World History

Weave together the many narratives of world history with our highly-curated and expanding selection of diverse, fascinating resources designed to showcase the breadth and richness of Earth's story, from the earliest traces of human civilization to the dramatic developments of contemporary cultures.

Page updated on June 5, 2024

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Key World History information from around the internet — curated and summarized by our team

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Did the Trojan War really happen? The great eighth-century BCE poet Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey" portray a great warrior culture based in large palaces around the Aegean Sea in the Mediterranean. Historians and archaeologists have long believed Homer's stories were based on the Mycenaean civilization, which flourished several centuries before his time. See what archaeologists know about what life would have been like for Achilles and Odysseus here.

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Is it possible to recreate the voice of someone who lived millennia ago? Ear, nose, and throat expert David Howard discusses how his research team extracts vocal folds from preserved human tissue, which allows them to model the deceased person's larynx. From there, they can create a synthetic voice based on the organ's geometry, which sounds remarkably similar to the original speaker.

A watercolor painting of what an ancient Roman road looked like as it wound through a city.
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Known for their almost absurd straightness, Roman roads connected the empire's armies, messengers, and traders as imperial administrators sought to keep down rebellion and build up Roman wealth. Rome's highways are more durable than those developed today, and many are still in use. Learn how Rome used roads to govern in this brief list.

A stack of human skulls, likely belonging to victims of human sacrifice.
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The Aztecs controlled a vast territory through military might and intimidation. One very key—and to moderns, totally taboo—tactic of control was the ritual of human sacrifice, attested to by written accounts and archaeological discoveries at Tenochtitlan. While an effective scare tactic, the ritual was also based in fully-developed beliefs the world was sustained by blood. Dive into the fascinating history here.

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The ancient Maya adorned their teeth with gemstones, believing it purified their breath and linking them to the divine. Recent analysis suggests the sealant used to attach these stones may have also had therapeutic properties, possibly preventing infections. Researchers found plant resins and gums in the sealants, with some containing compounds from pine trees known for their antibacterial properties. Learn more of the evidence around Maya dental practices here.

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As the first officially recognized Christian military order, the Knights Templar sought to protect Christian pilgrims and expand their religion’s influence through might. The warrior monk organization formed after the First Crusade and were named after the fallen First Temple of King Solomon, out of which they were based—leading to the name “Templars.” This article describes the rise and fall of the monastic order.

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