Iraq Update

In the July/August 2003 issue of Archaeology Odyssey (see “Plundering the Past”), I reported on the terrible events that took place during the second week of April at the National Museum and other cultural heritage sites in Baghdad.

Traveling the Silk Road

In the 1870s, the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen coined the name die Seidenstrasse—the Silk Road—to refer to the 5,000-mile-long trade route that connected China and the Mediterranean in ancient times. Richthofen thus imbued the immense terra incognita of Central Asia with romance. But he also created something of a misnomer: There was not […]

Old Samarkand
Nexus of the ancient world By Frantz Grenet

In 1881 the great French novelist Gustave Flaubert published his Dictionary of Accepted Ideas. If we were somehow granted permission to add just one item to this revered classic, it should be “Samarkand: a name that makes you dream.” One of the most glorious stops on the Silk Road, which connected China and […]

“Look on My Works”
The many faces of Ramesses the Great By Jack Meinhardt, O. Louis Mazzatenta

You barely notice him in the cacophony of the modern city. Austere, stiffly formal, he is either too large or too small, slightly ridiculous amid Cairo’s dissonant traffic.

Male Fantasies
When it came to sex, the Greeks kept their options open… By Timothy McNiven

By around 500 B.C. the Greeks had developed a strange (for us) model of romantic love. While adult men were expected to take a wife and raise a family, they were also allowed considerable license in fulfilling sexual desires. Poets, philosophers and artists celebrated the passion of an adult male (erastes) for a beardless […]


Editors’ Page: Ransoming Iraqi Artifacts
Plus more from the antiquities wars By Hershel Shanks
Origins: Taking Count
It’s not surprising that one of our principal public rituals, the census, goes back to the Romans By Clifford Ando
Past Perfect: Among the Vulgarians
The first-century A.D. satirist Petronius lampoons Nero’s Rome
Ancient Life: The High Life
Tenements on the Tiber
The Forum
Is the Dama de Elche, one of the masterpieces of ancient Iberian art, really a fake?