Middle East

Gertrude Bell Feat

Film Review: Letters from Baghdad

If there has ever been a historical figure readymade for a biographical documentary, it’s Gertrude Bell (1868-1926): archaeologist, explorer, spy, British political powerhouse, and the uncrowned ‘Queen of the Desert’. Hers is a story that requires no Hollywoodisation, and Letters from Baghdad lends almost none. In a bold approach, directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum […]

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The Mirror of Health: Discovering Medicine in the Golden Age of Islam

A rare collection of Islamic medical manuscripts has gone on display for the first time, illuminating medical traditions that developed in the Golden Age of Islamic culture, between the 9th and 17th centuries AD. Based at the Royal College of Physicians in London, and curated by Professor Peter E Pormann from The University of Manchester, The mirror […]


Alexander’s Tomb

The final resting place of Alexander the Great is one of the famous unsolved mysteries of the ancient world. After he died in Babylon in 323 BC his body was apparently hijacked by Ptolemy and taken to Egypt to be the propaganda centrepiece of his new kingdom. There it stayed for generations until being lost […]


Shadow of the Silk Road

Shadow of the Silk Road Colin Thubron Chatto and Windus, £8.99 Chosen by Roger Matthews, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology UCL. Roger has worked in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran, and is interested in the sorts of long-range connections and exchanges of commodities and products that lie at the heart of […]


Three Faces of Monotheism

The latest exhibition at The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, entitled Three Faces of Monotheism, is dedicated to the symbols of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. On display are architectural elements, jewellery, ritual objects and other items ranging from the 3rd to the 13th centuries AD. The exhibition reveals how each religion represented itself to the […]