You must have heard of the phrase “a Pyrrhic victory”; a victory that is obtained with so much loss that it might as well have been a defeat.

The phrase stems from the Pyrrhic War (280-275 BC), a war of shifting alliances between the Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians. Pyrrhus of Epirus, a Greek state in the western Balkans, battled the Romans in 280 BC and 279 BC, at Heraclea and Asculum respectively. He suffered incredible losses, but won both battles simply by virtue of having lost less men than the Romans. However, because Rome had a much larger supply of men, the damage that was done to their war-effort was less than the damage to Pyrrhus’ supplies. 

In a report, Plutarch attributes the following quote to Pyrrhus: “[O]ne more such victory would utterly undo [me]”.

Whether or not this is the bloodiest conflict we can’t be certain, but it has definitely become a representation of a win at such an incredibly high toll that it takes away any sense of achievement or profit.

It was not all oral tradition. The Kingdom of Kush (situated in Sudan) for instance, had its own writing system. This Meroitic language is named after the capital of the kingdom, Meroë. Because Kush had close ties to Egypt, Meroitic seems to be derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is an alphabetical language that has been deciphered in 1909, but has not yet been translated. 

Like the Egyptian language, Meroitic has different forms depending on the application. There was a monumental script that corresponds to hieroglyphs, and a script used for writing that was more akin to Demotic Egyptian. It has been in use from around 300 B.C. to 600 A.D., and is likely to be the parent system to Old Nubian, which was used from the 8th to the 15th century.

anonymous asked:

Ok, the question about the Ptolemies made me think of this. I know a bit about them including their family tree. I always wondered with a family as inbred as theirs how they managed to keep having children let alone children that were functioning. Is there anyway any of them could've been adopted from concubines then said they were the queens. Or do we know for sure that their parents were who we think they are? Sorry if I'm making myself look like an idiot, I don't know that much about them.

To be honest, we can’t really know for certain who fathered or mothered certain children of the Ptolemaic Dynasty short of a very extensive genetic research. It is of course possible that some children were indeed begotten by a concubine rather than the queen, but again we can’t know for certain. They didn’t exactly keep a record of this if it happened. 

And don’t worry, you don’t look like an idiot for asking this! There’s no such thing as a stupid question, and we’re here to answer all you might have. :)

ETA: mywifebeatsme sent us this inbox answer which we’ll post here;

First of all, this blog is great and I read it everyday. Second of all I read the Ptolemaic inbreeding question and I may be off base here but they might, and probably did suffer from some form of inbreeding depression but if I understand it correctly introducing another bloodline like (Antiochus III of Syria  would completely reset the genetic depression process. 

Dual Suggestion Sunday/Solve it Sunday

Hey guys! 

We’re opening Suggestion Sunday/Solve it Sunday for a couple of hours (until 7pm BST or whatever the equivalent is in your time zone but roughly 2 ½ hours from now) so please feel free to ask away! We’re sorry it’s been such a long time since we’ve done this but admin have had academic commitments and personal problems which have prevented us from being available.

If you don’t want to us to know/publish your url then please either use anon or ask us specifically not to publish your question and we’ll respect that. Otherwise the questions will be published like usual (unless we’re overwhelmed, in which case some of you may get private responses)

Our ask box is here, and as always please remember that we deal with any history (this includes Pre-History) up until AD 500.  

Happy Inboxing!

AMA Sunday: Ask us Ancient History Questions!

Hey guys!

Since we’ve been getting a lot of general ancient history questions over the past few weeks we thought it might be a good idea to alternate Sundays between “AMA: Ancient History Questions” (We might call it “Solve it Sunday”…) and Suggestion Sunday. 

So here is our first AMA Sunday! If you have any questions about Ancient History i.e. You’re not sure on something or there has always been a question you just want to ask, now is the time to do it! 

We, of course, won’t be able to answer everything (we’re good but not that good!) but we’ll try our best to answer things. Don’t take it to heart if we don’t/can’t answer your question, it may inspire us to go and research the subject and produce a long post on it in the future. 

Just a final note; If we feel that your question is to do with an essay topic/homework etc we will not answer it. We hope you’ll abide by the same honour code we do by which we mean the concept of plagiarism. We ask you to remember this “Would you like it if you were being exploited for someone else’s gain?” We make no money from this blog and we run it as a hobby in our spare time so can we please ask you to respect us and the work that we do. We know that 99% of you already do so it’s just a reminder :)

The ask box can be found here (x)

The Ancient Peoples Team 

Solve it Sunday!

Solve-it Sunday is now opened! For the next hour you can ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask about the ancient world. We will try to answer as many questions as possible but please remember that your admin is also only human. 

We also ask you to read our FAQ regarding limitations and periods of time we will cover and check tags to see if we have covered the topic of your question previously.

Happy hunting all!! 

Solve it Sunday Now Closed

We’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of asks we’ve received tonight so we’re bringing Solve it Sunday to a close early this evening. Please no more questions tonight!

Thank you for all your wonderful questions and we’ll now answer the remaining few we have in the inbox just to clear up any questions people do have. 

The Ancient Peoples Team

Solve it Sunday: Now Open

Hey guys, 

Once again we’ve opened up the ask box for general Ancient History questions. So if you’ve got any burning questions about an aspect of Ancient History then please submit them!

Any questions we have received about Ancient History since the last Solve it Sunday will now be answered as well so don’t be surprised if the question you asked 2 weeks ago suddenly appears!

We, of course, don’t know everything. So if we can’t answer your question we’ll let you know :) 

The askbox is here (x)

Happy inboxing!

The Ancient Peoples Team

Household Notice

Hey guys,

We’re still getting history questions in our inbox, and while we’re glad our first ever Solve It Sunday has been such a success, the AMA has been closed since yesterday, and it’s not our intention to answer questions throughout the week. We’ll do this once every two weeks, and post the answers on Sunday and Monday (this because we run Solve It Sunday late in the afternoon/evening for us, so answering all the questions on Sunday is not feasible). 

We hope you understand that while we love receiving all of your questions, we would like to ask you to save them for two weeks hence. We’re being a bit lenient with it this week, but on next installments of Solve It Sunday, any asks received after the cut-off point for the AMA will not be answered until the next edition. 

The Ancient Peoples Team

Suggestion Sunday/Solve it Sunday: Now Open

Hey guys!

We’re going to tentatively open Suggestion Sunday/Solve it Sunday for a bit so feel free to ask us questions. Please bear in mind our time frame when asking questions (and if you’re unsure please check out the FAQ) and that we may not be able to answer all the questions asked today. 

There are only 2 admin available to answer questions as of now, though more may be available later as they wake up/come online, so please be gentle with us!

The Ancient Peoples Team

AMA Sunday is now closed!

We’ve had a veritable flood of questions this evening! Thank you all for participating in our first AMA/Solve it Sunday and making it such a success!

Please can we ask for no more questions to be sent to us for the time being as we’re still dealing with the ones we have! Any questions we do get after this point will be answered during the week. 

If your question has not yet been answered never fear! Some questions require more thought and/or more research before we can answer them so these will be answered in due course (probably over the next week or so)

Thank you so much again!

The Exhausted Ancient Peoples Team