Ancient Origins Store


Rome: Decline and Fall, or Drift and Change?
Wednesday June 22, 2022 1:00pm EST
by Dr Michael Arnheim
Rome:  Decline and Fall, or Drift and Change?

In this webinar, celebrated scholar of Roman history Dr Michael Arnheim delivers a fascinating and robust exploration of the nature and significance of Rome’s fall in the West. Steeped in applications of elite theory to the later Roman Empire, the author discusses several interconnected issues, including monarchy, power structure, social mobility, religion, and the aristocratic ethos.

Dr Arnheim identifies several factors that led to the demise of the Western empire. The morale of the erstwhile invincible Roman army was depleted by the influx of “barbarians” into its ranks. The triumph of Christianity as the sole religion of the Empire by imperial fiat ended eight centuries of religious toleration and freedom of worship and replaced it with the relentless persecution not only of “pagans” and Jews but also of all “heretics” who deviated in the slightest degree from the official Nicene creed.  The power of the central government in the West was also to some extent sapped from within by the senatorial aristocracy, who now again occupied high administrative posts while building up their own countervailing local power through the spread of large estates.

Dr Arnheim describes the later Roman Empire as a fractured society rent by divided loyalties, with the result that the imperial government proved unable to withstand the "barbarian" incursions. Except for the aristocratic comeback, which was confined to the West, the same pernicious factors were also found in the Eastern half of the Empire.  So, how come the East survived for a thousand years after the fragmentation of the West?  In fact, the survival of the East is somewhat exaggerated, as it lost the bulk of its territory to the Muslims in the seventh century, and, with a few blips, its history was generally on a downward trajectory. 

Dr Arnheim discusses the Pirenne thesis, the malaria hypothesis, Gibbon’s ‘decline and fall’ theory, and the role played by religion and the rise of the Roman Christian empire. He discusses the transition from the ancient to the medieval world, including discussions of monarchy, Diocletian and his relationship to the aristocracy, and Constantine’s reforms.

Dr Michael Arnheim (or “Doctor Mike”, as he is commonly known), is a practising London Barrister and Sometime Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. He has written 23 published books to date, including ‘The God Book’, ‘Aristocracy in Greek Society’, ‘Is Christianity True’, ‘God Without Religion: An Alternative View of Life, the Universe & Everything’, and ‘Two Models of Government’. Dr Arnheim has also written extensively on legal topics, ranging from court procedure to the common law, constitutional law, judicial power and human rights. His latest book is called: Why Rome Fell: Decline and Fall or Drift and Change?

Dr Michael Arnheim started life in South Africa entering Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University at the age of 16, he took a first-class B.A. in History and Classics at the age of 19, first-class Honours at 20 and an M.A. with distinction at the age of 21. He then went up to St John’s College Cambridge on a scholarship, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in record time, under the title “The Senatorial Aristocracy in the Later Roman Empire”, which was published by the Oxford University Press. He was subsequently elected a Fellow of St John’s College, where he continued to do research and teach Classics, especially Ancient History.

At the age of 31 he was appointed a full Professor and Head of the Department of Classics back at his old university in South Africa. After some years in that position he returned to Britain, where he was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1988 and continues to practice as a London Barrister.

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Who built this City? Finding Akre Leuca, Hamiclar’s Lost City
Wednesday May 25, 2022 1:00pm EST
by Tom G Hamilton
Who built this City? Finding Akre Leuca, Hamiclar’s Lost City

Deep in the heart of the Portuguese arid interior lies a city, Castelo Branco, the regional capital of the lands known as Beira Baixa and it is strategically well-placed near the grand Tejo river, the superhighway of ancient times. The locals call it Castraleuca. Where does this name come from? Who built this city?

Historian Porfirio de Silva in 1853 quoted a contemporary document which was very specific about the origins of the city: “Seven hundred years before the time of Christ, in the time of the Carthaginians, Goths, Saracens, there existed on Cardoso hill the ancient Castraleuca, and from its ruins of Castelo Branco was built.”

A little-known historian Gaspar Alvares de Lousada said Castelo Branco had been rebuilt by the Knights Templars from the ruins of Castraleuca. He evidently had seen ‘cippos’ (marker stones) which identified Castelo Branco as being the ancient Castraleuca. This is confirmed by the city foral (a royal document) written by Knights Templar Pedro Alviti in 1213: Volumus restaurare atque populare castelbranco. Translated this gives “we wish to restore and populate Castelo Branco”.

Contemporary historian Herculano rejected the idea of Castelo Branco as being Castraleuca. His arguments were based upon the work of Ptolemy the Greek Geographer, who in the first centuries AD placed Castraleuca south of the Tejo. Ptolemy wrote from Alexandria in Egypt and had never placed foot on Lusitanian soil.

So, who built this city? Who was here in Iberia at that time? It cannot have been any of the indigenous Celtic tribes, as they lived in their castros on the hilltops. Who else were around at such an ancient time?

The Greek writer Diodorus in describing the Punic wars between the Carthaginians and Romans refers to a city by the name of Akre Leuca which was built by charismatic Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca, father to the famous Hannibal, but it remains to be found.

Hamiclar was ambushed and died at Castrum Album. Akre Leuca means ‘white high place or promontory’; ‘Castra Leuca’ (Latinized form of the Greek) means Castelo Branco (Portuguese) which in full Latin is Castrum Album. They are, in fact, the same place. The Latin form of the name is particularly significant because it has become the household name of every person born in Castelo Branco. They are Albicastrenses, a name which has always been shrouded with mystery and remoteness. Have we discovered Hamiclar’s lost city, rebuilt by the Templars?

Tom HamiltonBorn in Burnham, England in 1959, Tom G. Hamilton moved to the interior of Portugal in 1992. He is currently investigating the ancient peoples of Beira Baixa, a small region in the interior of Portugal. He has made documentaries and films about the region, music, and the culture, and is currently writing a book about one of his discoveries— unique Iberian turquoise. He is a trained language teacher, professional musician, songwriter and producer, gem-hunter, artisan, investigator, and writer.

Tom spends a lot of his time on mountains, and with Michael Severin, produced Black Mountain Argemela, a film dedicated to the preservation of Argemela and its unique ecosystem. Published on YouTube channel, Vettonia Films.

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Miraculous Medieval Mediciners Of The Crusades
Wednesday April 6, 2022 1:00pm EST
by Jon G Hughes
Miraculous Medieval Mediciners Of The Crusades

The Crusades dominated both the Christian and Muslim worlds during the Middle Ages. Thousands of experienced knights and ambitious hopefuls- seeking more their fortune than redemption- embarked across Europe towards Jerusalem to regain the Holy City for the Cross. But the warriors and soldiers were accompanied by an entourage of families, servants, clergy and tradesmen and -women, swelling the numbers to thousands.

Looking beyond the cross emblazoned banners, trumpeted fanfare, billowing banting and prancing horses that heralded the start of the Crusade, such a perilous long journey crossing Europe from West to East, encountering the mountain ranges of the near East, deserts and even the seas, was fraught with danger. Besides injuries, pregnancies and common ailments such as scorpion stings, the Crusading trek was beseeched by famine, plagues, leprosy, dehydration, diarrhoea, dysentery and when the fighting commenced – festering battle wounds, severed limbs, gangrene and amputations.  Armed with herbaria, crude surgical instruments, their leech books under the arm, and a prayer for a miracle in the heart, the mediciners or leech-crafters stepped up, packed their tumbrels and set off.

Their journey was not just the physical crossing of Europe into the near East, but also a scientific expedition, for in the East they encountered a far more sophisticated Islamic knowledge of healing and medicine. Through cultural cross-pollination medicines, methods, diagnoses, healing and surgery were advanced, metaphorically scaling both sides of the Walls of Jerusalem.

Author Jon G Hughes discusses medieval medicine before and during the Crusades, available leech-books (ancient Gray’s Anatomy) the pharmacopeia, herbaria and medicinal matter a leech-crafter would stock in his tumbrel, the Hospitallers and Knights of the Order of St John and advances of medicine in the Islamic world.

Jon had also followed in the footsteps of the Crusaders and in Morocco and Marakesh, Rhodes and Malta he collected peculiar remedies to treat:  Saddle sores: pounding the raw lungs of a bear to a smooth paste;   Hair loss: crush a scorpion into a fine paste, add to this black pepper and the fat of a vixen; Against flying venom, necromancy and an elf’s arrow: the tooth of a recently hanged criminal, tied around the neck on a thong cut from the hide of a bear; Recover from intoxication: if a man be intoxicated let him wrap his testicles with a cloth soaked in sour vinegar. If it be a woman, let her do the same to her nipples; Improve dwindling male libido: take the right-hand lung from a vulture, dry it very well. Put inside the dried skin of a raven that has had its feathers plucked. This is to be tied around the neck of the man and soon his appetite will return more lust-fully than before.


Jon G. Hughes is part of a lineage of Druids that has been practicing for five generations in a remote area of Wales. He teaches the tradition in Ireland and gives workshops and seminars throughout Europe. He is the director of the Irish Centre for Druidic Practices and the author of A Druid’s Handbook to the Spiritual Power of Plants and The Druidic Art of Divination, amongst other titles. He lives in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland.  His latest book is The Healing Practices of the Knights Templar and Hospitaller: Plants, Charms, and Amulets of the Healers of the Crusades

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The Pharaoh behind the Festivals
Wednesday March 16, 2022 1:00pm EST
by Jonathon Perrin
The Pharaoh behind the Festivals

There is a deep enigma about the beloved Jewish Festivals: who began them?

Despite their great antiquity and obvious holiness, the real origins of the famous holidays of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot remain, to this day, frustratingly elusive and cloaked in mystery. Orthodox tradition insists that Moses created them millennia ago, but who was Moses? Modern academia insists that Moses was a literary invention created to be the hero Israel never had. But what if Moses was real?

Author Jonathon Perrin explores the secret Egyptian origins of the Jewish Holy Days. Meet the revolutionary Heretic Pharaoh who planted the seeds of these Festivals, and learn how he used memory and ritual to ensure they would never be forgotten. Arcane Egyptian magic and rituals underlie Passover, and the real historicity behind the Exodus tradition is revealed. Gaze upon beautiful and intricate carvings of the original “first fruits” and “twin loaves” of Shavuot, carved on limestone blocks from Akhenaten’s city. Explore the true origins of famous Jewish symbols associated with each holiday, such as the shofar horn of Rosh Hashanah, the Kittel of Yom Kippur, and the lulav of Sukkot. See the king and his family celebrate history’s first sukkah. Learn how the entire sequence of the Jewish Fall Festivals, the holiest time of the year, was actually a secret memory of Akhenaten’s Coronation and Jubilee rituals, cryptically preserved for over 3000 years.

From sweet wine to sweet cakes, Seders to scrolls, trumpets to tablets, magic to memorials, plagues to Pyramid Texts, first fruits to firstborn, justice to Jubilee, challah to honey, and food to family, it is time to dissolve the mists of mystery and reveal a secret three millennia old. It is time to sing, dance, blast the shofar and shout for joy, for the rebel king who sparked it all has finally arrived: Moses, The Pharaoh Behind the Festivals.

Jonathon Perrin Jonathon Perrin is a geologist who has explored for oil and gas, rare earth elements, and gold deposits in Canada. He also has an archaeology degree and spent five years excavating prehistoric Native sites in Canada. His recent passion is writing about ancient mysteries and uncovering the subverted truths of history. His first book, Moses Restored, is currently on Amazon, and he has contributed several articles to Atlantis Rising magazine under Editor J. Douglas Kenyon. He is the author of Moses Restored: The Oldest Religious Secret Never Told

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Roman London - An Archaeological Perspective
Saturday February 19, 2022 1:00pm EST
by Dr Dominic Perring
Roman London - An Archaeological Perspective

London was perhaps converted from a fort built at the time of the Roman conquest, where the emperor Claudius arrived to celebrate his victory in AD 43, to become the commanding city from which Rome supported its military occupation of Britain. London grew to support Rome's campaigning forces, and author and archaeologist Dr Dominic Perring explores the political and economic consequences of London's role as a supply base.

Dominic Perring has spent over 50 years leading archaeological research into Roman cities. In building his story of London, Perring also builds a story of Roman violence and Roman frailties.  Wars and plagues left their mark on London, and Perring’s exploration of this evidence helps us understand how Rome’s response to the epidemics of the past may have sowed the seeds of late antique change.  His ground-breaking study brings new information and arguments to our understanding of how Rome ruled, and how the empire failed, opening up a new debate over how archaeology might help us to understand the forces that can create and destroy cities and empires.

Dr Dominic PerringDr Dominic Perring is the Director of the University College Of London Centre for Applied Archaeology and the author of London in the Roman World. He has spent over 50 years leading archaeological research into Roman cities, including major programmes of research in London, Beirut, and Milan. Dominic is an occasional broadcaster and has authored nine books and over 100 academic papers addressing key themes in the management and interpretation of archaeological sites and landscapes. Dominic obtained his PhD from the University of Leicester. His research interests include the origins and nature of urban society, the archaeology of the Roman provinces, Cultural Resource Management in UK and Middle-East and the social and economic role of development-lead archaeology.

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Heavenly Writing The Celestial Code Of Scripture
Saturday January 22, 2022 1:00pm EST
by John McHugh
Heavenly Writing The Celestial Code Of Scripture

While studying the relationship between celestial mythology and astronomical knowledge as a graduate student at Brigham Young University, John McHugh stumbled upon an arcane celestial code. According to this secret code the stars and constellations embodied divinities, and their titles and images depicted “Heavenly Writing.” Cryptic messages enciphered in this celestial script divulged monumental scenes that had once taken place on Earth. Elite astrologer-magicians—which included the magi who followed the star of Bethlehem to baby Jesus—translated these encoded communiqués into stories that became the Pagan, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic scriptures we know today. 

Although this astral code arose in Mesopotamia, it was eventually disseminated into other cultures throughout Syria-Palestine, Arabia, and Greece—including the monotheistic societies that would eventually produce the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament, and the Qur’an. The code reveals the paradigm underlying the miraculous events recounted in those scriptures, and explained how those supernatural incidents came to be reported as hallowed history.

John McHugh shows precisely how this celestial cipher was used to produce many of the miraculous stories reported in Mesopotamian, Greco-Roman, Biblical, and Qur’anic religious mythology—narratives that include Gilgamesh’s epic battle with the zodiacal Bull, the story of an Eagle who carried a handsome shepherd-boy into heaven, the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark, Jonah’s three-day confinement in the belly of a sea-monster, Samson’s slaughter of a thousand Philistines with the mere jawbone of an ass, Jesus’ virgin birth and walk across the Sea of Galilee, as well as Muhammad’s preternatural encounter with the angel Gabriel.

The rediscovery of this secret celestial code would not have been possible without the accumulated archaeological and linguistic research of more than a century of world-class scholars. Ironically, a tacit century-old proscription against investigating the relationship between Mesopotamian astronomical knowledge and Biblical and Qur’anic religious mythology has prevented modern scholars from seeing that this stellar cipher was the basis for the Biblical and Qur’anic miracle narratives.  Until now

John McHughJohn McHugh earned a Master’s degree from Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah, USA) with a dual emphasis on Near Eastern and Native American Archaeology (1999). He has extensive archaeological excavation and survey experience throughout Syria, Jordan, and the American Southwest. He specializes in Near Eastern and Native American archaeoastronomy as well as American Indian rock art and possesses reading knowledge of Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Qur’anic Arabic. John is the lead archaeologist for the Utah Cultural Astronomy Project, which is committed to exposing and celebrated the wealth of scientific wisdom embedded in the religious cosmologies of Ancestral Puebloan peoples and their modern Puebloan descendants.  He is the author of  The Celestial Code of Scriptures

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Ancient DNA Origins - From Adam to Jesus
Saturday December 18, 2021 1:00pm EST
by Dr. Eran Elhaik
Ancient DNA Origins

For the past decade, Ancient Origins saw its mission in making science freely accessible to the public, particularly the fields of science related to the human past. It is only appropriate that Ancient Origins would also be the first to provide Ancient DNA Origins Tests – the next generation of DNA tests. Contemporary DNA tests that report ancestry in relation to modern populations.

However, studying the ancient past is an entirely different story. Because populations change over time, studying ancient people, like Biblical Israelites, can only be done via their DNA. The next generation of DNA tests focuses on ancient DNA to identify ancient people and bring them back to life (figuratively speaking, of course) using advanced machine learning algorithms.

Our first line of tests includes some of the most fascinating populations that ever lived: The Biblical Israelite Tribes, Medieval Iceland Vikings, Ptolemaic Egyptians, and Paleo American Indians. Our Ancient DNA Origins Tests available at tell the story of every group and every individual. Ancient DNA Origins Tests were designed to tell you whether you descend from the people who wrote the Bible, the Edda, the great civilization hidden beneath the Egyptian desert, or the Paleo American people that once roamed the American continent.

Together with lead geneticist Dr. Eran Elhaik, who brings to Ancient Origins his wealth of experience in genetics, leading past projects like the Geographic Geno 2.0 and GPS Origins, we are proud to spearhead this next generation of genetic tests. Check out our ancient DNA tests available at We hope that you will enjoy and benefit from them too. “Study the past, if you would divine the future,” as Confucius wrote, and we now have the actual means to do so.

Dr Eran ElhaikDr. Eran Elhaik completed a Ph.D. in Molecular Evolution at the University of Houston with Prof. Dan Graur, where he studied the evolution of mammalian genomes. He then completed two post-docs at Johns Hopkins University, working with Prof. Aravinda Chakravarti on population genetics and with Prof. Zandi working on mental disorders. Dr. Elhaik was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Bioinformatics Hub of the University of Sheffield, England. He focused on population genetics and complex disorders that he links via personalized medicine. In 2019, he became an Associate Professor at the University of Lund, Sweden. Dr. Elhaik’s research typically employs complex computational, statistical, epidemiological, and mathematical approaches to interdisciplinary fields like complex disorders, population genetics, personalized medicine, molecular evolution, genomics, paleogenomics, and epigenetics covering various organisms from ants to humans. Due to his innovative and breakthrough work, Dr. Elhaik is one of the most renowned scientists.

Dr. Elhaik’s work received much interest over the years from scholars and the public alike. We are proud to say that we covered all his research that falls within our domain. These studies include dating the most ancient human Y chromosome, “Y chromosomal Adam,” and developing a genomic GPS tool that identifies the geographic origin of modern people with extreme accuracy. A commercial version of this test is offered on our website. His extensive studies on Druze and Ashkenazic Jews traced their origins from over 1000 years ago and uncovered “Ancient Ashkenaz,” where Ashkenazic Jews formed their unique genomic signature alongside the ancestors of Druze. Elhaik’s group was the first and only group that developed the technology that identifies ancient Ancestry Informative Markers, which are used to infer the ancient ancestry in modern people accurately. This is one of the critical components underlining our new line of Ancient DNA Origins Tests.

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A History of Time - From Sundials to Atomic Time
Saturday October 2, 2021 1:00pm EST
by Tim Fisher
A History of Time - From Sundials to Atomic Time

Time. We never seem to have enough of it. Where did time measurement come from? How was it decided how long one second is? How do quartz and automatic movement watches work? Horologist Tim Fisher answers these questions in 60 minutes.

The ancient Egyptians measured time by sundails and water clocks which were later adopted by the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Chinese. Medieval Islamic water clocks were unrivalled in their sophistication until the mid-14th century. The hourglass, one of the few reliable methods of measuring time at sea, was a European invention and does not seem to have been used in China before the mid-16th century. Mechanical clocks were designed by the Middle Ages, the most famous by Henry de Vick in 1360. The invention of the mainspring in the early 15th century allowed small clocks to be built for the first time.

By the 18th century, a succession of innovations and inventions led to timekeeping devices becoming increasingly accurate. The electric clock was invented in 1840, and used to control the most accurate pendulum clocks until the 1940s, when quartz timers became the basis for the precise measurement of time and frequency. During the 20th century the non-magnetic wristwatch, battery-driven watches, the quartz wristwatch, and transistors and plastic parts were all invented. The most accurate timekeeping devices in practical use today are atomic clocks, which can be accurate to within a few billionths of a second per year. They are used to calibrate other clocks and timekeeping instruments.

Tim FisherQualifying as a materials technician, Tim Fisher’s passion for micro mechanics first had him specialize in repairing photographic equipment. With the demise of mechanical cameras, he branched out into watchmaking. He joined the British Horological Society and he qualified in 2010 with Breitling Switzerland and became their official authorized repair agent. He has been practicing as a horologist for many years, working on some of the world’s leading timepieces and is the owner of Right Time Watchmakers

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Challenging Leonidas: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy
Saturday September 25, 2021 12:30pm EST
by Myke Cole
Challenging Leonidas: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy

The last stand at Thermopylae made the Spartans legends in their own time, famous for their toughness, stoicism and martial prowess. But was this reputation earned? The Spartan hoplite enjoys unquestioned currency as history’s greatest fighting man, but is this simply down to the success of a propaganda machine that began working long before the battle at the Hot Gates? Covering Sparta’s full classical history from the foundation of the city-state through to its final overthrow by Rome in the 1st century BC, author Myke Cole challenges the long-held myths about this ancient Greek society and depicts a very different view of Spartan warfare – one punctuated by frequent and heavy losses. Looking at the major battles, with a special focus on previously under-publicized Spartan reverses that have been left largely unexamined, it reveals why Spartan society became dedicated to militarism, and examines the men who lived under its brutal rule.

Myke Cole

Myke Cole has had a colorful and varied career, with service in war and crisis response with the CIA, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence). He commanded the reserve at US Coast Guard Station New York, where he was responsible for maritime law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations around the island of Manhattan. He went on to work for the NYPD in cyber threat intelligence, and continues that work in the private sector. Most recently he has taken up firefighting in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Myke’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, and Foreign Policy. He is the author of Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World and The Bronze Lie Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy. Myke is also a popular fantasy and science fiction novelist with several major imprints. He appeared on CBS’ hit TV show Hunted, where he joined a team of elite investigators pursuing fugitives across the south-eastern United States, and later starred on Discovery Channel’s Contact alongside fellow Osprey author Dr. Michael Livingston.

(Photo: © Karsten Moran)

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The Bible’s Bedeviling Bad Girls
Saturday August 21, 2021 1:00pm EST
by Mary Naples
The Bible’s Bedeviling Bad Girls

It should come as no surprise to the modern reader that the androcentric biblical writers were unfair to the gentler sex. After all, ever since Eve bit into the forbidden apple, the good book had long been obsessed with the notion of bad girls. But perhaps more surprisingly, subsequent generations have been no kinder. Over the millennia, the stories of these temptresses have been used by both religious disciplinarians and secular moralists alike in an effort to guide young women on how not to behave. This obsession with feminine transgression, turned the vices of these vixens into the stuff of legends--far surpassing their very worst excesses. This webinar will focus on three of the Bible’s most bedeviling of bad girls: Delilah, Jezebel and Salome. Using artwork these femme fatales have inspired over the ages, we will explore the stories behind each of these women as we peel back the layers of legend in an effort to find some semblance of the truth. Surely they were bold, at times they were downright brazen but were they really so bad?

Mary Naples With an emphasis in Women’s Studies, Mary Naples earned an M.A. in Humanities from Dominican University of California in 2013. Her master’s thesis: “Demeter’s Daughter’s: How the Myth of the Captured Bride Helped Spur Feminine Consciousness in Ancient Greece,” examines how female participants found empowerment in a feminine fertility festival. Her deep love of the classical world is reflected in her writing which explores women’s narratives ranging from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds into the Byzantine era and even into ancient Israel and Judea. After a career in high-tech, Mary lives in Sausalito, California with her husband and cat, Maddie. There she has a collection of books on the classical world and a garden with a Cretan-styled labyrinth. Visit Mary’s website:

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