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

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III at the British Museum

Side B: There are 4 tribute-bearers from Suhu carrying "silver, gold... byssus, garments with multi-colored trim and linen". Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

I was attending an event at the Royal College of Physicians of London in early March 2016, and I had a plenty of time to spare. One of my targets was, of course, the British Museum. Two years ago, Jan van der Crabben (founder and CEO of the Ancient History Encyclopedia) asked me to draft… Continue reading The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III at the British Museum

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Sword of the Chieftain of Oss, Photo by the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Leiden, Netherlands is not exactly the first place that comes into mind when you think about ancient history. Even if you are in the city, you would most likely walk past the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) without noticing it. Hidden in an unremarkable building in the historic city center, it’s nothing like… Continue reading Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Roman Glass from the Archaeological Museum of Pavia

A glass kantharos or drinking cup.

Roman glassware includes some of the finest pieces of art ever produced in antiquity and the very best were valued higher than wares made with precious metals. However, plain glass vessels such as cups, bowls, plates, and bottles were also used as everyday containers, in particular, for storing and serving food, drinks, and perfumes. The… Continue reading Roman Glass from the Archaeological Museum of Pavia

The Cinquantenaire Museum: A Hidden Gem in Brussels

There’s a hidden gem in Brussels, located just outside the heart of the old city, which far too many visitors miss: The Cinquantenaire Museum. Elegantly positioned inside Brussels’ Parc du Cinquantenaire, the Cinquantenaire Museum is teeming with priceless ancient, medieval, and modern treasures from around the world. This January, I was lucky enough to visit… Continue reading The Cinquantenaire Museum: A Hidden Gem in Brussels

Ivory in the Ancient World

A Greek ivory pyxis depicting griffins attacking stags. 15th Century BCE. (Agora Museum, Athens)

Ivory, with its ease of carving and exotic rarity, has been used to make art objects for millennia. True ivory actually refers to only the dentine of elephant tusks but it may also refer to the tusks and teeth of walrus, hippopotamus, narwhal and sperm whales, amongst others. The ancient world acquired its ivory either… Continue reading Ivory in the Ancient World

Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Dancing Female Figure of Praxilla

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble statue of a dancing female figure, thought to be a portrait of Praxilla of Sikyon. Praxilla was a female poet writing in the mid-fifth century BC. She came from Sikyon, a city situated on a fertile coastal plain beside the Corinthian Gulf in the northeast Peloponnese… Continue reading Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Dancing Female Figure of Praxilla

Assyrian Lion-Hunting at the British Museum

Detail of an alabaster bas-relief showing a lion being stabbed in the neck. The lion has jumped and reached a critical point very close to the king's chariot. The king's attendants thrust their spears onto the lion's neck to stop the lion; the king, using his right hand, stabs the lion deeply into his neck. The lion's painful facial expression was depicted very delicately. From Room C of the North Palace, Nineveh (modern-day Kouyunjik, Mosul Governorate), Mesopotamia, Iraq. Circa 645-535 BCE. The British Museum, London. Photo©Osama S.M. Amin.

Whoever was privileged to gain access to the North Palace of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, could consider himself part of something timeless. Thanks to the great work of Hormuzd Rassam (1826-1910), who unveiled a large number of alabaster bas-reliefs, which once decorated the walls of that king’s Palace (built around 645 BCE); the… Continue reading Assyrian Lion-Hunting at the British Museum

Our Ancient Cyprus Travel Guide

Aphrodite's Rock, the site of the birth of the goddess Aphrodite, Cyprus

Lying at the crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean, the island of Cyprus has long been a meeting point for many of the world’s great civilizations. Situated where Europe, Asia and Africa meet, its location shaped its history of bringing civilizations together. Many powers conquered the island, and Cyprus was ruled in turn by the Hittites,… Continue reading Our Ancient Cyprus Travel Guide

The Changing Faces of Apollo

Apollo was considered an epitome of youth and beauty, source of life and healing, patron of the civilized arts, and as bright and powerful as the sun itself. He was, arguably, the most loved of all the Greek gods. Although he was associated with many positive aspects of the human condition such as music, poetry,… Continue reading The Changing Faces of Apollo