Adrienne Mayor

Talos of Crete

Autocrats have deployed automatons as weapons since antiquity, not just in myth but in reality. 

Alexander the Great portrayed on an amphora from Magna Graecia, southern Italy, c 330 BC. De Agostini Picture Library / Bridgeman Image

The romantic liaison between the great Amazon warrior queen and the conqueror of the known world has been much mythologised. But did such a delicious pairing really happen? 

Portrait of the king of Pontus Mithridates VI as Heracles. Marble, Roman imperial period (1st century).

The legendary ruler of Pontus and creator of a formidable Black Sea empire was, until recently, one of the most celebrated figures of the Classical world, a hero of opera, drama and poetry.