Little is known of the fierce warrior nomads who occupied the southern region of the Ural Mountains in modern-day Russia about 2,500 years ago. But their graves have yielded spectacular finds of gold objects, fine jewellery, and weapons. Now recent discoveries that follow a decade of excavation at Filippovka’s royal burial mounds are revealing the sophisticated culture of the Sarmatians who once dominated the steppes of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
A section of the Roman frontier on the fringes of Eastern Europe has long been overlooked. So we take to the skies to trace three linear fortifications through Romania to the Danube Delta, two of which have the tell-tale signs of Roman military limes. Then we stop off at Salsovia, a Roman fort on one of the lines, where the remains of an unfortunate leopard hint at the exotic lifestyle some at this military base once enjoyed.
On the opposite side of Europe, we visit the Balearic island of Mallorca to discover what has been revealed of more than 1,300 years of occupation at Pollentia, from Roman prosperity to Byzantine faded splendour.
Current Publishing’s editor in chief Andrew Selkirk is intrigued by the way ‘democratic’ market economies stand up to those of totalitarian societies, pitting, for example, the Greco-Roman world against Ancient Egypt. The publication of a splendid book on the abandoned city of Amarna in Egypt has provoked him to compare Amarna with the Roman city of Pompeii. What has he found?
It’s hard not to admire the Vikings – unless you’re an Ionian monk, of course. Their daring adventures, their vivid sagas, and their stunning artefacts have captured the imaginations of young and old alike. But who were these seafaring explorers who raided, traded, and settled so far afield? Gareth Williams, curator of the British Museum’s upcoming exhibition, confronts the popular stereotypes to reveal the truth behind the myth.