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A Hodgepodge of Ancient Facts I
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  8/31/12
By: Yona Williams

During ancient days of war, early civilizations did not have bullets, guns and bombs to use. They instead, implemented creative methods of besting their opponents – even if they were ruthless and cruel. In this article, you will encounter some of the ancient war approaches of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Syrians, as well as other facts concerning the ancient world.

Fear Factor

The Assyrians used extreme fear tactics to place their enemies into submission. When their armies descended upon a community, they would kill everyone that lived there to make sure no resistance would come from the region. This reputation allowed them to easily win many battles, as their opponents felt it better to surrender than to face total elimination of their population.

Sticking to the Sabbath

You have to be pretty ruthless to attack your enemy on a holy day, which is exactly what the Egyptians did when they attacked the Jews in 320 BC. Ptolemy I of Egypt led his army into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. The highly religious Jews refused to fight – not even in self-defense on the Sabbath, which permitted Ptolemy to easily capture the city.

The War of Elephants

When you think of war, using an elephant in battle is probably one of the last things you'd imagine. However, during the Fourth Syrian War in 217 BC, both sides used elephants during their attacks. Antiochus III of Syria used the Asian breed, while Ptolemy IV's Egyptian army relied on the smaller North African elephants – a species that is now extinct. The Asian elephants came out of the battle victorious, but the Egyptian army would later win in the long run – taking the war.

First Dictionaries

The Webster dictionary was not the first publication of its time, as the first known dictionaries in history come from Chinese scholars dating back to 1109 BC and Mesopotamia around 600 BC.

The Natural Dye of Royalty

Early royals used a natural dye called Tyrian purple that was so costly that only royalty could wear it. The dye was discovered about 15 centuries before the Christian era. Using the dye continued until the 11th century after Christ. The people obtained the dye from shellfish – relying on two genera of one species. In order to produce just one gram of dye, it was said that 8,500 shellfish were needed for the process. Since only small amounts were produced at one time, the price was quite expensive. The secret of making Tyrian purple was lost when only a few were allowed to practice the process, and the number of people that knew how to produce it was no longer alive.

Ancient Slavery

While the United States has a history of slavery, the practice of using others to work for nothing dates back to the days of antiquity, and is discussed in old texts such as the Old Testament and New Testament. For example, slavery is one of the factors that contributed to the collapse of the ancient Roman Empire.


 

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