Ancient History

The World’s Tallest Statues

As to boldness of design, the examples are innumerable; for we see designed, statues of enormous bulk, known as colossal statues and equal to towers in size.– Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), Natural History, Book 34, Chapter 9. Wikipedia has its critics (some justified, some not), but I personally love the odd ways that it organizes …

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Vanished Civilization II: The Tocharians

These people, they said, exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking, having no language of their own for the purpose of communicating their thoughts. – Pliny the Elder on the report of an embassy from Sri Lanka on the people who …

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Vanished Civilization 1: Carthage

My people shall, by my command, exploreThe ports and creeks of ev’ry winding shore…– Queen Dido in John Dryden’s translation of The Aeneid, Bk. I First in a series of once-weekly posts on my favorite vanished civilizations, I present THE CARTHAGINIAN EMPIRE. To understand Carthage, one has first to understand the Phoenicians, who were originally …

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