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Ancient History


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A Much-maligned Monarch: Herod the Great Builder

Herod the Great has had a bad press in both Judaism and Christianity, yet he was among the greatest of Jewish leaders. His massive building program included the greatest temple in the ancient world and a fine port, as well as theatres, markets, palaces, city walls and aqueducts. Like Henry VIII, he killed several wives, as well as his father-in-law and two of his sons, and other people who stood in his way, but his kingdom survived and prospered as long as he did. A revealing,... [More]
A Much-maligned Monarch: Herod the Great Builder
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Bella Sardinia: A Natural, Ancient and Cultural History

Sardegna (Sardinia) is an island of breath-taking beauty and extraordinary natural and cultural significance. Its giant Neolithic menhirs and stone temples eventually gave way to the massive nuraghe (circular fortresses), mysterious sacred wells, and tumulus tombs of the Bronze Age. Phoenician, Greek and Roman influences followed over centuries. This day tour of Sardegna’s history will also include invaluable tips for the traveller on the island’s culture, cuisine and sights.... [More]
Bella Sardinia: A Natural, Ancient and Cultural History
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History of the Vandals

They have a bad reputation, lending their name to senseless destruction. But historically their achievements are rarely considered. Their conquest of Spain, North Africa and the western Mediterranean reveals them as one of the major powers of the Middle Ages. Their story gives us fascinating glimpses into the condition of a Europe in upheaval while its mistress Rome was dying from its own decadence. SUGGESTED READING There is a very little about the Vandals in English, apart from... [More]
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A Morning in Ephesus

The great city of Ephesus, on Turkey’s west coast, was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, the richest in the Empire. Lavish remains still exist to greet the modern visitor, and a hundred years of archaeology have produced many treasures. This fully illustrated talk will introduce this magnificent site, and trace the influence in culture and architecture that Ephesus had on surrounding areas, and later civilisations. COURSE OUTLINE Introduction: Early Greek settlement, first... [More]
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Early Islam

The world turned on its axis with the spread of Islam in the 7th century. Within 15 years the Holy Land, Persia and Egypt had fallen, 50 years later so too all of North Africa and Spain. But why and how did Islam emerge? What role did earlier religions play in forming basic principles? Why were its rivals, Byzantine Constantinople and the Sassanian Empire of Persia, unable to stop the flow of troops and cultural ideas of early Islam? This illustrated course traces this process, and... [More]

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