Emma Marriott is a freelance writer and editor whose previous works for Michael O'Mara Books include I Used to Know That: History, Bad History: How We Got the Past Wrong and The History of the World in Bite-sized Chunks.
The Sumerians devised a seven-day week, naming five days after the five known planets – our Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – and the other two after the Moon and Sun.
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Though the date of the Buddha’s death is uncertain, we know that his body was cremated and his ashes placed in eight urns buried in earth mounds. Two centuries later the Maurya Emperor of India, Ashoka (see here), would excavate these urns and subdivide them to create 84,000 memorial shrines to Buddha.