Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FOUND: Persian Army Lost in Sandstorm 2,500 Years Ago

Photo credit: Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni via Discovery Networks

Italian researches claim to have found the remains of an ancient Persian army that disappeared in the sands of Egypt some 2,500 years ago.

From MSNBC:

Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.

"We have found the first archaeological evidence of a story reported by the Greek historian Herodotus," Dario Del Bufalo, a member of the expedition from the University of Lecce, told Discovery News.

Herodotus' tale recounts how the Persian army of more than 50,000 became lost on the way to siege Siwa Oasis. The army at the time was commanded by Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire. The army was ordered to destroy the oracle at the Temple of Amun but never arrived. They were swallowed by the sands and the temple stood to eventually proclaim Alexander of Macedonia "Master of the Universe" (I'm not making this up) much to the chagrin of ol' Camby. Alex went on to become "the Great" and Camby, uh, died mysteriously in what was thought to be a coup d'├ętat. Bummer!

By this time the legend of the army's disappearance passed into myth until it was recently discovered only to be recounted in the great historian's telling:

"A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear."

The story is utterly fascinating, you should check out the full article...

Or you could just watch the YouTube version from Discovery Networks.

5 comments:

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Cool! That would be an interesting and mysterious, and unnerving discovery in the middle of a desert during a D&D game.

DM: You have been travelling for many days, lost in the desert. As you crest the sand dune, you see thousands of bones all the way to the horizon.

Players: We're all gonna die!

Jay said...

Even better if it's the dead from a marching force of 50k!

ze bulette said...

Imagine the looting...

Jay said...

I have a feeling that an enormous army of the undead might have a problem with that!

The Evil DM said...

Thanks Jay
I'm working on "The Lost World of Hador" at the moment, and this one was totally under my radar.
Nice blog by the way.
Jeff