Blood Brothers

Many cultures around the world have long held that unrelated people can be bound to each other as kin through a ceremony in which their blood is mingled. The Scythians mixed participants’ blood with wine and drank it from a shared cup, while the Lydians licked the blood from each other’s nicked forearms. Blood brother ceremonies persist even today, though they have fallen out of favor due to the risk of disease. In Greece, what tradition establishes blood brotherhood without any actual blood? Discuss
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Courtly Love

Courtly love was a medieval European philosophy of nobly and chivalrously expressing one’s love for a noblewoman, who was often married to another. This form of adulterous, romantic love arose in part because upper-class marriages at the time were generally arranged for economic or political purposes. Its exact origins are obscure, but its literary origins are traceable to the works of Ovid and the troubadours, whose songs bore Middle Eastern ideas about love. Who else wrote about courtly love? Discuss
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Viking Longships

Longships were the boats used by the Vikings of Scandinavia and Iceland for trade, exploration, and warfare between the 8th and 11th centuries. Long and narrow, the boats were designed for speed and were propelled by teams of rowers, sometimes aided by sails. They were shallow enough to land on beaches and light enough to be carried over land. They were also double-ended and could reverse direction quickly. Why, according to legend, were crows brought along on some longship voyages? Discuss
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Pulp Magazines

Pulp magazines were popular, inexpensive fiction magazines published from the late 19th century through the 1950s, primarily in the US. Printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges, “pulps” were cheaper than books or standard magazines. While many respected, now-famous authors wrote for pulps, the magazines were known for their lurid, exploitative stories and sensational cover art, often featuring scantily-clad women. What famous masked hero made his rapier-toting debut in pulp magazines? Discuss
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Strabo

Strabo was a 1st-century Greek geographer, historian, and philosopher. Almost all of his works on ancient history have been lost, but his Geographica, published circa 14 CE, has survived. A practical guide to the world at that time, it contains historical material, maps, and rich descriptions of cultures that have since vanished. It is the only extant text describing the peoples and places known to Greeks and Romans during the reign of Augustus. How far did Strabo travel for his research? Discuss
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