A Maritime Silk Road Stop in Australia?

African coins, some possibly minted as early as 900 ACE, have been found buried on the Wessel Islands of Northern Australia, and have thrown accepted notions of when non-Aboriginal peoples first visited the continent into question. The oldest of the coins were minted in Kilwa, an island off the coast of Tanzania that was once a luxurious stopover for merchants and travelers on the Maritime … Read more

Games of the Great Silk Road – Mancala

Most parents will be quick to agree that they learn a lot from their kids. When you have kids, you cease to be the center of your own life and the lessons range from the mundane to the profound. When they are little, you realize how little they know when they come into the world and how much you, as an adult, have come to … Read more

Ye Ga’nna Ba-al (Merry Ethiopian Christmas)

“It comes without ribbons. It comes without tags. It comes without packages, boxes or bags. . .” Christianity arrived in North Africa in the first or second century, coming first to Alexandria – the great melting pot of culture and scholarship. From there, it spread across North Africa and down the coastal cities to the east until it reached Ethiopia and was adopted as the … Read more

Hail Cleopatra!

Mother, goddess, harlot, sister, stateswoman, linguist, assassin, daughter, diplomat – Cleopatra, the last Queen of Egypt. Rarely has a woman been so revered and reviled at the same time, and even more rarely have so many half-truths been handed down through the centuries about one.  Ask someone in the west what springs to mind when they think of Cleopatra and they will probably cite a … Read more

Ibn Battuta in IMAX

“. . . If I am to die, then what better place to do so than on the road to Mecca,” declares a very young and confident Ibn Battuta to his family and friends who saw him off on his first great journey. Time and the realities of travel in the fourteenth century soon tempered his youthful bluster as Battuta made his way across the … Read more

Africa on the Silk Road

The Dark Continent, the Birthplace of Humanity . . . Africa. All of the lands south and west of the Kingdom of Egypt have for far too long been lumped into one cultural unit by westerners, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Africa is not one mysterious, impenetrable land as the legacy of the nineteenth Century European explorers suggests, it is … Read more