• Short Summary

    SUPERB EXAMPLES OF SCULPTURE BY AN UNKNOWN GREEK MASTER WORKING AT ABOUT THE TIME OF CHRIST HAVE BEEN UNEARTHED IN THE ANCIENT CITY OF PETRA, IN SOUTHERN JORDAN.

  • Description


    ENTRANCE TO PETRA; WRIGHT WITH PAPTY WALKING THROUGH CITY; WRIGHT WITH SCULPTURES.




    Initials GEM/VS/JF/SA



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: SUPERB EXAMPLES OF SCULPTURE BY AN UNKNOWN GREEK MASTER WORKING AT ABOUT THE TIME OF CHRIST HAVE BEEN UNEARTHED IN THE ANCIENT CITY OF PETRA, IN SOUTHERN JORDAN. AND THEY HAVE SET THE EXPERTS OFF ON A QUEST FOR THE ANSWERS TO SOME INTRIGUING QUESTIONS.

    MR. G. WRIGHT, FROM THE BRITISH SCHOOL OF ARCHAEOLOGY IN JERUSALEM, IS MAKING A PRELIMINARY STUDY OF THE SCULPTURES, WHICH WERE DISCOVERED BY THE JORDAN DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUITIES. MR. WRIGHT IS ONE OF THE AUTHORITIES WHO HAS SPENT YEARS WORKING AMONG THE ROSE-RED RUINS OF PETRA, A MYSTERIOUS CITY COMPLETELY HEMMED IN BY SHEER CLIFF FACES. IT CAN BE REACHED ONLY THROUGH A DEEP, NARROW GORGE THAT LEADS TO THE MAGNIFICENT TREASURY TOMB, CUT FROM THE COLOURED ROCK-FACE. NEAR THE CENTRE OF PETRA IS A SPLENDID THEATRE THAT SEATED 5,000 PEOPLE.

    THE NEWLY-DISCOVERED CARVINGS ARE ON BLOCKS THAT PROBABLY MADE UP THE RELIEF DECORATION ON AN IMPOSING MONUMENT. MR. WRIGHT SAYS THAT FOR THE MOMENT THE BUILDING ITSELF MUST REMAIN A MYSTERY, BUT THE CARVINGS ARE OF A QUALITY THAT WILL GIVE THEM A PROMINENT PLACE IN THE WORLD'S COLLECTION OF LATE HELLENISTIC SCULPTURE.

    BUT THEIR IMPORTANCE DOES NOT END THERE. MR. WRIGHT SAYS THAT HE UNEXPECTED THEMES OF THE SCULPTURES COULD PROVIDE SOME OF THE MISSING CLUES TO THE MYSTERY SURROUNDING THE DATES OF PETRA. THE MOST STRIKING OF THESE THEMES, SAYS MR. WRIGHT, IS REPEATED REFERENCE TO WEAPONS AND ARMOUR USED BY GUALS, WHO, IT WAS BELIEVED, HAD NEVER HAD ANY CONNECTION WITH PETRA.

    BUT GALLIC MERCENARIES ARE KNOWN TO HAVE FOUND THEIR WAY INTO ASIA. MINOR IN ABOUT THE THIRD CENTURY BEFORE CHRIST. GREEK ARTISTS HAD TAKEN THE GAULS AS THEIR MODELS FOR THE CLASSICAL CONCEPTION OF THE NOBLE SAVAGE. CARVINGS OF GALLIC ARMOUR, ESPECIALLY THEIR OVAL SHIELDS, WERE THE LAST THING ARCHAEOLOGISTS EXPECTED TO UNEARTH IN PETRA.

    MR. WRIGHT HAS ALSO DISCOVERED WHAT MIGHT BE A REFERENCE TO ONE OF HISTORY'S MOST FAMOUS-NAVAL BATTLES. THERE IS A DISTINCT MARINE THEME IN SOME OF THE CARVINGS, WITH PORTRAYALS OF SEA MONSTERS. THIS, SAYS MR. WRIGHT, COULD WELL BE A REFERENCE TO THE BATTLE OF ACTIUM, IN WHICH AUGUSTUS DEFEATED ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA IN 31 B.C.

    BUT EVEN IF THE SCULPTURES PROVIDE NO ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS THAT FASCINATE ARCHAEOLOGISTS, THEY ARE OF IMMENSE VALUE FOR THEIR BEAUTY ALONE.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAABBFCXQFFE84X9XZ6EMZQOIU0
    Media URN:
    VLVAABBFCXQFFE84X9XZ6EMZQOIU0
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    25/02/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:58:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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