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When Roman “Barbarians” Met the Asian Enlightenment
Who ruled the East while Rome ruled Europe? Meet four of the greatest empires in the history of Asia. This week, the BBC announced the discovery of two “ethnically Chinese” skeletons at an ancient Roman burial site in England. Who were they? What drove them to the far end of the world? We don’t know, yet. […]
A (Somewhat) NSFW History of Dirty Jokes
The best naughty one-liners, setups and punchlines, from the bronze age all the way to to the 20th century. So a Sumerian walks into a bar. Doesn’t really have to be a Sumerian, actually. A guy. Any guy. Guy walks into a bar, orders a drink, tries to join in on the conversation. But none of […]
Across the Aegean
A tale of a time when East met West When Aristagoras, Greek sea-trader of Piraeus, first laid eyes upon the treasures amassed by his distant cousins in the Asian provinces of Lydia and Ionia, more than just his avarice was awakened. When he studied the layers of gold inlay on an earring crafted on the shores […]
The Most Haunting Scene I Can Imagine
Michelle Stone wrote me a wonderful note in response to my article, “Time’s Orphans Have Names.” Here’s what she said: My fascination with this started when, as a child growing up in Zimbabwe, I used to run and play amongst the ancient stone walls of the magnificent Zimbabwe Ruins. There is nothing more hauntingly beautiful or […]
Time’s Orphans Have Names
A whirlwind journey into the past, guided by some of the most ancient voices on record. The world is full of orphans. Not just orphans in the literal sense — though there are millions of those — but people who are just lost. Disconnected from the rest of us, for all kinds of reasons. But we can listen and […]
There Is No Yesterday
An interactive experience in speaking with people from the past Certain photos demand your attention: vintage mugshots of Australian criminals; portraits of soon-to-be victims of Stalin’s Great Purge, or of nomads in the desert or the steppe. You stare into these peoples’ eyes and wonder what they were thinking about, what their days were like, how their […]
Ancient Mesopotamians: The True Original Gangstas
The great crime bosses of the Iron Age I drove by the Assyrian carvings on the towers of Hollywood & Highland today, Louisiana rap music blasting from my speakers, and I felt a feeling that I’ve felt many times before, but one whose manifold nuances and raw emotional impact I’ve never been able to convey […]