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 Dragiana/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 OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 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)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Another great bronze statue on display in Israel

Some rejoicing news for a change in these times of widespread destruction where so many artifacts disappear on clandestine markets.

Center piece of the news is a bronze statue which, together with many more artifacts has been recently donated to the Israel Museum by art-collectors Robert and Renee Belfer from New York. Just imagine having such a statue in your living room!

The nude Roman bronze from the first century BC is totally intact and still has his original inlaid glass eyes, which is rather rare. Starting this coming June (2015) it will go on public display for the first time under the title “A Roman Villa – The Belfer Collection”. How exciting!

Unfortunately we don’t know the identity of this young man and have no clue to what he is supposed to hold in his right hand. Speculations go towards Heracles who may have held his club, or Bacchus who could have held his kantharos, or again it might be an athlete carrying the palm branch of victory or a wreath. The provenance also remains obscure although the Belfer family acquired the statue as recently as 2004 through Christie’s.

The four foot tall bronze statue will not be lonely as about one hundred of the newly acquired pieces will also be on display, giving the visitor an idea of the luxury the Roman elite enjoyed at their homes. Most of the pieces are rare objects, including glass (the oldest piece being Egyptian from 1550-1330 BC), bronzes, ceramics and marble sculptures. There is, for instance a magnificent Roman head, a copy from an earlier Greek bronze that seems to point towards Polycleitus, a sculptor from the 5th century BC. The marble is probably from Rhodes and the wear and tear indicates that it was retrieved from the sea, meaning it possibly sank aboard a ship on her way to Rome. Other noteworthy objects are a Phrygian helmet made of bronze; a gilt glass tomb marker; and two high quality mosaics, one of a fish that seems inspired by a digital photograph and one showing a bird’s eye view of Rome.

Of particular interest is a pendant from Carthage with its typical Punic look of glass inlaid details.

Robert Belfer apparently donated many artifacts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before deciding to entrust his present collection to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In his eyes the objects represent an important chapter in the history of civilization in which Jerusalem played a central role.

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