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This edition: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East

Episode Details

Original tape date: May 11, 2019.

First aired: May 9, 2019.

In spring 2019, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled a landmark exhibition “The World Between Empires: Art and Identity In The Ancient Middle East.” With international support of over 20 museums and institutions, the show gathered 190 pieces of art, dating from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, when the Roman Empire in the West was competing with the Parthian Empire in the East for control over the Middle East, the global trade center, the nexus of lucrative silk and incense trades.

Leading the exhibition tour are curators Michael Seymour and Blair Fowlkes-Childs. The tour starts from ancient Southwest Arabia, through Petra, Judaea, Tyre, Sidon, Palmyra, Dura-Europos to Mesopotamia, the ancient trade route between East and West. 

Dura-Eurpos in Eastern Syria is an exceptional site for understanding what went on in the Middle East. Christianity, Judaism, and Polytheism all being practiced in the same place at the same time.

The show ends with the destruction of the Parthian Empire and the establishment of the Sassanian Empire. 

Guest List

Blair Fowlkes-Childs Research Associate, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Michael Seymour Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dr. Daniel H. Weiss President and Chief Executive Officer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art