Turin, 20th September 2019 – 12 January 2020
Over the centuries spanning between the venture of Alexander the Great and the rise of Islam the known world became boundless as never before. In that time, the concept of ‘city’ as we perceive it today did originate: cities were places of complex interactions and edges of an extensive network linking the Mediterranean to China. In one of the most important nodes of this global network, Central Mesopotamia, the way to the Gulf and the Silk Road, capitals of unparalleled importance were founded, thus starting a process that did come to its apogee with the Abbasid foundation of Baghdad. The first capital there founded, at the very end of the 4th cent. BCE, was Seleucia on the Tigris, a metropolis extended like Turin in the 18th Century. To that followed, on the other bank of the river, Ctesiphon, the legendary capital compounded with the round city of Veh Ardashir (or Coche) in the 3rd cent. CE. These two complexes on the opposite banks of the Tigris flourished and rivalled for centuries, leading empires that were the counterparts of Rome. There are no European Institutions keeping Collections of archaeological materials coming from Seleucia and Coche, with the exception the MAO. These were acquired thanks to the research conducted by the Centro Scavi di Torino. In the world, only the Kelsey Museum, Ann Arbor (MI), and Iraq Museum, Baghdad, keep similar Collections. In this exhibit, developed in the frame of the project (in)visible Collections, these materials are displayed once in a while, for bringing to the knowledge of a large audience the history of those cities, and the history of the Turin researchers who discovered them.