On Saturday we took a road trip to see Cleopatra - The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, a fascinating museum exhibition currently on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA.
The exhibition, sponsored by National Geographic, showed the remarkable treasures discovered during archaeological expeditions of the land and under water locations of the old city of Alexandra and Cleopatra's royal palace. Unfortunately pictures of the exhibits were prohibited so I am forced to show pictures from the printed materials provided.
Wow, these people had a lot of gold. It was amazing just how many gold items were on display. What is remarkable is that the retrieval of these items continues - as well as searching for the burial place of Cleopatra. The gold on display was just the tip of the iceberg.
It was also interesting to note that images of Cleopatra are not common so getting some idea of what she looked like was not easy. Apparently after her death, Rome ordered all images of her destroyed. Guess they didn't care for her too much. But despite that, some images survived. Most images were on coins, but there were a few sculptures that managed to avoid destruction. But all images on display from Egypt were different. Apparently individual artists manipulated her features in a way to reflect the custom of the times - to display their Pharaohs as Gods - so these images didn't give you an idea of how she really looked. There was one sculpture of her in the Roman style - so her features were probably closer to what she actually looked like. If that image was correct, she was a beautiful woman even by modern standards.
Since many of the items on display were buried under sand and water, they were in excellent condition. It was amazing to see such beautiful items and think that 2,000 years ago these items were used, handled by those who served Cleopatra - maybe by Cleopatra herself. In fact, there was one piece of papyrus that was written in Cleopatra's own hand - signed by her. I found that most incredible that such a delicate a piece of papyrus had survived.
The trip was an success. And the Cleopatra exhibition was well worth the trip to Philadelphia. We saw a few other things while we were there and I will tell about them (with pictures) during another posting. It was a wonderful day.