Awareness X-Files

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not Know

10 Lesser-Known Facts About The Ancient World You Probably Didn't Know

It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.

Henry James

History is full of curious facts. When we think ancient, the first thought that comes to our head is unsophisticated or backward. But, what history has to say is completely opposite. Sure, the ancient people, at times, had strange traditions and rituals with strange laws and rules, but there was also advanced innovation and technological intelligence that never ceases to astonish us.

Here is the list of 10 interesting facts about the ancient world—facts which still have great influence on everyday life in the world today.

1. Feta Cheese – the oldest in the world 

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowFeta cheese is one of the world's oldest cheeses, and has been made in Greece and other Balkan countries for centuries.

Greek national cheese is made of sheep and goat milk and is one of the most popular cheeses in the modern world. However not many are aware, that feta cheese used to be a favorite dish even in ancient times. Some of Greek sources mention feta couple of times, like the famous Odyssey novel, where Cyclops were making cheese from the sheep’s milk, which is believed to be feta.

2. The Celts were not barbarians

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowThe historical Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age Europe.

You may often find Celts described by Greco-Roman writers as uncivilized barbarians who practice human and animal sacrifice. However, both Ancient Greeks and Romans sacrificed animals—and sometimes even humans—to the gods long before the Celts did so. King Agamemnon, for example, is known to have sacrificed his own daughter, Iphigenia. As it turns out, Celtic religious sacrifices were certainly less cruel and barbaric than many of the slaughters perpetrated by the Romans.

3. The first seismograph was invented in China

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowIn 132 AD, Zhang Heng, a great scientist in the Eastern Han Dynasty, invented the seismograph - the earliest instrument in the world for forecasting and reporting the movement of an earthquake

Many mistakenly believe that seismograph is the products of Western world, while in reality Zhang Heng, a Chinese astronomer invented the first equipment to monitor earthquakes. So Zhang Heng is essentially the  grandfather of the modern-day Seismograph, though he doesn’t usually get much credit for it.

4. Cappuccinos are named after crypt in Rome

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowThe most popular of Italian drinks, cappuccino, is named after garb worn by Capuchin monks.

The Capuchin Crypt in Rome consists of five chapels and a corridor decorated with bones of 4, 000 deceased monks. The display is a so called reminder of our own precarious mortality, and the coffee drink  Cappuccino  takes its name from this order of monks, who were known for their custom of wearing a hood, or  cappucio, with their habits.

5. India has ancient ties with the west

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowLeft:Legendary conqueror Alexander the Great; Right:Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama

It turns out that India was brought into contact with West by Alexander the Great, long time before Great Britain and other colonial powers. After his death, a genuine link between Europe and the East would not be restored until Portuguese explorer  Vasco da Gama  landed in Calicut, India, in 1498.

6.The original “Aryans” were Persians

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowPersians were actually blonde, blue eyed "Aryans" who somehow wandered from Europe onto the Iranian plateau.

Traditional culture tends to describe Persians as non – Caucasian people, while Persians considered themselves to be original Aryans. In Persian, the word “Iran” actually means “Land of the Aryans.”

7. Toasting Began in Ancient Greece

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowAs early as the 6th Century B.C., the Greeks were toasting to the health of their friend's for a highly practical reason — to assure them that the wine they were about to drink wasn't poisoned.

Majority of us has no idea where the tradition of toasting really came from. In ancient Greece the host would always take the first sip of the wine before the guests to ensure it wasn’t poisoned and this is where the phrase “drinking to one’s health” comes from.

8. The origin of tragedy and comedy

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not Know Greek tragedy led to Greek comedy and, together, these genres formed the foundation upon which all modern theatre is based.

We do know that these terms come from Greece, but do you know how they were born in the first place?  The word “tragedy”  comes from the Greek word for “goat-song,”  because early Greek tragedies  honored Dionysus, the god of wine, and the people on stage therefore wore goatskins. Tragedies were noble stories of gods, kings, and heroes.  Comedies, or “revel,” on the other hand, were most often about lower-class characters and their hilarious antics.

9. The first shopping mall was invented in Rome

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowShopping and shops in ancient Rome were pretty much what one would expect nowadays: Rows of shops could be found along main streets offering their wares

The first mall was build by the Emperor Trajan in Rome, which consisted of few stories and contained more than 150 outlets where you could buy pretty much everything, from food to clothes.

10. The People of Mesopotamia were the first ones to harness nature

10 Curious Facts About The Ancient World You May Not KnowThe ealy inhabitants of Mesopotamia drained swamps and built irrigation works, enabling them to harness the rivers for human advantage

The area of Mesopotamia is modern territory of Iraq, which from Greek means “the land between the rivers”. It is often called the “cradle of civilization”. However one of the most significant contributions to the technology invented by Sumerians was the ability to control the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by building levees, which provided them with a full year round food supply. This resulted in the first civilization, because it meant that people  didn’t have to be nomadic anymore.

source: listverse

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