When most people hear the word "Antiquity", they automatically think of Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Persian, Mesopotamia, China and other great empires of the past. But alongside the well-known achievements of these cultures, many of us find ourselves in ignorance about facts from these historical periods, facts which still influence our lives even today.
One such interesting fact is that feta cheese is the oldest kind of cheese in the world.
Feta is a cheese produced from sheep's and goat's milk. It is the national food of Greece and one of the most popular types of cheeses in the world.
What most people don't know is that it has been produced since Antiquity, having also been mentioned in numerous ancient chronicles. For example, the Cyclops in the Odyssey made a cheese that was believed to be feta.
Read on to find out more curious facts about Antiquity that'll further enrich your common knowledge.
1. Raising a toast started in Greece
We've been raising a toast every night since the days of Antiquity. In Ancient Greece, where the custom began, the host would always be the first to raise a toast and drink, to prove that his wine was not poisoned.
2. The barbarians weren't really barbarians
Today, the greater part of the history we know came from Roman and Hellenic sources. However, their chroniclers had the bad habit of calling anyone who wasn't part of their own culture a barbarian, regardless of the cultural achievements of his people. For example, the Celts were described as barbarians, even though they never made their prisoners fight to the death for the amusement of onlookers, nor had human sacrifices, as the Romans and Greeks did.
3. The seismograph - an ancient invention
The majority of people think the seismograph a modern invention. The truth is, the first-ever seismograph was invented back in 130 A.D. by the Chinese astronomer Zhang Heng.
4. The Persians were the real Aryans
Though pop culture has the tendency to paint the Persians as non-whites, they have always thought of themselves as the original Aryans. In Persian, the word IRAN means "land of the Aryans". The Medes, who were of Aryan origin, were the first ones to form a unified Persia in the 6th century B.C.
5. The Emperor Trajan - builder of the first mall
The first of its kind mall was built by Emperor Trajan in Rome. In antiquity, the giant marketplace contained more than 250 merchant stalls, where you could buy anything - from milk to exotic animals, to slaves taken from exotic lands.