The Ancient Greek Symposium: Just an Excuse for Debauchery?

Plato's_Symposium_-_Anselm_Feuerbach_-_Google_Cultural_InstituteIt’s no secret that the ancient Greeks loved to have parties, dance and drink for every occasion. It could be celebrating a birth, the arrival of a loved person or a marriage. Indeed, in many cases no specific purpose was required for them to celebrate. These parties and celebrations, however, shouldn’t be confused with the symposium (or symposion), a very significant aspect of ancient Greek life that usually took place in private homes. At a symposium, Greek males gathered for more than just drinking, eating, and having fun, as many falsely believe today….READ MORE

11 Things Most People Don’t Know About Pompeii

mount-vesuvius-eruption-79adMount Vesuvius was responsible for the destruction of the city of Pompeii in 79 AD. Most everyone has heard one story or another about arguably the most well-known volcanic eruption in history, but how many of you know what really happened on that fateful day in Pompeii? Weirdly, Mount Vesuvius isn’t really that impressive in person. In terms of size, it’s really more like a reasonably big hill. Of course, those with even a cursory knowledge of history or geology know that this mountain located on the west coast of Italy is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Honestly, the Vesuvius eruption is not even the most interesting part of the story of the Italian city….READ MORE

12 Things That Are Hilariously Inaccurate in History’s Vikings

vikings-wallpaper-18When viewers are watching a film or TV show, they really shouldn’t take for granted the “reality” presented in its plot. Actually, you would have to be really naive to do so. However, there are times when you really don’t know if you should believe what you’re seeing or not, especially if the channel you’re watching is called History. One such case is the History Channel’s Vikings, a historical drama that is supposed to be loosely based on facts and Norse sagas.

Despite the undeniable awesomeness of the series, the crazy-good acting, and the immense success of the show, there are some hilarious inaccuracies that any history buff can easily spot. Does this mean that the show isn’t good? Hell no! The show is truly good, and if it hasn’t gotten your attention yet, be advised that you should start watching it immediately. Just make sure you don’t take everything you see in the series literally because, as the following list shows, there are issues with the historical authenticity of the plot at times….READ MORE

Cleisthenes, Father of Democracy, Invented a Form of Government that Has Endured for Over 2,500 Years

acropolis-of-athensCleisthenes came from an aristocratic Alcmaeonid family of Athens and was born around 570 BC. His father was Megacles, a dominant figure of Athenian politics, and his mother was Agariste, the daughter of Cleisthenes the tyrant of Sicyon, a city west of Corinth. Cleisthenes first came to political prominence when he was made archon (a decorated administrative official) in 525 BC during the reign of the tyrant Hippias. Shortly after, however, his family didn’t continue being favored from the Athenian authorities and as a result Cleisthenes was exiled. Whilst in exile, Cleisthenes claimed support from the sacred oracle at Delphi in order to convince the Spartans to help him remove Hippias from power, as it happened….READ MORE

Phryne: The Ancient Greek Prostitute Who Flashed Her Way to Freedom

bake-your-heart-out-miss-athens-4th-centuryPhryne was the daughter of Epicles from Thespiae (Boeotia), but spent most of her life in Athens. Even though we don’t know the exact dates of her birth and death, various historians estimate that she was born around 371 BC, the year Thebes razed Thespiae not long after the battle of Leuctra and expelled its inhabitants. Thanks to her extraordinary beauty, she became a model posing for various painters and sculptors, including the great Praxiteles (who was also one of her clients)….READ MORE

12 Jaw-Droppingly Evil Torture Devices Used Throughout History

f1dbfd2ce928c304ec1b91b5b5e84358Humans are incredibly creative when it comes to torture and humiliation, as surviving artifacts of ancient cruelty attest. One of the most illustrious and creative civilizations of all time, the Greeks, produced one of the most famous ancient torture devices, the brazen bull. The Egyptians were similarly adept at brutal ancient torture, and the Romans used pain during interrogation in extremely effective ways.  During medieval times, a wide range of people, from common criminals to the mentally ill, those accused of witchcraft, and political adversaries, were tortured to death, in many cases unfairly….READ MORE

25 Intriguing Facts About Hollywood History

hollywood-sign-at-night_wallpprsNot many people will disagree that much of popular culture has been influenced (and continues to be influenced) by Hollywood history and its films (in both good and bad ways). In many instances, Hollywood has educated the younger generation and retold stories in colorful cinematic fashion that were either forgotten or only discussed in university-level history or literature courses, with 300 and the Battle of Thermopylae between the Persians and the Greeks being a somewhat recent example….READ MORE