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In this issue

FROM ECSTASY TO ENLIGHTENMENT With transgressive rituals and a central belief that material reality is animated by divine feminine power, Tantra challenges the status quo. But it is often misunderstood. Lindsay Fulcher finds enlightenment at the British Museum. THE RICHES OF RAVENNA Inside the churches of Ravenna, gleaming mosaics depict scenes of paradise and the faces of bishops and emperors. These cultural achievements, says Judith Herrin, show that Ravenna was not a declining late antique city, but integral to an emerging new world. IN THE BEGINNING Chinese emperors often studied the skies, as it was from celestial powers that they received their ‘Mandate of Heaven’. Dalu Jones explores an exhibition in Geneva that demonstrates how this preoccupation with the cosmos stretches back millennia. THEBES Home to fabled figures like Oedipus, the ancient Greek city of Thebes has had a profound cultural impact, yet this city of myths has long been overshadowed by Athens and Sparta. Paul Cartledge reveals why Thebes was forgotten – and why it should be remembered. WHERE EAGLES DARE Located in what is now the heart of Mexico City, Tenochtitlan was the thriving capital of the Aztec empire, a ritual and administrative powerhouse, until Hernán Cortés arrived in the 16th century. A touring exhibition, presenting some new finds, examines religion, tribute, and conquest in the Aztec city.

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