Ancient History – Articles from Magazines & Newspapers

Ancient History. Selected online articles from newspapers and popular magazines about topics in ancient history, around the world. (Rome has another page)


Also see our collection of articles at Ancient History Podcasts and Videos


Go to Century Past History Resources for a directory of all pages.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sparta

The popular image of Sparta propagates a version of Sparta, our version of Sparta, and this is often quite removed from the ancient sources and idealised. As such, this post includes some interesting facts (and theories) about ancient Sparta that you might not know.

James Lloyd, Ancient History etcetera, 2016

Cultural & Theological Background of Mummification in Egypt

Mummification was not merely done to protect the deceased body from decay and decomposition; rather, most ancient Egyptians practiced it—both the rich and the poor—to ensure a successful passage into the next life. Mummification was much more elaborate and far more of a regular, integral part of common Egyptian life than popular culture typically presents.

John S. Knox, Ancient History Encyclopedia 2016

The ancient place where history began

The idea of Mesopotamia has intoxicated the West for centuries. Alastair Sooke takes a look at a civilisation where much of modern culture took form.

Alastair Sooke, BBC Culture 2016

Does Chinese Civilization Come From Ancient Egypt?

A new study has energized a century-long debate at the heart of China’s national identity.

Ricardo Lewis, Foreign Policy 2016

Halloween Owes Its Tricks and Treats to the Ancient Celtic New Year’s Eve

During Samhain, the deceased came to Earth in search of food and comfort, while evil spirits, faeries and gods came in search of mischief

Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian 2016


According to legend, Carthage was founded by the Phoenician Queen Elissa (better known as Dido) sometime around 813 BCE although, actually, it rose following Alexander’s destruction of Tyre in 332 BCE. Originally a small port on the coast, established only as a stop for Phoenician traders to re-supply or repair their ships, Carthage grew to become the most powerful city in the Mediterranean before the rise of Rome.

Joshua J. Mark, Ancient History Encyclopedia 2018

Prehistoric Egyptians mummified bodies 1,500 years before the pharaohs

Together with our previous research, this new information tells us that the prehistoric Egyptians, living at the time the man died, already had knowledge of the processes required to preserve the body, and practiced a developed religious belief system about the afterlife.

Jana Jones, CNN 2018

Pharaoh Up-Close: An Interview with Dr. Garry J. Shaw

In this special feature interview, James Blake Wiener speaks with Dr. Garry J. Shaw, a British Egyptologist, who teaches at the Egypt Exploration Society in London, UK. Shaw’s latest work is ‘The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign’, which highlights the multifarious roles the Egyptian Pharaoh fulfilled within ancient Egyptian civilization.

James Wiener, Ancient History et cetera 2013

Ancient Egyptian Bread

Trying to make bread as it was done in ancient Egypt.

Miguel Esquirol Rios, Historical Cooking Project, 2014

Ancient History in depth: An Overview of Roman Britain

Did ordinary people suffer under a tyranny, when Rome seized power in Britain, or were there advantages to foreign rule? Dr Mike Ibeji explores the realities of British life at the time of the Romans.

Dr Mike Ibeji, BBC History, 2011

Ancient Pyongyang

Pyongyang was the capital of several successive ancient Korean kingdoms.

Mark Cartwright, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2016

Arabic translators did far more than just preserve Greek philosophy

Peter Adamson is a professor of philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He is the author of several books, including The Arabic Plotinus (2002) and Great Medieval Thinkers: al-Kindi (2007) and Philosophy in the Islamic World (2016), and hosts the History of Philosophy podcast.

Peter Adamson, Aeon

How Hannibal beat the Alps but couldn’t beat Rome

Robin Lane Fox reveals how the classical general, famed for his crossing of the Alps, was defeated because he couldn’t fulfil his promise of liberation from Rome

Robin Lane Fox, History Extra 2017

Tutankhamun: who’s afraid of the pharaoh’s curse?

Joyce Tyldesley examines Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun – and gets to the bottom of those curse stories

Joyce Tyldesley, History Extra 2019

This major discovery upends long-held theories about the Maya civilization

New technology allows scientists to visualize ancient Maya cities like never before.

Ben Guarino, Washington Post 2018

Aryan Invasion May Have Transformed India’s Bronze-Age Population

An influx of men from the steppe of Central Asia may have swept into India around 3,500 years ago and transformed the population.

Tia Ghose, Live Science, 2017

How ancient Egypt shaped our idea of beauty

Pop culture is steeped in images of smoky-eyed pharaohs and their queens. Were the ancient Egyptians insufferably vain – or are we simply projecting our own values onto them?

Alastair Sooke, BBC Culture 2016

Beautiful Babylon: Jewel of the Ancient World

Ruled by Hammurabi, restored by Nebuchadrezzar, conquered by Cyrus – this city in the heart of Mesopotamia was both desired and despised, placing it at the center stage of the dawn of history.

Juan Luis Montero Fenollos, National Geographic, 2017

Before Flint: How Ancient Civilizations Maintained Their Drinking Water

Ancient civilizations utilized various creative strategies to supply their populations with usable and drinkable water.

Livia Gershon, JSTOR Daily, 2016

Did Dutch hordes kill off the early Britons who started Stonehenge?

A gene study has shown that incomers could have ousted Stone Age Britons.

Robin McKie, The Observor, 2017

Ancient Wonders: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Gemma Hollman, Just History Posts 2017

How the First Farmers Changed History

Carl Zimmer, NY Times 2016

Does Chinese Civilization Come From Ancient Egypt?

A new study has energized a century-long debate at the heart of China’s national identity.

Ricardo Lewis, Foreign Policy, 2017

Europe’s Mighty Megaliths Mark the Winter Solstice

Dating back thousands of years, Europe’s massive stone monuments aligned ancient peoples with the heavens above.

Michael J. Gantley, National Geographic, 2017

Even the ancient Greeks thought their best days were history

Joanna Haninck is associate professor of classics at Brown University in Rhode Island. Her latest book is The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity (2017).

Joanna Haninck, Aeon

Lost cities #1: Babylon – how war almost erased “mankind’s greatest heritage site”

In the first of a 10-part series, Justin Marozzi tells the story of this once-mighty city in Iraq is a microcosm of human history. Besieged by wars and weather, “restored” by Saddam Hussein, what has become of mystical Babylon?

Justin Marozzi, The Guardian, 2016

Royal People: Boudica, Queen of the Iceni

Boudica is one of the most famous women in English history.

Just History Posts, 2017

Six Strange Facts about Christmas

The more you peer into the history of the festival, the stranger it can seem. Over the centuries, Christmas has involved hymn-humming insects, pious cows, talking animals and bits of charred wood that protect us from witchcraft and lightning.

David Castleton, The Serpent’s Pen

Who Killed Alexander the Great?

James Romm examines some intriguing new theories about a long-standing historical mystery.

James Romm, History Today 2012

Who were the Celts?

Historians have been puzzling over this most enigmatic of ancient peoples for centuries, but are we any closer to establishing their origins? Barry Cunliffe investigates…

Barry Cunliffe, History Extra 2015

Newly discovered mass graves could be filled with an ancient Greek tyrant’s followers

Thousands of years ago, an ancient Greek athlete named Cylon tried to overthrow the government. It did not end well. Now, archaeologists have stumbled upon mass graves near Athens containing the skeletal remains of 80 men who the researchers believe may have been followers of that wannabe tyrant, Cylon of Athens.

Elahe Izadi, Washington Post 2016

The khipu code: the knotty mystery of the Inkas’ 3D records

Instead of words or pictograms, the Inkas used khipus – knotted string devices – to communicate extraordinarily complex mathematical and narrative information. But, after more than a century of study, we remain unable to fully crack the code of the khipus.

Manuel Medrano, Aeon 2017

The Mystery behind Greece’s temples

Studies show that the ancient Greek temples could have astronomical intentions – but on what scale?

Stav Dimitropoulos, BBC Travel 2017

Salmonella May Have Caused Massive Aztec Epidemic, Study Finds

In 1545, people in the Mexican highlands starting dying in enormous numbers. People infected with the disease bled and vomited before they died. Many had red spots on their skin. It was one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. The 1545 outbreak, and a second wave in 1576, killed an estimated 7 million to 17 million people and contributed to the destruction of the Aztec Empire.

Rebecca Hersher, NPR 2018

The birth of Baghdad was a landmark for world civilisation

If Baghdad today is a byword for inner-city decay and violence on an unspeakable scale, its foundation 1,250 years ago was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. More than that, it was a landmark for civilisation, the birth of a city that would quickly become the cultural lodestar of the world.

Justin Marozzi, The Guardian, 2016

Secret World of the Maya

The earliest explorers to uncover the ancient Maya civilisation in Central America could not believe that it owed its creation to the indigenous population, whom they saw as incapable savages. Nigel Richardson explains how this view changed.

Nigel Richardson, History Today 2013

Secrets of Puebla Tunnels

A 500-year-old series of tunnels long believed to be folkloric was uncovered beneath the streets of Puebla.

Atlas Obscura

Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza is a defining symbol of Egypt and the last of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It is located on the Giza plateau near the modern city of Cairo and was built over a twenty-year period during the reign of the king Khufu (2589-2566 BCE, also known as Cheops) of the 4th Dynasty.

Joshua J. Mark, Ancient History Encyclopedia 2016

Directory at Century Past History Resources


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