Cyrus the Great

Posted in Ancient World, Art, Education, Getty Villa

Proclamations in Clay

4_workshop2

Make your own regal proclamation in rolled clay with these tips from artist Anna Mayer. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Exhibitions and Installations

In Search of One of the World’s Oldest Religions

Plaque with a Priest from the Oxus Treasure / Achaemenid
The British Museum

One of the world’s oldest surviving religions, Zoroastrianism played an important role in the history of ancient Persia. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Manuscripts and Books, Voices

The Search for Cyrus

Cyrus the Great, Founder of the Persian Empire, killed by Thamaris, Queen of the Massagetai; Boucicaut Master Illuminator, French, active about 1390 - 1430; Paris, France, Europe; about 1413 - 1415; Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.); 96.MR.17.58
Cyrus the Great, Founder of the Persian Empire, killed by Thamaris, Queen of the Massagetai; Boucicaut Master Illuminator, French, active about 1390 - 1430; Paris, France, Europe; about 1413 - 1415; Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.); 96.MR.17.58

A look at the representations of king Cyrus of ancient Persia in the Getty’s manuscripts collection. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations

Why the Cyrus Cylinder Matters Today

The Cyrus Cylinder as installed at the Getty Villa
The Cyrus Cylinder, Achaemenid, after 539 B.C. Terracotta, 22.9 x 10 cm. The British Museum

Why is this small cylinder of baked clay so famous around the world? More»

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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit wacko. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.

      09/17/14

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