Salamanca on a cold March day. Here I am next the the street ‘Arapiles’, named after Wellington’s victory over the french fought only some kms away to the South East. Perhaps you have or haven’t heard of the two hills nearby where the British general hid his troops to attack the marching columns of French? Perhaps
your not aware of the 2000 year old roman bridge over which I make every effort to listen to music form the film ‘gladiator’ when I run across it? Would you believe me if I were to say there is a city called ‘Mérida’ packed full of aqueducts, temples, circus’ and amphitheaters just a few hours south?
I studied Ancient History with Archaeology and pride myself on knowing great detail about the writings and archaeology of most ancient peoples stretching from the Indus Valley Civilisation to the fall of the Roman Empire. I have read Polybius, Thucydides, Herodotus, Livy, Stabo, the Iliad etc (some more than once :P) and yet with all this knowledge I didn’t have the faintest idea of what awaited me in this western corner of Spain, far from the sun, sea, sand and sangria of the Mediterranean coast.
In these dark times in which we have seen the unforgivable destruction of Mesopotamian cities (already ancient and abandoned even in the times of Xenophon (see Anabasis)), the plunder of museums, the beheading of their curators, the all together organised demolition of any pre-islamic material culture in the countries of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Hopefully this will never happen in Europe though times, peoples and priorities change as they always will. Consequently there seems to be no better time to start a blog of some of the ruins and monuments that are still here and yet no as taken advantage of as they should.
The goal, therefore, of this blog is to raise awareness of these wonderful ruins and even, from time to time, write about the fascinating Spanish culture seen though the entirely un-holistic, singular point of view of my humble short sighted eyes.