Thursday, 20 July 2006

Ahhh, Bisotun ...

Continuing the theme of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, it seems that Bisotun (more familiar to ancient historians as Behistun) has been included in the latest tranche.

This amazing rock-cut inscription, two-and-a-half thousand years old, has already been the subject of an exhaustive study by the indefatigable Jona Lendering on his excellent Livius web site.

The inscription at Behistun
Darius the Great's inscription at Behistun

Curiously, Darius apparently arranged for the relief to be cut 100m above the ground, so that nobody could tamper with the inscription. But, of course, it is entirely illegible from that distance!

When the Roman legions in Britain commemorated the building of the Antonine Wall with a series of splendid inscribed stones, we presume that they were at least displayed within sight of passers-by.

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