Young Lawrence: A Portrait of a Legend as a young man by Anthony Sattin
This event involved Anthony Sattin the journalist and travel writer, in conversation with Stuart Kelly about his book Young Lawrence: A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man, about the beginnings of T.E Lawrence before he became the legendary figure fighting alongside Arab warriors in the British-backed campaign against the Ottoman empire during the First World War.
It turns out that Lawrence had been to the Middle East before in journey and a life almost as incredible as his career in the First World War.
For a start, Lawrence, while studying Medieval history at Oxford, having shown great endurance in cycling unaided through France visiting castles, then jumped at the chance to see the Crusader Castles of the near East such as Krak de Chavaliers in modern Syria. More extraordinary was the decision to do this alone and on foot which he was warned would be dangerous.
After striking up a friendship with a school teacher in Lebanon, who taught him Arabic, he then successfully toured these castles, his only main misfortune was to get mugged just before coming home.
When he’d got back, he was able to get 1st class degree partly on his thesis on those Crusader Castles which even academics hadn’t visited before, instead relying on secondary source material. After this, through connections he became an archaeologist alongside his mentor D.G Hogarth at the dig at Carchemish at the current Turkey/Syria border which was a site of the Hittite empire(1400-1200BC).
While there he improved his Arabic with the previously mentioned school teacher and for a time ran the dig, showing a certain touch in working with the local workers. He was back in Oxford before meaning to go back, when war in 1914 intervened sadly ending his archaeological career forever.
This was a eye-opening and absorbing event into the youth of T.E Lawrence.