ANCIENT History Encyclopedia’s CEO Jan van der Crabben writes about the organization’s 10-year history.
Ancient History Encyclopedia just turned ten! On 25 August 2009, we officially launched the Ancient History Encyclopedia website by submitting ancientopedia.com (its first domain) to search engines. We have come a long way and it has been an amazing journey for everyone involved. Congratulations to the team and thank you to all our members, donors, supporters, and readers!
Whenever we speak at conferences, people want to know how we got where we are now. How did a home-brew website grow to become one of the world’s biggest and most-read history websites, completely bootstrapped without any investment?
We are not business gurus and we do not have a recipe for success that would work for everyone. Still, we have some idea of what we did right along the way, which we will talk about in this article. I believe it is a combination of luck, technical know-how, great content, and a dedicated and passionate team that made it all happen.
IN the trilingual MOOC (English, French, German) “Disovering Greek & Roman Cities”, an international team of experts from six different universities will explore the many facets of Greek and Roman cities. They will discuss mega cities like Rome, centres of international commerce like the Greek city of Delos and Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, regional centres of production like Pompeii, and frontier towns like Dura Europos on the Euphrates.
ANCIENT History Encyclopedia just turned ten! Incredible but true, we’ve got a whole decade behind us, an amazing journey. We went from a tiny website with a handful of visitors to one of the biggest history websites on the internet, with millions of visitors per month. We now have three full-time and two part-time employees who manage the website, write articles and edit submissions from the many volunteers who write for us. We won the .eu Web Award and the Lovie Award. Over 800,000 of you follow us on our social media channels.
Here’s a huge thank you to all our team, all of those who’ve been a part of our team in the past, the volunteers who submit articles, our members and donors who support us, and of course you, our readers and supporters who enjoy our content. Thank you!
Historians generally believe that ancient Greek girls did not have as much access to education as ancient Greek boys. But they must have had some, sometimes, because we know of a number of educated women such as Sappho of Lesbos and Diotima, a philosopher and contemporary of Socrates. The lack of documentation on women’s lives in classical Greece makes it difficult to determine exactly how much education girls received, however.
Evidence comes from those women who are mentioned in the records, and from art historians. A handful of artworks depict females studying! A kylix from the 400s BCE depict a female student carrying a tablet and stylus, used to write notes during a teacher’s lectures. A vase from the same century shows a woman reading from a papyrus (above), meaning she had been taught how to read. A water vessel from the 500s BCE show two young girls being taught to dance by a female teacher. Such limited and fragmentary evidence is all historians have to attempt to understand how girls and women were educated in ancient Greece.
The title is mostly true! Back in the day, there were no national or even state-wide requirements for what a doctor had to know. So many were barely literate, learning their profession like apprentices more than students. When, in the 1870s, the new Harvard president wanted to have written exams before MDs were given their degrees, the faculty at Harvard protested!
Professor of Surgery Henry Bigelow, the most powerful faculty member, protested to the Harvard Board of Overseers, “[Eliot] actually proposes to have written examinations for the degree of doctor of medicine. I had to tell him that he knew nothing about the quality of the Harvard medical students. More than half of them can barely write. Of course they can’t pass written examinations… No medical school has thought it proper to risk large existing classes and large receipts by introducing more rigorous standards.”