Is there a significant historical relationship between Italy & Spain?

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The Castilian/Aragonese kings held Naples in Personal Union for some time and Spain had an ongoing rivalry with France for control of the Italian peninsula.

The Habsburg empreror Charles V (who was also the King of Spain) sacked Rome in 1527 as part of a war with the Pope and France.

Edit: date changed to 1527


Spain in the renaissance ruled large portions of Italy. The Spanish also relied heavily on Italian, mainly Genoese sailors, for their naval strength. Spanish and Italian are both descended from Latin and both of those regions in late antiquity were thoroughly Romanized. In a lot of ways Spanish and Italian cultures are the spiritual successors of the Romans linguistically and culturally.


Don’t forget the Roman Empire (and the Republic before it) had Spain for a really long time!


The kingdom of Naples in particular had a nearly 600 year association with Aragon and later the Spanish crown, from roughly 1200-1800. Sicily and the kingdom of Sicily were also associated with the Spanish crown for large parts of this time period.

At various points in the late medieval and early modern periods Spain tried to expand this influence to other parts of Italy as well.


The Borgia family in Italy originally came from Spain. They worked for the Aragonese before going to what is now Italy, There are also many Spanish connections to Naples.


Did the Great Depression of the 1930s cause a political realignment around the world?

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When Oppenheimer (lead scientist of the Manhattan Project in WW2) was accused of being involved with communist organizations in the ’30s, he said that the Great Depression felt like they were watching capitalism crash and burn all around them, and that anyone with any intelligence at all was forced to wonder if communism might not represent a better way.


Both movements were already established by the time the Great Depression happened, and Mussolini already controlled Italy by a few years before that. The Great Depression played a role in nazism rise to power, but they had been around for a few years before that.


The Great Depression greatly expanded the influence of socialism and communism in the US. Most of the Soviet spies caught in the 1940’s and 1950’s became communists during the Depression.

The financial troubles of the Western democracies weakened their position to be able to oppose Germany.

The Depression also severely impacted the economies of South America enhancing the cycle of military dictatorships and communist uprisings.


Fascism happened before the Great Depression in part because these countries were already experiencing economic hardship. Hyperinflation in Germany started after WWI and before the Depression.

In terms of American politics, FDR is the reason why a lot of African Americans started voting for Democrats but that’s not because of the Depression. However, the Depression did realign how voters looked to the government. The federal government, ever since the 30s, has been expected to solve these crises. FDR created federal work programs and federal safety nets that didn’t really exist before him. That’s not to say the federal government didn’t fund things prior but he funded artists and such.


Edit: I’m dumb and on my phone I meant African Americans.


The downturn effects of wwi helped the “stab in the back” myth that led, in part, to Nazi consolidation of power… but im not well versed enough to really explain all the details on that.

In the US, there sure was. Sort of. The 1890s were a shitshow that left republicans newly defined (in the realignment of 1896 with mckinley). Teddy was old repub more than new, which is why he split in 1912 to form the bull moose party. This split the repub vote, and a guy that was trying to get the repub nomination lost all his support as they went for teddy (and dude wasnt new repub so didn’t have that support). Teddys Bull Moose progressive party died in 1916. In 1924, that dude (Robert La Follette was his name) helped form the Progressive Party so he could run for president. They believed in the ideals that split the party in the 1890s, basically the platforms from the populist party that were things like no child labor, stopping American imperialism in Latin/South America, worker and union rights, protection from corporations, better credit options for farmers, stronger civil liberties, etc. That party pretty much collapsed in the depression, and totally left in 1934. They left because fdr took those principles and added them in his new deal, adding the labor argument and govt ownership of rail/utilities into the democrats playbook. The repubs further solidified under coolidge type deregulaton, solidifying the big party flip of American history.


Does the prevalence of privately-owned weapons affect the effectiveness of a resistance movement?

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Rule 2 (**No Current Politics**) and rule 5 (**Nothing newer than 20 years**).

Yep, this has become a modern gun rights discussion and so people can take it elsewhere, as the historical discussion seems to have come to a close.


Not quite a resistance movement, but privately owned rifles played some part in Norway gaining indepence from Sweden in 1905.

There had been tension simmering for decades, and since the Norwegian army was under Swedish control (and to some degree Swedish-loyal) one could not simply increase military spending here in Norway and expect it not to be noticed.

The solution was “purely civillian” target shooting clubs, using Krag-Jørgensen rifles identical to the military service rifle right down to the bayonet lug. These groups, doing service rifle shooting competitions, practiced shooting skills that were thought militarily relevant at the time and were likely much better marksmen than the average soldier. “Det Frivillige Skyttervesen” (DFS), which might be translated as “The volunteer shooting society” or perhaps “The volunteer rifle corps”, was officially formed in 1893 by amalgamating some older shooting organizations. Besides organizing a very popular sport, they also served as a de facto military force outside the military chain of command.

Predecessors to DFS had served to safeguard the Norwegian Parliament in 1884, when parliamentarian rule got implemented somewhat against the interests of the Swedish-Norwegian monarcy. These militias were mostly loyal to parliament in Oslo but not to the king in Stockholm.

When things came to a head in 1905, DFS units mobilized along the Swedish border. They were outnumbered by the Swedish army, and would likely have been wiped out if it came to a shooting war, but the king figured there would be heavy losses on both sides. He therefore chose not to use military force, and allowed Norway to become independent.

A few DFS units also mobilized against the Germans in WWII, but were outnumbered and outgunned. They did inflict some casualties, though, being skilled long range marksmen.

Today, DFS remains one of the largest sporting organizations in the country and there are always several thousand competitors at the national rifle championships. They have close ties to the military and get some of their funding over the defence budget, but are nowadays solely about shooting as sport rather than as any kind of preparation for war.


History had told us that the “big guy” doesn’t always win. In Spain there have been two opposite cases of this: The first one happened on the Napoleonic invasion of the Peninsula. The french had a very very powerfull armed force, with much better weapons and way better soldiers, the spaniards had nothing but a weakened army and the people resistance, equiped with infireor weapons. The odds where low, but the lack of army and weaponry didnt stop the resistance who fought back and defeat the occupation. The other example is in the spanish civil war. The army of spain took a coup, and the people made a resistance, similar to when the french, with a very unprofessional army and almost no weaponry, just a few cannons and rifles. This time the result was not the same, the spanish official army won, defeating the resistance.

Sorry for my bad english, i hope u had understood me well enought.


The Soviets found it very difficult to take over Afghanistan because the mujahideen had privately owned weapons, and weapons supplied by the US and other countries, to resist them. It most definitely bogged down the Soviets and made the resistance more effective. Without those weapons, the Soviets would have likely just steamrolled through the country.

Even with weapons, though, any resistance is presented with a massive challenge. Without a grand unifying cause/rallying point (for the mujahideen, it was non-Muslims invading their country which motivated them), going to door to door will eventually quell individual resistance. For example, you’re at home, and some military shows up in force and starts kicking in doors and getting people out of houses. Then they ransack the house for weapons.
What is in your best interests at that time? That’s a tough call to make – grab your weapons and immediately start shooting back, or do as they say, keep your family safe (for now) and do what you can to make it through it. Unless a wave of resistance fighters emerges to challenge the invaders, you’re talking a 1 vs many fight that’s not likely go well for that 1 person or their family.


As a data point: Norway had a high percentage of civilian arms and people trained in shooting when it got occupied by the Nazi’s because of strong traditions for hunting and competition shooting. The competition shooting clubs were even organized as a sort of militia. The resistance movement in Norway was minimal when compared to Eastern Europe and where it had successes it was mainly resistance movements trained, funded and equipped by the British or Soviets, though the militias were important, but more for the organization and training then the weapons. The main example of resistance fighters armed with civilian weapons and using their civilian training is when a competition shooting club together with some Kings Guard held a road block that stopping enemy pursuit of the Government and King.


Is the rise of electric cars, lack charging stations and long lines, and both the opposition and fierce support of EVs an example of what society was like when cars were become practical and almost affordable?

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Jay Leno’s garage has an awesome video about a Doble or Noble steam car; one of the last ones built. The video is Jay talking about how awesome and incredible the steam car was for its time but gas piston engines caught up at a lower price and took over. The best steam car was the last one before gasoline pistons took over. I think we are seeing a repeat of that; ICE cars are completely insane with how good they are at the moment, electric cars are edging in on all performance levels and pretty soon price. Just the cost to operate being lower is going to take over and we will have gasoline cars in garages but as collector/enthusiasts cars.


If there were as many charging stations as gas stations and it only took 10 minutes to charge your car, I’d have a Tesla by now. Instead, I have a 2017 Ford fusion SE and drive like an old person in it lol.


The biggest issue with cars becoming widely adopted was cost not really performance vs a horse. On a road there’s basically nothing a horse can do better than a car, they’re just as or more dangerous, they go slower, carry less, shit everywhere(yes this was actually a major issue in large cities) they’re still expensive and have to be fed cared for.

Electric cars face a different hurdle right now in convincing people to care about the environmental impact. And that their performance improvements, either is fuel saving(and by extension environmental benefits) or gimmicks like the rope pull just aren’t super compelling for most people comparatively to cars vs horses.


By opposition, are you referring to the key scratching crazies which are the natural reaction to the baseless self-righteous and overzealous idealistic tree-huggers who are constantly being manipulated by tech outlets and the promise of a guilt-free lifestyle, or are you referring to the engineers pointing out that as a long term business model it only works for the wealthy until some undiscovered battery technology is discovered, thus no government assistance should be doled out?

Just cause, you know, ‘opposition’ kind of casts a broad net.


What is interesting is that the idea of an electric car is by no means modern (at least not in the common sense of this word), as electric vehicles predate the ones using internal combustion engines by almost two decades. The first functional electric vehicle has been built by Gustave Trouve in 1878 and presented publicly on the Exposition internationale d’Électricité, a technological exposition held in Paris in 1881. There was already some interest in electric vehicles when Gottlieb Daimler constructed his internal combustion engine in 1878 and then presented the first vehicle using such motor in 1885. The electric car build and piloted by Camille Jenatzy, Belgian engineer and famous race driver was the first manned vehicle in human history that broke the barrier of 100 km/h (reaching 105.9 km/h) in 1899.

The main problem with the electric cars that haunts the design to this day, although to much lesser extent, were the batteries. The engines were very efficient, and compact and durable in comparison with contemporary IC motors, but the available sources of power were far less advanced, severely limiting the range and significantly contributing to the mass of the vehicle (if memory serves, the battery in Trouve’s trike was heavier than the rest of that lightweight vehicle). This is why French even designed and tested an electric propulsion in the Char Saint-Chammond tank presented in 1916, although the two electric engines, one for each track, had to be powered by an on-board generator using 90hp IC motor. Quick advances in the internal combustion technology quickly rendered such solutions, as well as the general usage of electric engines for common transportation obsolete for almost a century.

The introduction of cars was rather gradual, as they were relatively expensive vehicles and initially were used only by the wealthier people, especially from the upper middle class. That said, the introduction of cars was definitely not a shock even to the people living in rural areas, who were already familiar with steam locomotives, other steam machinery, balloons and ships, not to mention urban dwellers, who were seeing such machines on daily basis. With the advent of airships and airplanes, the cars could have been seen as a wonder in miniaturization, but definitely not an unusual device (this distinction was for a short time reserved to the airplane).

It doesn’t mean, however, that the car was immediately accepted on the road. Mr. Toad from *The Wind in the Willows* might seem like a comical character from a children book, but for Grahame it was an archetype of a thrill-seeking, carefree, well-off motorist, a product of the era. Cyril Joad in his 1926 book *The Babbitt Warren* also criticizes the new fashion, stating that ‘*motoring is one of the most contemptible soul-destroying and devitalizing pursuits*[…]’ and paints the motorists as egotistic pleasure-seekers. Many commentators between late 1910s and 1930s, when the cars ceased to be a symbol of status and became a relatively commonplace tool, often criticized the noise caused by the vehicles. Given that the rules of the road were non-existent or poorly fit to motorized vehicles, engines were far from perfect, the mufflers were not mandatory and anti-knock agents were introduced only in mid-1920s, honking, knocking and backfiring was very common, so were the complaints of the carriage-drivers that the new vehicles are scaring the horses and thus harming the road safety. In rural areas this was additional exacerbated by the damage caused by motorists to smaller homestead animals (poultry, dogs, cats, sheep etc.) that could have been easily killed by a new danger. It comes as no surprise that early motorists were criticizing ‘conservative’ villagers who swore by the horse transports (sometimes not aware that peasants usually were unable to afford the car and fuel) and who, according to them should take more care about safety of their animals. Newspapers from the era contain many articles on that topic ranging from comical to tragic. Of course, the human casualties were a hot topic – people, even though accustomed to machinery, were often unaware of the speed a new car could have attained what could easily lead to a a disaster if they tried to cross the street used to the fact that most vehicles (carriages and wagons) were moving at a walking pace, what also applied to ubiquitous children playing in the street. Rising clouds of dust that enveloped passers-by on unpaved roads (read – most roads outside the cities), although far less dangerous, was still considered a health hazard, especially for young people. Additionally, the introduction of motor-cars quickly raised a concern over the natural environment, with some areas considered worth preserving being quickly covered by the ban on automobile traffic as early as the 1900s.

Some people decided to take the matters in their own hands and fight the devilish invention. Newspapers, diaries and court documents from the 1910s and 1920s contain numerous cases of peeople throwing stones or dung at the cars, what according to some was quite prevalent in the Netherlands (relatively rural country). Farmers were also not above plowing the roads or digging ditches across the roads to slow down cars of make roads impassable (this seems to be more common in USA, as we’re speaking of the times close to and during the Great War, when damaging roads could have been easily construed as a sabotage and punished harshly). Scattering broken glass was also not uncommon. Angry shouts and curses were par of the course, especially on country roads where people were prone to speeding. The German penal code of 1909 made it explicitly acceptable to leave the scene of t accident if the motorists felt that their health or life might be in danger (on account of enraged witnesses), provided they will report themselves to the police on the following day at the latest. On the other hand, it took some time for people to accept that they should keep to the side of the country road or to the sidewalk, as before the advent of the cars, it was common for pedestrian to use any part of the road. Strolling down the ‘incoming’ lane and passing the slow carriages by moving to the middle of the road was perfectly normal in smaller cities. This situation slowly evolved into the introduction of traffic codes and ubiquitous speed limits in the 1930s. There was also an economical side to the opposition. Many famous resorts, especially in the mountainous areas, quickly introduced complete ban on the car traffic as early as late 1890s, partially to preserve the peace and silence, but also to make the investments in railways profitable. And although the bans were quickly lifted in many areas, in some of them (like Switzerland) they were maintained well into 1920s.

By the way, there was never a regulation that a car had to move with a ridiculously slow speed and have a man with a red flag walking before it. Such regulation existed from 1865 to 1896 but it was limited to ‘land locomotives’, i.e. various vehicles using steam engines (steamrollers etc.) and was introduced because such a machine was heavy and hard to stop (it basically lacked brakes of any kind) and steam engine could malfunction, causing injury to passers-by.


When did the Kurds emerge as a distinct ethnic group and when was the earliest recorded use of the name?

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During the Sasanian Persian empire, which spoke Middle Persian, the most prominent group of nomads were designated by the word “Kurd”, which were incorporated into the Persian military. See “Sasanian Persia” by Prof. Touraj Daryaee. He further explains that Kurdish people certainly existed in Persia and Mesopotamia, and that they had many dialects and customs.


I had heard that the Kurds were descended from the Medes. It seems that everyone has heard of the Persian part of the Medo-Persian empire, but the Medes didn’t seem to appear anywhere else in history.

I don’t now the veracity of this claim. Does anyone know more about this?


Follow-up question: How sure are we that Saladin was Kurdish?


I’m going to shit on all the other answers here. The correct answer is “we don’t know”.

– The connection to Carduchians seems to be just based on lexical similarity (Kurd-Card). Very flimsy.

– Both Median and Kurdish are labeled “Northwest Iranian” but that’s not a genetic grouping of languages, it’s geographic. The one linguistic comparison I found suggested that there are several other languages closer to the Caspian that have a better claim to Median ancestry.

– The use of “kwrt” in the Sassanian era to describe a group of mercenary nomads might be a connection. I think there’s a good chance that this is the origin of the name Kurd. But it’s quite possible that “kwrt” was applied to a variety of different nomadic mercenaries and it wasn’t until much later that the name was applied to the actual proto-Kurds.

The difficulty here is that the name origin of Kurds and the ethnogenesis of Kurds are likely two different puzzles, and the language might not even follow the same path as the genetic-ancestral path does. For instance, the name might go all the way back to Corduene but wouldn’t have been applied to proto-Kurds until 1200 years ago. It could be that only then did a group of diverse mountain pastoralists of Iranian and non-Iranian backgrounds begin using some Iranian language as a lingua franca, perhaps some distant offshoot of Median.


All I know is that in Arabic they are called Al Akkrad


Did the French make any efforts to change England’s language after William conquered it in 1066?

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French was the language of court and nobility for a long while. English didn’t even become the official language of England until during the 100 Years War when they changed it in act of defiance to the French.

English was spoken by the common man, but the Kings and such generally spoke English, French and Latin.


There was, and still is, a considerable amount french in English, though the words were mainly the reserve of the upper class, For example, Beef, coming from Boeuf. Parliament, and the nobles, used a great amount of french, as seen in Parliament today, where the royal assent of a bill ‘ La Reyne le veult’ and some communications between the Commons and the Lords take place in Norman French. Other words with french origin include judge, castle, warrant, bailiff. Indeed, it is thought that around 28% of all English words have french origins.

As for the idea that it was a deliberate effort, it probably wasn’t. Most likely, it was just the English and Normans adapting to the new, post conquest England.

Mind you, it was nearly a millennia ago, so this understanding may not be the whole story


‘The French’ ‘The English’ in 1066 is basically teleologically back projecting the present of more contemporary notions that were non-existent or held different meanings on the past and assuming a deliberate agency that was not there.


It is interesting that their was an auld alliance between Scotland and France and that Scottish Nobility spoke French, Norman culture seems to have invaded Scotland through the back door as opposed to through warfare. Robert the Bruce’s family were originally called De Bruc.

It seems French took hold in Scotland more than it did in England.


Check out The Stores of English by David Crystal. It is a brilliant book about the evolution of the language, which covers this subject in great depth.


How come the Romans were able to impose their language onto France, Iberia and Romania, but not on Greece, the Middle East or North Africa?

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Greece, the middle east and even Magna Greece was culturally part of the hellenic world. A civilization the Romans respected, borrowed from and had long contact with. They were not considered barbarian. Moreover it was not unusual for roman citizens to study greek language and history.
On the other hand the same can not be said about other places they conquered.


Adding up to Maldamba84’s answer middle eastern kingdoms were ruled by clientes pf Rome for most of their existence ,that means that aside collecting taxes and stopping large scale invasions Rome didn’t really interfere with the life of their citizens, and they were ruled by collaborative native kings or governments. the same thing cannot be said about the western provices who frequently fell under direct roman occupation that’s why in the west they had to learn latin while in the east there wasn’t this necessitiy. That’s actually the main motivation


The (Hellenistic) east already had a longstanding tradition of a highly developed *urbanised* society by the time the Romans came. The western stretches of the empire on the other hand lacked this. While the material development of parts of Gaul had taken off due to increased contact with the Mediterranean world, it is not as it the oppida of the Aedui (to pick one of Rome’s closest allies) could compete with the likes of Antioch or Pergamom.

Urbanisation in the western part of the Empire was mostly a Roman programme, an effect of incorporation into the Empire and thus culturally, the impressing of a Roman cultural stamp on the area. This was not a probably course of action in the east, mostly because it was not necessary.

So fundamentally in a general perspective, the eastern and western parts of the Empire knew a very different material and socio-economic situation, which made for a different evolution upon the inception of Roman power. Where urban centres were absent – and thus the consequence of Roman intervention – they would logically follow Roman conventions, and promulgate the Roman concepts of culture. In the east there was little need to do so, the already very developed societies leaving little room for it. Latin here would be a thin overarching layer untill the days of Heraclius.

Added to this, Rome did not seek to impress her culture on others *if they did not want too*. Respect the authority of the Romans (Republic or Imperial), go about your lives, pay taxes, don’t revolt – we’re all good, so you can be Jews worshipping Jahweh, Egyptians worshipping Isis, Thracians worshipping Dionysius and speak whatever language you want, or adhere to whatever culture you so choose. Rome does not inherently care (and if you do revolt like the Jewish people – enjoy exile, cause Rome doesn’t joke around) – it’s only if you want to be part of Roman culture, that you’ll make the effort. This last part is not unimportant as the “reach” of Graeco-Roman civilisation was predominantly an urban one. Entire groups of people living in the rural hinterland were never fully part of it, and would never be fully part of it until the end of Roman power, both in the east and the west.

It may lastly also be observed that in some cases the disappearance of Roman power knew *very different patterns*: many of the areas being overrun by the Germanic successors were for all intents and purposes in some ways still part of the Roman koine – Whether Odovacar or Theoderic, they claimed to be legitimate successors to Rome and Roman authority, seeking legitimation from Constantinople and making use of Roman institutions for a few more generations. The conquest of the east by the Islamic forces however displaced the old Roman elites and did not seek any sort of link to Roman authority, their ties lay elsewhere.


The Romans wanted their empire to have a lingua Franca for administrative purposes. The West did not have one, so they imposed Latin. The East already had Greek, so it was counter-productive to replace it. That being said, Latin was added to inscriptions and stuff and even teached in schools (we have evidence of this from Egyptian papyri) and it’s likely that the Elite of the eat learned Latin. But that’s it, so the empire was primarily Latin-speaking in the West and Greek-speaking in the East. Dacia did not have greek as lingua franca, so Latin was imposed after its conquest.

For the second part of your question, my answer is the following.

It seems to me that Germanic peoples that settled in the territories of the Roman world decided to adopt the Roman language, unlike the Slavs and Arabs. This is possibly a consequence of the fact that the Germanic invasions really started with the goal of migrating into the Roman Empire. In other words, the Germans that first migrated (and then created kingdoms in the Roman world) did not want to destroy ancient Rome. The OstroGoths/Lombards in Italy mantained Latin, and so did the Visigoths/Franks in Gaul. My guess is that the Goths that settled in Dacia hundreds of years before did the same. The Balkans were take by Slavs, while the Iberian peninsula was taken by Arabs so new languages were imposed. However, in the case of Spain and Portugal the “reconquista” by Christian resisting forces took place and it was not just a military recoquest, but a cultural-linguistic one too.


Just one addition to this which I haven’t seen elsewhere in the thread: a version of Latin known as Romance African was spoken in North Africa in late Roman time, and coexisted with the Vandals and Arabs for some time. It was centered in the urban areas where the Romans had been most present, in the countryside Berber was spoken.

Eventually the Roman-Africans were assimilated by the Arabs, particularly under the Almohads, but a significant Roman substrate remains within both the Berber language and Maghrebi Arab (the local version of the Arab language which has some differences from the Arab spoken in the Mashriq for example).

There too in a way the Roman/Latin language still lives on.


In the early 1960s Soviet Russia trained an all-female space squad in absolute secrecy. One of these cosmonauts — Valentina Tereshkova — became the first woman in space. But the story of her crewmates was classified. Moscow shut the program down, and hid its existence for decades.

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Fun Fact: The game Kerbal Space Program has a character named Valentina Kerman in honor of this achievement!


I knew the Soviet program had beaten NASA in sending a woman to space by nearly 20 years, but I didn’t know that Valentina was part of a larger program to train complete squadrons of female cosmonauts. The article is a long read but goes into depth on their individual stories. Also, that they were subsequently erased from history is tragic.


There’s a fantastic show on Apple TV called “For All Mankind” that is about possible Russian military operations on the moon and the conflict with the Americans, who are also inhabiting an American base on the moon. I don’t want to get too deep and spoil anything, but if this interests you then it’s a must watch.


I wonder if mathematically it makes sense to use a female over male. They tend to be smaller, which would mean reduced oxygen and food requirements. Also, especially in the early days, weight and size would be at a premium.


Why would they keep it a secret? It seems like a perfect way for the Soviets to show off their super women


How did the Ancient Greeks workout?

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yeah they actually did workout for aesthetics as well. In their public gymnasiums they had statues of “ideal” body types for men on display to serve as inspiration for the people working out in attaining a body of that type.


Some people definitely exercised in “formal” ways. Sports per se were described, to my understanding, as a pursuit of the wealthy (read: people who didn’t have to do manual labor the whole day), at least in some periods, but there was javelin and discus throwing, wrestling, boxing, horsemanship, etc. Your average person might have just had to do a lot of manual labor as part of their job. It seems likely that even non-“athletes”sometimes ran or wrestled or swam for entertainment or because the village/neighborhood was having a little competition, if only because people have done that sort of thing everywhere for pretty much all of human history. Most people in most places who can’t go home and watch TV tend to make their own entertainment and in ancient Greece it seems reasonable that a lot of that would have been physical in nature, if maybe for a smaller % of the time or less systematic than an athlete’s training.

As far as techniques or exercises, well, we know a LITTLE – long jumpers apparently used hand weights called halteres to help get distance and possibly in more dumbbell-like ways, for instance. You generally don’t see a lot of surviving specific “workout routines” because, well, it’s the ancient world and we don’t have complete sources. But even the word gymnasium is from Greek; it described a place where competitors in public games (like the Olympiad) went to train. Based on art and surviving sources you can expect that wrestlers wrestled a lot, boxers boxed a lot, jumpers jumped a lot, etc. Most training would presumably be doing your sport, or if you were not an “athlete” just going about your normal day and having the aforementioned occasional game/competition around the village. However, we can be reasonably sure people at times did more general calisthenics or acrobatics or picked up and carried heavy things, etc, if only because various stories or bits of art describe people doing exactly those things. But can we say that the ancient Mykenaeans were specifically big fans of the Jefferson Deadlift or that Thebes was notable for their preference for high rep pushups? No.


I’ve never heard of ancient Greeks weight lifting but I’ll bet it was done in some form. They did have gymnasiums which were a place to practice sports but was also a meeting place for people to discuss politics or whatever. Popular Greek sports included running, javelin throwing, boxing and wrestling among others. I’m sure many Greeks worked as farmers or other physically demanding jobs which I’m sure gave them enough of a daily workout. However women would probably not be allowed to participate in sport or gymnastics in most city states. Sparta is an exception to this as Spartan girls went through an state run education program similar to the boys that included physical activities like gymnastics and dance along with non-physical activities like poetry and whatnot.


I think it’s Arrian or Plutarch that wrote of Alexander’s “workout” of running behind a chariot with driver and jumping on and off again for “cardio.” The sarrisa/shield formations would likely do for the upper body and core. But don’t forget that becoming very large muscled men was not sought after. The large Hercules type guys were often reserved for entertainment as oddities since they couldn’t run the many miles required by a march and would be calorie gluttons during an often slim diet on campaign.


I heard about men carrying big jars full of dirt to exercise.


Are there any examples of well attested and complete dead religions that at some point had any significant following?

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In the US the Shakers. Basically a Christian religion that didn’t believe in sex. That is right, no sex. Spent a lot of time building high quality furniture. I guess since they were not having sex or raising kids they had a lot of free time.


Why not start with the Greco/Roman pagan religions? Should be plenty of source material


The obvious answers are Greco-Roman Paganism, Norse Paganism, and maybe the ancient Egyptian and Aztec religions.

Zoroastrianism isn’t completely dead yet, but it comes pretty close.

If you count heretical sects, there are the Arians and Cathars, among several other large heretical Christian sects.

There are also several small tribes that had their religion well documented, despite not having their own written tradition. The Hokkaido Ainu are reasonably well documented. I’m sure there are many native American tribes that have been similarly well documented


Not exactly a completely separate religion, but Sadducees were an interesting sect of Second Temple Judaism who did not believe in the resurrection (and possibly not in any sort of afterlife), and only held the Pentateuch (the first five books of today’s Bible) to be scripture. They died out with the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD


Zoroastrianism is the best example I can think of. From the little I know it was one of the first major religions and shared a lot in common with religions around today. (Mainly Christianity but haven’t looked too much into it). Not completely dead as it has around 100k followers but that’s pretty damn dead to me lol.