There was a time when the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford was prosperous enough to support a venture which called itself the Ashmolean Expedition to Cyrenaica. The form this exercise took was the excavation over three seasons between 1952 and 1954 of parts of the site of the Greek city of Euesperides situated on the outskirts of Benghazi (Fig. 1 ).
Euesperides does not figure large in history. We first hear of it in 515 in connection with the revolt of Barca from the Persians: a punitive expedition was sent by the satrap in Egypt and it marched as far west as Euesperides. Euesperides played a part in the downfall of the Battiads, the ruling house of Cyrene. Arcesilas IV tried to create a safe haven against the day when his regime might be overthrown, and in 462 in effect refounded the city with a new body of settlers attracted from all over Greece.
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