Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The British Musum; London part two

After we finished at the Embassy, it was only 10:30 in the morning, and so we continued with our plan of seeing the British Museum while we were down in London anyway (Lydia was being watched by some friends in the ward, so we didn't have to worry about her). We checked the subway to it, but it looked like it would cost 16 pounds for the both of us round trip, so we decided to walk, although we didn't actually know how far it was (I looked it up later; we walked about 3.5 miles round trip, so not too bad at all).

Avram and I both liked the British Museum better than the Louvre. Is this even allowed? I don't know; we're wild and crazy, though. For one thing, there wasn't seemingly miles of security. I know I should be grateful that no one can carry a bomb and blow up Mona Lisa, but honestly it was a little over the top. In the British Museum you can just walk right on in, and get to the main task of seeing what you came to see. Another mark for the British Museum is that the Louvre is so chock full of everything that it's sometimes just too much, while the British Museum is more focused on antiquities and the middle ages, and not an art museum. We saw the Rosetta stone, the Elgin marbles, and other lots of famous things. Both of our favorite set of rooms though were the Romano-Celt British rooms.

I love torcs. I don't know why, but they really appeal to me. Avram even bought me a torc two valentine days past, when we were at Estrella, a medieval SCA event in Arizona. I had been haunting the merchant's tent, but could never convince myself to buy it, so then he did for me (I'm very indecisive). These weren't my favourite set of torcs there, but they are the largest.
The torque on the far back side, that looks silvery is made of Electrum (gold and silver mixed), and weighs eight pounds! Most torcs that have been found weren't actually for wearing regularly; they are too heavy for that. I just love the shiny goldness of them (they are made of other materials too, but my favorite by far is gold). So I wandered around in love with all of the torcs, while Avram pursued his obsession; coins.

Avram loves coins; the study of coins, the history of them, the physical feel of them. He even likes to smell them. He likes collecting medallions because of this love, I think, since there aren't very many cool coins nowadays. So while I slobbered over the beautiful torcs, Avram went picture crazy over the Roman coins.
Isn't it amazing that this is a treasure trove? It doesn't look like much, but then our money nowadays isn't actually worth anything (ie, it's not made of precious metals), while theirs was.

We also did manage to tear our eyes away from our respective loves long enough to look at the only horned helmet that has ever been found
And the Sutten-Hoo burial finds. I thought that I didn't know about Sutten-Hoo at all, but as we were looking at the stuff I realized that I'd seen images of the Sutten-Hoo helmet before, if nothing else.

The only thing that would have been cooler about the museum is if the rest of the middle ages had been open. They only had the middle ages up to 700 Ad, and then skipped to the 1500s because the rest was being worked on, or something. Really quite depressing, because the high medieval parts of the Louvre were closed too, and so Avram and I never did get to see any of the coolest medieval museum bits in Europe. I guess that's why we'll have to come back someday.

I like having an interest in the Middle Ages; it gives me a tie to what I see in museums (if it's medieval of course.) It's interesting, because I didn't join the Quill and the Sword at BYU because of a huge love of the Middle Ages. In fact, I didn't really know much about them at all, except I thought they were excessively dirty and diseased. But I do like joining clubs just in general, and I liked the idea of wearing dresses, and cooking and such. And so I joined, and fell in love with medieval cooking, and medieval clothing styles, and from this has spread an appreciation of much else that is medieval.

We also saw this
the death mask of Oliver Cromwell. It made me think of our good friend Matt. They had Napoleon's death mask as well. Although I know that historically these served a good purpose, I presume to make accurate paintings and statues of them after their deaths, I think death masks are really quite gruesome. You can buy copies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's death masks, and I just don't know why someone would want to hang them up in their home.

We only planned to go to the British Museum, so it was a very nice and laid back day, with nowhere else to rush and go see.

1 comment:

  1. My dad loves coins too. He taught us all as children how to tell the difference between a real silver coin and our coins today. Silver sounds "less fake" when you drop it. It sounds heavier. It feels much heavier too. My favorite coin that my dad gave me is an American silver peace dollar, minted in the 1920's. It's so heavy and...satisfying to hold. My dad collects silver and gold coins and keeps them in a safe place for emergencies and disasters, for whenever our money today might be worthless. He gets them out and looks at them often.
    I saw someone who wore a torc in her hair, with her hair wrapped around it so it stayed in. It was cool!