Ancient History/Glossary

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Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Carbon Dating noun—a chemical process which can determine the approximate age of any organic material with an age between 500 years and 150,000 years.


Dictator noun—title of the emergency leader of Rome during the Republic.

Dictator perpetuus noun—title of the dictators when the office was awarded for life.

Domesticated noun/adj—a species tamed and bred to benefit human life and culture.



French Indochina noun—Western name for the colonial holdings of France on mainland Southeast Asia - present-day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.


Grave Goods noun—objects of at least nominal value buried with a dead person.


Harappa noun—Site of one of the great cities of the Indus valley civilization of the third millennium B.C.E. It was located on the northwest frontier of the zone of cultivation (in modern Pakistan), and may have been a center for the acquisition of raw materials, such as metals and precious stones, from Afghanistan and Iran.


Indigenous adjective—original or native to a country or region.

Inundation noun: The annual recurrence of the flooding of the Nile, beginning in July and ending in November.




Latifundia noun: a large estate farm in Italy run by slave labor, common in the late Roman Republic and Imperial eras.

Liliuokalani noun—Hawaiian queen from 1891-1895.


Meiji Restoration -- noun—In Japan, the reign of emperor Meiji from 1868 to 1912 which was marked by rapid modernization and industrialization.

Mestizo -- noun, adj—A person of mixed Native-European blood in many Latin American cultures.

Mohenjo-Daro noun—Largest of the cities of the Indus Valley civilization. It was centrally located in the extensive floodplain of the Indus River in contemporary Pakistan. Little is known about the political institutions of Indus Valley communities, but the large-scale of construction at Mohenjo-Daro, the orderly grid of streets, and the standardization of building materials are evidence of central planning.

Mongkut -- noun—King of Siam who ruled from 1851 to 1868.

Mummy -- noun—A body preserved by chemical processes or special natural circumstances, often in the belief that the deceased will need it again in the afterlife. In ancient Egypt the bodies of people who could afford mummification underwent a complex process of removing organs, filling body cavities, dehydrating the corpse with natron, and then wrapping the body with linen bandages and enclosing it in a wooden sarcophagus.




Papyrus noun—A reed that grows along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. From it was produced a coarse, paper-like writing medium used by the Egyptians and many other peoples in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.

Prehistory noun—the period of human activity on Earth before the invention of writing.




Shaman noun—A spiritual leader in some tribal cultures, part-magician, part-doctor, part-lorekeeper.

Spanish-American War -- noun—conflict between the United States and Spain in 1898 over Cuban independence.








Zaibatsu noun—Since the late 1800s, powerful banking and industrial families in Japan.