The Near and Middle East, as generally studied in Assyriology, covers a vast zone of influence, starting from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, encompassing Cyprus, the Levant, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, all the way to the Fertile Crescent of Iran. To simplify matters, we have removed the Neolithic period and Egypt from this chapter – you will find these separately. Having witnessed the birth of modern man: literate, numerate, city dwelling, and able to cultivate the land, this region was the realm of the Sumerians, before undergoing territorial unification by the Akkads.
It saw the birth of Hammurabi, the kingdoms of Mari and of Ebla, outlived the Hittites and the Elamites, faced the Assyrian and Babylonian empires and the Achaemenid Persian populations of the 1st millennium
Then came the Hellenistic influences from Alexander’s conquest in the 4th century BC, followed by the gradual arrival of Roman culture from the West and Parthian from the East. Finally, the face of the region changed once again with the arrival of Muslim Arabs in Iraq in 637.
On the site of Babylon in the 16th century, Pietro della Valle discovered the existence of cuneiform writing and the use of seals by the ancient administrations, but it was only in the 19th century that systematic excavations were carried out. Many treasures were exhumed from the strata of cultural, religious and artistic influences: Phoenician glass, Luristan bronzes, Persian ceramics, innumerable pieces of pottery testifying to an excellent technical ability and a very lively imagination. The Golconda Gallery is always careful to offer you authentic pieces from this region – preferably ones that haven’t undergone any restoration.