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Volubilis

Volubilis is a excavated Berber city in Morocco situated near the city of Meknes, considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. Built in a fertile agricultural area, it developed from the 3rd century BC onward as a Berber proto-Carthaginian, settlement before being the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania, it grew under Roman rule from the 1st century AD onward and expanded to cover about 42 hectares with a 2.6 km circuit of walls. The city gained a number of major public buildings in the 2nd century, including a basilica and triumphal arch, its prosperity, derived principally from olive growing, prompted the construction of many fine town-houses with large mosaic floors. The city fell to local tribes around 285 and was never retaken by Rome because of its remoteness and indefensibility on the south-western border of the Roman Empire, it continued to be inhabited for at least another 700 years, first as a Latinised Christian community as an early Islamic settlement. In the late 8th century it became the seat of Idris ibn Abdallah, the founder of the Idrisid dynasty and the state of Morocco.

By the 11th century Volubilis had been abandoned. Much of the local population was transferred to the new town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, about 5 km from Volubilis; the ruins remained intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid-18th century and subsequently looted by Moroccan rulers seeking stone for building Meknes. It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that the site was definitively identified as that of the ancient city of Volubilis. During and after the period of French rule over Morocco, about half of the site was excavated, revealing many fine mosaics, some of the more prominent public buildings and high-status houses were restored or reconstructed. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for being "an exceptionally well preserved example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire". Built on a shallow slope below the Zerhoun mountain, Volubilis stands on a ridge above the valley of Khoumane, it overlooks a rolling fertile plain north of the modern city of Meknes.

The area around Volubilis has been inhabited at least since the Late Atlantic Neolithic, some 5,000 years ago. By the third century BC, the Carthaginians had a presence there, as evidenced by the remains of a temple to the Punic god Baal and finds of pottery and stones inscribed in the Phoenician language; the origins of its name are unknown but may be a Latinisation of the Berber word Walilt, meaning oleander, which grows along the sides of the valley. The city lay within the kingdom of Mauretania, which became a Roman client state following the fall of Carthage in 146 BC; the Punic influence lasted for a considerable time afterwards, as the city's magistrates retained the Carthaginian title of suffete long after the end of Punic rule. Juba II of Numidia was placed on the Mauretanian throne by Augustus in 25 BC and turned his attention to building a royal capital at Volubilis. Educated in Rome and married to Cleopatra Selene II, the daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra and his son Ptolemy were Romanised kings, although of Berber ancestry.

After Claudius annexed Mauretania in 44 AD, the city grew due to its wealth and prosperity, derived from the fertile lands of the province which produced valuable export commodities such as grain, olive oil and wild animals for gladiatorial spectacles. At its peak in the late 2nd century, Volubilis had around 20,000 inhabitants – a substantial population for a Roman provincial town – and the surrounding region was well inhabited, to judge from over 50 villas discovered in the area, it was mentioned by the 1st century AD geographer Pomponius Mela, who described it in his work De situ orbis libri III as one of "the wealthiest cities, albeit the wealthiest among small ones" in Mauretania. It is mentioned by Pliny the Elder, the 2nd century Antonine Itinerary refers to its location and names it as Volubilis Colonia, its population was dominated by Romanised Berbers. The city remained loyal to Rome despite a revolt in 40–44 AD led by one of Ptolemy's freedmen and its inhabitants were rewarded with grants of citizenship and a ten-year exemption from taxes.

The city was raised to the status of a municipium and its system of governance was overhauled, with the Punic-style suffetes replaced by annually elected duumvirs, or pairs of magistrates. However, the city's position was always tenuous. A ring of five forts located at the modern hamlets of Aïn Schkor, Bled el Gaada, Sidi Moussa, Sidi Said and Bled Takourart were constructed to bolster the city's defence. Sidi Said was the base for the Cohors IV Gallorum equitata, an auxiliary cavalry unit from Gaul, while Aïn Schkor housed Hispanic and Belgic cohorts. Sidi Moussa was the location of a cohort of Parthians, Gallic and Syrian cavalry were based at Toscolosida. Rising tensions in the region near the end of the 2nd century led the emperor Marcus Aurelius to order the construction of a 2.5 km circuit of walls with eight gates and 40 towers. Volubilis was connected by road to Lixus and Tingis but had no eastwards connections with the neighbouring province of Mauretania Caesariensis, as the territory of t

List of creatures by Impossible Pictures

The following is a complete list of prehistoric creatures from the universe of the Walking with... series documentary, science fiction and fantasy television programmes, companion books and any spin-off merchandise. Most of the shows produced by Impossible Pictures with BBC Worldwide and Discovery Channel in association with ProSieben and France 3 and created by Tim Haines and Jasper James, they used visual effects teams such as Framestore, The Mill and Jellyfish Pictures to bring back extinct creatures to life. BBC Wildlife Finder BBC Wildlife Finder Impossible Pictures Official Website

Anglo-Zanzibar War

The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted between 45 minutes, marking it as the shortest recorded war in history; the immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed, more favourable to British interests, as sultan. In accordance with a treaty signed in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultanate was that the candidate obtain the permission of the British consul, Khalid had not fulfilled this requirement; the British considered this a casus belli and sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid barricaded himself inside the palace; the ultimatum expired at 09:00 East Africa Time on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines and sailors, 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour area.

The Royal Navy contingent were under the command of Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson and the pro-Anglo Zanzibaris were commanded by Brigadier-General Lloyd Mathews of the Zanzibar army. Around 2,800 Zanzibaris defended the palace; the defenders had several artillery pieces and machine guns, which were set in front of the palace sighted at the British ships. A bombardment, opened at 09:02, disabled the defending artillery. A small naval action took place, with the British sinking the Zanzibari royal yacht HHS Glasgow and two smaller vessels; some shots were fired ineffectually at the pro-British Zanzibari troops as they approached the palace. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 09:40; the sultan's forces sustained 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured. Sultan Khalid received asylum in the German consulate before escaping to German East Africa; the British placed Sultan Hamud in power at the head of a puppet government. The war marked the end of the Zanzibar Sultanate as a sovereign state and the start of a period of heavy British influence.

Zanzibar was an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanganyika. The main island, had been under the nominal control of the Sultans of Oman since 1698 when they expelled the Portuguese settlers who had claimed it in 1499. Sultan Majid bin Said declared the island independent of Oman in 1858, recognised by Great Britain, split the sultanate from that of Oman. Barghash bin Said, the second sultan and Khalid's father, had been forced by British ultimatum and a threat of blockade to abolish the slave trade in June 1873, though it was discovered that instructions from London would have prohibited aggressive action being taken if that ultimatum had been rejected; the subsequent sultans established their capital and seat of government at Zanzibar Town where a palace complex was built on the sea front. By 1896, this consisted of the palace itself; the complex was constructed of local timber and was not designed as a defensive structure. All three main buildings were adjacent to one another in a line, linked by wooden covered bridges above street height.

Britain had recognised Zanzibar's sovereignty and its sultanate in 1886, after a long period of friendly interaction, maintained good relations with the country and its sultans. However, Germany was interested in East Africa, the two powers vied for control of trade rights and territory in the area throughout the late 19th century. Sultan Khalifah had granted rights to the land of Kenya to Britain and that of Tanganyika to Germany, a process resulting in the prohibition of slavery in those lands. Many of the Arab ruling classes were upset by this interruption of a valuable trade, which resulted in some unrest. In addition, the German authorities in Tanganyika refused to fly the flag of the Zanzibar Sultanate, which led to armed clashes between German troops and the local population. One such conflict in Tanga claimed the lives of 20 Arabs. Sultan Khalifah sent Zanzibari troops led by Brigadier-General Lloyd Mathews, a former Lieutenant of the Royal Navy, to restore order in Tanganyika; the operation was successful, but anti-German feeling among the Zanzibari people remained strong.

Further conflicts erupted at Bagamoyo, where 150 natives were killed by German military forces, at Ketwa, where German officials and their servants were murdered. Khalifah granted extensive trade rights to the Imperial British East Africa Company who, with German assistance, ran a naval blockade to halt the continuing domestic slave trade. Upon Khalifah's death in 1890 Ali bin Said ascended to the sultanate. Sultan Ali banned the domestic slave trade, declared Zanzibar a British protectorate and appointed Lloyd Mathews as First Minister to lead his cabinet; the British were guaranteed a veto over the future appointment of sultans. The year of Ali's ascension saw the signing of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty between Britain and Germany; this treaty demarcated the spheres of interest in East Africa and ceded Germany's rights in Zanzibar to the United Kingdom. This granted the British government more influence in Zanziba