The war elephants of Phyrrus at the battle of Asculum, 279 B.C.

How “Pyrrhic Victory” Became a Go-To Metaphor

We call futile victories "pyrrhic," after an ancient Roman battle. But that battle may have been misinterpreted--or had a different conclusion altogether.
Ancient Greek funerary naiskos

When Was the First Handshake?

A Curious Reader asks: When and how did the handshake originate?
mesoamerican ballgame

A Mesoamerican Ball Game Returns

An ancient ball game called Ulama is making a comeback in Mexico. What do we know about the earlier iteration of the game?
Yaxchilán, Maya ancient city

Why Civilizations End

Scientists studying fallen civilizations suggest that the culprit is overshoot in combination with climate change. What does this mean for our current era?
Kingdom of Kush

The Lost Kingdom of Kush

A handful of archaeological sites and the written language Meroitic are all that remains of the Kingdom of Kush, located in what is now Sudan.

Alexander The Great… Globalist?

Globalization is the watchword of our time, but maybe Alexander The Great was the first global citizen.
A water tower at sunset.

Before Flint: How Ancient Civilizations Maintained Their Drinking Water

Ancient civilizations utilized various creative strategies to supply their populations with usable and drinkable water.