British Museum


Some museums I go to out of a sense of obligation. I have occasionally jogged through picture galleries just so I could say I was there. Some people really care about late neoclassical pre-modernism retro-impressionist finger painting and get really upset if you don't visit a museum that is full of it. However I am genuinely interested in history museums, and there is none better than the British Museum. Mom and I made three visits to the British Museum, not counting a follow-up to the book shop, and saw less than half of it. We only covered that much by moving moderately fast; not jogging but only lingering for the really interesting exhibits. What follows are some of the better pictures I took. I won't attempt a long discussion of the significance of each, I'm not qualified to do so.

First up is the Great Court and Reading Room, where people like Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, and Karl Marx used to hang out when they had free time and were too broke to hit the pubs:



An Easter Island statue from approximately 1000 B.C., the head of a colossus statue of Ramses II from 1270 B.C., and a partial view of the Egyptian Hall:




Two views of the Rosetta Stone, which enabled some really smart people to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics:




A lion from 860 B.C. symbolizing Ishtar, the Assyrian god of War, and Mom. By that I mean that Mom is in front of the statue, she's not part of the Assyrian symbolism:



The gate from the Assyrian palace of Balawat, around 850 B.C. and two winged lions guarding the gate:



Here is a 1635 B.C. Babylonian story about a flood that drowned the whole world except for a few people favored by the gods. One of those fanciful myths:



A monument from one of the Lyceum tombs of Zanthos in southwest Turkey from about 380 B.C. This is a reconstruction in work:



Some of the Elgin Marbles, either pilfered or rescued and preserved, depending on your point of view, from the Parthenon of the Acropolis of Athens in the early 19th century. While these remnants indicate that the Parthenon was once astoundingly beautiful and a probably the finest monument of Classical Greece, to be honest in their current condition they are a little bit of a disappointment. I don't think they lived up to all the hype. The National Archaeological Museum in Athens has much better stuff. Following are three shots of the pediment statues, four of the friezes, and two pictures of one of the original Caryatids from the Acropolis:













Some nice Greek statues--Hippocrates, the Molosian Hound, and part of a column from the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.




In reviewing this page I realize it doesn't come close to doing the British Museum justice. Trust me, if you're in London you have to spend quality time there. When I return to London I plan on at least a few more days to cover the exhibits I missed.



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