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CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©


Persia’s “Forgotten Empire” Back in the Limelight

 

 

 

09 September 2005

 

 

The exhibition Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia opened to the public on Friday at the British Museum.

The items on display in the exhibition, which is believed to be the biggest collection of antiquities from the golden age of the Persian Empire , have been gathered from the National Museum of Iran, the Louvre, and the British Museum itself.

 

Forgotten Empire tells the story of the Achaemenid Empire (circa 550-331 BC), which was the largest the world had ever seen at the time.

 

John Curtis, the curator of the museum’s Ancient Near East Department, said, “We call it a forgotten empire not because it’s been forgotten by the Islamic Republic of Iran or any other country in the Middle East but because it’s been forgotten in Western Europe .”

 

The exhibition showcases about 400 ancient items including the "Cyrus Cylinder", a barrel-shaped inscribed British Museum foundation deposit sometimes referred to as the first declaration of human rights because of its reference to religious tolerance.

 

Other highlights include a large stone dog that guarded the palace at Persepolis , which was later burnt down by Alexander.

 

The exhibition will also host special events including films, music concerts, guest lectures, and workshops.

 

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, the director of Iran ’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO), Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii, and many other cultural figures attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which will run until January 8, 2006 .

 

There are also plans to transfer the exhibition to the Kaisha Foundation in Spain next year, but the CHTO director has still not approved the Spanish organization’s request to host the event.  

 

 

 

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