century B.C. that links the Pelasgians to the Etruscans

In 1885, a unique stele was found as part of the walls of a church in the town of Kaminia on the Greek island of Lemnos. It has been dated to the 6th century BC, prior to the conquest of the island by the Athenians in 510 BC to the Pelasgians. This was the name…Continue readingThe Lemnos Stele, a funerary inscription from the 6th century B.C. that links the Pelasgians to the Etruscans

When Emperor Hadrian destroyed the world’s longest bridge

On 103 A.D. emperor Trajan ordered to build a bridge over Danube river to be used for the crossing and supply of troops in the imminent Second Dacian War against Decebalus, for which he was preparing the biggest army since Augustus’ times, about 150,000 men. The architect Apolodorus of Damascus, to whom the Pantheon is…Continue readingWhen Emperor Hadrian destroyed the world’s longest bridge

The Great Taboo, the 240 square kilometer area sealed for eight centuries where the tomb of Genghis Khan is believed to be

The national literary work par excellence of Mongolia is the Secret History of the Mongols, of which the author is unknown, but it is known to have been composed between 1227 and 1228, shortly after the death of Genghis Khan. The original document is not preserved, but a copy a century later and written in…Continue readingThe Great Taboo, the 240 square kilometer area sealed for eight centuries where the tomb of Genghis Khan is believed to be