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Ten Thousand Romans in Turkmenistan September 19, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Ten Thousand Romans in Turkmenistan

There are many reasons for which individuals have travelled a long way from home in history: money, love, fear… But a vitally important and generally overlooked motive is imprisonment. Soldiers taken in battle have often (and very sensibly) been moved from where they were captured to the furthest possible point from their own country to avoid […]

The Tiv and Hamlet September 12, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Tiv and Hamlet

Laura Bohannan (aka Elenore Smith Bowen) was an anthropologist who came out of Oxford in the late 1940s. She did research with her husband Paul among the Tiv of Nigeria and the pair published several books on this federation over the next two decades. However, Bohannan also gave a remarkable BBC radio talk entitled, depending on […]

A Medieval Coin in New England Soil September 11, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Medieval Coin in New England Soil

After much interest in the long-travelling Helgö Buddha Beachcombing is pleased to introduce a more controversial wrong-place piece, an eleventh-century Viking coin that allegedly ended up in New England’s soil several generations before Columbus. The Maine Penny, as it called, was found by an ‘amateur’ (an ugly word for archaeologists) at the Goddard site near the mouth […]

The Buddha Converts to Catholicism August 31, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
The Buddha Converts to Catholicism

Dream last night in which Beachcombing was forced to sit and write an exam by his (terrifying) secondary school science teacher. The subject? Krishna naturally. Taking this as an omen of sorts Beachcombing has determined that today he will delve into Eastern religion and tell the scandalous story of the Christian saint Josaphat and his […]

The Buddha in Viking Sweden August 20, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Buddha in Viking Sweden

                Beachcombing thought that today he would revisit a classic anomalous archaeological find: the Helgö Buddha. Knowing though his personal weaknesses, he first did some deep breathing exercises before the mirror repeating a score of times: ‘be nice about the Vikings’, ‘be nice about the Vikings’, ‘be nice […]

Roman legionaries in Central Asia? August 18, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Roman legionaries in Central Asia?

                    Beachcombing has written before about Roman penetration into central Asia and even possible direct contacts between Rome and the Chinese Imperial court. Tonight he wants, instead, to look at a claim that Romans – it is argued legionaries – visited western Uzbekistan close to Afghanistan […]

Romans on the Shores of the Caspian Sea August 5, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Romans on the Shores of the Caspian Sea

Beachcombing has looked in a previous post at supposed direct contact between the Roman Empire and China in the second century. Today he will not be attempting to take the Romans so far to the east – but he will still be going an impressive way into Central Asia. Azerbaijan to be exact. It should […]

An Elephant Invades Italy in 1936 July 24, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
An Elephant Invades Italy in 1936

                                Night four of Beachcombing’s Elephant week extravaganza is taken up by Richard Halliburton’s attempt to cross the Alps in 1936 on the back of an African elephant. Halliburton, a fun kind of fellow, managed to hire (and insure!) an […]

Elephants in Eighth-century Honduras? July 23, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Elephants in Eighth-century Honduras?

                                                                For the third night of Elephant Week, ‘the freakish fringe history of the largest land mammal’, Beachcombing wants to share a remarkable series of images […]

Mongol elephants in America? July 22, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Mongol elephants in America?

For the second article of Elephant Week Beachcombing thought that he would introduce one of his favourite early nineteenth-century books. Just let the title wash over you… John Ranking’s Historical researches on the conquest of Peru, Mexico, Bogota, Natchez, and Talomeco in the thirteenth century by the Mongols, accompanied with elephants: and the local agreement of […]

An Early Christian Apostless July 20, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
An Early Christian Apostless

        Summer’s here, the sun’s out and Mrs B and little Miss B are trying not to have arguments with the in-laws on a distant strand of Mediterranean. Beachcombing, instead, took a far more sensible line and stayed at home with a collection of books and is subsisting on a diet of […]

A Roman Emperor in Second-Century China? July 16, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
A Roman Emperor in Second-Century China?

              Classicists and Sinologists (experts on all things Chinese) spent much energy in the nineteenth and early twentieth century demonstrating that there had been contacts between the two greatest Empires of antiquity, the Chinese and the Roman. They succeeded to their own satisfaction and even came up with ‘evidence’ […]

A Mystery Animal in Ancient Africa July 3, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
A Mystery Animal in Ancient Africa

Beachcombing has been fascinated by the Voyage of Hanno since he was in short classicist pants. For this text, written in Hellenistic Greek, purports to describe a Carthaginian expedition down the western coast of Africa in the early centuries B.C., at a time when good Mediterranean folk had as little to do with the sub-Saharan side of the continent […]

German Crusaders lost in Central Asia? June 29, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
German Crusaders lost in Central Asia?

Beachcombing often stretches himself pretty thin in covering the centuries and sometimes he just doesn’t have the languages to check up properly on a story. With these caveats he offers his readers the following tale that reads like a late Victorian or Edwardian boy’s own adventure. The text comes from Richard Halliburton’s Seven League Boots, […]

Ancient Britons Killing Roman Elephants? June 15, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Ancient Britons Killing Roman Elephants?

                  In 43 AD, the Romans finally – after decades of flip-flopping – decide to conquer Britain. The British-Celtic tribes in the island would, however, be confronted not only by a professional Roman army that was about 50,000 strong. The Romans decided to also bring some war elephants […]

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