50 Fascinating Events That Happened in Before Common Era (B.C.E.)

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1Leonidas of Rhodes

Leonidas of Rhodes' Olympic record of 12 individual victories (164 - 152 B.C.) stood for over 2100 years before being eclipsed by Michael Phelps in 2016.


2. Xenophanes, who died in 490 B.C., during his lifetime found fish fossils and concluded that the land where they were found must have been underwater at some time. He was the first person known to have used fossils as evidence for a theory of the history of Earth.


3. Ancient people measured long distances by hiring “bematists.” They were trained to count steps while walking between locations and could measure hundreds of miles with more than 95% accuracy. Eratosthenes used one to calculate the circumference of the Earth that was accurate to within 15%, in 240 B.C.


4. Xin Zhui was a Chinese noblewoman who died in 163 B.C. When her body was discovered in 1971, it was remarkably preserved. She was preserved in an unknown fluid, which allowed her skin to remain soft and moist. Her muscles still allowed for arms and legs to flex at the joints, with all organs and blood vessels intact.


5. Sisamnes was a corrupt judge in the Persian Empire around 525 B.C. After it was found that he had accepted a bribe, the king had him arrested and skinned alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat from which judgments were made. His own son ‘Otanes’ then replaced him as a judge.


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6Aeschylus

In 458 B.C., Aeschylus, an ancient Greek tragedian, was killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle that had mistaken his bald head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of the reptile.


7. Anaxagoras (510 - 428 B.C.) was a Greek Philosopher who was the first person to correctly explain eclipses. He also theorized that Sun was a star and that stars were burning rocks but that the other stars were too far away for us to feel their heat.


8. The very first strike ever recorded in history started in 1152 B.C. During the reign of Ramses III in Ancient Egypt, while building a royal necropolis, the workers felt they were being underpaid, so they organized a massive strike. Their wages were actually increased and workers returned to work.


9. Greek philosopher Chrysippus of Soli died in 206 B.C., at the age of 73, after a laughing fit caused by his own joke. His biographer reports he saw a donkey eating some figs and yelled that it needed to be given a pure wine to wash the figs down.


10. The first recorded battle in history was the Battle of Megiddo in 1457 B.C. 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.


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11Alulu beer receipt

The ‘Alulu beer receipt’ is an ancient stone tablet which is actually a 5,000-year-old beer receipt. It records the purchase of the “best” beer from a brewer in 2050 B.C., from the Sumerian city of Umma in ancient Iraq.


12. The first recorded autopsy was performed in 44 B.C. on Julius Caesar to determine which of the 23 stab wounds he received had killed him. It was a chest wound that severed his aorta.


13. In 480 B.C., King Xerxes I of Persia built bridges to invade Greece, but a storm destroyed these bridges. Enraged, he threw chains in the sea, whipped the sea 300 times, and burned it with red-hot irons as his men shouted at the water. The next bridge he built was not destroyed.


14. In 585 B.C., a solar eclipse occurred in the middle of a battle between the Lydians and the Medes. They promptly ceased fighting and signed a peace treaty.


15. King Tutankhamun who died in 1325 B.C., was entombed with a dagger of “extraterrestrial origin.” Advanced spectrometry tests strongly suggest the iron, nickel, and cobalt contained in the blade were from a meteorite that crashed near the Kharga Oasis about 200 km west of the Nile.


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16En Hedu’anna

The first scientist named in history was En Hedu’anna, the chief astronomer-priestess of Ur. She lived around 2300 B.C., was the only daughter of the great empire architect Sargon of Akkad, and is called the Shakespeare of the ancient world as her works were studied for 500 years or more after her death.


17. In the year 1300 B.C., the Egyptian king Menephta defeated the Libyans. As proof of his triumph, he brought back 6000 penises of the soldiers chopped off of their opposition.


18. Ancient Greek explorer, Pytheas, was the first person to write about the mythical isle of Thule during his travels between 330-320 B.C. He described Thule as a land of fire and ice in which the sun never sets, which was located about six days of sailing north from Britain. This description by him closely resembles the island of Iceland in summer, which has Glaciers, volcanoes and is north of Britain.


19. The theory of an infinite universe was first proposed by a Greek philosopher named Archytas of Tarentum approximately around 400 B.C., reasoning that even if he did reach the end of the universe he would still be able to extend his staff beyond the boundary.


20. Ancient Greek astronomer Eratosthenes of Cyrene proved that the earth was round in 240 B.C. He also came up with latitudes/longitudes. He was also able to calculate earth’s circumference that was accurate to within 2%.


21Hippocrates

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


22. According to moderate estimates, the Romans possibly lost over 40,000 men in a single day at the Battle of Cannae (216 B.C.), which may have accounted for somewhere between 5 to 10% of the total Roman male population during the late 3rd century B.C. period.


23. There was a mysterious culture in Eastern Europe between 5,500 to 2,700 B.C. which constructed sophisticated, organized, densely-populated settlements - only to burn them to the ground every 60-80 years to rebuild the same settlement as before.


24. Cambyses II of Persia used cats to fight a battle. Against the Egyptians, in the battle of Pelusium in 525 B.C., he ordered his men to paint cats on their shields and brought 100's of cats to his front lines. The Egyptian archers refused to fire on the cats as injuring one was punishable by death.


25. The first documented cases of cancer were found on papyrus manuscripts in Egypt dating back to 3000 BC. 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.”

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