Libya Engraving
Ubari Sand Sea
Chatting in the Sahara
Libya Oasis
Sheep in the Sahara
Culturissima picture

Features

The copy opposite was commissioned by History Today, one of Britain's leading - and oldest - history journals.

David Winter has travelled extensively in Libya over the past twenty years, setting up one of the first cultural tours for Anglophone visitors almost two decades ago. "As a Classicist", he reports, "I've found huge enjoyment in the ruins along the Mediterranean coast, with Leptis being beyond compare. But the Sahara is, in my opinion, the world's most intoxicating landscape."

Libya: Land of Myths and Demons

David Winter visits a land beset for millennia by the fantasies of outsiders.

From antiquity to the present day, few countries have been so profoundly mythologized as Libya.

It was on Libyan soil that the giant Antaeus was cut down to size by Hercules, and it was here that England’s very own St George is said to have slain the dragon and secured the damsel.  Earlier still, relates the fifth century BC historian Herodotus, "dog-faced creatures and creatures without heads, their eyes in their breasts" stalked parts of the land that we now know as Libya.

In the modern era, few countries have been so relentlessly demonized as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, a "rogue state" that lies "beyond the Axis of Evil" according to American analysis.  For nearly four decades Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been painted as one of the West’s most stubborn bêtes noirs, a "mad dog" to rival any Herodotean beast.

But what if this tale-telling, both ancient and modern, were to obscure an equally extravagant reality? 

What if the modern-day visitor to the southern reaches of Libya were to find himself in the company of crocodiles and giraffes, hippopotami and ostriches? 

Or what if, a world away on the country’s Mediterranean coast, he were to tread in the footsteps of a son of Libya who, through murder and military stratagem, established himself as the uncontested ruler of one of history’s most formidable super-powers?

Full article available on the History Today site