Horoscopes & Omens: Astrology in the Hellenistic World

Astrology emerged in antiquity as one of many means of explaining the unknowable in a world that was torn apart by conflict and natural disasters. Even for those who did not place faith in astrology, it was not out of the question that the heavenly bodies might exert influence over daily life or contain hidden meaning. Continue reading Horoscopes & Omens: Astrology in the Hellenistic World

Winemaking in Ancient Egypt

Wine (or “irep” in ancient Egyptian) was a status symbol, reserved for the wealthy and for religious occasions.

Grapes were cultivated in Egypt by as early as 4000 BCE. The earliest evidence of wine production in Egypt dates to around 3000 BCE, during the Pre-Dynastic Period. By the time Egypt was unified under one ruler, winemaking was probably well-established in the region. Continue reading Winemaking in Ancient Egypt

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Eat Like An Egyptian: Food in ancient Egypt

Most Egyptians were fairly healthy for the period, due in large part to the fertility of Egypt and the availability of a relatively nutritious diet. Studies of Egyptian mummies indicate that they did not suffer from diseases related to malnutrition to the same extent as many of their neighbours. However, the Egyptian aristocracy had access to more meats and expensive sweets, and were at a higher risk of developing diet-related conditions. For example, some mummies of high-ranking Egyptians show evidence of arterial disease or obesity. Egyptian medical papyri also reference diabetes, a rare condition in the pre-modern period. Continue reading Eat Like An Egyptian: Food in ancient Egypt

Beauty Routines in Ancient Egypt

Makeup was believed to be so effective at warding off disease and bad omens like the Evil Eye that parents put cosmetics on their children. Cosmetics, perfumes, and incense were so important to Egyptian culture that they were given as offerings to gods or the deceased. Examples of ancient Egyptian makeup tools and even containers of makeup have been found in burials like that of Tutankhamun. Continue reading Beauty Routines in Ancient Egypt

How Accurate Was…Assassin’s Creed: Origins?

Assassin’s Creed: Origins helped to reinvigorate Ubisoft’s historical game series when it launched back in 2017. Boasting a team of expert historical advisors and an educational “Discovery Mode” feature, AC: Originswas marketed as a window into ancient Egypt as it looked back in the 1st Century BCE. But how does the game hold up to scrutiny for historical accuracy? Continue reading How Accurate Was…Assassin’s Creed: Origins?

The Persian Conquest of Egypt

Typical narratives of Achaemenid Persian history focus on the Greco-Persian Wars, making it seem as though Persia’s primary goal was always the conquest of Greece. In reality, Greece was on the peripheries of Persia’s attention between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. The Achaemenid Persian kings were focusing their resources on a western campaign which would be one of their most ambitious undertakings. Their greatest prize was Egypt, a far richer and more immediately threatening country than Greece. Continue reading The Persian Conquest of Egypt