Friday 19 February 2010

Memories of Mesopotamia

By the Euphrates

On Thursday evening , Ian and I went to 'Poetry, Mathematics and Myth' an evening event at the British Museum associated with the 'History of the world in 100 objects' series. You could sup beer as part of the story of ancient brewing, take the ancient Egyptian civil service test or hear Ozymandias recited. Apart from looking at displays, we settled for a half hour hunkered on the floor listening spellbound to storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton recount tales from the epic of Gilgamesh (linked to object 15 , an early writing tablet) She gave an excellent performance , interspersed with music - we'll be back for the next instalment in May on feasting. We've recently been rewatching Michael Woods'In search of Myths and Heroes' and were reminded of the storytellers filmed for that, the devices they use to remember.
Shard of pottery at Ugarit
4000 year old bricks at Mari
Apart from the power of a story well told, with its link to peoples long ago, the experience took us back to our trip to Syria in 2004, visiting the Euphrates, the ancient cities of Ugarit and Mari, trying to get your head round how old they are, and the thrill of actually being in the 'fertile crescent' you learnt about at school.

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