Religious History

In 18th-century Venice, Carnival masks created a temporary feeling of equality between the ruling class and the lower classes.

A Brief History of How Carnival Is Celebrated Around the World

Here’s how Venice, Rio de Janeiro, Trinidad and Tobago, New Orleans, and Quebec City mark the pre-Lenten season

Long before it was imbued with symbolic meaning in the zodiac and beyond, the dragon was an ambiguous silhouette adorning art forms.

Why Is the Year of the Dragon Considered So Lucky?

The only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon has long been associated with prosperity and imperial power

Orly Weintraub Gilad has her grandfather's Auschwitz number, A-12599, tattooed on her arm.

Why Descendants of Holocaust Survivors Are Replicating Auschwitz Tattoos

Those who choose to put the numbers on their bodies hope the act will spark conversation about the Holocaust and pay tribute to loved ones who survived

A more than four-foot-long medieval sword was found just to the left of the Swedish man's skeleton.

This Medieval Man Was Buried With a Four-Foot-Long Sword in Sweden

Researchers in Halmstad think he was a high-ranking member of the nobility before his death some 600 years ago

The artifact was found during a two-week dig by a volunteer group in the village of Norton Disney.

Another Mysterious Roman Dodecahedron Has Been Unearthed in England

More than 100 such ancient artifacts have been found throughout Europe, but nobody knows what they are

Turkey’s government hopes the new policies will help protect the 1,500-year-old landmark in Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia Introduces Entry Fee for Foreign Tourists

Worshippers will be able to use a separate entrance to gain free access to the 1,500-year-old landmark in Istanbul

Forensic scientist Joe Mullins created this reconstruction using the victim's skull.

See the Face of Roman Britain's Only Known Crucifixion Victim

A forensic artist has reimagined what the man may have looked like 2,000 years ago

An aerial view of the temple walls unearthed north of Rome

Roman Imperial Cult Temple Unearthed Beneath a Parking Lot in Italy

The pagan temple sheds new light on the empire's gradual embrace of Christianity

The object was found by metal detectorists in Norfolk, England.

This 1,200-Year-Old Artifact Is Stunning—but Nobody Knows What It Is

The intricately decorated silver object was likely created by a highly skilled craftsperson in England

Volunteers repairing and refreshing the 180-foot-tall giant in 2019

This Mysterious Hillside Carving Is Actually Hercules, Researchers Say

England's 180-foot-tall Cerne Abbas Giant may have served as a landmark for gathering troops

Fascinating finds unveiled in 2023 ranged from a 12-sided object that may have been used for sorcery to a lost Rembrandt portrait.

117 Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2023

The year's most exciting discoveries included a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting, a hidden medieval crypt and a gold-covered mummy

A crane lifts the new golden rooster to the top of Notre-Dame Cathedral's spire on December 16, 2023.

Notre-Dame Gets New Spire and Golden Rooster

The return of these two distinctive features marks a poignant milestone in the cathedral's reconstruction

Icaria was guided by a single principle: “to each following his needs, from each following his strengths,” as Cabet put it.

The 19th-Century Novel That Inspired a Communist Utopia on the American Frontier

The Icarians thought they could build a paradise, but their project was marked by failure almost from the start

This 15th-century medical manuscript shows different colors of urine alongside the ailments they signify.

Modern Medicine Traces Its Scientific Roots to the Middle Ages

Contrary to popular belief, early medieval doctors relied on rational deduction to understand and treat disease

Jean Fouquet's Melun Diptych features two panels, Étienne Chevalier with Saint Stephen on the left, and Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels on the right.

Mysterious Stone in 15th-Century Painting Could Be a Prehistoric Tool

Jean Fouquet's "Melun Diptych" is likely the earliest artistic representation of an Acheulean hand ax

The sword had a bent blade, a straight hilt and an oval pommel. Researchers also found its scabbard.

1,000-Year-Old Sword and Cemetery Unearthed in Finland

Researchers identified eight burials, but they say the graveyard may hold dozens—or even hundreds—waiting to be discovered

A European depiction of Hasan Sabbah, an 11th-century leader of the Nizari Ismailis, and his followers in a garden paradise

The Medieval Sect That Inspired the Video Game 'Assassin's Creed'

The Order of Assassins is loosely based on the Nizari Ismailis, who formed a Shiite Muslim state that relied on political assassination to achieve its goal

Historian Peter Mancall says New English Canaan is “not very long” and “not very well written,” but holds immense value in what it says about the nation’s founding.

How America's First Banned Book Survived and Became an Anti-Authoritarian Icon

The Puritans outlawed Thomas Morton's "New English Canaan" because it was critical of the society they were building in colonial New England

The Buddha statue stolen from the Barakat Gallery on September 18

Thief Steals $1.5 Million Buddha Statue From Los Angeles Gallery

Gallery officials say they are stumped as to why the 250-pound artwork was targeted

Boatmen off North Sentinel Island in 1998

A Century Before the Residents of a Remote Island Killed a Christian Missionary, Their Predecessors Resisted the British Empire

When a white clergyman tried to punish captive Andamanese for their supposed misdeeds, they slapped him back

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