Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Visiting a Local Museum to Learn about Egypt

Enough history and drama wrapped into a story to make the most uninterested a Egyptologist (italics below from the display sign):

This statue is very rare. It is one of seven in the world identified as the most famous queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra VII was born into a Macedonian family called the Ptolemies, who were famous for their vicious infighting. …She had several relatives killed so that she might survive.

For generations Romans coveted Egypt, a source of grain they could use to feed their army. They used the fighting in Cleopatra’s family as an excuse to send their envoy: Julius Caesar. The Romans expected Caesar to choose someone who would be friendly towards the Roman empire to be Egypt’s new pharaoh. However, Julius Caesar was charmed by Cleopatra’s wit and intelligence and brought her back to Rome as his lover. He supported Cleopatra as she struggled against her sister Arsinoe for the throne of Egypt.

Unfortunately, Caesar was murdered on the Senate steps and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt. The next envoy to Egypt was Mark Anthony, a friend of Caesar’s. Anthony also fell in love with Cleopatra and together they fought against Rome until they were defeated and Cleopatra was captured. She committed suicide, probably so that she could not be dragged through the streets of Rome in shame. Many of Cleopatra’s statues were destroyed by the Romans after she died.

I liked this one:

Demonstrating Amarna art at its most beautiful, this simple image depicts a Nubian girl offering gifts. Her upturned face shows the hint of a smile. Some Amarna art was very exaggerated, but this work is more subtle. RC 1741

This was interesting:

The deity Sekhmet was the patroness of surgeons and healing. She was also the goddess of plague and the hot desert wind. The Egyptians believed that if she could cause a disease, she could certainly heal it. This statue of Sekhmet was commissioned by the Pharaoh Amenhotep III to thank the goddess for curing his health problems.

We enjoyed the tour, very interesting. K was most interested in the mummy of a four and a half year old girl (of course). G wasn't as impressed, but she did like playing outside with the other kids.
Great trip; thanks, Justin!

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