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.
The epic poems that are known as the Odyssey and the Iliad were attributed in ancient times to a poet called Homer. But did this Homer really exist?
In AD 9, three Roman legions under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus were ambushed and destroyed in the Teutoburg Forest in Germania. Were there any survivors?
It is sometimes claimed that Julius Caesar was the first emperor of Rome. While this was not the case, defining who was the first emperor of Rome is no easy task.
The Roman emperor Constantine the Great convened the first Council of Nicea, where it was decided that 25 December would be the official date for Christmas. Is this notion correct?
Christmas time often brings with it the claim that early Christians stole the story and date for Jesus’ birth from the cult of Mithras. There is no ancient evidence that confirms this.
After the Battle of Marathon, Pheidippides is said to have run back to Athens to report the news of the Athenian victory. But was this run the inspiration for the modern marathon race?
It is often assumed that Aesop, the writer of the famous Fables, was a Greek author. However, none of the evidence agrees with this.
Some ancient sources claim that elephants were given wine before battle in order to rouse them into a fighting frenzy. But was this practical or even safe?
The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is sometimes portrayed as one of cousins, most notably in movies based on the Iliad, but their relationship was far more complex.
It is often repeated that the Spartans practiced an institutionalised form of eugenics, part of which included the disposing of “imperfect” babies . Modern archaeology, and historical studies, have brought this story under serious scrutiny.