Ancient footprints are everywhere…

#48. See the Acropolis and the Coliseum.

The view of the Acropolis from the Areopagus, photo by me.

It’s recently come to my attention that, in the past 5 months or so, I have seen a lot of the most important monuments and pieces of art in the world.

The Parthenon, under construction as per usual, photo by me.

More importantly, for me, is that I’ve finally seen all of the things I’ve been studying in my years of ancient history classes, essays and books.

The inside of the Coliseum, photo by me

Number 48 was about seeing what I thought were the two pinnacles of Greek and Roman civilization. But along the way I’ve seen some pretty awesome things that have come up over and over again in my studies. Not buildings or monumental structures, but artefacts.

It started with the Augustus of Prima Porta in the Vatican Museum in Rome. There was the statue of Laocoon and his sons in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. There were the famous statues of Nefertiti and Akhenaten in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre.

This trip to Greece was no exception.

In the Archaeological museum of Knossos in Heraklion, there was the Phaistos disc, a beautiful and mysterious Minoan artefact, engraved in a language (Linear A) that we have never been able to translate:

The Phaistos Disc, photo by me

And this famous faience statue of a Minoan snake goddess that I remember studying in second year Greek history.

Minoan Snake Goddess, found at Knossos, photo by me

In the National Archaeological Museum, the famous bronze statue of a God (Zeus or Poseidon) recovered from a shipwreck:

Zeus? Poseidon? photo by me

And the famous Mask of Agamemnon - a funerary mask that Heinrich Schliemann uncovered at Mycenae and wrongly interpreted it as being the Agamemnon (of Homeric fame).

Mask of Agamemnon photo by me

At at Delphi, the Charioteer of Delphi:

Charioteer of Delphi, photo by me

Just to name a few, and not to mention all of the hundreds of photos I took of other artefacts that I found super interesting, but aren’t as famous.

I had an interesting revelation, though. As I was taking these photos, I was thinking “So that someday I can use it in a Powerpoint for a lecture.” I always do this when I’m at museums. But I started to think about what that meant. That maybe I want to be a professor someday. Which means maybe I want to do my PhD someday. Which is a little bit terrifying.

It’s interesting how most of the things of my list of things to do before I die have turned out to have completely different meanings from where they started originally. This is just one example.

6 Comments

  • By Chandra, May 20, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    YAY!!!!! so many things done, and so much more to see! Life is just an adventure isn’t it?

  • By Emily Jane, May 20, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

    Wow, what pictures - it’s such an amazing feeling to see up close some of the things that have been around for such a long time. I remember when I saw the Book of Kells in Dublin, I just burst into tears!

  • By Eleni, May 20, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    So cool! Yes, some of those would be great for a PowerPoint lecture ;) That Coliseum photo is beautiful, and I like the Minoan snake goddess statue.

    My family has a bronze copy of the Augustus of Prima Porta (I’d guess it’s about 2 ft tall) in our front hall. We, uh, like to make him hold things (e.g. sprig of holly at Christmas). But it would be cool to see the real thing!

  • By S.I.F., May 21, 2010 @ 7:41 am

    I am fascinated by Greece and Greek mythology, and I always thought being a professor would be such an amazing job… I say go for it!

  • By Rachel Cotterill, May 22, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    I’ve “done” Rome, but I really really want to see Greece (particularly Pompeii and Herculaneum) and Troy. One day…. too many plans, too little time :)

  • By Sebastian, May 27, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

    Got to thinking… have you ever seen any Titan statues?

    There was the forearm of one in a Turkish museum. Can’t remember if it was for Ephesus or Thermessos — anyway, I think this is it:
    http://www.worshipexcellence.org/PAULS_MISSIONARY_JOURNEYS/EphesusImages/TitusStatueParts.jpg

    The arm is much taller than a human…

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