Mystery Solved: How Alexander the Great Defeated Tyre


No man is an island, but it turns out all Alexander the Great needed to take over an entire island was a little help from Mother Nature.

A half-mile-long spit of sand once linked the ancient Lebanese island of Tyre to the mainland, according to a new study of the area’s geological history. Alexander used the natural sandbar to build a causeway, allowing his army to overwhelm the island stronghold during a siege in 332 BC.

Alexander’s conquest of Tyre has long been known to archaeologists, but they never understood how he managed to build a viable overwater passage to the enemy. The challenge probably troubled the Macedonian king at first too, said study leader Nick Marriner of the CEREGE-CNRS, a French geosciences research institute.

The 2007 WWII Rationing Project

This blogger is eating by World War 2 British rationing rules for a month.

We live in a time and a place where food is more plentiful, more available, and more cheap than it has ever been. The supermarket stocks not only the meat-and-veg basics, but also exotic ingredients and specialty items that have only proliferated on U.S. menus within my lifetime. It also provides more processed and precooked foods, making it easier for people to avoid cooking altogether. It’s become more infrequent to have family meals, and cooking from scratch is practically on the endangered list.

Sixty-five years ago, in 1942, things were very different. The world was at war, and most countries involved (on both sides) had introduced rationing to eke out food, gasoline, etc. at home while also adequately supplying troops in the field. Although the U.S. experienced rationing and shortages, the U.K. government imposed even more strict rationing, due in part to the fact that the shipping lanes that supplied the U.K. with imported goods were hounded by U-boats. Meat, bacon, milk, cheese, cooking fats and oils, and other food items were rationed for the duration of the war — and beyond, because the shortages didn’t end when the war did.

I’ve always been interested in historical cookery, particularly because I feel it is a sort of time travel — with some limitations, you can eat the same foods that the Romans did, or the medieval French, or the Elizabethan English. My husband has done World War II re-enactment, and I’ve joined him on occasion for a USO dance. So perhaps it’s not surprising that when I said, “I think… it might be an interesting experiment to try and live on World War II rationing rules for a month,” he didn’t say, “Are you crazy?” but instead replied, “Hey, that does sound interesting. Let’s do it.”