Syria Antiqua: Coins and Monuments on the Museuminsel

16 June–5 November 2017

Exhibition Overview

Syria Antiqua – Coins and Monuments on the Museuminsel

As a result of its geographical position between the coast of the eastern Mediterranean and the Fertile Crescent, Syria was a major cultural and commercial centre of the ancient world. It was a place where not only various goods but also different cultures and religions were exchanged.

Coins from ancient Syrian cities illustrate impressively the cultural, religious, and political constellations of the time. Mints existed not only in the major trading cities, ports, and havens like Laodicea, Palmyra, and Damascus, but could also be found in centres of cultural and religious life such as Antioch and Emesa. Numerous members of the Roman imperial family, such as Julia Domna and her sister Julia Maesa, came from Syria, one of the greatest and richest provinces of the Roman Empire. This exhibition in the special exhibition room of the Bode-Museum’s Münzkabinett (Numismatic Collection) will, however, not only be a display of the coinage of ancient Syria. The coins will be accompanied by material testaments of Syrian culture taken from other museums on the Museuminsel.

The modern country of Syria includes a large part of the former Roman province of Syria, which was once an eastern border province of the Roman Empire. The war that has raged in Syria over the past several years has also destroyed archaeological treasures and historical monuments. Coins are a part of Syria’s important cultural heritage. For this reason, we have decided to mainly exhibit coins from mints that were located within the area of modern Syria. Scholarly analysis and display of the coins are a contribution to the protection of cultural property. Transferring knowledge about cultural goods can be one way of assisting in the (re)construction of civil societies and cultural communities.

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