Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum @ British Museum

私たちはローマ帝国の文明に大いに興味があり、ローマではローマ遺跡や博物館を見て歩き、大規模なローマ遺跡が良い状態で数多く残っているトルコ南西部へも旅行し、2000年前の高度な文明・文化に感銘を受けた。なので、最近始まった大英博物館の「Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum」展(3月28日〜9月29日)は、是非見たい展覧会リストの最上位にあった。

ポンペイヘルクラネウムは、南部イタリアのナポリ湾に存在していた古代都市で、紀元79年のヴェスヴィオ火山噴火の際に起こった火砕流によって破壊され、地中に埋没。火山灰に覆われた事により、ほぼ完全な状態で保存され、約1700年後に再発見された。この展覧会では、最近発見されたものや以前発掘されたものなど、大多数がイタリア国外に出た事のない、250点以上の貴重な遺物を展示。ローマ帝国で栄えた2都市の日常生活が垣間見られる。ヘルクラネウムの方が豊かな街だったようで、こちらの発掘物は上流階級のものが多いという。

屋敷の階段の下で肩寄せあう家族や悶え苦しむ犬の石膏型に心を痛ませ、400度にもなる火山灰によって瞬時に灰の塊となった、パンや野菜、果物などの食べ物や、真っ黒の炭と化した木製家具など、今まで見たこともないものに驚かされる。絵画や壁画、レリーフ、モザイクからは、当時の服装、パーティや娯楽の様子(横になってお酒を飲む男性の絵)、性に対する姿勢、様々な神々を信ずる多神教信仰(酒の神・バックスのレリーフ)、そして当時の動物や植物などが見て取れる。他にも、ローマ時代のアクセサリー(蛇の形の金のブレスレット)や食器類、道具など、興味深いものがたくさん展示されている。→写眞:Daily Mail

私たちは展覧会を大いに楽しんだけれど、イタリア人の友人に言わせると、ポンペイ遺跡を見に行った方がいいと、身も蓋もない発言。そりゃ、実際にポンペイの巨大遺跡を歩いたり、多くの発掘物を保管している国立ナポリ考古学博物館の膨大なコレクションを見る方がいいに決まってるけれど、ここはロンドン。ここまで集められただけでもあっぱれだと思うんだけど。。。

We are highly interested in civilisation of Roman Empire, and fascinated by visiting the Roman ruins and museums in Rome and other places such as south west Turkey where large scale Roman ruins remain in good shape. So, British Museum’s new exhibition of “Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum” (Mar 28 – Sep 29) is the must-see for us.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were two thriving civilisations on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, but destroyed and buried by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in just 24 hours in 79AD. Preserved under ash, the two cities were discovered in their near-perfect state almost 1,700 years later. This exhibition brings together more than 250 artefacts, including recent discoveries and finds from earlier excavations, most of which have never been seen outside Italy.  Findings from the sites give us a glimpse of the everyday life of the people of the two Roman cities. It is said that the population in Herculaneum were more prosperous than pompeii, so you can know the upper class people’s lifestyle from the findings from there. →more photos: Daily Mail

It was fascinating to see casts of some of the victims of the eruption such as a family of four who are huddled together under the stairs of their villa, as well as a pitiful plaster cast of a dog. I’ve never seen totally carbonised food such as bread, vegetables and fruits, as well as charcoaled wood furniture, due to the volcanic ash of 400c. Paintings, frescos, reliefes and mosaics that are still retaining intense colours, show us how Romans lived – their clothing, how they partied and enjoyed life (ex. painting of a man reclining to drink), their attitudes towards sex, and the their pluralistic religion (ex. relief of Bacchus), as well as the fauna and flora of the time. Another interesting objects in the exhibition are Roman accessories (ex. snake-shaped gold bracelet) and everyday life objects such as cutleries and pots.

We like the exhibition a lot, but one of our Italian friend was not so excited about it like us, saying that she prefers to see them in Pompeii… Of course, it is better to walk around the site of Pompeii, and to see a large collection of findings from the sites at Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, but she shouldn’t be too harsh – we are in London, and I think this is the best they can do here!

Wall painting of the baker Terentius Neo and his wife. From the House of Terentius Neo, Pompeii. AD 50–79

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE 

The Sunday Times’ special poster for the exhibition

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