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Nothing beside remains

Josephine Quinn: The Razing of Palmyra

25 January 2018
Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure 
by Paul Veyne, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan.
Chicago, 88 pp., £17, April 2017, 978 0 226 42782 9
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... The​ Syrian oasis town of Tadmur is close to the middle of nowhere, 140 miles east of Damascus, 125 miles west of the Euphrates, and 20 miles from the nearest village. It’s famous for two institutions established under the French Mandate at the turn of the 1930s. One is the archaeological site now known by the Greek name of Palmyra, until recently one of the most extraordinary survivals from the ...

Drop a tiger into a court-bouillon

Bee Wilson: Mesopotamian cookery

6 October 2005
The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia 
by Jean Bottéro, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan.
Chicago, 134 pp., £16, May 2004, 0 226 06735 1
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... Who was it who invented the first black cakes Or the uncounted poppy-seed? Who mix’d The yellow compounds of delicious sweetmeats? This was one of many questions asked by the poet Athenaeus in the Deipnosophists, a long series of dialogues on food and dining. If Athenaeus, who lived 1800 years ago, couldn’t, how much less equipped are we to answer questions about the way the first cooks cooked ...

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