Ancient History

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The Ancient Greeks spoke Ancient Greek with three different major dialects: Aeolic, Doric and Ionic. They were the first Europeans to both read and write with an alphabet. This alphabet eventually led to the development of all modern European languages.

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  • What did samurai wear?

    Q: What did samurai wear?

    A: Samurai warriors wore kimonos, obis, loincloths, kamishimos, hakamas and occasionally long-sleeved coats and hats. Their clothing varied in quality and style depending on their socioeconomic status and level of mastery. All warriors wore loincloths, which served as underwear, along with belts and swords or other protective weapons, at all times.
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  • What did Charles Darwin discover?

    Q: What did Charles Darwin discover?

    A: Charles Darwin is famous for the strong case he made in support of his theory of evolution. He showed how species changed over time, and proposed that all life resulted from evolution. His theory was controversial but eventually caught on with the scientific community.
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  • Where did the Earth come from?

    Q: Where did the Earth come from?

    A: Astrophysicists believe the Earth and the rest of the solar system is the result of the Big Bang and its explosions of massive stars. The Big Bang and the stellar explosions, called supernovas, blasted untold amounts of material into space. Eventually, the matter cooled down and began to clump together into a hot, spinning cloud that eventually became a solar nebula.
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  • What weapons did the Babylonians use?

    Q: What weapons did the Babylonians use?

    A: The ancient Babylonians used sharpened weapons such as sickle swords, socketed axes, spears, and the Egyptian-derived bladed mace, as well as clubs and staffs, and projectiles flung from war slings. The Babylonians were a Bronze Age people, so the bladed weapons they used were made of a softer metal than later civilization's iron and steel. This made them less effective in battle than iron and iron-alloy based weapons, as iron is harder and harder blades can take a sharper point.
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  • What accomplishment is Confucius most well-known for?

    Q: What accomplishment is Confucius most well-known for?

    A: Confucius' most well-known accomplishment is creating the philosophy of Confucianism. This philosophy stresses that a stable society requires people to follow tradition and a policy of mutual respect. Confucianism provided the basis for the bureaucracy in imperial China.
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  • How long did it take to get across the Atlantic in the 1700s?

    Q: How long did it take to get across the Atlantic in the 1700s?

    A: Since ships in the 1700s relied on sails to propel them, the length of the voyage greatly depended on the wind. An immigrant who made the journey in 1750 reported that it could take between eight and 12 weeks, while another who arrived in 1724 reported that the journey took six weeks and three days. The average journey was about seven weeks.
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  • What is the cradle of civilization?

    Q: What is the cradle of civilization?

    A: Scholars traditionally regard Mesopotamia, an ancient area surrounding the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that is now parts of modern day Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Kuwait, as the cradle of civilization. The area is also know as the Fertile Crescent.
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  • What was the first bank in the world?

    Q: What was the first bank in the world?

    A: The world's first bank on record was the Taula de la Ciutat, which opened in Barcelona in 1401. Banking practices can be traced back to the Roman Empire.
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  • What did the Mayans eat?

    Q: What did the Mayans eat?

    A: The four staple foods in Mayan cuisine are squash, beans, maize and chili peppers, and they were often combined with meat or seafood. Squash, beans and maize are often referred to as the "three sisters" because they provide all the necessary nutrients when eaten together.
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  • What were ancient China's natural resources?

    Q: What were ancient China's natural resources?

    A: The prodigious land area of ancient China harbored resources like coal, drinking water, numerous minerals and plant and animal life. China is the biggest producer of salt on Earth, with 17 million tons annually. There are 760 billion tons of coal located in China's Shanxi region, and the 3 trillion cubic meters of rainfall and river water rank 6th in the world.
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  • What is the oldest civilization known to man?

    Q: What is the oldest civilization known to man?

    A: Civilizations do not typically have discreet start dates, but tend to emerge gradually over the course of many centuries. This makes it a matter of interpretation whether Egypt, Mesopotamia or India was the first society to develop fixed residences and a complex division of labor.
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  • What was the role of women in ancient China?

    Q: What was the role of women in ancient China?

    A: Women in ancient China lived oppressed lives, and their roles centered around caring for their husbands, cleaning, cooking and looking after their kids. The women of ancient China were expected to bear many children, and most of them felt pressure from their husbands to bear a son despite its being beyond their control.
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  • Who won the Opium War between China and Great Britain?

    Q: Who won the Opium War between China and Great Britain?

    A: Great Britain won the Opium War against China. Their victory created foreign spheres of influence in China, allowed Great Britain to take possession of Hong Kong, opened China to European influence and created a drug epidemic in southeastern Asia.
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  • What was ancient Hebrew civilization like?

    Q: What was ancient Hebrew civilization like?

    A: Little is known about the oldest eras of ancient Hebrew civilization because the culture was nomadic. The most distinct and long-lasting elements of ancient Hebrew civilization lay not in its architectural, artistic or diplomatic contributions but in the focus of the people on a monotheistic God who was radically different from the gods worshipped by most ancient peoples.
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  • What was the religion of the Han dynasty?

    Q: What was the religion of the Han dynasty?

    A: The main religion of the Han dynasty was Taoism. The Han dynasty also embraced the philosophical ideas of Confucianism. Buddhism was brought to China during the Han dynasty.
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  • What are some facts about the Zhou Dynasty?

    Q: What are some facts about the Zhou Dynasty?

    A: Although historians do not agree on the exact starting time, the Zhou dynasty in China lasted approximately from 1046 to 221 B.C. and is the longest dynasty in the history of the nation. It is also called the Chou dynasty. Under this dynasty, most of China operated under one government for the first time.
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  • What do "BC" and "AD" mean in a timeline?

    Q: What do "BC" and "AD" mean in a timeline?

    A: "B.C." stands for "before Christ," while "A.D." stand for "anno domini," meaning "in the year of our Lord," according to How Stuff Works. This way of delineating the calendar was established in the 5th century.
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  • Why did the Aztecs sacrifice humans?

    Q: Why did the Aztecs sacrifice humans?

    A: The Aztecs sacrificed humans because they believed that without the sustenance of human life-blood, the sun would fail and the world would end. Their gods had sacrificed themselves to bring the world into existence, so humanity must continue the sacrifices to ensure the world remained sustained.
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  • What country colonized China?

    Q: What country colonized China?

    A: Great Britain took Hong Kong from China after winning the First Opium War and took southern Kowloon after winning the Second Opium War. Portugal claimed the Macau region and kept it until 1999. France took over the region that is now northern Vietnam from China by winning the Sino-French War.
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  • What did the Incas live in?

    Q: What did the Incas live in?

    A: Inca houses were made from stone blocks and they had angled, thatched roofs. The Incas used mainly granite stones, because it was a hard, sturdy building material.
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  • Who was the first person to discover America?

    Q: Who was the first person to discover America?

    A: The discovery of America is most commonly attributed to Christopher Columbus, as it was he who revealed the Americas to early-modern Europe. Scholars entertain many alternative answers to who discovered America depending on the specific parameters of what constitutes "discovery."
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