Thursday, October 7, 2010

Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Sunday we did the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, part of the Topkapi complex in Sultanahmet. We had actually prepared for this, and subsequent archaeology in Turkey, by viewing several DVDs we have on ancient near eastern history, from The Teaching Company. It's really difficult getting Ur, Babylon, the Chaldeans, the neo-Babylonians, the Hittites, the neo-Hittites, the Egyptians, Assyrians, the Phrygians, the Lydians, etc., all straight. We're working on it. Alas, one of the main attractions of the museum, for us, a remnant of the iron chain the Byzantines stretched across the Golden Horn to keep unfriendly ships out, was on loan to some other museum. Next time.
Main building of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum

In the ancient near eastern section, a huge Hittite relief

One of several tile dragons (also lions, etc.) that lined a street in neo-Babylon

"The oldest love poem," c. 2000 BC

Deer a favorite in ancient near eastern depictions, especially hunting scenes; 
I had never thought of deer in the near east; perhaps they were hunted-out

The Kadesh Treaty, oldest known treaty--a copy stands at the entrance to the UN--
between the Hittites and Egypt, late bronze age

The Museum's associated tile kiosk, exhibits of Ottoman tile

Just one example

In the main museum, its most prized possession, the so-called Alexander 
Sarcophagus, made for a 4th century BC king in Sidon; it is nearly the 
size of a small house, very nearly perfectly preserved, a superb example 
of Hellenistic work

A detail, Alexander spearing a foe

Greek woman/goddess

"These sandals are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do..."


A nearly contemporaneous bust of Alexander

Jaunty pose of a Roman woman

Some objects from Schliemann's excavations of Troy; the Museum has a whole 
big floor devoted to Troy; but understand that Homer's Troy was Troy VI--the 
place  was inhabited for aeons and a major center for centuries, abandoned and 
"lost" only in the middle ages

Me by a conjectural Trojan horse

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