DIANA DRISCOLL

Silk Road Lecturer

Welcome Picture

Diana's Lectures

Diana gives lectures on her tours with Cox and Kings and also gives gallery talks at the British Museum. The objective of her lectures and gallery talks is to convey the history, ideas, culture and personalities, which shaped societies over the centuries.


Upcoming Lectures and Talks

Silk Road: Scythians & Sogdians

British Museum
Room 52 Ancient Iran
October 31, 2017
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Heavenly horses, shimmering silks and pampered princesses: Silk Road Commodities
British Museum
Room 33 China and South Asia
November 25, 2017
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Silk Road: Why the Chinese learned to love the horse
British Museum
Room 33 China and South Asia
February 24, 2018
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Recent Lectures and Talks

Silk Road: Art of the Tile
British Museum
Room 34 Islamic World
August 16, 2017
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Silk Road Traders: Parthians
British Museum
Room 52 Ancient Iran
September 12, 2017
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Silk Roads: Warrior Horsemen (& women!)
British Museum
Room 52 Ancient Iran
July 29, 2017
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Silk Road: Early Steppe Nomads
British Museum
Room 52 Ancient Iran
May 30, 2017 
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Silk Road: Amulets & Talismans
British Museum
Room 34 Islamic World
June 13, 2017 
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Silk Road Traders: The Sassanians
British Museum
Room 52 Ancient Iran
April 11, 2017
1:15pm
Cost: Free

Previous Lecture Topics

Central Asia

Steppe, Desert, Oasis, River
The history and geography of the steppe and its early empires. Are there nomadic characteristics that can be traced from the seventh-century Scythians to the Huns and Mongolians? Where did they come from and what was their legacy?

Central Asia
Where is it and why has it been so important for trade and commence since the second century BC? Is it becoming a significant geopolitical entity today?

The Silk Road
What were the links between silk, horses and the Roman treasury?

Temür or Tamerlane
Historians and chroniclers pilloried him as being synonymous with death, destruction and deportation, yet he was also praised as a military genius and one of the last of the great nomadic warriors. Today, he is known as the father of the Uzbek nation. Who is the man behind the myth?

Islamization of Central Asia
Arab armies conquered present-day Syria, Persia and all of North Africa by the seventh century. It took another hundred years for the armies to cross the Oxus River. Why was the Islamization of Central Asia so complex?

Bukhara
In the tenth century, Bukhara was known as the Dome of Islam, the greatest renaissance city in Central Asia, and was home to the finest libraries in the Islamic world. Yet by the nineteenth century, it was famed for its mad Emir. What contributed to the rise and fall of Bukhara?

The Architecture of Power
From nomadic tents to Samarkand, the architectural legacy of Central Asia is vast. What is the architectural legacy of the cities of Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva?

The Tournament of Shadows / The Great Game
The eighteenth- and nineteenth-century traders, spies and military men, and their colourful personalities, determination and far-sightedness formed the borders of Central Asia. Who were these individuals?

Divine Crossroads of Central Asia
Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam all converged along the Silk Road. What were these religions and what is their status today?

Zoroastrianism
For a thousand years, Zoroastrianism was the major religion of Persia and of many communities in Central Asia. It has been hailed as the first monotheistic religion and heavily influenced Judaism and Christianity, yet it did not survive after Islam. Why?

The Ethnic Peoples of Central Asia
Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Turcomans and the Tajiks. Who are they and what are their roles in past and contemporary Central Asia?

The Savitsky Collection
The Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art has the second largest and most significant collection of Russian avant-garde art in the world. Igor Savitsky collected the ninety thousand items, saving thousands of paintings from Soviet censors, who branded them degenerative art. His was a remarkable journey of intrigue, deprivation and determination.

Mughal India

Akbar the Great
Akbar: military strategist, shrewd diplomat, administrative genius, patron of art, culture and urban development, tolerant ruler, and religious devotee. Why is he considered the greatest of the Mughal Emperors?

From Samarkand to the Taj Mahal
The art and architectural legacy brought from Central Asia saw its fruition in the magnificent Taj Mahal. Why is the Taj Mahal considered the masterpiece of Mughal Islamic architecture?

The Mughal Court from the Perspective of Foreign Diplomats
Despite the wealth of chroniclers' documents of the Mughal Court and its proceedings, it is the writings of foreign diplomats which continue to fascinate historians to this day.

Woman of the Court
The Taj Mahal, the mausoleum built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, has become a symbol of Mughal women. But Mumtaz was far from unique. What does the wealth of information on women in imperial households reveal about women of her time?

The Mughal Gardens of Agra
Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty, began building the first formal gardens in Agra along the Yamuna River. His gardens inspired so many more – some as fascinating as that of the Taj Mahal – that Agra became a vast, riverfront garden city. What served as inspiration for these gardens?

Middle East

Nabataeans: Petra’s Rulers
The Nabataeans were wily traders, water-system geniuses, and most famously, the rulers of Petra. How did this ancient people retain their identity even after being absorbed into the Roman Empire?

Feisty Desert Ladies
The footprints of Zenobia, third-century warrior queen, and Lady Hester Stanhope, intrepid nineteenth-century traveller, are part of the ancient city of Palmyra’s extraordinary history and discovery. What is the connection between these two women and the magnificent ruins in the desert?

Saladin
Of all the figures of the crusading era, Saladin is the most intriguing. Who is the man behind the legend?

The Phoenicians
Ancient Phoenicia lay along the eastern Mediterranean coasts of modern Lebanon and parts of Syria. What do we know of Phoenicia’s history, culture and cities? Would Phoenicia’s inhabitants even recognize the term Phoenician?

Early Travellers to Petra
Who were the early European travellers who ventured into the remote and inhospitable Lebanon and parts of Syria? What did they discover and what is their legacy for historians and archaeologists today?