Myth and reality

13 November 2008 – 15 March 2009

Discover the greatest city of
ancient Iraq through archaeology, history and art

Exhibition overview

This exhibition is now closed

For two thousand years the myth of Babylon has haunted the European imagination. The Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens, Belshazzar’s Feast and the Fall of Babylon have inspired artists, writers, poets, philosophers and film makers.

Over the past two hundred years, archaeologists have slowly pieced together the ‘real’ Babylon – an imperial capital, a great centre of science, art and commerce. Since 2003, our attention has been drawn to new threats to the archaeology of Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq.

Drawing on the combined holdings of the British Museum London, the musée du Louvre and the Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris, and the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin, the exhibition explores the continuing dialogue between the Babylon of our imagination and the historic evidence for one of the great cities of antiquity at the moment of its climax and eclipse.

 

Glazed brick relief of a lion from Babylon's Processional Way. Reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II (605–562 BC). On loan from the musée du Louvre, Paris. © Photo RMN / Franck Raux.

 


Detail of a glazed brick relief of a lion from Babylon's Processional Way. Reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II (605–562 BC). On loan from the musée du Louvre, Paris. © Photo RMN / Franck Raux.

Supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation

Exhibition organised by the British Museum,
the musée du Louvre and the Réunion des musées
nationaux, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

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