Tag Archives: Ancient History

Smarthistory: Khan Academy for Social Studies

Great Mosque at Damascus by G. Lewis, courtesy of Smarthistory & Flickr

Great Mosque at Damascus by G. Lewis, courtesy of Smarthistory & Flickr

Khan Academy is popular in math for its brief lectures and interactive modules. However, you can also use it in the Social Studies. Check out Smarthistory, a free multimedia platform for student and teacher of history, archaeology, museum curation, and art history.

It includes an interactive timeline, in-depth yet easy to understand articles, vibrant images, and videos about topics throughout history and around the globe. Check out “Teach with Smarthistory” for ideas on how to incorporate it into your classroom. If you are a historian, archaeologist, museum curator, or otherwise involved in the social science consider contributing an article or multimedia content. Additionally, Smarthistory contributes videos to Google Art Project.

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Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Upgraded & Expanded

A portion of the Isaiah Scroll, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A portion of the Isaiah Scroll, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. The upgraded version provides 10,000 additional high resolution images as well as more supplementary texts to allow users to understand the material in context.

The new website also provides better search features, better explanations, additional translations in German and Russian, and more. The website continues to get updates and will become more robust as it progresses. If you would like to check it out, be sure to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. To learn more about the new features, check out the Israel Antiquities Press Release.

Free Tel Aviv University MOOC: The Fall & Rise of Jerusalem

This Fall, Tel Aviv University will be offering a free MOOC about the period of Juda under Babylonian rule (the period of exile) during the 6th century. The course will be taught by Professors Oded Lipschits, Ph.D. and Ido Koch, Ph.D. The course description is as follows:

The period of the demise of the Kingdom of Judah at the end of the sixth century B.C.E., the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, the exile of the elite to Babylon, and the reshaping of the territory of the new province of Judah, culminating at the end of the century with the first return of exiles – all have been subjects of intense scrutiny in modern scholarship. This course takes into account the biblical textual evidence, the results of archaeological research, and the reports of the Babylonian and Egyptian sources and provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the evidence for the history of this 100-year-long era. The course includes a detailed discussion by Prof. Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University, with guest lectures by leading scholars dealing with the archaeological and biblical aspects of this debated topic.

You can also see a video course description here:

As a MOOC, the course is offered entirely free of charge. To enroll in the course, please check out the Coursera page here. You can also learn more about the course and the professors leading it on this article by Biblical Archaeology Review.

Tufts Releases the Perseus Catalogue

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 10.38.19 AMTufts, publisher of the Perseus Project, announces the launch of the Perseus Catalogue:

The Perseus Digital Library is pleased to announce the 1.0 Release of the Perseus Catalog.

The Perseus Catalog is an attempt to provide systematic catalog access to at least one online edition of every major Greek and Latin author (both surviving and fragmentary) from antiquity to 600 CE. Still a work in progress, the catalog currently includes 3,679 individual works (2,522 Greek and 1,247 Latin), with over 11,000 links to online versions of these works (6,419 in Google Books, 5,098 to the Internet Archive, 593 to the Hathi Trust). The Perseus interface now includes links to the Perseus Catalog from the main navigation bar, and also from within the majority of texts in the Greco-Roman collection.

The release allows broader access to Greek and Latin texts in the original language as well as in translation. This is an excellent resource and tool for educators and students in ancient history, Classics, Latin, and Greek.

Explore Life & Death of Pompeii & Herculaneum on your iOS Device Courtesy of the British Museum

© British Museum

© British Museum

The British Museum, in conjunction with its exhibit on Pompeii and Herculaneum, has released an iOS App for the iPhone  ($2.99) and the iPad ($5.99). The application allows users to explores the cities via interactive maps, view objects in high resolution and contextual detail, an in depth timeline, and the aftermath of the eruption (including the city’s later discovery and excavation). The application draws from archaeological discoveries, the remains at the cite, historical sources (specifically the account of Pliny the Younger).

Right now, the application is limited to iOS devices but an Android version is planned to be released in May 2013.

For more information on the exhibit and its resources, be sure to check out the British Museum’s online exhibition website.

April Fool’s Days Throughout History

I am actually quite relieved that today I do not have to teach. Not because I don’t love my students and spending time with them, but because spending April 1st in a classroom can be a test of the most patient individual. April 1, colloquially referred to as April Fool’s Day, has historically been a day replete with pranks (harmless, annoying, and in some cases threatening). Pranking, however, has a long history. The Romans celebrated feasts to the goddess Cybele called Hilariae at the end of March. These festivals included pranking, telling jokes, revering rolls, etc. A common Medieval festival in April was the “Feast of Fools” (or other similar names). These were days of pranks, jokes, and hoaxes.  Many cultures have a celebration of pranking and joking. Humor is a universal human experience.

Scientists apply Genetic Estimates to Homer’s Iliad

iliad-2-TOPHomer’s Iliad is one of the most famous works of Bronze Age Greece. Its date and composition, however, is one of the academically controversial. Recently, a group of researchers at the University of Reading applied the same techniques to researching genetic evolution (using the rate of genetic mutation) to the evolution of language. Using this method, they determined that the Iliad was written approximately 762 BCE +/- 50 years; a date consistent with historical theories.

“Languages behave just extraordinarily like genes.It is directly analogous. We tried to document the regularities in linguistic evolution and study Homer’s vocabulary as a way of seeing if language evolves the way we think it does. If so, then we should be able to find a date for Homer.” — Mark Pagel, Ph.D.

To learn more about the process and extensive findings, see the article published at Inside Science, “Geneticists Estimate Publication Date of the ‘Iliad‘” or the paper, published in the Journal of BioEssays.