the British Museum

IMG_7166Is it because I’m a teacher? Or because I married an academic? Both? Once in a while museums just get me. And the British Museum is like the mother of all museums. We enjoyed the walk through Bloomsbury in the sunshine and walked in on the world’s best collection of human artifacts. The Museum no longer contains the national library or natural history, being largely a collection of artifacts from human history and culture.

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The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court was very interesting architecturally, though we did not visit the round reading room in the center due to a special exhibition. The King’s Library along one side of it was probably my favorite room–I’m not alone: Wikipedia just told me it is known as “one of London’s finest rooms.”

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We spent most of our time on ancient Roman and Egyptian antiquities. One thing I really enjoyed seeing was also the Museum’s most-visited artifact: the Rosetta Stone. It was fun watching Alex squinting at the Greek.

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IMG_7226The busts of Roman emperors were interesting as well. We studied their faces, as portrayed  in sculptures that reached the far end of the empire. Caesar Augustus, Titus (who sacked Jerusalem), Nero.

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Augustus

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Nero

In this area I also learned something I never knew before. (Stop me if you’ve heard this one.) The earliest Christians did not identify themselves with the symbol of the cross or with the fish symbol. They used the “Chi-Rho” symbol–the first two letters of the name of Christ in Greek, often appearing with the alpha and the omega of Revelation 1:8. We saw dishes, jewelry, and various objects with this symbol, including the famous tile mosaic portrait of Jesus found in England in Hinton St. Mary. The mosaic has pomegranates instead of the alpha and omega–symbolizing immortality.

IMG_7193Since seeing it all was out of the question, we eventually had to leave. En route to St. Paul’s we couldn’t decide between coffee and ice cream so we went to Starbucks for frappes. (I can’t remember the last time we both ordered at Starbucks, but I think it was  before we had the children.)

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