Ever since the Renaissance, the art and artefacts of ancient civilisations have been prized as collection-objects for display and exhibition. From from the end of the 19th century, systematic archaeological investigation of ancient sites, often sponsored by European powers, has unearthed treasures large and small to grace the museums of European cities, the hubs of world empire in the Age of Collecting.
This lively and invigorating tour of discovery provides up-close encounters with some of the ancient world’s greatest treasures, exploring the artistic and cultural legacy of the ancient Mediterranean (Greece and Rome), the Near East (Egypt and Mesopotamia), Persia and Eurasia, and even further afield through the artistic remains of India and China. For millennia these ancient civilisations interacted, co-existed, and integrated; studying these collections allows one to develop a thorough and useful timeline of the ancient world, which serves as a follow-up to a visit to any archaeological site, but is equally valuable as an introduction.
Highlights of the tour include the magnificent Assyrian, Elamite and Persian collection of art at the Louvre in Paris, as well as its amazing display of Greek and Roman sculptures and vases and its important Egyptian collection. There is an opportunity to gaze at the face of Nefertiti, explore the magnificent Amarna art collection at the Neues Museum in Berlin and stroll through the overwhelming reconstruction of the ruins of the Ishtar Gate from Babylon, now in the newly refurbished Pergamon Museum. Paris’ Institut du Monde Arabe contains an unsurpassed collection of Late Antique and early Islamic Iranian art, while Berlin’s Antikensammlung includes artefacts from the archaeology of early Italy, Cyprus, and the Roman provinces. The new galleries at the Humboldt Forum provide a kaleidoscopic overview of the staggering variety of ancient civilisations.
Join Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, an expert on, and enthusiast for, ancient cross-cultural studies for this bold and unforgettable take on ancient history.
Paris. Take the Eurostar from London to Paris at c. 10.30am. Afternoon visit to the Louvre; explore the Near Eastern Galleries – Elam, Assyria, Persia, the Levant. Lecture in the hotel: Cross-Cultural Histories and the World of Antiquity.
Paris. Morning at Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe, a remarkable building with splendid views of the city. Lunch in the restaurant on the 9th floor. Return to the Louvre; explore the Greco-Roman and Egyptian collections. Lecture in the hotel: What is Ancient Art?
Paris. Visit the Musée Guimet, opened in Paris in 1889 after being established by industrialist Émile Étienne Guimet ten years earlier in Lyon – discover France’s best collection of Indian, Chinese, Eurasian, and South Asian antiquities. Free afternoon.
From Paris to Berlin. Lecture in the hotel: Art in Miniature: seals and gemstones. Late morning train (first class) from Paris to Berlin, c. 9 hours, changing in Karlsruhe.
Berlin. The day is spent on Museums Island. Walk to the Pergamon Museum, home of one of the world’s finest collections of Near Eastern antiquities (the Pergamon Altar itself is closed until 2023). The Neues Museum houses the Egyptian Museum, famous for the bust of Nefertiti.
Berlin. In the morning return to Museums Island for the Altes Museum: a major Neo-Classical building by Schinkel, displaying the remainder of the collection of Classical antiquities. In the afternoon visit The Bode Museum with it’s outstanding Late Antique and Byzantine collection.
Berlin. Free time before the return flight to London Heathrow (British Airways) arriving at c.5.45pm.
Price, per person
Two sharing: £3,260 or £3,090 without Eurostar from London to Paris & flight from Berlin to London. Single occupancy: £3,850 or £3,680 without Eurostar from London to Paris & flight from Berlin to London.
Rail travel by Eurostar from London to Paris (Standard Premier) and first class from Paris to Berlin; flight with British Airways (Euro Traveller), from Berlin to London; travel by private coach; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners with wine; all admissions; all tips; all taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Hotel Édouard 7, Paris: comfortable 4-star hotel close to the Louvre. The Regent Berlin, Berlin: elegant 5-star hotel decorated in Regency style, close to Unter den Linden and Museum Island. Rooms are of a good size and excellent standard. Single rooms are doubles for sole use.
A good level of fitness is necessary. There is a lot of walking and standing around in art galleries. You need to be able to carry (wheel) your own luggage on and off the train and within stations. Average distance by coach per day: 8 miles.
Are you fit enough to join the tour?
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.