submerged-history

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the name of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished.
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song,
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
Frederick the Second won the Seven Years’ War. Who
Else won it?

Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Every ten years a great man.
Who paid the bill?

So many reports.
So many questions.

—  Brecht, Bertolt. ‘Questions From a Worker Who Reads‘,  “Fragen eines lesenden Arbeiters”, translated by M. Hamburger from Bertolt Brecht, Poems 1913-1956, Methuen, N.Y., London, 1976

Celtic Iron Dagger with Scabbard, Early 1st ML BC

An iron dagger with T-shaped pommel with two small roundels to the ends, central rib with hatched design and rivets to the side; long handle and small cross guard with long, stiletto blade; long sheath with roundels to the edges and collar below and large roundel at the end; entire surface decorated with guilloche pattern; Iberian workmanship.

The Celtiberians were Celtic-speaking people of the Iberian Peninsula in the final centuries BC. Archaeologically, the Celtiberians participated in the Hallstatt culture in what is now north-central Spain. The term Celtiberi appears in accounts by Diodorus Siculus, Appian and Martial who recognized intermarriage between Celts and Iberians after a period of continuous warfare.

The Celtiberians were the most influential ethnic group in pre-Roman Iberia, but they had their largest impact on history during the Second Punic War, during which they became the allies of Carthage in its conflict with Rome, and crossed the Alps in the mixed forces under Hannibal’s command. As a result of the defeat of Carthage, the Celtiberians first submitted to Rome in 195 BC; Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus spent the years 182 to 179 BC pacifying the Celtiberians; however, conflicts between various semi-independent bands of Celtiberians continued. After the city of Numantia was finally taken and destroyed by Scipio Aemilianus Africanus the Younger after a long and brutal siege that ended the Celtic resistance (154 – 133 BC), Roman cultural influences increased. The Sertorian War, 80 – 72 BC, marked the last formal resistance of the Celtiberian cities to Roman domination, which submerged the Celtiberian culture.

The storms that have pummelled Britain over the past few weeks have whipped away much of the sand that was covering the remains of the Forest of Borth in Cardigan Bay, Wales. These trees- oak, alder, birch, and pine- grew over 4,500 years ago, before sea-level rise caused the legendary Cantre'r Gwaelod (the Lowland Hundred) to be inundated. This lost land lives on in a slightly fantastical form in Welsh folklore (c.f. Lyonesse, Ys), but the increasing frequency of exposure of its landscapes as we experience more extreme weather events is facilitating an unprecedented stream of archæological discoveries that are painting a vivid picture of the people who really did inhabit this place.

(Photo: Keith Morris.)