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Llewelyn Morgan

Lecturer in Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford

Llewelyn Morgan is a Classicist, a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. The focus of most of his research is Roman literature and culture, and he is the author of the well-received study of Roman poetic form, Musa Pedestris: Metre and Meaning in Roman Verse (Oxford, 2010). But he also has a longstanding fascination for Afghanistan, contemporary and historical, which he traces to his discovery, at an impressionable age, of a Russian samovar inscribed “Candahar 1881”.

He has made several visits to Afghanistan in recent years, and his most recent book, The Buddhas of Bamiyan (Profile Books and Harvard University Press, 2012), traces the history of these remarkable monuments from their Buddhist origins 1,400 years ago, through their celebrity in Islamic wonder literature and European travel writing, up until their destruction in 2001. Morgan is a regular public speaker, on many aspects of Classics and Afghanistan, appears occasionally on BBC Radio 4, and writes slightly less occasionally for the Times Literary Supplement.

Spare a Thought for the Hazaras of Quetta

A month ago, on June 15th, a bus carrying students home from the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University in Quetta, Pakistan, was hit by a female suicide bomber.
12/07/2013 14:25 BST

Us & Them: Some Lessons From the Ancient Greeks

What are we? English? Welsh? British? Are we bothered? Most of the time our "identity", national, religious or whatever, probably isn't at the top of our list of concerns. But sometimes circumstances come along which make us less secure in ourselves, less able to take our place in the world quite so much for granted.
23/04/2013 14:45 BST

The Timbuktu Manuscripts: An Important Clarification

There were suggestions that as many as 25,000 manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu had been burned, and even that the building itself had been torched. When the dust cleared the damage, though serious, turned out not to be as dire as feared.
15/02/2013 09:47 GMT

Timbuktu and Bamiyan: A Tale of Two Cities

I swore blind to myself a couple of weeks ago that I'd never publish another word on Bamiyan. I fear deeply for the future of that beautiful valley and its long-suffering people, but I felt I'd reached a point of just repeating myself. One thing Bamiyan should never be is boring.
12/02/2013 09:25 GMT

Breivik, Afghanistan and What Academics Are For

My book was about the Buddhas of Bamiyan, two gigantic statues carved from a cliff face in central Afghanistan, demolished by the Taliban in 2001. I was reading Breivik, among other reasons, because he's very interested in the Hindu Kush, the band of mountains that sweeps across Afghanistan from the North-East to the West: Bamiyan sits in a valley in the heart of those mountains.
21/01/2013 16:07 GMT

Bamiyan, Timbuktu - Are the Pyramids Next?!

If you believe <a href="" target="_hplink">this</a>, the days of the pyramids are numbered: "According to several reports in the Arabic media," writes Raymond Ibrahim, "prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt's Great Pyramids."
16/07/2012 17:18 BST

Timbuktu: What It Really Tells Us

In reality, what is happening in Timbuktu is one group within the broad spectrum of Islam violently imposing its blinkered ideology on another tradition in Islam with which it disagrees.
08/07/2012 21:31 BST

Should We Rebuild the Buddhas of Bamiyan?

What good will it do to resurrect one of the Buddhas of Bamiyan if Chehel Burj is allowed to melt away? That's not symbolism but tokenism, the guilty parting gesture of Western powers that know they haven't really done the job.
03/06/2012 16:53 BST