The British Empire. Such a vast territory and incredible feat. To rule thousands of people across all parts of the globe, many speaking different languages, yet united under one crown. That is what the British Empire sustained for hundreds of years, and even today, former colonies still remain peaceful with British government policy, despite separation.
Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled The White Man’s Burden in which he compares the enslaved people’s troubles to the troubles of those transporting them overseas. Obviously a biased perspective and quite incorrect, his opinion of human enslavement correlates with the mentality of many white elitists of the 1800’s.
I also tried fish and chips for the second time today, slightly more impressed this go around, but i think I’ll stick to my grease-free diet back at home. 🙂
Our group headed to the British Museum after lunch. I could have spent a few more days in there to say the least. Like the V&A, several floors and vast rooms filled with historical objects, ancient art and missing pieces of our past. The Parthenon exhibit containing the Elgin Marbles from Greece, Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and mummies, Japanese ceramics and samurai outfits, modern medical art, Enlightenment Era discoveries, and Meso-American ruins. All this and so much more was waiting to be discovered, and I covered all of it. I walked around for three hours and checked off every room, until I had visited them all.
In the Northern America section, there was a small display about Native American ruins discovered north of Columbus along the Scioto River. A sacrificial platform and rocks assembled in a ring were dug up in the 90’s and thought to have been from Aztec or Mexican Native descent. I’m curious about this discovery, might have to take a trip up the river and check out the archaeological site!
The main conflict concerning the British Museum, for those that don’t know, is centered around the Elgin Marbles. The marbles were the stone decorative scenes surrounding the roof border of the Parthenon, an ancient temple to honor the goddess Athena. The Greeks were under control of Ottoman Empire and the Earl of Elgin “purchased” the marbles during the first decade of the 1800’s, quickly arranging to ship them back to England. They have since been restored, kept in pristine condition and put on display in the British Museum. There has been a recent movement to resort the marbles back to their original owners, the Greeks, simply because some deem the acquisition “unfair” due to the Ottoman invasion. At first I said, HECK NO! Don’t return the marbles. A deal is a deal and you bought them. My mind was quickly changed once I saw the exhibit. There wasn’t anything wrong with the stones, there were just SO SO SO MANY! And the room they were displayed in was a least two football fields. Now come on folks, you can’t give back even a third of the marbles? You’d still have at least 200 pieces left (no exaggeration here). We actually watched a debate video in class held in England concerning the marbles, it’s apparent many British people want to return them simply because “it’s the classy thing to do.”
On a more childish note, an ancient crystal skull was on display….reminded me of Indiana Jones, one of my favorite movie series!