Friday, October 8, 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

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

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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