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’Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age’: a Met Exhibition

发表于 9-20-2014 12:34:29 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Holland Cotter, In Empires’ Remnants, Wonders of Survival; Globalism, fueled by commerce and curiosity, is an overarching theme. New York Times, Sept 19, 2014.
www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/arts/ ... -museum-of-art.html
(museum review on “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age; A detail of a bronze bowl from a tomb in Eleutherna in Crete,’ at the Met” (for Metropolitan Museum of Art))

(1) Slide Show:
(a) Slide 1: "A museum visitor stands before limestone wall reliefs depicting an Assyrian clash with the Elamite kingdom of Iran, circa 660–650 BC"
(i) Assyria
(c 2500 BC - 605 BC; Assyria is named for its original capital, the ancient city of Aššur)
(ii) Elamite (n; adj)
(iii) Elam
(map; section 2 History: c 2700 BC - 539 BC)
(iv) The text of the review has this follow-up: “In a smaller, separate related panel nearby, the chaos has passed. A post-skirmish banquet is in progress, with the Assyrian king and his queen decorously toasting each other in a garden. The equanimity produced by just rule appears to prevail. But if you look carefully up to the left, you’ll see a severed head — of the vanquished Elamite king — hanging in a tree. You’ll also notice something odd about the faces of the royal couple: In an otherwise pristine carving, their eyes have been gouged and their noses and mouths chiseled away. They may have been vandalized by soldiers in the Babylonian armies that brought Assyria down in the early seventh century. No power lasts forever. And as much as the Met show is a display of imperial might, it is also a roll call of states and kingdoms gone — Elamite, Philistine, Hittite — leaving their DNA embedded in art that itself has only barely survived.”
(b) Slide 3: “A detail of a cauldron and a stand, a Cypro-archaic piece, circa eighth or seventh century BC"

Cyprus Archaeology: Chronology Schemes.
("Chronological table by IA Todd, 1998, Kalavasos-Tenta Guide, p9. The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation: Cypro-Archaic I[:] 750-600 BC[,] Cypro-Archaic II[:] 600-475 BC")
(c) Slide 4: "In the foreground, a glass alabastron, Cyprus Phoenician or Assyrian, eighth or seventh century BC."

(originated around the 11th century BC in ancient Egypt as containers carved from alabaster – hence the name)
(d) Slide 5: "A Syro-Hittite sculpture with a human head, a bird's body and a scorpion's tail from Tell Halaf, an archaeological site in Syria near the Turkish border, early ninth century BC."
(i) Syro-Hittite states
(Neo-Hittite, or more recently Syro-Hittite; in northern Syria and southern Anatolia that arose following the collapse of the Hittite Empire [qv; c 1600 BC - c 1178 BC)] around 1180 BC and which lasted until roughly 700 BC)
(ii) For Tell Halaf, see Claudine Cohen, Female Figure. Musée Barbier-Mueller (at Geneva), undated
www.barbier-mueller.ch/collectio ... figure-1018?lang=en
(“Discovered in 1899 by a German diplomat [see (5) of the next posting] during the construction of the Baghdad Railway linking Berlin to Baghdad, the Tell Halaf site (meaning “the hill of Halaf”) in Syria, dated 5900-4500 BC, was first explored by German archaeologists between 1911 and 1913, before the French took it over between 1927 and 1929. It represents a culture that was born in the 6th millennium [BC] along the Khabur River at the border between Syria and Turkey and spreads throughout the Lower Tigris Valley and from there into the whole Middle East”)
(iii) View only the map in Tell Halaf
(e) Slide 6: "A relief of a winged figure in gypsum alabaster, excavated at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), Neo-Assyrian, circa 880 BC.

(f) Slide 8: "Etruscan engraved clamshells"

Etruscan civilization
(g) Slide 9: "At the end of the seventh century BC, Babylonia became the new Assyria, as ruthless as its predecessor in erasing resistance, and asserting its own imperial brand, most noticeably in objects like this glazed brick relief of a lion that covers its palace."

(emerged as an independent state c 1894 BC, with the city of Babylon as its capital; section 1.2.1 The sack of Babylon and ancient Near East chronology)
(h) Slide 10: "gold recovered from Treasure of El Carambolo in Spain"

(i) Slide 11: "An ivory, South Syrian-style openwork plaque with a striding sphinx, excavated from ancient Kalhu, from the Neo-Assyrian period in ninth-eighth century BC."
* openwork (n): “work constructed so as to show openings through its substance :  work that is perforated or pierced <wrought-iron openwork>”
* Neo-Assyrian
(934 BC - 609 BC; succeeded Middle Assyrian Empire)
(j) Slide 12: "A bronze horse frontlet with nude female figures beneath a winged solar disc, from the Heraion of Samos, a large sanctuary to the Greek goddess Hera, in the ninth century BC."
* Heraion
* Hera
(k) Slide 14: "The stele of Tarhunpiyas in basalt, probably from Syro-Hittite state of Marash, circa 800-700 BC."

Stele of the Scribe Tarhunpiyas. Visit the Louvre With the Bible, undated
www.louvrebible.org.uk/index.php ... s-rubrique-menu-157)"This funerary stele showsa scribe depicted as a childon his mother’s knees.He is holding a hunting falcon;his writing tablet is in front of him")

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(2) "The old Homeric civilizations — the Mycenaeans on the Greek mainland, the Minoans on Crete — are on the wane"
(a) Homer
(Whether and when he lived is unknown)
(b) Mycenae
(The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae)
(c) Minoan civilization
(arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately 2700 to 1450 BC; The term "Minoan" refers to the mythic "king" Minos and was first used by Arthur Evans in archaeological contexts)

(3) “You can feel its crosscurrents flowing in the appearance of exotic objects, dating back to the 14th century BC, on Greek islands: on Rhodes, in a ceramic painted with a Near Eastern theme called the ‘Master of Animals’; on Euboia, in a faience cat figurine with a distinctly Egyptian look and gold jewelry that has Babylon written all over it.”
(a) Rhodes
(b) For Master of Animals, see Lord of the animals
(c) Euboea
(d) faience
(originally associated by French speakers with wares exported from Faenza in central Italy)

(4) “A tight-lipped, staring stone portrait of one of its major kings, Ashurnasirpal II, stands at the entrance to the Assyrian section, like a rocket rooted in the earth. An inscription on his chest both spells out his cosmic sovereignty as ‘king of the universe,” and details the geographic coordinates of his realm: from the banks of the Tigris to the Mediterranean’s shores.”

Ashurnasirpal II
(king of Assyria from 883 to 859 BC)

(5) “In one case, the disaster was modern. In the early 20th century, the German archaeologist Baron Max von Oppenheim (1860-1946) shipped a cache of monumental stone Syro-Hittite sculptures from northeastern Syria to Berlin, where he kept them stored in a former iron foundry. During an Allied air attack in 1943, the foundry was bombed and went up in flames. When hoses were trained on the smoldering ruins, many of the still-hot basalt sculptures exploded. Nearly 30,000 fragments were preserved, and, in 2001, painstaking restoration began. One example of it, a six-foot-long statue of a creature with a human head, a bird’s body and a scorpion’s tail, is in the show. In its original palace setting, it served as a fearsome gatekeeper. In its present blown-apart, patched-together state, it looks unsightly and almost illegible, an irreversibly maimed casualty of war.”
(a) Max von Oppenheim
(b) basalt

(6) “For obvious reasons, less conspicuous, packable objects have always had a better a chance of staying out of harm’s way, and the show, organized by Joan Aruz, curator in charge of the museum’s Near Eastern art department, is rich in them. Assyria certainly produced its share: A smartphone-size ivory relief of a lioness attacking — or is it embracing? — a young man is one of the outstanding things and, on loan from the British Museum, one of the great sculptures in New York at present. (A matching version, even better preserved, was looted from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in 2003.)”
(a) “on loan from the British Museum”

Inlaid Ivory Panel of a Lioness Devouring a Boy. British Museum, undated
www.britishmuseum.org/explore/hi ... _devouring_boy.aspx
(“Phoenician, 9th-8th century BC[.] From the palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud, northern Iraq[.] This carved ivory panel is one of an almost identical pair with one now in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad. They originally formed part of a piece of furniture, perhaps a throne * * * It was recovered by the excavator Max Mallowan from the bottom of an ancient well in the palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC). It had probably been thrown there during the destruction of the palace in the late seventh century BC. The carving is Phoenician in style, which suggests that the piece of furniture may have been made in one of the Phoenician centres along the Levantine coast, and come to the Assyrian capital as tribute or booty. * * * Much of the surface of the [London]ivory was once overlaid with gold leaf and inlaid with carnelian and lapis lazuli. Some of this survives and there are traces of the blue mortar into which the lapis lazuli inlays were pressed. The African [boy] wears a short kilt covered in gold leaf. The curls of his hair are marked with gold. A spot of lapis lazuli is also inlaid on the forehead of the lioness”)

* Max Mallowan
(1904-1978; a British archaeologist)
(b) Chasing Down History and the 'Thieves of Baghdad.' NPR, Dec 9, 2005
(“Antiquities Still Missing [--] Lioness Attacking a Nubian: An extraordinary eighth-century B.C. ivory plaque inlaid with lapis and carnelian and overlaid with gold [photo]. Two such ivory plaques are known to exist, with the other being in the British Museum”)

(7) “But when it came to moving precious portables around, the Phoenicians — merchants by trade, explorers by nature, whose city-state lined the Levantine coast — commanded the field. In a sense, they are, with Assyrians, the show’s other great Iron Age power, though in a recessive, businesslike way. Assyria’s might was strictly land based; Phoenicians plied the sea, coming and going from ports in Lebanon and Syria to Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain, dropping off and picking up as they went.”
(a) Levant
(section 1 Etymology)
(b) recessive (adj); "WITHDRAWN"

(8) “Through objects they created, or copied or transported, their presence is everywhere: It’s there in a gleaming gilded silver bowl with Assyrian and Egyptian divinities in a clinch at its center”

clinch (n): "A struggle or scuffle at close quarters, especially (in boxing) one in which the fighters become too closely engaged for full-arm blows"

(9) “At the end of the seventh century, more change. Babylonia became the new Assyria, as ruthless as its predecessor in erasing resistance, and as ingenious in visually asserting its own imperial brand, most noticeably in glazed brick mosaic images of lions and dragons that covered its palaces. Ahead lay the fluorescence of Classical Greece and the rise of Persia, marching in from the west, sweeping all before it like dust.”
(a) Classical Greece
(a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC (the most common dates being the fall of the last Athenian tyrant in 510 BC to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC); The Classical period in this sense follows the Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period
(i) Aristotle (384–322 BC)
(ii) Hellenistic period
(between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium [qv] in 31 BC)

Hellenistic: Not to be confused with another adjective Hellenic.
(iii) “Ahead lay * * * the rise of Persia, marching in from the west, sweeping all before it like dust.”
(A) Not from the “west,” but rather from the east. (Romans came much later, conquering Kingdom of Pontus at 63 BC.)
(B) Cyrus the Great
(Cyrus II; c 600 or 576 – 530 BC; founder of the Achaemenid Empire [The dynasty draws its name from king Achaemenes, who ruled Persis [qv] between 705 BC and 675 BC]; Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East)

However, Achaemenid Empire never ruled Greece peninsula, for Persians lost the wars. See Greco-Persian Wars
(The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus the Great conquered the Greek-inhabited region of Ionia in 547 BC; the war lasted 499–449 BC; table--Result: Greek victory  [where Greek city-states united])

* Ancient Civilizations: 4e. Persian Empire. UShistory.org, undated.

Then Alexander the Great arose to conquer Persia and everything else.
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