39 Fascinating Facts From Ancient Civilizations (Before Christ)

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26Family Archive

Family Archive

About 40 papyri from 150-99 BCE found in Egypt form an archive recording 3 generations of a common soldier’s family. Personal letters, divorce papers, contracts, and wills tell of his emigration from Crete, his marriages, career, and death, as well as the life of his daughter, her 4 siblings, and her kids.

27. Xenophanes (570 BCE to 475 BCE) was the first person known to have used fossils as evidence for a theory of the history of the Earth. Having discovered fossils of marine life on a mountain he posited that they were once underwater.

28. The Antikythera Mechanism is the world’s first (analog) computer and it was used to calculate the positions of stars and planets accurate to 1 degree in 500 years and was made in 100 BCE, about 1500 years before Keppler was even born.

29. ‘Carmen 16’ is a poem which was written by Gaius Valerius Catullus (84 BCE to 54 BCE) is considered to be so sexually explicit that it wasn’t published in English until the late 20th century. It is considered one of the filthiest expressions ever written in Latin, or any language, for that matter.

30. One of the earliest known serial killers was Liu Pengli, a Chinese prince from mid-100 BCE. He would go on expeditions with others, murdering people for sheer sport. He had over 100 confirmed victims. When he was uncovered, his uncle the emperor banished him instead of executing him.

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31Oldest Occupied City

Oldest Occupied City

The city of Jericho in Israel has been continuously inhabited since 9400 BCE and it is thought to be one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world.

32. The practice of beekeeping has been going on for thousands of years and it was widespread in the Levant regions by 1500 BCE. The practice was so important for the local economies that in the Hittite laws the penalties for stealing a swarm of bees or empty hive was about the same as the fine for stealing a sheep.

33. The earliest historical record of pillow use is from about 7000 BCE in the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.

34. In 1925, archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered the world’s first museum in the palace of Princess Ennigaldi. It was created in 530 BCE with the newest artifact dating nearly 700 years older than the pavement it rested upon, and most of the items were carefully stored and labeled.

35. Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. It was used as early as the 3000 BCE in Egypt, as an exterior coating to the pyramidions atop pyramids and obelisks. The first metal coins ever made were of electrum and for a few decades, the Nobel Prize medals were too.

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36First Vending Machine

First Vending Machine

The first vending machine was invented in Ancient Egypt in 215 BCE and sold holy water. It worked by the use of levers meaning a coin would open a tap, letting water out.

37. In the 300 BCE a ship was built by the Egyptian Pharaoh that could carry up to 7400 men. It is considered by one to be the largest human powered vessel ever built.

38. Asphalt is not a modern material. Regular production of asphalt is known from the 3rd millennium BCE. The Babylonians even used it to fasten carved eyes to statues.

39. Sexagesimal (base 60) is a numeral system with sixty as its base. It originated with the ancient Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BCE and was passed down to the ancient Babylonians. It is still used in a modified form for measuring time, angles, and geographic coordinates.

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