greek historian

For the Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the fifth century BC, the world was divided into three parts. To the east was Asia, to the south was a continent he called Libya, and the rest was Europe. He knew that people and goods and ideas could travel easily between the continents: he himself travelled up the Nile as far as Aswan, and on both sides of the Hellespont, the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia. Herodotus admitted to being puzzled, in fact, as to “why the earth, which is one, has three names, all women’s”. Still, despite his puzzlement, these continents were for the Greeks and their Roman heirs the largest significant geographical divisions of the world.

But here’s the important point: it would not have occurred to Herodotus to think that these three names corresponded to three kinds of people: Europeans, Asians, and Africans. He was born at Halicarnasus – Bodrum in modern Turkey. Yet being born in Asia Minor didn’t make him an Asian; it left him a Greek. And the Celts, in the far west of Europe, were much stranger to him than the Persians or the Egyptians, about whom he knew rather a lot. Herodotus only uses the word “European” as an adjective, never as a noun. For a millennium after his day, no one else spoke of Europeans as a people, either.

Did you know that the concept of subtext and fanfiction has existed for actual millennia?
For example: in the illiad Homer never explicitly states that patroclus and Achilles were lovers BUT for centuries after other ancient Greeks argued that their relationship was all in the subtext and that any educated man or audience member could read between the lines to see what Homer was stating. For centuries scholars like Plato argued that their relationship was beyond even the practice of pederasty and was a kin to the love felt between Andromache and Hector (true husband and wife). Another 5th century scholar, Aeschylus, wrote a lost epic called the Myrmidons which blatantly expressed their sexual relationship. He wrote gay smut fanfiction of the illiad in the 5 the century!!!! The relationship between Achilles and patroclus went on to inspire the relationships of countless other Greek male male relationships and has been connected to those between Gilgamesh and Enkidu as well as David and Joshua. You heard right, the bible is home to one of the most intense and possibly homoerotic relationships of all time. The hella gay nature of the illiad was heavily censored by the church and colonialist western historians for centuries. But original works of the Illiad and from Plato remain, as well as snippets of Aeschylus’s epic. If the fact that ancient Greeks and other historians have been analyzing, debating, and making fanfiction of the Illiad since approximately 800 BC isn’t along and wonderful I don’t know what is.

Hortensia circa 42 BCE

Art by Lacey (tumblr)

After the death of Julius Caesar, Rome’s leaders proposed a tax on the city’s  1400 wealthiest women to fund a campaign against those responsible for Caesar’s death.  The women were outraged by the tax and chose Hortensia as their spokesperson.  Hortensia was the daughter of Quintus Hortensius Hortalus, a well-known Roman orator.  Hortensia gave a rousing speech, questioning the government’s right to levy taxes on women who, by virtue of their gender, had no voice in government. 

According to the Greek historian Appian, Hortensia asked Rome’s leaders: 

You have already stolen from us our fathers and sons and husbands and brothers by your proscriptions, on the grounds that they had wronged you… if we women have not voted any of you public enemies, if we did not demolish your houses or destroy your army or lead another army against you; if we have not kept you from public office or honour, why should we share the penalties if we have no part in the wrongdoing? Why should we pay taxes when we have no part in the honours, the commands, the state-craft, for which you contend against each other with such harmful results?”

In the end, the tax was limited to 400 women and expanded to include all men who owned more than 100,000 drachmas. 

Reconstruction of Hecataeus’ world map

Hecataeus of Miletus ( c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC), was an early Greek historian and geographer. He was probably the first of the logographers to attempt a serious prose history and to employ critical method to distinguish myth from historical fact, though he accepts Homer and other poets as trustworthy authorities. Herodotus, though he once at least contradicts his statements, is indebted to Hecataeus for the concept of a prose history.

Besides his written works, Hecataeus is also credited with improving the map of Anaximander, which he saw as a disc encircled by Oceanus. As you can see, Greece is at the center of the known world.

Nava Vihara in Balkh: Sun/Fire Temple.

Nau-Vihara Temple: Balkh is one of the oldest towns in the world, being the birthplace of Zoraster. As per Zorastrian tradition Balkh was built by first Aryan ruler Bakhdi. Ancient Greek historians called, it Bactra, (Baktra or Bactria) and the whole country ‘Bactriana’. Situated in north-west Afghanistan, its present capital is Mazar-i-Sharif. It is a small town now, lying in ruins.The Nava-Vihara was also an important Buddhist monastery in Balkh for advance learning. It was a strongly built Vihara and was remarkable for its imposing structure. This Vihara was most sacred place of Balkh for it housed in its shrine-hall the water-basin (pot) and a tooth-relic of the Buddha,



[si-meer-ee-uh n] 

1. Classical Mythology. of, relating to, or suggestive of a western people believed to dwell in perpetual darkness.

2. very dark; gloomy:
    deep, Cimmerian caverns.

Cimmerian, also spelled Kimmerian, comes from the Latin plural noun Cimmeriī, a borrowing from the Greek plural noun Kimmérioi. In the Odyssey the mythical Cimmerians lived at the edge of Oceanus that surrounds the earth in a city wrapped in mist and fog, where the sun never shines, near the entrance to Hades. The historical, “real” Cimmerians are mentioned in Assyrian sources (Gimirri), the Hebrew Bible (Gomer in Genesis 10:2), and by the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century b.c.). Herodotus says that the Cimmerians were nomads driven south from the steppes of southern Russia by the Scythians through the Caucasus Mountains, turned west, and c676b.c. overthrew the kingdom of Phrygia (in west central Turkey), whose last king was Midas. The connection between myth and history is that there are variant readings for Homer’s Kimmérioi—Cheimérioi, “Wintry People, Stormy people”; and Kerbérioi “Cerberus’s People,” both of which were displaced by the historical Cimmerians. Cimmerian entered English in the 16th century in reference to the nomads, and in the 19th century in reference to the Homeric people.

“The sunny English noon had swallowed him as completely as if he had gone out into Cimmerian night.”
- Edith Wharton, “Afterward,” Tales of Men and Ghosts, 1910


The Ancient Egyptian City of Cats

In Ancient Egypt the cat was more than just a domesticated feline pet, it was a holy animal which represented the goddess Bastet.  By the New Kingdom of Egypt, cat worship became common place among Egyptians, and there was even a special “Cult of the Cat” dedicated to Bastet and the veneration of kitties.  In the 9th Century BC the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I made the City of Bubastis the capital of his empire, and dedicated the city to the worship of Bastet and of cats.  At the center of the city was a temple dedicated to Bastet, described as one of the most attractive temples in all of Egypt.  However it was not the temple itself that caught the eye.  After the time Egypt had become a part of the Hellenic (Greek) world Cult of the Cat continued to flourish in Egypt.  In 450 BC the Greek traveler and historian Herodotus visited Bubastis and the temple.  What he saw was shocking.  Thousands upon thousands of cats, all of which were venerated as sacred animals and cared for by priests. To control the cat population (in an age before spaying, neutering, or Bob Barker) periodic culling of the cat heard through ritual sacrifices conducted by the priests.  The mummified cats were then sold to pilgrims as relics.  Herodotus goes on further to report that the annual Festival of Bastet was held in the city every year, drawing as many as 700,000 people from all around Egypt, who would spend the time drinking, partying, and having sex, all because of the cats.  

While many may scoff at the idea of thousands of sacred cats occupying a holy temple, there is real evidence to back such a claim.  In the late 19th century a tomb containing the mummies of 80,000 cats was discovered near the Temple of Bastet in modern day Beni Hasan.  Peashooter is amazed by the thought of so many cats, but wonders how badly that temple must have smelled.


Scenes from the 2016 World Nomad Games hosted in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan. The World Nomad Games brings athletes from various countries, primarily from the Central Asian region and Russia, to participate in sports native to the Eurasian Steppe. The Eurasian Steppe was home to various nomadic peoples particularly the Iranic-speaking Scythians and Sarmatians, who were a source of fear for the ancient Greeks due to their warriorlike nature and great horse-riding skills; including their mastery of horseback archery. Both groups are believed to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes, but their settlements ranged from China to Poland, and because of this they greatly impacted the genetic pool and cultures of a number of different groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia such as the people of the Caucasus, Slavs, Turkic people, and other modern Iranic people. The Sarmatians in particular were famed by Greek historians for their female warriors and rulers that inspired the stories of the Amazons. 

crazyharpist があなたの投稿に返信しました “According to Appiah, Herodotus used ‘Europe’ only as a geographical…”

I literally cannot understand a single idea in this text. Help.

ok let me try and break this down:

I’m responding to two things: This essay by Kwame Anthony Appiah about the definition of “Western Civilization” and where it came from.

I’m also responding to ideas from my friend from Wales. She doesn’t like ppl on the internet to know where she’s from, which is why I didn’t use her name, so we can call her Rain.

About Appiah’s essay:

According to Appiah, for most of history until AD 754, the word “Europe” seems to only be geographical. Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC, used “Europe” to refer to land West of the Hellespont.

This is the Hellespont. It separates the Anatolia part of Turkey from the Thrace part of Turkey. So the Thrace part of Turkey is in Europe and the Anatolia part of Turkey is in Asia. Except it wasn’t known as Turkey back then. 

This is significant because Herodotus used it to refer only to geography, not people or a culture. Herodotus was a Greek born in what is now Anatolia, which he considered part of Asia, but he never considered himself Asian for being born in Asia, nor as European for being Greek. He simply considered himself Greek.

By the time of AD 754, a lot changed. After the rise of Islam in the 7th century, a muslim empire quickly developed. The Umayyad Caliphate, the second of the dynasties following the death of Muhammad, was one of the dynasties ruling this empire. They conquered the whole North Africa, and then in 711, began to conquer Spain, which at the time was ruled by the Visigoths. The part of Spain they conquered is called al-Andalus and they held on to it until the end of the 15th century.

This is the Umayyad Caliphate at its height in AD 750.

The Umayyads planned to conquer more of Europe, but were stopped by the Franks at the Battle of Tours in 732 CE, which is why they never conquered the Franks or got any further north than they did.

In 754, a latin author referred to the the victors of the battle of tours as ‘Europenses’, which is significant because this is the first time the word European is used to refer to a group of people according to Appiah. 

In this sense, the word is used to contrast between Christians and Muslims. This Christian vs Muslim contrast will prevail for some time in European history, and later, it will become the distinction between “Western Civilization” and the rest of the world. The common thread is that the “Europeans” or “Western Civilization” are defining themselves in opposition to foreignness. The Europeans/Westerners also see themselves as sharing the heritage of Ancient Greek civilization, philosophy and art, though as I mentioned earlier, Herodotus would have never called himself European, only Greek.

now, about my response to Rain:

Some white supremacists (aka white nationalists) talk about being proud of and defending their “European heritage”. They are referring to essentially same idea of “European” that developed in the 8th century and onward, an identity defined by opposition to foreignness, whether the foreigness is islam, or asia, or the rest of the world. The way they are highly islamophobic, antisemitic, terrified of immigrants is consistent with this. They consider themselves to be under attack by anything they don’t consider to be “European”. I’m calling these people “Evropean Traditionalists” in my post. British nationalists, Polish nationalists, etc in my experience tend to think along similar lines.

Rain is from Wales, and she hates UK nationalism. She is opposed to borders, and calls herself only European in defiance of UK nationalism. She says that there is a whole movement of this kind across Europe, and that it is pro-immigrant, opposed to racism and xenophobia, and so forth. I don’t know much about it, but I’m calling this movement European antinationalism.

Up until I met Rain, the white supremacist idea of European identity was the only idea of European identity I was familiar with. I had never encountered European antinationalism because it doesn’t exist in the US. but I know Rain and she cannot be a white supremacist, so her idea of european identity must be entirely different, so I wondered what it was.

While reading the essay by Appiah, I now think the idea of “european” in the European antinationalist movement is opposed to the “European identity” of the Traditionalists, the identity that is opposed to foreigness. Instead, I think antinationalist European identity might simply be geographical! It is not about claiming a shared heritage, it’s about supporting all people who happen to live in the geographical region of Europe, regardless of where they come from.

I hope this helps! Sorry this was longer than my original post, there was a lot of context I needed to explain.


Gallic Boar-Headed Carnyx (War Trumpet), Tintignac, France, 1st Century BC

The carnyx was a bronze wind instrument used by Iron Age Celts to rally troops and strike fear into the heart of their enemies from around 200 BC to 200 AD. It took the form of a very elongated ’S’ shaped tube. The horn’s bell was usually shaped like an animal’s head with its mouth wide open. Seven carnyces were discovered at Tintignac; six of them have boar-shaped heads and the seventh takes the shape of a a serpent-like beast. 

The tall, upright carriage of the carnyx allowed it’s frightful sound to be heard over the heads of soldiers engaged in battle. The Greek historian Polybius (200-118 BC) was so impressed by the sound of the Gallic army and their carnyces that he wrote “The Romans, on the other hand, while encouraged by having got their enemy between two of their own armies, were at the same time dismayed by the ornaments and clamour of the Celtic host. For there were among them such innumerable horns and trumpets, which were being blown simultaneously in all parts of their army, and their cries were so loud and piercing, that the noise seemed not to come merely from trumpets and human voices, but from the whole country-side at once. ” (Histories II, 29)

You can hear the wickedly terrifying sound of the carnyx in this video, John Kenny - The Voice of the Carnyx.

The Food of Millennium Book

I’ve seen some people questioning the foods listed in Atem and Bakura’s profiles that were in the millennium book and whether or not they were things they would have actually eaten at the time.  It probably does seem a bit strange to see that they liked or disliked a bunch of modern foods so I wanted to address that one at a time.

I will be using Egyptian Food and Drink by Hilary Wilson as a reference.  It’s part of the Shire Egyptology series for anyone that’s interested.

Atem’s Favorite Food: Ta'amiya.  This is a sort of falafel unique to Egypt that is made with fava beans instead of chickpeas.  Typically more greenish in color due to the bean used.  “Another type of bean identified from ancient sources is ful nabed, a pale variety of the common broad bean (Vicia faba).  Pharaonic cooks almost certainly invented ta'amia or felafel, fried rissoles made from mashed beans, onions, garlic, and spices.  Coptic Christians consume large quantities of felafel during Lent.  The Copts are said to be descended from the ancient Egyptians and many of their traditions are so old that their origins may well lie in Dynastic times.” (pg.25)

I have seen orther accounts that falafel was possibly created much later in Pharaonic history or even into Coptic Egypt but I think it’s safe to say that it’s possible for Atem to have eaten this.

Atem’s Least Favorite: Batarekh a sort of Egyptian equivalent to caviar that is still made in and around the Mediterranean.  In English it seems to be referred to as Botargo or Bottarga from Italian. Apparently it’s also similar to a Japanese product known as karasumi. “Fish were also salted or picked in oil and, in later times, great quantities of preserved first were exported from Egypt. In some scenes of fish preparation, removal of the roes is shown.  The dried and salted roe of the grey mullet, known as batarekh, is considered a great delicacy in modern Egypt and is reputed to be a recipe as old as the pharaohs.” (pg. 38)

So it seems batarekh is decidedly plausible!

Thief King Bakura’s Favorite food: Roast pork.  Kind of speaks for itself and I think it’s safe to say this one existed but it’s actually pretty interesting how it may have fit into Egyptian life. Keep in mind Egyptians were at least related to Semitic cultural groups who often have taboos against pork.  “There is evidence of taboos associated with different meats, but these appear to have been more often social than religious and, if religious, then confined to a specific region or group of people.  The eating of pork is quoted by many sources as having been forbidden to the Egyptians.  Herodotus [Ancient Greek historian of Ancient Egypt, not always the most accurate but still a valuable source of information] details the festivities held in memory of Horus’ victory over Seth, to whom the pig was sacred. It was, he said, the only time of the year when people ate pork and those families who could not afford a pig would eat loaves made in the shape of the animal. At the Middle Kingdom town of Kahun and the Eighteenth Dynasty workman’s village at Amarna, large quantities of pig bones have been found, indicating that pork played a significant role in the diet of the working-class Egyptian.” (pg.35)

And finally…

Thief King Bakura’s Least Favorite: Hummus. Self explanatory? To me this is the most nebulous one because there’s not a lot of evidence that hummus existed before the Arab conquests but at the same time, the ingredients would have been readily available and it’s not exactly a fancy dish that takes a lot of thought to put together (unlike dried salted roe sacs?) “The most easily recognisable type [of legume] is the chick-pea, white and knobbly with a little ‘beak’, which explains why the Egyptians called it 'hawk face’.  They could have been served as a vegetable or ground into flour used to enrich bread dough.  The most popular modern chick-pea recipe from the Middle East is hummus, a spread of pate made from mashed chick-peas and sesame oil.  Chick-pea sellers roam Egyptians markets in late summer selling cones of salted chick-peas with a squeeze of lemon juice” (pg.25)

So like I said, only a reference to it in more modern times as opposed to an ancient one but the parts needed to make it were still known to them.  Ergo this one seems like the least likely to have existed.

Personally, I think it’s kind of cute that our Pharaoh of Egypt pretty much enjoyed the Arab world’s equivalent of a hamburger myself while he couldn’t stand the fancy caviar.  Meanwhile Bakura likes a dish that was of course more of a questionable luxury while detesting one that, if it existed, was probably relatively common.

So there you go.  I think in most cases we can say there is a chance that they would have indeed known these foods.  I think it shows at the very least that Takahashi definitely tried to do some research and make apt choices as well which is nothing new.

Of course the other characters remain to be seen but I’ll be looking forward to it coming out.

Edit: So it seems like the rest of the profiles are available now \o/ it’s a lot more of the same but if anyone is interested I can address them as well


The Armenian Alphabet, Written as Հայոց այբուբեն is one of the few graphically unique alphabetical writing systems in the world used by the Armenian people. It was introduced 405 AD by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, an Armenian theologian, linguist and hymnologist and ecclesiastical leader, and originally contained 36 letters. Two more letters, օ (o) and ֆ (f), were added in the Middle Ages.

The Armenian word for “alphabet” is այբուբեն aybuben. named after the first two letters of the Armenian alphabet Ա այբ ayb and Բ բեն ben.

Armenia which became the first christian nation in 301 AD was ravaged by a civil war between the Armenian pagans and the Armenian Christians. The Kingdom of Armenia was very weakened  and quickly became the battle ground between Byzantines and Persians who divided Armenia in two parts, Byzantine Armenia and Persian Armenia. Both sides wanting to control and assimilate the Armenians. Persecution only quickened it into greater activity and Armenia was ravaged on both sides. The heavy persecutions had the opposite effect, bringing the Armenian clergy, nobles, and the common people closer together. 

Mesrop Mashtots who was born of noble birth in Hatsekats,Taron worked in the Armenian court as a scribe. Leaving the court for the service of God, he took holy orders and withdrew to a monastery with a very few chosen companions and there he practiced great austerities and often spent whole nights in prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures. After a few years of living Hermit, Mesrop took holy orders from Isaac of Armenia, the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church to preach the Gospel in the district of Golthn near the river Araxes. However, he experienced great difficulty in instructing the people, for the Armenians had no alphabet of their own, but used the Greek and Syriac scripts, none of which were well suited for representing the many complex sounds of their native tongue. Again, the Holy Scriptures and the liturgy, being written in Syriac, were, to a large extent, unintelligible to the faithful. Saint Mashtots set out to remedy this and 405 AD created the Holy Armenian Alphabet and translated the holy scriptures to Armenian, this event has come to be known to linguists and historians as the “Queen of translations

“The result of the work of Isaac and Mesrop was to separate for ever the Armenians from the other people, to make of them a distinct nation, and to strengthen them in the Christian Faith by forbidding or rendering profane all the foreign alphabetic scripts which were employed for transcribing the books of the heathens. To Mesrop we owe the preservation of the language and literature of Armenia; but for his work, the people would have been absorbed by the Persians and Syrians, and would have disappeared like so many nations of the East”.Pope Martin I

Saint Mesrop Mashtots built several schools all across Armenia where the Armenian alphabet was taught. He sent his disciples to Edessa, Constantinople, Athens, Antioch, Alexandria to study the Greek language and bring back the masterpieces of Greek literature. One of his pupils being the father of Armenian history Movses Khorenatsi. Mesrop himself taught in the Amaras Monastery in Artsakh. considered one of the oldest christian sites of the world. It is also where he would create the Caucasian Albanian Alphabet, considered to be a child alphabet of the Armenian Alphabet. The oldest historical accounts about the creation of the Georgian scripts are also attributed to Mesrop Mashtots. 

The first sentence in Armenian written down by St. Mesrop after he invented the letters is said to be the opening line of Solomon’s Book of Proverbs:

Ճանաչել զիմաստութիւն եւ զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ:
«To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.» —Book of Proverbs, 1:2.

Many ancient historical accounts write about the existence of an unique Armenian alphabet before the Mesropian Alphabet.

Philo of Alexandria, who in his writings notes that the work of the renowned Greek philosopher and historian Metrodorus of Scepsis ( ca. 145 BCE – 70 BCE) on Animals was also translated into Armenian and that the Armenians are amongst those nations who have their own distinct alphabet. Philostratus the Athenian, a renowned sophist of Second and Third centuries AD in his The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, wrote:

“And they say that a pard was once caught in Pamphylia which was wearing a chain round its neck, and the chain was of gold, and on it was inscribed in Armenian lettering"

Most scholars agree on that if a pre-Mashtots Armenian alphabet existed, most evidence of it was destroyed during the reign of Tiridates III of Armenia because of his purge of the Arordi Armenian pre-christian religion. (meaning the Children of Ari) very fewpre-Mesropian letters have been found in the Armenian Republic.

In the Kingdom of Ararat the Armenians used the Sumerian Cuneiform script.