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The God Enki and the Ocean of Everywhen

How I used Sumerian art and ritual to tap into a limitless well of creativity In the spring of 2007, I had a nervous breakdown and stormed out of my job in advertising. I spent most of the next six months locked in my apartment, swinging wildly between shrieking panic and wordless lethargy. Once I’d […]

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Some Old Worlds Never Die

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The Drunk Austrian Army That Battled Its Own Stupid Self

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Why Is Ancientness So Fascinating?

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Great Empires of Central Asia, Part 1: Primeval Beginnings

They inspired Sumerian cities, Indian trade and Persian art. Meet the most influential civilization you’ve never heard of. In the 1970s, Soviet archaeologists traveled deep into Turkmenistan’s Kara-Kum Desert, which most people can’t even point to on a map. This bleak desert might seem a strange place to seek the ruins of a lost civilization. […]

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Great African Empires, Part 6: The Tattooed Lords of the Desert

Meet the nomad warriors who conquered Egypt, battled Rome, and ruled Spain. If you grew up watching Star Wars (like I did), you probably dreamed of visiting Tatooine, the desert planet where Luke Skywalker gazed up at the twin suns and imagined becoming a Jedi. Like a surprising number of people and places in sci-fi […]

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Why Do We Fetishize History's Greatest Monsters?

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Great African Empires, Part 5: The Richest Man in History

His spending sprees were legendary. His entourage crashed whole cities’ economies. Meet the flashiest emperor in African history. Imagine a billionaire arriving with his entourage in London, or Las Vegas, or Rome; and completely taking over an entire city block— turning a five-star restaurant into his exclusive kitchen; a skyscraper into his private office; a […]

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A Triad of False Dmitriys

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The Great Emu War

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