A lecture on the daric and walk in the Botanicals

This cold weather has preserved little patches of crisp white snow everywhere, so cycling around outside feels very scenic. Today was a day of crisp fresh air and frozen water. I cycled to the Fitz to attend a talk by Dr Adrian Popescu from the Department of Coins & Medals on the ancient coinage of Persia. It was fascinating of course. He talked about how the Persians took over the production of coins from the Lydians when they expanded their empire. The Persian coins know as the daric, were made in both gold and silver and depicted a running archer presumed to be a king because of the crown he wears. When talking about the Persian propensity to bride rather than fight their enemies, Dr Popescu made a lovely reference to Greeks admitting to falling to the Persian Archers. After the talk he let us handle both gold and silver darics – they were surprisingly tiny and a satisfying oval shape that made you want to pick them up and turn they over in your hand. It would be absolutely fascinating to do some research on shapes and how we respond to them.
Afterwards I went to the Botanical Gardens and walked along the crunchy gravel paths admiring the reds and oranges that still linger in the barks and leaves. The pond was frozen and had little moorhen shaped footprints all over it. The Garden is free to get into during the winter – as long as you go during the week.

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