Welcome to Bad Ancient. We fact-check claims that are made about the ancient world. If you want to know if hoplites were named after their shields or if people in ancient times believed the world was flat, you’ve come to the right place.
Popular perceptions of the Oracle at Delphi include the Pythia sitting by or above a geological fissure and becoming intoxicated on fumes of some kind. Historians are less convinced by this image.
Molōn Labe has become a go-to phrase to denounce political authorities removing the perceived rights of citizens, and its origins in Spartan history is used to solidify its meaning as a righteous stand against oppression.
It is a common claim that the construction of the pyramids are a mystery and archaeologists have no real evidence to figure out how they were built. As a result, alternative histories offer elaborate theories to try and explain the pyramids.
The Hippocratic Oath is used to this day as a marker of medical diligence and responsibility, and it is assumed that its author was none other than Hippocrates, the “father of medicine”.
The Amazons are often said to have been real, with female warriors present in the ranks of nomadic armies.
It is a commonplace to believe that people in the past held that the Earth was flat. But already in the distant past, people realized that our world is spherical.
The idea that the Homeric epics are somehow an accurate source for life in the Bronze Age Aegean has long gone the way of the dodo, at least in academic circles.
Ancient statues in museums are usually gleaming white marble objects, without any trace of colour. But in ancient times, these objects were painted in vivid colours.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, there is a persistent claim that the ancient Greek heavy infantryman referred to as a “hoplite” is named after his shield.
With the coronavirus making its way through the world, ancient epidemics like the Plague of Athens are seized upon to make dire forecasts about the fate of modern society.