When the Louvre opened its first Assyrian gallery in 1847, the European public discovered a forgotten civilization flourishing in the 1st millennium BC. The empire was previously known only through the Bible, with its monuments, language, and the kings’ names long disappeared. Thus, in the early 1840s, the discoveries of material remains of their culture at Khorsabad and Nineveh in northern Mesopotamia caused a great sensation. Within a decade, the cuneiform inscriptions were deciphered. The history of the decipherment of the Assyrian language was a truly European feat, involving rival as well as courteous collaboration. Its Semitic character caused a controversy, which continued in 1877 when Sumerian, a non-Semitic language, was uncovered in southern Mesopotamia.
About Programs at the Ancient Art Council
Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.
The Discovery of Assyria and Sumer by the West in the 19th century
Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor
Prof. Annie Caubet
AAC members: Free / General: Suggested donation $5