Tag Archives: Ancient History

The soul of the Roman Empire

According to tradition, in the early days of ancient Rome, King Numa Pompilius established a religious institution: the Vestal Virgins.  The Vestal Virgins were chaste priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of home and hearth.  Their duty was to maintain the … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Why the Exodus, as commonly understood, probably never happened

At the urging of one of my relatives, I watched Ridley Scott’s ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings‘.  This relative, knowing my skeptical nature, thought I might enjoy Scott’s naturalistic (mostly) take on the events in the story.  I’m sorry to say that I … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Religion, the Axial Age, and theoretic culture

I recently read the late Robert Bellah’s ‘Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age.’  Although the title of the book seems to narrow it to just religion, in ancient societies, religion was just about everything, so … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Origins of Hierarchy: How Egyptian Pharaohs Rose to Power

Stephanie Pappas has an interesting post at LiveScience:  Origins of Hierarchy: How Egyptian Pharaohs Rose to Power. The rulers of ancient Egypt lived in glorious opulence, decorating themselves with gold and perfumes and taking their treasures with them to the … Continue reading

Posted in Zeitgeist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

On theories of why civilizations collapse and our own times

After my post on the Bronze Age collapse and resulting discussion, I looked at other material about the collapse of civilizations, but after doing that, realized that I have some thoughts about what might be necessary for developing a theory about … Continue reading

Posted in History, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations

A while back I did a short post on the collapse of civilizations, noting that history pretty much shows that all civilizations, sooner or later, end.  (I also expressed skepticism that ours is necessarily anywhere near this point.) The quintessential example … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments