Searching for the Dawn & Demise of Ancient Civilisation

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By ROBERT M. SCHOCH, PH.D. — When and where did civilisation begin? How far back in time does high culture go? Indeed, what do we mean by such terms as civilisation, or sophisticated and high culture? When I was in college, more years ago than I perhaps care to remember, I learned the standard story which still holds sway in many circles: Civilisation and high culture date back to, at most, perhaps five or six thousand years ago. A handy marker for recognising a true civilisation was … [Read more...]

What was the Sphinx?

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By ROBERT TEMPLE — There has never been a satisfactory answer to what the Sphinx actually is or was. Anyone who goes to Giza can see for himself or herself that there is something ‘wrong’ with the Sphinx. It only takes an instant. The body is gigantic and the head is just a pimple. The Egyptians never did anything like that, they were always meticulous about proportions in their art. So how is it that we have this monster with a tiny head sitting there in the sand, then? There are several … [Read more...]