39 Fascinating Facts From Ancient Civilizations (Before Christ)

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1Broccoli

Broccoli is a human innovation and a man-made food, being a result of the selective breeding of wild cabbage plants that started around the 6th century BCE.


2. Anaxagoras (510-428 BCE) was the first person to correctly explain eclipses. He also theorized that the Sun was a star and that stars were burning rocks but the other stars are too far away to feel their heat.


3. The oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date is the sacred fig tree “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi”, planted in 288 BCE. It is said to be the southern branch from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.


4. The Great Sphinx of Giza is so old that its first restoration dates way back to 1400 BCE when it was already a thousand years old.


5. Abuse of the smoke signal is known to have contributed to the fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty at around 8th century BCE. King You of Zhou had a habit of fooling his warlords with false warning beacons in order to amuse his queen. When an actual rebellion occurred, no one came to the aid of the king.


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6D20 Dice

The oldest D20 dice was uncovered in Egypt and dates back to around 30 BCE.


7. The first recorded battle in history was the Battle of Megiddo in 1457 BCE. It left such an impression on the Levantine people there that they believed the final battle of humanity would take place there as well. That's where the word Armageddon comes from.


8. Archaeologists have found slingshot balls in Greece that are engraved with “Take that!” or “Catch!”, dating them back to 4th Century BCE.


9. Humans used crop rotation 8,000 years ago. As far back as 6000 BCE, farmers alternated planting crops each year. They did not understand the chemistry but knew that doing so kept the soil healthy for good harvests.


10. Despite being built in 280 BCE, the Colossus of Rhodes was approximately as tall as the Statue of Liberty.


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11Scurvy

Scurvy was documented as a disease by Hippocrates, and Egyptians have recorded its symptoms as early as 1550 BCE. The knowledge that consuming foods containing vitamin C is a cure for scurvy has been repeatedly rediscovered and forgotten into the early 20th century.


12. This picture of an ancient tablet is actually a 5,000-year-old beer receipt. “Alulu beer receipt” records the purchase of the ‘best’ beer from a brewer around 2050 BCE from the Sumerian city of Umma in ancient Iraq.


13. The first recorded mention of altitude sickness was in 37 BCE when a Chinese official noted that a trade route to Afghanistan passed a mountain that caused sickness as travelers ascended it. In this report, this place was named “Big Headache Mountain.”


14. The ancient myths of Australian Aborigines portray the formation of geographical features in Australia, dating back to 10,000 BCE, with striking accuracy. The myths corroborate modern geological evidence, indicating they originated as firsthand accounts, preserved for millennia.


15. Almost 4,000 years ago (1981–1802 B.C.), ancient Egyptian teachers used red ink to correct spelling mistakes, just like today.


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16Oldest Jewelry

Scientists have discovered a 40,000-year-old bracelet in Siberia. It was made by an extinct human species called Denisovans. Homosapians did not produce bracelets of this technical sophistication until 10,000 years ago. It is one of the oldest pieces of jewelry ever discovered.


17. The oldest known timber constructions in the world are 4 wooden water wells in the Greater Leipzig region in Germany. They were built during the early Neolithic period between 5469 and 5098 BCE.


18. Cheesemaking is ancient and predates recorded history. The earliest evidence of cheese making is in 5500 BCE, in Kujawy, Poland, where fat molecules were found on ancient strainers.


19. The first named author in history was a woman named Enheduanna from the Sumerian city-state of Ur (modern Iraq) in the 23rd century BCE. As a high priestess, she wrote hymns and poems that were in circulation for hundreds of years after her death.


20. France, Britain, and Ireland are home to a combined 15 of the 20 oldest known buildings in the world. The oldest, Barnenez in France, dates back to 4800 BCE. That’s over 2,000 years older than the oldest pyramid in Egypt.


21Cancer

The first documented cases of cancer were found on papyrus manuscripts in Egypt dating back to 3000 BCE. In these manuscripts, 8 cases of breast tumors are mentioned that were removed by cauterization with a tool called the fire drill. The writing says about the disease, “There is no treatment.”


22. The earliest flush toilets were used by the people of the Indus Valley Civilization (existing from approx. 3300 BCE - 1700 BCE). Almost every home in the ancient cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa had a flush toilet connected to a common sewage system.


23. The last Wooly Mammoth died in 1650 BCE on Wrangel Island in Russia. Around that time, Egypt’s Middle Kingdom was coming to an end and Greeks (the precursors to the more well-known Greek Empire) had just started to live in Mycenae.


24. The first recorded gay couple in history were two Ancient Egyptian manicurists serving at the Pharaoh’s royal court in 2400 BCE.


25. Alphabetical order was introduced in the 3rd century BCE by Zenodotus, who also happened to be the first librarian at the Great Library of Alexandria.

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