This week's claims about the ancient world ...

From the Sacramento Bee:

People have believed in the link between handwriting and personality throughout time, beginning with ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.

NPR adds as a footnote to a piece on the Michael Vick case:

The genesis of dogfighting as a sport can be traced to a clash of ancient civilizations. When the Romans invaded Britain in 43 A.D., both sides brought fighting dogs to the battlefield for the seven years of warfare that followed. The Romans may have won the war, but the British dazzled the victors with the ferocity of their dogs, which were far more battle-ready than their Roman counterparts.

Thus emerged a canine market of sorts. The Romans began to import British fighting dogs for use not only in times of war, but also for public amusement. In Rome's Colosseum, large audiences would gather to watch gladiator dogs pitted against other animals, such as wild elephants. The vicious dogs, thought to have been crossbred with the Romans' own fighting breed, were also exported to France, Spain and other parts of Europe, eventually finding their way back to Britain.

From a Q&A column in the Courier Press:

Chaucer, writing in the late 1300s, refers to treacle in "The Canterbury Tales" (maybe your daughter's next reading?). But treacle's story goes back much further. The name "treacle" comes out of the ancient Greek "theriaca antidotos," meaning "antidote for the bite of wild beasts."

According to British food historian C. Anne Wilson, ancient Romans mixed honey with spices and drugs to make what they touted as an antidote to all poisons. The name that lasted through the Middle Ages was "theriaca" or "triacle." Gradually, the honey was replaced by the cheap, thick, dark syrup left after refining sugar (which in its white, granulated form was a status symbol and considered healthy).

From Khaleej Times on the Pashtun tribesmen:

Outsiders have feared the fiercely independent people at least since one of them shot an arrow in the leg of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. and nearly killed the conqueror.

[aren't the Pashtun among those who claim descent from Al's armies?]

The UB Post on Friday the 13th:

Actually the evil in the 13 may come from an ancient Roman belief that witches generally gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Last, and certainly not least, from the Scotsman on the benefits of snail slime:

While the modern-day potential of this substance was discovered by South American snail farmers who noticed that their hands were incredibly soft, it was the ancient Greeks who first tapped into its qualities. They treated everything from ulcers to whooping cough with the slime, and it became a staple component of a chemist's first aid kit.