AO Magazine - March 2020
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Gold. It is history’s most coveted asset. It has inspired some of humanity’s greatest achievements, stirred passions for power and glory, commanded veneration, and provoked greed, slavery, and even murder. There is no other object that has played such a significant role in shaping human history as this illustrious metal.
It began its journey as a symbol of omnipotence, equated with gods, purity and immortality, and it was buried with the dead – a certain entry into heaven. But make no mistake, gold’s most central role in history has been as a powerful and unbreakable symbol of wealth, status, and power. It has adorned the heads of kings and the necks of queens; it has shone from the tops of pyramids and it has been displayed to cheering crowds by victorious rulers in triumphal processions.
In this issue, we trace the colorful and dramatic story of gold through the ages, from mythological tales with morals, like the story of King Midas and his golden touch and the way Golden Apples reflect some of humanity’s biggest vices, to the ambitious quests of ancient alchemists and civilizations to acquire the pure, shining substance.
We also reflect on the way gold transforms individual lives, as treasure hunters confront the highs and lows of striking it rich, and the impact gold hoards can have on a whole culture, such as the discovery of the magnificent South African Mapungubwe Gold Collection.
Finally, join us as we trek alongside explorers searching for the legendary lost city of El Dorado and get a special peek inside the labs of some of the best scientific minds looking for information on the supposed burial shroud of Jesus. Answers to these mysteries shine bright in the distance.