Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost Army of Persia

In 525 B.C., a massive and well equipped Persian army 50,000 strong set off across a remote Egyptian desert. They had supplies ,weapons and soldiers. They were led by King Cambyses II, son of the powerful Cyrus the Great.

They were never seen again.

Photo by Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni

Until now that is.
Italian archaeologists Alfredo and Angelo Castiglioni have discovered their fate after more than 2000 years. The most famed and wide reaching of ancient historians, Herodotus, mentions the army in his Histories. He states that they were beset by a terrible sandstorm and utterly lost. For years some historians have postulated that the incident never took place, as no evidence could be found.

Many historians and archaeologists have searched for the lost army and have never found any trace of them because, like Belloq and the Nazis, they were digging in the wrong place. It has long been assumed that the army took the established caravan route from Thebes to the desert Oasis of Siwa, on a mission to destroy the Temple of Amun there and kill the priests who rejected his claim of kingship over Egypt. The cause of death for these soldiers was the Egyptian khamsin -- a hot, strong, unpredictable southeasterly wind that blows from the Sahara desert over Egypt. It was capable of rendering any navigation impossible and distorting landmarks. When it gets to its worse point it could scour skin and suck the moisture from the very air.

The Castiglioni brothers have uncovered bronze Achaemenid Persian weaponry, jewelry, and a horse bit that matches relief carvings from the time in the Persian capital of Persepolis. These and other finds go a long way in positively identifying the remains as those of the army of Cambyses II. Pottery sherds recovered from the site have been dated to 2,500 years ago, which is the period of Cambyses. The remains and artifacts were found near a large stone outcropping that would have been a perfect place to try to find shelter from a sandstorm. Archaeology is a slow moving science and we may have to wait even longer for the full and final confirmation that this is, in fact the lost army.


  1. very cool I have never heard that story before.

  2. Cool ! Where's your source, though ? You should always have (at least) one trackable souce, otherwise these could just be the inane ramblings of a madman. Which you clearly are not.

  3. Well the main source I used for this was... ahem... FOX News...
    Now everyone will know I'm lazy...
    But I followed the FOX mini article for short American attention spans to the article.