Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Loot


"I watched the rafts, until they disappeared behind a projecting bank forming a distant reach of the river. I could not forbear musing upon the strange destiny of their burdens ; which, after adorning the palaces of the Assyrian kings, the objects of wonder, and may be the worship, of thousands, had been buried unknown for centuries beneath a soil trodden by Persians under Cyrus, by Greeks under Alexander, and by the Arabs under the first successors of their prophet. They were now to visit India, to cross the most distant seas of the southern hemisphere, and finally to be placed in a British Museum. Who can venture to foretell how their strange career will end?"

- the archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, upon sending to Britain in 1849 a giant winged bull and winged lion from the Assyrian Palace near Mosul, in modern-day Iraq

from the opening statement of  Loot, The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World,
 by Sharon Waxman

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