And other curious stories of the ancient world.
Knowing the period that stretches from prehistory to Antiquity has been one of the great challenges historians have faced since the nineteenth century. Doing so has required, and continues to require a great effort on the part of numerous historical disciplines, and many questions still remain open: When did man begin to control fire? How were Paleolithic cave paintings created? Why did agriculture and animal husbandry begin in the Neolithic period? Archeology has helped unearth cities like Babylon, palaces like that of Darius I, temples like the one in Jerusalem, libraries like Asurbanipal’s and tombs like those of the Etruscans. At the same time, it has been necessary to decipher dead languages and writing systems like hieroglyphics and interpret texts like those of Strabo.