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'History Begins in Mesopotamia' at the Musée du Louvre-Lens, Paris

Situated between the two great rivers, largely in what is now Iraq, Mesopotamia was the cradle of modern economics and of the writing with which history began. It was also home to the first cities and the oldest known political and administrative systems.

'History Begins in Mesopotamia' at the Musée du Louvre-Lens, Paris

Our present-day cities, living environment, beliefs, and imaginative ethos might be very different from those of ancient Mesopotamia, but they remain the legacy of those fundamental “firsts” of its civilization.

This is the world, at once close and at a distant remove, that the exhibition will present in the form of major artworks and newly discovered testimony to the Mesopotamia of the 3rd to the 1st millennium BC.

'History Begins in Mesopotamia' at the Musée du Louvre-Lens, Paris
Diorite royal portrait of Hammurabi ?, 1900 BC 
[Credit: © Musée du Louvre]
The aim is to demonstrate the foundational importance of this world heritage, partially known to us through the Bible and rediscovered by 19th-century archaeological ventures: a heritage now under threat from the tragic situation in Iraq and the Middle East.

Visitors to the Louvre-Lens can now explore this world, so close to and yet so far from our own, through over 400 items, including many masterpieces and exhibits on display for the first time.

The thematic trail covers over 3000 years of Mesopotamian history, from the end of the 4th millennium to the 4th century BC.

'History Begins in Mesopotamia' at the Musée du Louvre-Lens, Paris
Bronze figurine of the demon Pazuzu, 911-610 BC
[Credit: © Musée du Louvre]
The exhibition reminds us of the fundamental importance of this world heritage, partially revealed through the Bible and by the ancient authors.

Rediscovered from the 19th century thanks to archaeological digs, it is now threatened by the tragic situation in the Middle East.

Sites such as Nimrud, Hatra, Nineveh or Khorsabad are now the targets of destruction and antiquity trafficking.

'History Begins in Mesopotamia' at the Musée du Louvre-Lens, Paris
Statue of Ebih-Il, ruler of Mari, found in the Temple of Ishtar, Lagash, ca 2600-2340 BC 
[Credit: © Musée du Louvre]
In 2015, French President François Hollande had entrusted Jean-Luc Martinez, President of the Louvre, with a mission to protect cultural heritage in war zones.

It is within this mission that the Louvre-Lens museum presents this major exhibition on Mesopotamia.

The exhibition begins on November 02 2016 and runs until 23rd January 2017.

Source: Musée du Louvre-Lens [November 01, 2016]

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