Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sagalassos Exhibition in Tongeren, Belgium

The exhibition Sagalassos, City of Dreams is quite interesting with plenty of panels (in Dutch only) relating the history of the place in between the illustrated artefacts. To anyone who has not been in Sagalassos it is very well constructed with in the centre a scale model of the site surrounded by a 360 degree projection of the landscape with the sound of the everlasting winds and running water in the fountains.

Unfortunately the scale model is all white on a white background and I missed some depth or livelihood. They could have made more of it, for instance with push-buttons to highlight this or that building which is difficult to transpose on the scale model or on the site of Sagalassos itself.

For the kids there are five computers or so presenting de “live” history in the style of Asterix, and then there are two or three screens with very short 3D reconstructions whirling around rather quickly – an excellent idea that has not been entirely developed.

As to the objects on exhibition, I personally found the collection rather poor, at least this was the conclusion after my first visit. It seemed that the Museum of Burdur definitely had not sent its best pieces and I saw none of the magnificent statues from the Nympheum and only two pieces of the dancing nymphs from the Heroon on display, yet not the best ones. Further, mostly small items like statuettes, coins, lamps, etc. The huge statue of Marcus Aurelius (head + 1 ½ leg) was squeezed clumsily in a corner/doorway in such a way that I almost missed it completely.

However, during my second visit I definitely was in for a huge surprise! At the far end of what I thought was the last room, I now discovered arrows on the floor and on the wall directing the visitors to what turned out to be the climax of the exhibition! How could I have missed this the first time? I wasn’t alone then and my friend hadn’t seen the signs either … Even now there were much less visitors in that part than in the front rooms.

What a pity this was/is not better labelled for the true jewels are to be found in here: the entire frieze with the dancing Maenads from the Heroon for instance, together with the head of the hero which by some is thought to belong to Alexander the Great. Further, two beautiful reliefs of Zeus and Poseidon, a fine Hellenistic cremation tomb and a larger Roman example are also on display. And of course, one of the statues from the impressive Nympheion at the Upper Agora of Sagalassos representing Dionysus with a Satyr. All the pieces are exquisitely exposed to the floodlight in this utterly dark room, blanketed on one side with a bed of red poppies like we can see live in the Sagalassos area in springtime. In the last room and in bright white light, I find the huge head of Emperor Hadrian that was recently excavated with one foot and part of his leg, and which made the headlines for a special exhibition at the British Museum!

So, I have to revise my opinion that this exhibition wouldn’t be worth a trip from abroad for it definitely would. Sagalassos and a visit to the Museum in Burdur are not within everybody’s reach and maybe Tongeren is.

I evidently took pictures, just click on this link Sagalassos/Tongeren. For the missing part and its highlights, you’ll have to wait for my next trip to Tongeren as I didn’t carry my camera during my second visit. Meanwhile my pictures from the Museum in Burdur will have to do.

[Click here to see all my pictures of the Tongeren exhibition]
[For pictures taken during my trips to Sagalassos, please click here]

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