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Roman Empire

Who'd be a wise man? Gold's gone through the roof, frankincense is

They journeyed from the East to pay homage to the boy king bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But they would struggle to complete the feat today. Times for wise men have never been tougher. Gold prices are soaring on commodity markets, myrrh crops have been hit by drought – and now frankincense could soon be no more.

Ancient sanctuary dedicated to Mithras discovered in France

Archaeologists excavating at Angers, France, have discovered the remains of a temple dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras. The small, rectangular chapel, in which worshippers gathered for banquets and sacrifices dedicated to the god, is dated to the third century AD.

Top 10 clues to the real King Arthur

The King Arthur we know is one of romance, ephemera and myth. But is he real? Arthur has been in and out of fashion more than denim: one year his veracity is being argued by every archaeologist in Britain, the next he's ignored or derided.

Party Of The Week: Clash of the Titans bash ushers in the summer

Former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, who plays a spiritual guide in the 3D epic Clash of the Titans, was spectacularly busy on Monday night. After signing autographs on the red carpet for the film's world premiere in London, she dashed off to perform in her West End show, The Little Dog Laughed, at the Garrick Theatre down the road. She missed out on watching the film but returned in time for the after party, held at the chic restaurant and bar, Aqua London, housed in the former Dickens & Jones department store on Regent Street.

The best historical pranks and hoaxes

Emperor Constantine had a splendid sense of humour for a Roman, but he couldn't stand criticism. When in the fifth century one of his court jesters boasted that fools and jesters of the court could rule the empire better than the Emperor himself, Constantine decreed that the fools would get their chance at proving this claim.

Hadrian's Wall in giant light show

On Saturday over 25,000 people visited Hadrian's Wall, packing every rolling hillside, car park and vantage spot to see in a huge illumination ceremony organised by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage.

More headlines

Cheques to be phased out by 2018

Some 350 years after one Nicholas Van Acker changed banking history by wielding his quill and writing on an oblong-shaped piece of paper an order to pay a Mr Delboe £400, the death knell was today sounded on the great monetary institution that is the cheque.

Pick of the picture books

A lifeline to those who consigned treehouses to the same Elysian fields as sand pits and paddling pools, Treehouses, by Paula Henderson and Adam Mornement (Frances Lincoln, £19.99) provides a fascinating account of "the earliest form of natural architecture".