Meroe, Empire on the Nile

Meroe, Empire on the Nile26th March 2010 - 6th September 2010 Add to calendar
© Jürgen Liepe
© Jürgen Liepe

In this first exhibition devoted exclusively to Meroë, capital of a great empire on the Nile, two hundred works of art highlight the majesty of an ancient civilization and its intermingling of African, Egyptian and Greco-Roman influences.

Situated in Sudan, two hundred kilometers (125 miles) north of present-day Khartoum, the royal capital of Meroë is famed for the pyramids of the kings and queens who dominated the region between 270 BC and AD 350.

Comprising for the most part loans from the Museum of Khartoum —including the celebrated gilt bronze statue of an archer-king— and from the British Museum in London, the World and Garstang museums in Liverpool, and institutions in Munich, Berlin and Leiden, the exhibition is an eloquent evocation of the creativity and power of the Meroë empire. 

The main themes are everyday life, trades, social systems, the kings and their insignias of power, the role of the queens ("Candaces"), and religious practices fusing the gods Amun from Egypt and Dionysus from Greece with the people of Meroë's own vision of the afterlife.

There will be special emphasis on the discovery of the ruins of the Meroë pyramids by Frédéric Cailliaud in 1821, and the archaeological explorations begun in 2007 on the Muweis site, in the heart of the former empire, by the Louvre's Department of Egyptian Antiquities. A selection of finds made during the last three campaigns testifies to the work carried out in the field by the Louvre team.

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