Two small figures guard the table holding the Buddha’s relics. Are they spearmen, or robots?
Stories passed down from the ancient world tell of self-powered machines able to move on their own – robots – playing key roles in historic moments.
A Greek amphora showing athletes, 4th century B.C.
©Trustees of the British Museum. (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
The idea that the athletic contests – held in honour of the Greek god Zeus for over a thousand years – were shut down by a puritanical Christian emperor makes for a good story. But is it true?
Fresco showing a woman called Sappho holding writing implements from Pompeii Naples National Archaeological Museum.
Sappho sang of desire, passion and love – mostly directed towards women. As new fragments of her work are found, a fuller picture of her is emerging, but she remains the most mysterious of ancient poets.