Greco Roman Museum Alexandria.

Luxor is ancient Thebes and has a fascinating past. Share your knowledge or ask your questions here.

Moderators: DJKeefy, 4u Network

User avatar
Hafiz
V.I.P
V.I.P
Posts: 1244
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:23 pm
Has thanked: 798 times
Been thanked: 730 times
Gender:
Australia

Greco Roman Museum Alexandria.

Post by Hafiz » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:29 pm

Greco Roman Museum Alexandria.

The Supreme Antiques are at it with energy, focus and attention and this museum is to be re-opened later this year.

As usual they think bricks and mortar will fix problems or improve the situation when the main problem isn’t physical assets but the absence of human assets to display, conserve, adjust displays and, for most have a book/pamphlet that tells you what you are looking at. In countries that don’t have 77,000 staff in their antiques/display areas there are tape systems via head phones and assistant curators who give a better view than most of the money obsessed, egotistical and often sleazy tour guides.

I would love to know - actually I'm certain I know - whether there has ever been any formal study in questionnaires and 5 minute interviews of what Egyptians and tourists want from museums, what they don't get and what they get that they don't like. This simple methodical approach is anathema to the way in which Egypt does business. Museum visitors are regarded as relevant to museums as citizens are to the government of their country.

As with all positive stories about Egypt the truth is very different and al Ahram and the Minister full of lies. http://english.ahram.org.eg/Media/News/ ... 73-402.jpg

The Supreme Antiques say the ‘renovation’ started in 2018. If true, doubtful, that means that nothing happened for 13 years and ‘old timers’ would say that would be no surprise.

More reliable others, could there be anything less reliable than al Ahram, Egypt Today or an Egyptian Minister, say its been closed since 2005 – I think a bit longer. https://egyptianstreets.com/2018/12/19/ ... n-in-2019/

Al Ahram runs this photo of the ‘renovation’ which I think indicates that the work (broad definition) is being done by people who often blow things up – usually the wrong things/people.
Image

Al Ahram confuses the issue by running photos as part of this article on the catacombs which are not part of the 19Th century building but maybe al Ahram doesn’t know that.

One object confirms my view that the quality is so low these should be in storage until they can find something vastly better (not that they are looking although that sleaze from the Domination Republic 9a claimed lawyer with no archaeology quals whatsoever) and ‘great friend’ of Hawass is in her 12 year with, according to Hawass. 100 staff paid for by the poor Egyptian taxpayer who has not had the Benefit of her universal affection she widely ‘distributes’.
Image

The Museum starts from a low base and an amazingly poor stock of objects for a 700 year period and much inferior to the holdings in Tunisia, Libya and Morocco – with these having a stronger Roman emphasis. As with all other museums its quality not quantity, clear information, lighting and space and lots of other things that will not happen because they thing a new building/$US50 million will fix all problems – it wont but firing 20,000 staff might be a start.

It also starts from the fatal congenital disease of all Egyptian Museums – they don’t know the beginning of displaying things.

Some examples.

Note this crowded confused room and that the plinths lack uniformity/add to the chaos because they are variable heights and colors. Note that more than half have received the Sisi treatment – they are missing their heads. The 5-6 I can see are in dreadful pitted state. There are no spotlights, in fact no electric lights I can see and the natural light appears irregular and patchy. It could be worse – we might have to talk to the Museum Director for an hour.
Image

Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, have quality, especially mosaics, but Egypt has surprisingly little sculpture of quality and almost no mosaics and quality pottery whereas the other countries have oceans and of the highest quality. How could these Roman and Greek giants have been in Egypt for 700 years and left so little. Its just impossible. Maybe the Egyptians don’t like nude statues, pottery or ‘reliefs’.

In the later period how could the Byzantine religious mosaics and icons at Ravenna and Istanbul be the greatest in the world but those in Egypt non-existent or of the lowest quality possible even though Byzantium ran the place for 200-300 years? Were they destroyed by the Arabs or were local skills the worst in the Byzantine world? Has no-one gone looking/digging? Surely the Copts preserved something/did something in that style – if so I can find nothing.

For a city named after Alexander it has discovered little about him and purchased less about him.

Here is the best mosaic I can find, the face is rough. its allegedly Medusa but doesn’t look like a woman:

Image

Meanwhile objects like this are left out in the heat and dreadful smog: A renovated building won’t fix the stupidity and laziness that led to this.

Image

Notice what the idiots have done. They have 2 near identical marble baths 10 feet from one another. A sane human being would split them and put the second in a museum. An idiot would say they stay where they were found the response to which is liar – it’s the forum/amphitheater area. Vehicle pollution destroys and discolors marble. https://www.unece.org/info/media/news/e ... -risk.html

Notice that all are propped up in an anarchic way with red house bricks the color of which will seep into the marble. The surrounding area looks like a tip and could be fixed for 500 dollars – and a director with a brain.

Before they closed they had everything on display – junk and not junk. In the Greco Roman ‘garden they had them propped against some wall. On reopening they would gain from firing the staff who did this and other idiocies.

Image

The rest of their garden was a chaotic mess the main features of which were modern pot holders and garden hoses. Again a consistent display is simple whereas putting a Rolls Royce in a Hollywood Western is madness.

Image

Pottery heads were indexed for everyone to see – sort of.

Image

Their glass was displayed in a way otherwise unknown to man – or at least homo sapiens.

Image

Prominence is given to everything and nothing is undeserving of display. Maybe they should display the modern toilets.

Image

The Supreme Antiques say this is Augustus – maybe. Surely the bust of the Emperor is done to a high standard. What is certain is the pitting and weathering of the marble and the poor quality of sculpting. For clarification read the minute description on the 100 year old metal plaque at the base. Its hand written.

Image

Things are just banged together so to speak – notice the deep pitting on the right.

Image

Here is another bizarre arrangement – the big and the small and a dismembered arm. My garbage collection man organizes things more rationally. (presumably the arm is of a shot-putter). The plinths are different volumes.

Image

In case you missed it the different sized busts are at different heights to add order to chaos. Clearly balance and order are not in the local DNA
Image

Given they display little that they should display they show much that they shouldn’t under the Debauchery Act. Here is an odd realistic statue (in limestone which explains the weathering and its in the Alex collection of Antinious, the lover of the Emperor Hadrian and who drowned in the Nile. He was proclaimed a god but little is known of this and little remains of the city named after him. (Just Nth of Mallawi at el-Sheikh Ibada)

Image

(after his death thousands of busts, some of the very highest quality, were made all over the Empire and there isn’t a collection in the west that doesn’t have at least one of high quality).

In 2010, work began on a mosaic museum, to be built around the temple of Ras el-Soda and there is a deal of debate about what it is. Why a mosaic museum when all that is already on display is third rate and in small volume compared with the spectacular finds in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco is beyond me – all those locations place the Roman and Greek (spare bits) together in one place and don’t split things up. Debate is useful and the beloved property developers win the day as you can see from the following.

Image

The relative absence of bronze busts, related images and ceremonial swords and spears is very strange. I wonder where they ‘ended up’? I think I might know.

As with all problems the librarians always have the answer. Here is the Biblotechia Alex.’s scaled down ‘in house’ version of a site with some odd statues and a foot/sandal on a 7 foot wooden plinth – it doesn’t get any better and the taxpayer is sure to applaud the great expense. All sites should be duplicated and all libraries should become museums – according to some.
Image

I can find little/nothing written by Egyptians on this 600 year Greco-Roman period yet it is their own history of a period when they were at the center of the world or immensely powerful – very strange.

There are some better fresco’s/paintings at St Catherine’s but I think they have been touched up a bit too much – a probable in a monastery where touching up is not unknown. That these objects, including manuscripts, are better preserved might have something to do with the fact its not a Copt hole, but Greek Orthodox and that the Supreme Antiques are kept away.

You would bet that Alex would have found or acquired something special of Alexander the Great – but no, this is their best heavily worn and stained, presumably marble. It could be worse – but hard to find worse.

Image

I can find no university in Egypt which teaches this period in part or whole from any angle – religion, politics, culture, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, geometry, cosmology, science, economics etc and I doubt that the dreadful so-called local archaeology training schools deal much with this period. It’s a long time since Egypt produced a 1st class archaeologist or historian – possibly never.



User avatar
Winged Isis
Egyptian Pharaoh
Egyptian Pharaoh
Posts: 3840
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:38 pm
Location: Australia
Has thanked: 1566 times
Been thanked: 1012 times
Gender:
Australia

Re: Greco Roman Museum Alexandria.

Post by Winged Isis » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:02 pm

I visited this in January 2003. I don't remember much about the display as such, just that it was an old building, but there were some wonderful pieces and I have been eager to see them again ever since.

Lonely Planet's latest edition on Egypt (2018) says nothing about it still being closed, my inside sources said otherwise. But we went when in Alex a few weeks ago to check and it still has scaffolding outside and is closed. No-one knew when it would open; par for the course in Egypt. It is to be the National Museum.

At the other end of the spectrum is the wonderful Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo. We spent half a day in this beautiful building last week (repaired after a bomb explosion at the nearby police station, in 2017 I think).

Stunning items beautifully displayed, with excellent lighting, labels, information panels etc. Lovely courtyard as well, displaying more features. Photos allowed for a small fee. Highly recommended.
Carpe diem! :le:

User avatar
Hafiz
V.I.P
V.I.P
Posts: 1244
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:23 pm
Has thanked: 798 times
Been thanked: 730 times
Gender:
Australia

Re: Greco Roman Museum Alexandria.

Post by Hafiz » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:52 am

Definitely agree about the Islamic Museum. Significantly after the bombing it was the great Louvre which helped them get back together which I take as a clear sign of respect for them and good relations. Such does not apply anywhere else in Egypt in the aftermath of Hawass.

It makes we growly that the sleazy tour guides give the Islamic short shrift but that reveals their poor skills and poor judgement. For older/disabled groups its a perfect environment. It would be interesting to know how many of the million or so tourists from the region are interested in going there - my guess is few.

In the last few decades the auction prices of fine Islamic/Arab objects have exploded so this collection is many more times more valuable than before.

You would think there was demand for tour of its collection in other capitals in the region but its my guess that Egyptian political idiots and money grubbers prevent this even though its good diplomacy without the usual baseball bat. Others understand the big PR effect of loaning big objects to, say, Saudi for 6 months but that requires good planning and better management.

I cannot make sense of the paucity of Greco Roam objects and mosaics and of high quality Byzantine icons and mosaics. It just does not make sense given the wealth of Alex and the period of time. The lack of high quality painted pottery also makes no sens as with metal objects. Take another example of the gaps. The glory of the Ottoman palaces and mosques are the incomparable Iznik tiles and extreme related decoration. There is little, nearly none, of that in Cairo even though the Ottomans ran the place for 500-700 years.

The pitting of the marble is dreadful but might be connected with the salt in the air and the high level salt water table. However other marble has been sitting in salty land very close to the sea for 2,500 years and is in marvelous condition - the recently discovered Motya Boy/Charioteer from south west Sicily discovered by an organization funded by a long standing UK family that first made their money by supplying Nelson's fleet with Sicilian fortified wine. Its hard to photograph but the genius is the fine draping of the tunic, its folds and the shaping around the body underneath. Overall its unique in getting close to transparency.

Image

There is nothing within a bulls roar of this in Egypt and the alleged Augustus I show above is of such poor quality most museums would keep it in storage. It looks nothing like the hundreds of other busts of him.

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post
  • Greco-Roman Tomb Found in Aswan
    by Winged Isis » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:40 pm » in History and Archaeology
    0 Replies
    135 Views
    Last post by Winged Isis
    Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:40 pm
  • Rare 2,200-year-old Greco-Roman Temple Discovered
    by Winged Isis » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:03 pm » in History and Archaeology
    0 Replies
    92 Views
    Last post by Winged Isis
    Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:03 pm
  • Collection of Graeco-Roman tombs uncovered in Alexandria
    by DJKeefy » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:47 pm » in History and Archaeology
    0 Replies
    30 Views
    Last post by DJKeefy
    Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:47 pm
  • Museum of Caligraphy - Alexandria.
    by Hafiz » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:30 pm » in History and Archaeology
    1 Replies
    211 Views
    Last post by Winged Isis
    Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:13 pm
  • Egypt’s Graeco-Roman Museum to Inaugurate by Late 2019
    by Winged Isis » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:50 pm » in History and Archaeology
    0 Replies
    174 Views
    Last post by Winged Isis
    Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:50 pm