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Ancient cities of Iraq
January 11, 2006 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Iraq is full of fabled ancient ruins, many in bad shape, but which still fire the imagination. Some highlights: Ur, birthplace of Abraham, still contained many beautiful artifacts when it was last excavated in the 1920s. Then there is vanished Cunaxa, near Baghdad's airport, where the Ten Thousand, a group of Greek mercenaries, fought their way back to Greece in a 1,000 mile, two-year-long retreat described by Xenophon in the Anabasis (and which served as the inspiration for cult films/games and bad science fiction alike). The ruins of the city of Nineveh were discovered in the 19th century just across the river from Mosul, containing art confirming elements of the Biblical account of the conquests of King Sennacherib. Most famously, the ruins of Babylon (not much to look at, the best bit being in Berlin) have seen much abuse, from Saddam's awful rebuilding of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar to reports of recent damage by coalition troops.
posted by blahblahblah (15 comments total)

 
Rush Limbaugh told me those people have no culture.
posted by Balisong at 12:56 AM on January 12, 2006


Excellent and rich post, blahblahblah! Well done; but don't expect anything better than Balisong's response from this crowd.
posted by acrobat at 2:20 AM on January 12, 2006


There were noises that Camp Babylon was to be moved, but I can't find confirmation. One soldier appears to have recent photos.

Here's the British Museum report.

Google Maps shows helicopters cheek-to-jowl with ancient sites. The building by the river surrounded by the spiral road is, I'm pretty sure, the Saddam abomination.
posted by dhartung at 2:28 AM on January 12, 2006


A seminar in posting. Flagged.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:04 AM on January 12, 2006


What do you mean, "bad science fiction." I wasn't the only one who liked that book.
posted by johnwilcox at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2006


Just a point of clarity here, but wouldn't "ruins" naturally be in bad shape? If they weren't in bad shape we'd call them, well, I don't know, but the word wouldn't be ruins.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:42 AM on January 12, 2006


I prefer my ruins ruined, like the Appian Way. But not wrecked.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:20 AM on January 12, 2006


Top-notch blah, top-notch.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:43 AM on January 12, 2006


Great post.

Just a point of clarity here, but wouldn't "ruins" naturally be in bad shape? If they weren't in bad shape we'd call them, well, I don't know, but the word wouldn't be ruins.

Maybe there are degrees of ruinedness.
posted by the cuban at 7:46 AM on January 12, 2006


Awesome post!
posted by bshort at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2006


Great post.
posted by V4V at 9:02 AM on January 12, 2006


I just saw the University of Pennsylvania's collection from the excavations of the royal tombs at Ur. It's currently on display at the St. Louis art museum, for anyone who's interested and nearby, but the exhibit ends tomorrow (Jan. 13).

Of course, it's worth taking a look at if you're near Penn, you can probably catch it more-or-less at your liesure.
posted by agent at 10:38 AM on January 12, 2006


Muslims would disagree about the birthplace of abraham: according to them, it's in Turkey.

Dont forget the sacred carp
posted by lalochezia at 11:11 AM on January 12, 2006


Muslims would disagree about the birthplace of abraham: according to them, it's in Turkey.

Depends on which Muslims you are talking to. Certainly Turkish Muslims would claim that it's in Turkey.

You know how many places in Syria alone are the place where St. George was buried? If half of them are true they would have been digging up and moving the guy once a week for the last 1000 years!

Oh, my ribbing earlier aside, nice post blah.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:02 PM on January 12, 2006


Why on earth did they build ancient civilizations right on top of our oil?
posted by squalor at 1:36 PM on January 12, 2006


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