This lavish exhibition catalog brings to life Antioch, the magnificent city known for its Hellenic culture and luxurious way of life, once ranking with Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople as one of the great metropolises of the Roman and early Christian world. Located in what is now southern Turkey, Antioch was the capital of Ancient Syria, a vital marketplace at the crossroads between East and West. It was here that St. Paul preached to the first gentile community to be called "Christians" and where a Greek-speaking Jewish culture flourished alongside Roman, Egyptian, and Near Eastern cults. A large middle-class shared in the wealth and culture of the city, and art abounded in numerous forms, especially in beautiful mosaics depicting scenes from mythology and everyday life. Featuring 118 objects excavated from the city's ruins, all reproduced in full color, Antioch: The Lost Ancient City recreates the spatial sensation, visual splendor, and cultural richness of this urban center.
Devastated by an earthquake in 526 C.E., as well as by fires, plagues and invasions by Persians, Antioch survived only in memory through ancient written accounts until the 1930s, when excavations revealed a wealth of finds from the private houses of its inhabitants, including a large cache of floor mosaics. In addition, archaeologists found several churches, a stadium, a circus, a theater, and several baths. This catalog displays and describes the excavated artifacts--mosaics, sculpture, glass, metalwork, coins--within their architectural and cultural contexts, thereby evoking the street life as well as the domestic lives of Antioch's citizens. Among the treasures are the mosaics The Drinking Contest between Dionysos and Herakles and The Judgment of Paris, the Antioch chalice, gold jewelry from Syria, bronze tyche figurines, and mosaics of river and sea deities. Antioch emerges as a compelling model of a melting-pot city, one that challenges our own notions of civic community and diversity.
The contributors are Susan Boyd, Bernadette Brooten, John J. Dobbins, Anna Gonosová, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Florent Heintz, Sandra Knudsen, Christine Kondoleon, Michael Maas, William Metcalf, James Russell, Sarolta Takács, Cornelius Vermeule III, and Fikret Yegul.
The Worcester Art Museum
October 7, 2000-February 4, 2001
The Cleveland Art Museum
March 18, 2001-June 3, 2001
The Baltimore Museum of Art
September 16, 2001-December 30, 2001