Biblical Archaeology Review 42:4, July/August 2016

Strata: Exhibit Watch: Greeks Come to Washington

BAR July/August 2016 cover

Walk around Washington, D.C., and you will see the influence of the ancient Greeks everywhere—from the Lincoln Memorial, modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, to the bare-chested, toga-wearing statue of George Washington in the National Museum of American History, which was inspired by Phidias’s colossal statue of Zeus at Olympia (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world).

This June, The Greeks—Agamemnon to Alexander the Great opens at the National Geographic Museum in D.C. Showcasing more than 500 artifacts from 22 Greek museums and spanning 5,000 years of history, this traveling exhibit offers visitors an exceptional view of the culture, traditions and innovations of the ancient Greeks.

The Greeks begins with the Aegean Bronze Age—the era in which Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are set. Objects and writing from mainland Greece, the Cycladic islands and Crete offer a glimpse into this period, including gold funerary masks from Mycenae, Cycladic figurines and a Linear B tablet. Throughout the exhibit, we also meet two noblewomen from the Archaic period, an athlete from the Classical period and a youthful Alexander the Great, whose marble bust was carved shortly after his death.

The Greeks is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of Greek history and culture to visit North America in a generation,” said Kathryn Keane, Vice President of Exhibitions at the National Geographic Society. “From their Bronze Age beginnings to the height of classical civilization, the Greeks and the traditions they founded continue to have a profound impact on our lives today.”

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