I love ancient artifacts, especially the ones that evoke the daily life or experiences of real people. This is me bringing them to you like a slobbery tennis ball.

Buddha on an ancient gold coin…in Greek

Europeans became increasingly interested in the cultures and religions of the Middle East and Asia, or what they later called ‘the Orient’, as a result of trade relations throughout the first millennium CE. Images of Buddha with the Greek lettering ΒΟΔΔΟ (‘Boddo’ for Buddha) were found on gold coins from the Kushan empire dating back to the second century CE.

Buddha was mentioned in a Greek source, ‘Stromateis’, by Clement of Alexandria as early as around 200 CE, and another reference to Buddha is found in St Jerome’s ‘Adversus Jovinianum’ written in 393 CE. A religious legend inspired by the narrative of the ‘Life of Buddha’ was well known in the Judaeo-Persian tradition and early versions in Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian and Georgian have been discovered.
The story became commonly known as ‘Barlaam and Josaphat’ in medieval Europe. The name Josaphat, in Persian and Arabic, spelled variously Budasf, Budasaf, Yudasaf or Iosaph, is a corruption of the title Bodhisattva which stands for ‘Buddha-to-be’, referring to Prince Siddhartha who became Gotama Buddha with his enlightenment.

More at the source…

Asian and African studies blog


The best map in the world when it was completed in 1375. The full-size version is linked, with remarkable detail.

It was produced by the Majorcan cartographic school and is attributed to Abraham Cresques, a Jewish book illuminator who was self-described as a master of the maps of the world as well as compasses. – Wikipedia


This gold, sapphirine impression seal to legalize documents is from from the Bosporus around 575 B.C. . It shows a heron in flight, which symbolized a good omen. Master sculptor Dexamenos of Chios created the seal and that’s his name under the heron.



Itchy and Scratchy, 3000 years ago. Fragment depicting an anthropomorphic cat making an offering to an anthropomorphic mouse. Context is unknown, but it might have been part of a story illustration or a satirical piece. Egypt, 19th or 20th dynasty. 1295 to 1075 B.C.

Treaty of the Great Peace of Montreal, signed in 1701 between France and several Amerindian tribes. The chiefs signed by drawing the symbol of their tribe.

Cartoon workers with speech bubbles. Aramaic using Greek letters

Doodles created by future sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, aged 10 at the time. Year:1442

Onfim. a 7 year old boy from Novosibirsk 700 years ago. Drawing on birch bark.

Manuscript with excerpts from the Satires of Juvenal, decorated with a student drawing. 15th century document preserved in the Municipal Library of Carpentras.

Medieval scribes tested their pens by writing short sentences and drawing doodles. The pen trials above are from Oxford, Bodleian Library, Lat. misc. c. 66 (15th century)


Probably 1800-1899, Europe. This whistle bears the inscription: ‘Siffle un deux trois / Vient au Sabbat / Sorcier larva Rat’. In the event of a rat plague, one called on a ‘shipper’ who possessed the magical power to move the rats to another place. The rat plague could be the work of a witch or a wizard. In French, it means : “Whistle one two three / Come to Sabbath / Sorcerer malicious spirit rat