HOME
TheInfoList



struggling with a
Lapith The Lapiths (; grc, Λαπίθαι) are a group of legendary people in Greek mythology, whose home was in Thessaly, in the valley of the Peneus and on the mountain Pelion. Mythology Origin They were an Aeolian tribe who, like the Myrmidons, wer ...
on a metope from the
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447&nbs ...

Parthenon
, in the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, England, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, ...
(London), part of the
Elgin Marbles The Elgin Marbles (), also known as the Parthenon Marbles ( el, Γλυπτά του Παρθενώνα), are a collection of Classical Greek marble sculptures made under the supervision of the architect and sculptor Phidias and his assistants. The ...
n
lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu'' from Dur-Sharrukin. University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Syrian limestone Neo-Assyrian Period, c. 721–705 BCE">University of Chicago Oriental Institute">Dur-Sharrukin. University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Syrian l ...
in the
Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of ...
Antiquities are objects from Ancient history, antiquity, especially the
civilizations A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbolic systems of communication (such as writing). Civilizations are intimately associat ...
of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east ...
: the
Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ... {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ... {{ ...
of Greece and Rome,
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced ar ...
and the other
Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, southeast Turkey, southwest Iran, northeastern Syria and Kuwait), ancient Egypt, ancient Iran (Ela ...
ern cultures. Artifacts from earlier periods such as the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' "middle"; λίθος, ''lithos'' "stone") is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for ou ...
, and other civilizations from Asia and elsewhere may also be covered by the term. The phenomenon of giving a high value to ancient artifacts is found in other cultures, notably China, where
Chinese ritual bronzes with zigzag thunder pattern; Early Zhou dynasty; Shanghai Museum , as it is now displayed File:Wine cup (gu), China, Shang dynasty, bronze, Honolulu Academy of Arts.JPG, 310px, ''Gu (vessel), Gū''; Shang dynasty; Honolulu Academy of Arts (Ha ...
, three to two thousand years old, have been avidly collected and imitated for centuries, and the
Pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian (first human habitation until 3500 BCE); the Archaic (before 2600 BCE), the Preclassic or Formative (2500 BCE – 250 ...
, where in particular the artifacts of the earliest
Olmec civilization The Olmecs () were the earliest known major Mesoamerican civilization. Following a progressive development in Soconusco, they occupied the tropical lowlands of the modern-day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. It has been speculated that th ...
are found reburied in significant sites of later cultures up to the Spanish Conquest. A person who studies antiquities, as opposed to just collecting them, is often called an
antiquarian 's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum,'' 1655 An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin: ''antiquarius'', meaning pertaining to ancient times) is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the t ...
.


Definition

The definition of the term is not always precise, and institutional definitions such as
museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is an institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. Many public museums make these items availa ...
"Departments of Antiquities" often cover later periods, but in normal usage Gothic objects, for example, would not now be described as antiquities, though in 1700 they might well have been, as the cut-off date for antiquities has tended to retreat since the word was first found in English in 1513. Non-artistic artifacts are now less likely to be called antiquities than in earlier periods.
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. His works are seen as developing ...

Francis Bacon
wrote in 1605: "Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time". The art trade reflects modern usage of the term;
Christie's Christie's is a British auction house founded in 1766 by James Christie. Its main premises are on King Street, St James's in London and in Rockefeller Center in New York City. It is owned by Groupe Artémis, the holding company of François-Hen ...
"Department of Antiquities" covers objects "from the dawn of civilization to the Dark Ages, ranging from Western Europe to the Caspian Sea, embracing the cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East."
Bonhams Bonhams is a privately owned international auction house and one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. It was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. This brought toget ...
use a similar definition: "...4000 B.C to the 12th Century A.D. Geographically they originate from Egypt, the Near East and Europe ..." Official cut-off dates are often later, being unconcerned with precise divisions of
art history#REDIRECT Art history#REDIRECT Art history {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, and using the term for all historical periods they wish to protect: in
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan ...
it is 1750, in
Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and special administrative region of the People's Republic of China on the eastern Pearl River Delta o ...
1800, and so on. The term is no longer much used in formal academic discussion, because of this imprecision. However, a recent attempt to standardise this and other terms has been carried out. Most, but not all, antiquities have been recovered by
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological, ...
. There is little or no overlap with
antiques A true antique ( la, antiquus; 'old', 'ancient') is an item perceived as having value because of its aesthetic or historical significance, and often defined as at least 100 years old (or some other limit), although the term is often used loosel ...
, which covers objects, not generally discovered as a result of archaeology, at most about three hundred years old, and usually far less.


History

The sense of ''antiquitates'', the idea that a civilization could be recovered by a systematic exploration of its
relic In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism ...
s and
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes the usage, consumption, creation, and trade of objects as well as the behaviors, norms, and rituals that the objects create ...

material culture
, in the sense used by
Varro Marcus Terentius Varro (; 116–27 BC) was one of ancient Rome's greatest scholars and a prolific author. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus. Biography Varro was born in or near ...
and reflected in
Josephus Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish hi ...

Josephus
' ''
Antiquities of the Jews ''Antiquities of the Jews'' ( la, Antiquitates Iudaicae; el, Ἰουδαϊκὴ ἀρχαιολογία, ''Ioudaikē archaiologia'') is a 20-volume historiographical work, written in Greek, by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the 13th year ...
'' was lost during the Middle Ages, when ancient objects were collected with other appeals, the rarity or strangeness of their materials or simply because they were thought to be endowed with magical or
miraculous A miracle is an event that seems inexplicable by natural or scientific laws. In various religions, a phenomenon that is characterized as miraculous is often attributed to the actions of a supernatural being (especially a deity), magic, a miracle ...
powers. Precious cameos and other antique carved gems might be preserved when incorporated into crowns and diadems and liturgical objects, consular ivory diptychs by being used as gospel covers. Roman columns could be re-erected in churches.
sarcophagi , Minerva and the Muses, circa 200 AD, from Via Appia, exhibited in the Antikensammlung Berlin File:Double Tomb of Don Àlvar Rodrigo de Cabrera, Count of Urgell and His Wife Cecília of Foix MET cdi48-140-1-3-4.jpg, 250px, The Gothic art, Gothic s ...

sarcophagi
could receive new occupants and
cinerary urn Ancient Greek cremation urn ca. 850 B.C. An urn is a vase, often with a cover, with a typically narrowed neck above a rounded body and a footed pedestal. Describing a vessel as an "urn", as opposed to a vase or other terms, generally reflects i ...

cinerary urn
s could function as holy water
stoup Carved stoup at the entrance of the Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck, England A holy water font or stoup is a vessel containing holy water which is generally placed near the entrance of a church. It is often placed at the base of a crucifix o ...
s. Sculptural representations of the human form, feared and reviled as " idols" could be rehabilitated by reidentifying their subjects: the equestrian bronze Marcus Aurelius of the Campidoglio was respected as a representation of the Christian emperor
Constantine Constantine most often refers to: * Constantine the Great, Roman emperor from 306 to 337, also known as Constantine I *Constantine, Algeria, a city in Algeria Constantine may also refer to: People * Constantine (name), a masculine given name a ...

Constantine
, and in Pavia the
Regisole The ''Regisole'' ("Sun King") was a bronze classical or Late Antique equestrian monument, highly influential during the Italian Renaissance but destroyed in 1796. It was originally erected at Ravenna, in what is now Italy, but was moved to Pavia i ...
acquired a civic role that preserved it. In Rome the Roman bronze ''
Spinario ''Lo Spinario'' (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Musei Capitolini). ''Boy with Thorn'', also called ''Fedele'' (Fedelino) or ''Spinario'', is a Greco-Roman Hellenistic bronze sculpture of a boy withdrawing a thorn from the sole of his foot, now in the Pa ...
'' was admired for itself by the guidebook writer Magister Gregorius. The classicism of the
Carolingian renaissance The Carolingian Renaissance was the first of three medieval renaissances, a period of cultural activity in the Carolingian Empire. It occurred from the late 8th century to the 9th century, taking inspiration from the Christian Roman Empire of the f ...
was in part inspired by appreciation of
Late Antique#REDIRECT Late antiquity {{R from move ...
manuscripts: the
Utrecht Psalter The Utrecht Psalter (Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek, MS Bibl. Rhenotraiectinae I Nr 32.) is a ninth-century illuminated psalter which is a key masterpiece of Carolingian art; it is probably the most valuable manuscript in the Netherlands. It is ...
attempts to recreate such a Late Antique original, both in its handwriting and its illustrations. Many museums hold these artifacts and keep them safe so that we have access to the knowledge they hold about the past. On September 2 the National Museum of Brazil was engulfed in flames. This event caused many artifacts to be lost forever.


Illegal trading

left, 200px, The Euphronios_krater_has_been_returned_to_Italy_by_the_Metropolitan_Museum_.html" ;"title="Metropolitan_Museum.html" ;"title="Euphronios krater has been returned to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum">Euphronios krater has been returned to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum ">Metropolitan_Museum.html" ;"title="Euphronios krater has been returned to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum">Euphronios krater has been returned to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum The export of antiquities is now heavily controlled by law in almost all countries and by the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, but a large and increasing trade in Illicit antiquities continues. The Euphronios krater is an apparent example that has come to light. Another example is the ambiguous legal case concerning the Getty Museum's "Bronze Statue of a Victorious Youth". The field has been further complicated by the trade in Archaeological forgery, Archaeological forgeries, such as the Etruscan terracotta warriors, the Persian Princess, and the Getty kouros.


See also

*Ancient art


References

{{Authority control Ancient art Visual arts genres Archaeological artifacts Art and cultural repatriation