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MALI - APRIL 01:  Libraries of the desert: rediscovery and restoration of ancient Arab manuscripts in Bouj Beha, Mali in April, 2003 - Timbuktoo: Library of the Ahmed Baba Institute of Islamic advanced studies and research. A detailed view on the illumination of a Koran bought in Fes in 1223, for 40 golden mithqals.  (Photo by Xavier ROSSI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The Librarians of Timbuktu

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, by journalist Joshua Hammer, tells the incredible story of Abdel Kader Haidara — a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu — who organized a successful effort to outwit Al-Qaeda and preserve Mali’s greatest treasures in 2012. In this Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) exclusive, James Blake Wiener speaks to Joshua Hammer about Haidara’s life and work, in addition to the importance of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts.

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Mosaics of Spain’s Roman Baetica Route: Lebrija Palace

On a recent trip to southern Spain, I travelled along the Roman Baetica Route and visited many of the archaeological sites and museums that Andalusia has to offer. Among the plethora of ancient treasures to be found in the region, I was particularly impressed by the incredible mosaics I came across. This installment of the series will focus on the Lebrija Palace in Seville.

The Roman Baetica Route is an ancient Roman road that passes through fourteen cities of the provinces of Seville, Cadiz, and Córdoba, which correspond to modern-day Andalusia. It runs through the most southern part of the Roman province of Hispania and includes territories also crossed by the Via Augusta. The route connected Hispalis (Seville) with Corduba (Córdoba) and Gades (Cádiz). The word Baetica comes from Baetis, the ancient name for the river Guadalquivir.

The Roman Baetica Route

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August 2016 Museum Listings

By popular demand, Ancient History Encyclopedia will share news, on a monthly basis, about select museum exhibitions and events of interest to our global audience via AHetc. Exhibitions are arranged in alphabetical order by geographical location and region within this post: the Americas, United Kingdom, Europe/Middle East, and East Asia/Oceania. Here is a taste of what is on show at major museums around the world in August 2016:

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“For the Most Beautiful”–A New Novel

Boldly imagined and exquisitely written, For the Most Beautiful, a debut novel by classicist Emily Hauser, chronicles the defeat of Troy through the eyes of female characters almost entirely disregarded in Homer’s Iliad — Briseis, princess of Pedasus, and Krisayis, daughter of the High Priest of Troy. In this Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) exclusive, James Blake Wiener interviews Emily Hauser, asking questions as to the difficulties she faced in writing her first novel, and why ancient Troy lingers so vividly in the western imagination.

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A tawny cat catches birds in among the papyrus stems. Cats were family pets, but he is shown here because a cat could also represent the Sun-god hunting the enemies of the light and order. His unusual gildeed eye hints at the religious meanings of this scene. The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

The Egyptian Tomb-Chapel Scenes of Nebamun at the British Museum

In 1821 ten paintings were purchased from Mr. Henry Salt (1780-1827) and arrived at the British Museum. The eleventh painting was acquired in 1823. Each painting appeared to have been mounted with a slightly different support material. Finger marks and hand prints on the backs of many of the paintings suggest that the paintings were laid face down onto a surface and that a thickened slurry-mix of plaster was applied to the back of the mud straw. All these paintings have undergone extensive conservation.

In 1835, the paintings were put on display to the public within the “Egyptian Saloon” (now the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery) at the British Museum. They were then given the inventory display numbers (nos. 169-70, 171-81). However, at the beginning of the 20th century they were given their current inventory numbers of EA37976-86. There is little indication that they originally came from the same tomb-chapel.

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Mosaics of Spain’s Roman Baetica Route: Carmona and Éjica

On a recent trip to southern Spain, I travelled along the Roman Baetica Route and visited many of the archaeological sites and museums that Andalusia has to offer. Among the plethora of ancient treasures to be found in the region, I was particularly impressed by the incredible mosaics I came across. This installment of the series will focus on Carmona and Éjica.

The Roman Baetica Route is an ancient Roman road that passes through fourteen cities of the provinces of Seville, Cadiz, and Córdoba, which correspond to modern-day Andalusia. It runs through the most southern part of the Roman province of Hispania and includes territories also crossed by the Via Augusta. The route connected Hispalis (Seville) with Corduba (Córdoba) and Gades (Cádiz). The word Baetica comes from Baetis, the ancient name for the river Guadalquivir.

The Roman Baetica Route

 

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Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Lansdowne Relief

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a dark grey limestone relief decorated with mythological scenes. The Lansdowne Relief was unearthed in 1769 during excavations undertaken by the art dealer and archaeologist Gavin Hamilton, who sold it to Lord Lansdowne. The latter was an avid collector of antiquities who owned a fine collection of classical sculptures until most of it was sold and dispersed in 1930 (including the Lansdowne Antinous, the Lansdowne Amazon and the Lansdowne Hercules).

The Lansdowne relief, found at Hadrian’s Villa, 120-138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Image © Carole Raddato.

The Lansdowne relief, found at Hadrian’s Villa, 120-138 AD, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Image © Carole Raddato.

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