Women Rocked the Ancient World—But Ruling It Was Harder

Nefertiti, Cleopatra, and Hatshepsut Commanded Empires and Flipped Gender Roles While Pushing Against the Patriarchy

Cleopatra shattered the glass ceiling of power in ancient Egypt. Boudica, the fearsome first-century Celtic Iceni queen, “leaned in” by leading a bloody uprising against the occupying Roman army.

But did either of these women, or a handful of other formidable females whose exploits were recorded by history, ever actually rule the world? That topic took center-stage before an overflow audience at a Zócalo/Getty panel discussion that roamed from pharaonic Egypt to the court of Queen Elizabeth I to the White House.

Moderated by Bettany Hughes, a historian and documentary …

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This Color Can Be Dirty, Deceptive—and Divine

Cloth to Computers, Blue's Rich History Keeps Multiplying Its Meanings

The meaning of blue lies in its contradictions.

The color is associated with introversion and introspection, but it’s also associated with the expansiveness and openness of oceans and skies. It’s …

Your Complaints About Globalization Are Old News

The Ancient World Also Wrestled with Trade, Aggrandizing Elites, Destabilizing Religious Conflict, and Even Syrian Migrants

Syrian migrants were being rebuffed by their richer neighbors. Walls were being raised to keep out barbarian hordes. Old empires, having closed themselves off to trade, were in decline. Revolutionary …

Reflecting Splendor and Conflict in Enduring Visions of an Ancient City

A Getty Online Exhibition Unearths the Complex Legacy of Syria’s Palmyra

All places contain history; traces of the past that can be read, contextualized, interpreted, and, with some effort, crafted into knowledge. Some places are so rich in material and textual …

Art Can Help Us Understand Reality, Even While Transforming It

It Crafts Beauty and Truth from Mundane—Sometimes Ugly—Daily Existence

In their different ways, David Simon and Jamel Shabazz both have transformed gritty reality into art, drawing inspiration from the complex, often troubled urban-scapes of places like New York, …

The Bug That Had the World Seeing Red

How a Mesoamerican Insect Created the Globe's Most Coveted Color

Once there was a color so valuable that emperors and conquistadors coveted it, and so did kings and cardinals. Artists went wild over it. Pirates ransacked ships for …