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Ancient Persia in New York City

July 29, 2013

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During our recent trip to New Jersey we made a trip into New York City.  The first top – the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This amazing place is the largest art museum in the U.S. and one of the ten largest in the world.  There are over 2 million works in its permanent collection… that gives you some idea just how large this place is.

Our visit to the Met included a tour of a special exhibition titled “The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia.”  These pieces were on loan from the British Museum and arranged among the other Ancient Persian pieces at the Met.  The Head of a Persian Guard (above) came from excavations in Persepolis and dates to the reign of Xerxes I (485-465 BC).

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The cylinder with cuneiform inscriptions (above) was from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 634 – 562 BC).  It documented building activities during his reign.  Another cylinder on exhibit, the Cyrus Cylinder, looks like the photo above.  It is one of the most famous Persian pieces in the world.  Unfortunately, that piece was “off limits” when it came to photography.   The Cyrus Cylinder cuneiform inscriptions document the actions of Persian king Cyrus the Great after he captured Babylon in 539 B.C. It marks the establishment of Persian rule and records how Cyrus restored shrines and allowed deported people to return home.  During this time he allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem as mentioned in the Bible.

The piece below shows two servants bearing food and drink.  It dates to the reign of Artaxerxes III (358-338 BC) and was found at Persepolis.

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I could have spent days roaming through the Met taking photos and enjoying the displays.  I share these so others can appreciate the beauty from Ancient Persia.  These pieces also remind us of a history when a king named Cyrus extended kindness to foreigners who had been captives in his land… and allowed them to freely return to their homes.  Now that’s amazing!

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