Ancient History

Ancient history covers the period up to 500 CE, after which the Medieval period begins. There are subdivisions of the Ancient period, and technically speaking, it begins with alphabetic writing from about 8th century BCE onwards. However, earlier periods can conveniently be dealt with under this heading.

60,421 Questions
Cats (Felines)
Ancient History

Where does the black cat superstition originate?

The bottom of all this to my opinion, is the colour black.

It was the colour of the old European (Roman, Celtic German goddess of fertility Mother Earth, giving the later "black madonna's". Which was not exclusively European ( Compare ISIS!!) Black was regarded as the colour of the earth, the goddesses' first element. Her second element was water, giving the colour blue.

The elements of the male god ( in the sky) were air and fire ( sun)

While druids were dressed in white, with red ribbons ( white= air, red = fire, sun ) it is too little known that there were female druids that were dressed in black with blue ribbons.

E.g.: In a certain period ( GERmanic) the goddes was called GER, giving GERTRUDE as being the female druid (=trude.Male druid = trudO) of GER.

Before, in Celtic period , she was called Cella ( CELtic)in Western Europe en HELLA in Eastern Europe ( cfrHELLas, HELLena, Hellenic )

Being mother earth, "the life-giving one ", her "home" was the black earth below, That became the HELL for Christianity A HOLE in the ground was an entrance to her home, and HOLY were the days of her feasts, or a tree dedicated to her.

A Hell- or Holestreet on the European mainland goes from the centre to the North, as North was the direction to find the mother goddess the dark/black night where the sun never shines( North).

As Ger/Cella /Hella was the wise (mother nature) and gave life those female priests were the "wisewoman" - les Femmes Sages ( = midwifes) that assisted on birth. They knew also a lot of herbal medicine: they had a huge knowledge of nature, their goddesses products.

And the honour they payed to to Ger was by masses were black was THE colour.

Christianity convicted those black masses and this "black magic" and it got a bad name, as well as the colour black itself.

The female druids where mostly accompanied by a cat with the holy black color. And as black was "from the devil" since Christianity black cats where too.

Much later, when Inquisition wanted to chase the new religions in the cities, they still encountered the rest of the old one in the countryside: the wiccas.

They where burned as witches together with their black cats, or the cats where thrown from the belfry towers.

I have no info why in England or elsewhere black cats are harmless. But as England is very traditional, and still very Celtic... knowing that black was a GOOD colour in Celtic times, one should look in that direction...The old idea that black colour being "a good colour" was not totally erased by chrsitianity, it seems. Till very recent, black was regarded as a "female" colour and my mother used to where it in mass before. The black for funerals (life/death, mother earth) is the same.

So traditions are stubborn

Another Answer

It is an interesting note that beliefs in the UK tend to run opposite those in America. In England the white cat is considered unlucky, the black being a bringer of good fortune, except in East Yorkshire where, while it is lucky to own a black cat, it is unlucky to come across one. In Belgium, Spain, Germany, and some other European countries the common aversion to black cats is shared with the American view.

In western history, black cats have long been looked upon as a symbol of bad omens. Cats among other animals Britannic/Celtic regions, currently known as the UK, also regarded hares with the same animosity as the cat) were sacred to certain pagan goddesses. When Christianity spread to regions that practiced traditional tribal religions the church sought to convert these natives. It would take far too long to get into the entire process of stamping out native traditions and replacing christian ones, as more of the local populations converted the church began to "demonize" symbols of the old religion, it was a form of propaganda designed to suppress the customs that did not fit in with their religious practices. Along with labels of witches and sorcerers was spread the notion that these magicians could shape-shift into cats (hares, etc) and skulk around in the night cursing their neighbors and communing with the devil or doing other perverse and evil things. Cats were slaughtered en Mass in some areas, believed to be wicked witches that must be destroyed. This practice and superstitious belief started in areas of what is now the UK before and most especially during the witch trials in these areas and persisted long after. When the "pilgrims" and British colonists came over to the New World, they brought it with them and it has remained with us in the idea that a black cat is an ill omen.

One of the prevalent black cat superstition alive in our the western culture today is if a black cat crosses your path, it is considered bad luck. Interestingly, in most other cultures, the black cat is a prized possession & owning one is said to bring the owner good luck.

The origin of the black cat & good luck is said to have begun in Ancient Egypt with the sacred black cat of BAST. BAST is an official deity of Egypt in the 22nd dynasty. During her reign, Egyptians courted her favors, by keeping black cats in their houses, believing that she would become part of the cat in spirit & grace their home with riches & prosperity.

Charles I of England (1600-1649) owned a black cat. He loved the cat so much so that he had guards protecting the cat 24 hours a day, until one day the cat fell in & died. Charles I was heard to proclaim, "Alas my luck is gone." True enough, he was arrested the next day & charged with high treason. He was later put to his death.

In Sumatra, during a long drought, a black cat is found and thrown into the river. The village folk would line the bank, forcing the cat to swim until almost exhausted. Once the cat is exhausted they allow the cat to get out of the water. The women of the village then chase the black cat while throwing water on the cat and themselves. This is supposed to bring rain. Although this tradition might bring good luck to the village, pity the poor cat that has the bad luck of being chosen for this!

In the Yorkshires, a black cat was said to bring the fishermen home safely from the seas. During the most prominent part of the fishing industry in this village, black kittens were often catnapped and sold to the highest bidder (usually the wives of the fishermen) by racketeers trying to cash in on the popular superstition.

In parts of Europe, if a black cat crosses your path, you are considered to have good fortune. If a black cat walks into your house or home, you are truly blessed. But in the United States, the term Black Cat was used by the fishermen and sailors of Michigan's Lake Superior for a boat that was believed to have a spell cast upon it and therefore, never will carry a full crew.

The attitude towards black cats is said to change sometime around the pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock. The pilgrims were devout Christians & they were deeply suspicious of anything deemed of the devil. Comprised of England's & Europeans, these pilgrims viewed black cat as a companion or a familiar to witches. Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed. They viewed the black cat as part demon and part sorcery.

When the Christians gained a foothold in America they also propelled this myth forward, during a time when witches were coming into fruition in America. Sharing a sisterhood with witches in England, and rumored to use black cats as an integral part of their craft. Black cats were suddenly cast into a bad light many black cats were sought after and killed. If a farmer believed his land had a spell cast upon it, the only way to break that spell was to shoot a black cat with a silver bullet.

Ask anyone what comes to mind when black cat is mentioned and cat lovers will inevitably say: mysterious, alluring, beautiful, playful, elegant and gorgeous. But non-cat owners would come up with: bad luck, witches familiar, evil, demonic, mean, spooky and Halloween... So you can see the superstition lives on even today.

Here are more superstitions from all around the world. Some are good & some, not necessarily so:

  • A black cat seen from behind foretells a bad omen -- Unknown
  • A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity -- Scottish
  • A black cat crossing ones path by moonlight means death in an epidemic -- Irish
  • A black cats carry demons -- Unknown
  • If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it take the good fortune with it.
  • It is believed that if a black lived in the house, the young lass would have plenty of suitors -- English
  • It is believed that if you find one white hair on a black cat, Lady Luck will smile upon you -- French
  • While it is lucky to own a black cat, it is extremely unlucky to come across one accidentally -- English
  • It is considered bad luck to pass a black cat at 9pm
  • It is thought that a reincarnated soul may be liberated by throwing a black cat into a fire -- Indian
  • Women could change their soul into a black cat & that any harm brought to the cat would be suffered by the women -- Bengali
  • It is thought that black cats were reincarnated being able to divine the future -- Celtic
  • It is believed that if a black cat jumped on the bed of a sick person it meant death is near -- German
  • It is thought that black cats were thought to carry the souls of the dead to the other world -- Finnish
  • It is thought that the presence of a black cat foretold of poverty -- Chinese
Ancient History
History of India
Thomas Jefferson

What are the accomplishments in India?

India i.e Bharat has innumerable accomplishments from which all the countries have learnt something or the other.India gave a language in in the form of Sanskrit the mother of languages and grammar, through which all the languages have developed.

India taught through its scriptures Vedas and Upnishads the meaning of life and the way to live.

India dispersed all knowledge to the Universe whether of Arithmatics, astronomy, astrology, agriculture, metaphysics, metallurgy etc. etc. etc. etc. . . . . . . . . . . .

Ancient History
Ancient Rome

Why would the roman republic grant dictatorial powers in times of crisis?

In times of crisis, it was thought that one person could unite and coordinate the (usually) military steps that had to be taken to solve the problem. By giving one person supreme authority, there would be no one to veto his proposals and no pesky politicians to limit the army's actions.

In addition, a dictator was immune from prosecution for any of his actions as dictator - which meant he could take extreme measures without fearing legal consequences.

Ancient History
India Travel

What influence did the Aryan invasion have in the ancient civilization of India?

First of all, it wasn't an Aryan Invasion. It was a Migration. The Aryans moved north from their homeland in South India around 40,000 BCE, according to DNA research. Some of them left Pakistan and settled in Iran and started the Persian Empire and Zoroastrianism. We know this because of glossochronology, which is a technique used by linguists to study languages and how they change over time. We know that Sanskrit was a descendant of the original Aryan language because of how similar certain words are across India, Iran, and even ancient Greece.

If you look at Zoroastrianism, you will see a lot of similarities with Hinduism, such as worship of fire. Similar structures of Gods and their holy books are called Avesta, whereas Hindus call them Vedas. Similarly, Hindus have Kathas, they have Gathas. During their migration north through India, the Aryans composed the Vedas.

Some Aryans left India gradually. Some remained in Pakistan and northwest India and built the Indus Valley Civilization.

History of Asia
Ancient History
History of China
Silk Road

What countries were involved in the silk road?

Europe, China, England, French, Japan.

turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan ,Russia, Iran, India ,Iraq ,Syria, Istanbul ,Pakistan


Europe and "French" is not a country.

Japan was not involved in trade along the Silk Road

England was not involved in trade along the Silk Road

The second row of countries are modern day nations and therefore could not have participated in trade along the Silk Road.

I would however add the Roman and ByzantineEmpires to the list of "countries" that participated in Silk Road trade.

Ancient History
Sentence and Word Structure

What is the opposite to stoicism?

Probably dramatic or animated.If you mean: what philosophy is the opposite of the Stoic philosophy, the answer is Epicureanism.

Ancient History
Explorers and Expeditions
Christopher Columbus

Why was Cortes impressed when he arrived in Tenochtitlan in 1519?

Compared to European cities of the time Tenochtitlan was a very large city. Population estimates vary from 212,000 to 350,00 making it one of the very largest of it's day.

The city was well organized, with many squares where markets were held and trading carried on. They were not a savage civilization as once thought. It was a planned city with specialized workers.

Ancient History

What is a bark beater?

"Bark Beater" is a volcaniclastic stone which was used in the Precolumbian period in West Mexico to soften bark for clothing purpose.

Ancient History
Chinese Dynasties
History of the Mongol Empire
Genghis Khan

Who are the Mongols and how vast was their empire?

The Mongol Ethnicity has recently Evolved around 1000 from a Predacessor group called the Kitans. Narrowly defined, the Mongols were a group of people living a nomadic life style in central Asia in American Dialect all of the Nomad Poeples North of China are thought of as the Mongolian. More broadly by the year 1200 AD, they consisted of this group together with a number of other nearby groups who were united with them by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. They formed a vast and powerful army that ranged broadly and conquered a huge amount of land.
The Mongol Empire grew quickly to the point that it included most of the southern half of Asia, excluding Arabia, India, and Indochina, together with most of Europe south and east of Poland. Its area was about 33,000,000 km2, or 22% of the land on Earth. By comparison, the Soviet Union had 22,400,000 km2, the Umayyad Caliphate had 7,000,000 km2, and the Roman Empire had about 5,000,000 km2 at its height.
It grew from its beginnings in 1206, for a little over 50 years, had a period of peace, though with growing internal conflicts, went into a period of rebellion and disintegration, and the main portion fell apart in 1368. The Mongolians of Western Russia Continued till 1462 when Russia Conquered them there where more Mongolians remnants left in the Central Siberian Region particularly around the town of Sibr where Siberia region gets its name. When we think of the Mongolian empire we really focus on the period from 1206 to 1294. after 1294 the empire broke into 4 sub-Empires from 1294 to 1368 these 4 sub-empires were similar to the British empire in the year 1900 in that The british them were a empire comprised of Sub-empires as well like Australia or india. but after 1368 the situation for Mongolians was diffrent completely becasue the great Khan was taken over by China founding the Ming dynasty all of the remaining remnants eventually were conquered.

Ancient History
Ancient Egypt
Marc Antony

How did Marc Antony come to power?

Marc Antony came into power by being appointed to his various offices by Julius Caesar. He was Caesar's co-counsul at the time of Caesar's assassination and as he was the only remaining counsul, had the task of straightening out the political situation. Afterwards he became a triumvir with all the power of a dictator.

Ancient History

Where did humanism start?

with the Greeks

Ancient History
History of the United States

What is a lemon lot?

Almost every U.S. military base has a used car lot, or resale lot, where members of the military community park their vehicles to sell ... cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, campers, trailers ... any licensed vehicle. The resale lot is popularly called the "Lemon Lot" ... an unofficial, jestful term of endearment. But these vehicles are not lemons. The purpose of the Lemon Lot is to help the military buy or sell their vehicles within the military community with no hassles, scams, or fraud. And quickly ... often because of short-notice deployments or orders to move.

The Lemon Lot at overseas bases has an even higher demand for trust worthy, quick sells with no hassles because of the unknowns about the market off base. Taken together--in the U.S. or overseas--the Lemon Lot has been making a popular name for itself at our worldwide U.S. military bases and is an important part of the military family's life.

The lemon lot is online at

Ancient History
Ancient Egypt

What was the ruling system of the Egyptians?

The ruling system of Ancient Egypt is like a pyramid.


Tjaty (Prime minister)

Ministers from the Nomes (Counties)

Judges and their officers, (like the police) and scribes

Mayors of towns and villages, with their officers and scribes

Religion & Spirituality
Ancient History

Did Babylonians believe in life after death?

Some elements of the Babylonian community did.

Those Jews who returned to Judah from their exile there brought this idea back with them. It was accepted back in Palestine by Jewish sects (eg Pharisees) of the Jewish community while others (eg Sadducees) did not, retaining the idea of Sheol as akin to a piece of blotting paper. This argument was still going on five hundred years later when apostle Paul is reported in Actsusing this dispute when on trial before the Sanhedrin.

Ancient History
Ancient Egypt

Who was the Pharaohs chief minister who was in charge of most of Egypt?

The Pharaohs didn't generally have a chief minister. Though in the eighteenth dynasty, Amenhotep IV (also known as Akhenaten) used the sun god to guide him. His belief in only the sun god caused his reign to change the egyptians into a monotheistic civilization. This didn't last long, as he died young and it converted back to polytheism soon after. Priests could also be considered chief ministers although Pharaoh wasn't forced to follow their pleas. The proof being the Rosetta Stone, in which they gave specific instructions on how to improve egypt.

History of India
Ancient History

What empire did Chandragupta Maurya live in?

he lived in the maurya empire

Ancient History
Roman Empire
Julius Caesar

Why did Augustus refuse to be crowned emperor?

If the word "emperor" were part of the Roman vocabulary, Augustus would have refused it because it's meaning was too close to the meaning of king. During his reign, Octavian was known also as First Citizen and later added Caesar. He took the neutral title Augustus to avoid any suggestion of kingship - it was Julius Caesar's taking the Dictatorship-for-life which brought out the knives, so Octavian and his successors stayed well away from any absolute ruler title.

Incidentally, the term emperor was never used in Roman times. It is a word/title that we use today. The closest thing to the word that the Romans had was the title "imperator" which was an honorific voted by a general's troops after a victory.

Ancient History
Ancient Rome

What age did roman boys get married?

Legally, Roman boys could marry at the age of 14, however most boys did not because they were not even official citizens at that age. Occasionally a young man would marry at sixteen or a little later, but most "boys" were grown men before they married, unless they had political ambitions. The reason for this is that the men were expected to perform some sort of military service and the common soldier could not marry. It was not unusual for a man to marry for the first time when he was in his late thirties or even forties. If a man had political ambitions, he would marry much younger and always into a family that could hep him in his career.

Ancient History

Where is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is in the county of Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain. It's just west of Amesbury in England and is visible from the A303 road. The nearest city is Salisbury a few miles to the south.

There are many Neolithic earthwork enclosures known as "henges" in Britain. Few have any stones set within them and "Stonehenge" is by far most elaborate and is the only structure known to have employed lintels.

Stone Henge is located in the continent of Europe and in the country of England.

stone Henge is located in Wiltshire, England.
The Stone Henge is in Europe.
History of Europe
Ancient History
Roman Empire

What land did the Romans Empire cover?

Most of western and southern Europe and northern Africa.

Ancient History
Roman Empire

What type of government did the roman empire set up in 509 B.C.?

The Romans set up a republic in 509 BC.

However it did not have an empire for another two hundred years - it was just another city-state trying to survive in Italy against other competing states.

Ancient History
Rain and Flooding
The River Nile

How far does the nile rivers flood plain stretch?

it doesn't anymore. a dam was built in 1970 so the river doesn't flood anymore.

Ancient History

What did the Italian humanists believe regarding Greek and Roman Literature?

Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. The founder of Renaissance humanism was Petrarch, an Italian poet and man of letters who attempted to apply the values and lessons of antiquity to questions of Christian faith and morals in his own day. By the late 14th century, the term studia humanitatis had come to mean a well-defined cycle of education, including the study of grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy, based on Latin authors and classical texts.The work of Italian humanists soon spread north of the Alps, finding a receptive audience among English thinkers such as John Colet, who applied the critical methods developed in Italy to the study of the Bible.

Ancient History
Ancient Egypt

What did Nefertiti do for the Egyptians?

Neferitti was not a queen by royal birth but the wife of the wacky king Akhenaton(Amenhotep IV). After his death (1362 bc) Neferitti ruled between 1372-1350 bc as the queen of Egypt and restored the rival cult of Amun -the moon god.She brought equality between men and women in ownership of property and choice in any of the four professions as priestesses,midwives,dancers or mourners.
Almost nothing. Nefertiti was merely the wife of the heretic king, Anhkenaton. She may or may not have been the mother of the king Tut-Anhk-aton (later renamed Tut-Anhk-amon, and now known as King Tut) She left the court after Anhkenaten found a new wife. She may have been a quick ruler of Egypt, after Anhkenaten died, but before tut took the throne. It is doubtful, as there is no records of it, and woman rarely took the throne of Egypt. She dissapeared from any historical records, but she may have been buried in KV 35 in the Valley of the Kings.

Ancient History
History of Maritime
History of China
Explorers and Expeditions

What lands did Zheng He visit?

Zheng He's fleets visited Arabia, Brunei, East Africa, India, Maritime Southeast Asia and Thailand during his seven voyages of exploration.


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