Friday, July 8, 2011

"No, he wasn't punished, it just broke off"

Statues that make up part of the Elgin Marbles. Only Dionysus has managed to maintain his head through the years.

Although the British Museum is a self-guided tour through the evolution of civilization, the hordes of people visiting on Wednesday meant we were never wanting for commentary.

I ended up behind a father and son of about 7 or 8ish when entering the Elgin Marbles exhibit of plaster castings of the stone-carved mural that surrounded the Parthenon. It's a series of depictions of men preparing to go to battle, some on horseback and most didn't seem to bother with getting dressed that day. When looking at the first one, the boy must have asked about why one of the men didn't have -- how shall I say this? -- all of his manly equipment anymore. I wasn't paying attention to the kid's question but I had to stifle a laugh at the dad's answer: "No, he wasn't punished, it just broke off."

Ryan looking at friezes that are part of the Elgin Marbles collection​.

Amid the crush of other visitors, we saw the Rosetta stone, the Egyptian tombs and statues, and the remaining pieces of the Parthenon. Most of the statues of Greek gods from the Parthenon are headless, so the curators have had to hedge on which god or goddess it is. For that, we can all thank the genius who in 1687 decided to store gunpowder in the Parthenon while Athens was under siege by the Venetians. Seriously, how was that ever a good idea?

Elizabeth unintentio​nally being Egyptian. Ryan kept telling her to move back, and she did thinking she was in someone's way. Then he snapped the shot.

Upstairs, we met Ginger, the poor dead Egyptian who was buried in a shallow grave of sand around 3400 BC and was baked for 5,000 years. Now, he lies naked in the fetal position to be gawked at by millions of people each year. If Karma exists, you'd think that was a better fate for someone who ordered explosives to be stored at one of the world's most historic places.

Click here for more photos from the British Museum.

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