Whipping the Hellespont

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The study of the ancient Persians is, as Richard Stoneman rather artfully puts it, a thriving business. So far from ruling over a ‘forgotten empire’, as a British Museum exhibition unhappily described it a decade back, the Achaemenid emperors – from Cyrus the Great to Darius III – ruled the fastest-growing, largest and most culturally […]

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea…

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

There is a certain set of topics New Scientist calls ‘fruitloopery’ that experience tells us should be avoided at all costs. The older we become, the more glumly certain we are that we have heard it all before, whether it’s UFOs, Bigfoot, psychic phenomena or even just plain old homeopathy. Atlantis is firmly on this […]

Our Father in Mongolia

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Genghis Khan made the news a dozen years ago when a team of geneticists at the University of Oxford led by Tatiana Zerjal noticed a curious pattern in the distribution of an unusual Y chromosome among Asian males. Zerjal’s team suggested that this genetic variation could be traced back to a common ancestor. They located […]

From the Black Sea to Xinjiang

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

In everything except husbands, and especially in literature, my wife’s tastes are exacting. I have devoted years to the effort of crafting an opening sentence good enough to get her to read on. ‘May I,’ I asked experimentally, ‘read you the opening of Peter Frankopan’s new book, to see what you think of it?’ My […]

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RLF - March