Armageddon and the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion

Armageddon and the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion

New excavations at Legio, Israel, and early Jewish-Christian-Roman relations

Thursday 14 December 2017, 16.00-17.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

In the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD, dangerous Jewish (and incipient Christian) rebels were causing problems for the Roman Empire in Palestine. Though the First Revolt resulted in the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70 and in the establishment of a permanent base of the Xth Legion there, these groups continued to harass their overlords. Historical sources indicate that the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion was deployed to Palestine in the early 2nd century to provide support for the Xth, a sure sign that the rebels were acting up again. The VIth Legion established their base somewhere near Megiddo, but its exact location has been a longstanding question in the archaeology of the period.

In this lecture, Matthew J Adams, Albright Institute Jerusalem, reveals how the Jezreel Valley Regional Project searched for potential locations of the elusive fortress, using historical and geographical sources, aerial photography, and remote sensing. In 2013 and 2015, one of these locations was examined by excavation, providing the first glimpse of a 2nd-century Roman military base yet uncovered in the entire eastern Empire. Together with the early Christian Prayer hall discovered by Yotam Tepper of the Israel Antiquities authority in 2005 in the adjacent Jewish village of Caparcotani, the new excavations have new implications for Jewish-Christian-Roman relations and for the composition of the Book of Revelation. 


Behind the Parthenon sculptures: new discoveries

Behind the Parthenon sculptures: new discoveries

Thursday 22 February 2018, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

At this special event, architect Vassileia Manidaki from the Acropolis Restoration Service and British Museum Curator Ian Jenkins discuss issues surrounding the restoration programme of the Acropolis monuments, as well as fascinating new discoveries concerning the sequence of the Parthenon frieze, and the construction of the west pediment.

Presented in collaboration with the British School of Archaeology at Athens. 


Curator's introduction to Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond

Curator's introduction to Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond

Monday 13 November 2017, 13.30-14.30
Thursday 30 November 2017, 13.30-14.30
Thursday 7 December 2017, 13.30-14.30
Thursday 15 March 2018, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Exhibition Curator Jill Cook gives a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the exhibition Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond


Curator's introduction to the BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia

Curator's introduction to the BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia

Thursday 21 September 2017, 13.30 (SJS)
Thursday 12 October 2017, 13.30 (SJS)
Thursday 14 December 2017, 13.30 (CL)
Saturday 13 January 2017, 13.30 (CL)
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Exhibition Curators St John Simpson (SJS) and Chloe Leighton (CL) give a 45-minute illustrated introduction to the BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia


Fabergé and the goldmaking tradition of Russia

Fabergé and the goldmaking tradition of Russia

Thursday 11 January 2018, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Peter Carl Fabergé is considered by many to be the high point of Russian craftsmanship in gold and enamel.

In this talk, Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts in the Royal Collection, examines the influence and inspiration of ancient Scythian goldwork on Fabergé’s work. 


Four museums, one collection

Four museums, one collection

The new displays of Greek, Etruscan and Roman art on Berlin's Museum Island

Friday 2 February 2018, 18.00 - 19.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

A lecture by Professor Andreas Scholl, Director of the Antikensammlung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Berlin is home to one of the most important collections of classical antiquities in the world and houses an unrivalled collection of ancient architecture. Every year, nearly two million visitors come to the Pergamonmuseum to marvel at the great Hellenistic altar and traverse the rotunda of the Altes Museum to glimpse the famous Greek bronze statue of the Praying boy. Professor Scholl will introduce the collection of Greek, Cypriot, Etruscan and Roman antiquities as it now appears in the Altes Museum, Neues Museum, and Pergamonmuseum. Numerous artworks not exhibited for decades have been restored and feature in new displays highlighting their interconnection. With the completion of the renovated Pergamonmuseum scheduled for opening in the late 2020s a temporary fourth building will be opened in April 2018 presenting most of the Hellenistic sculptures from Pergamon and a spectacular panorama of the city as it might have looked in the 2nd century AD. 


Nigel Spivey on the history of violence in art

Nigel Spivey on the history of violence in art

Friday 19 January 2018, 18.30 - 19.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

Beauty and disfigurement, grief and thrill, horror and comfort – these paradoxical themes recur throughout western art, raising difficult questions about our aesthetic sensibility.

Nigel Spivey, University of Cambridge and author of Enduring Creation: Art, Pain and Fortitude (2001), explores the problem by tracing the fortunes of an image of heroic death at Troy through to Roman sarcophagi, Renaissance altarpieces, a ‘masterpiece’ of the French Revolution, and modern photojournalism. How can the sight of someone in extremes of suffering be ‘uplifting’? 


On the First Crusade with Jonathan Riley Smith

On the First Crusade with Jonathan Riley Smith

Thursday 11 January 2018, 16.00-17.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

A lecture by Malcolm Billings, formerly BBC World Service and author of The Crusades: The War Against Islam 1096–1798.

In 1095, Pope Urban II granted absolution to anyone who would fight to reclaim the Holy Land. With God at their backs, the first Christian crusaders embarked on an unprecedented religious war.

In this lecture, Malcolm Billings will focus on the First Crusade and its outcome of almost two centuries of Christian rule in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. 1798 marked the end of the main crusading period when Napoleon sailed into the Grand Harbour of Malta.

The lecture is a tribute to Professor Jonathan Riley Smith, the Cambridge University historian and a Knight of the Order of St John, whose scholarship changed our understanding of the history of the Crusades.

This lecture is arranged jointly with Council for British Research in the Levant, Palestine Exploration Fund and British Museum. 


Reading Margery Kempe's inner voices

Reading Margery Kempe's inner voices

Friday 9 March 2018, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Charles Fernyhough, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Durham, discusses the English mystic Margery Kempe (c. 1373–after 1438), whose work The Book of Margery Kempe is considered the first autobiography in English. He explores how Margery's descriptions of her voice-hearing experiences can help to refine psychological and neuroscientific accounts of hallucinations. 


Rise up women! The remarkable lives of the suffragettes

Rise up women! The remarkable lives of the suffragettes

Friday 2 February 2018, 19.30 - 20.30
Stevenson Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

100 years ago, in February 1918, after campaigning for over 50 years, British women were finally granted the vote.

To mark the centenary of this important moment in history, Diane Atkinson, author and curator of a major exhibition on the suffragettes at the Museum of London, will reflect on the daring, often violent, endeavours women undertook to break into an exclusively male political system. Through examining British Museum objects, she will illuminate the lives of the great women whose struggle paved the way for future generations.

Presented in collaboration with Bloomsbury Publishing. 


Rosemary Hill: What does she think she looks like?

Rosemary Hill: What does she think she looks like?

Friday 16 February 2018, 18.30 - 19.30
BP Lecture Theatre
£10, Members/concessions £8

An LRB winter lecture by Rosemary Hill.

Clothes come between the naked self and the world. They affect the way we are seen and they imply something about how we see ourselves, something that seems especially true for women.

Writer and historian Rosemary Hill asks whether this is compensation for the fact women have less scope for action than men, or whether it is an advantage to have that extra sense Virginia Woolf called ‘frock consciousness’. 


The animated landscape: elves, ancestors and other spirits of place

The animated landscape: elves, ancestors and other spirits of place

Friday 19 January 2018, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

In many parts of the world, past and present, people understand the landscape to be inhabited by non-human beings who live alongside people in one way or another. These can be ancestral powers of great importance, or small and mischievous creatures of various kinds. Lissant Bolton, Keeper of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the British Museum, discusses some of these understandings. 


The music of the clock, c. 1300–c. 1600

The music of the clock, c. 1300–c. 1600

Thursday 23 November 2017, 17.30 drinks reception before the lecture at 18.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

The annual Dingwall-Beloe horological lecture 2017 will be given by Matthew Champion, Birkbeck, University of London.

Please arrive at 17.30 for a drinks reception before the lecture at 18.00.

This event was founded with funds bequeathed to the British Museum by former Assistant Keeper of Printed Books in the British Library Dr Eric Dingwall, and to the Clockmakers’ Company by the noted horological collector Mr Reginald Beloe. It is intended that these annual lectures should make new contributions to our understanding of the history of horology, at an international level. 


The nature of prayer

The nature of prayer

Thursday 25 January 2018, 13.30 - 14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

The Revd Canon Giles Fraser, Priest-in-Charge of St Mary's Newington, Kennington, famous for his inspiring contributions to the BBC's Thought for the Day and column in The Guardian, considers how people pray and what prayer does for us. 


The sunbeam struck the roof: a journey of discovery in Jerusalem

The sunbeam struck the roof: a journey of discovery in Jerusalem

Thursday 7 December 2017, 16.00-17.00
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

This journey of discovery began in 1977 when the Awqaf of Jerusalem, the Muslim custodial authority of the Haram al-Sharif, took the unusual step of inviting the speaker into the Haram in the middle of the night. During his night-time visit, by pure chance he turned to face west towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the first beams of the rising sun of the new day came over the Mount of Olives. Not only did these sunbeams strike the roof of the Rotunda of the Church, they illuminated the tops of two nearby minarets. As architect to the British School of Archaeology between 1968 and 1975, and also in his spare time architect to the Armenians in the Church, Archie Walls knew these buildings very well, but never thought there could be an architectural relationship connecting them until this moment.

In this lecture, Dr Walls will present the architectural evidence for a direct and conscious relationship made in stone between these three monuments, and will draw an unconventional conclusion as to how this architectural connection should be interpreted. 


Vishnu's chariot in London: the story of a processional chariot from south India

Vishnu's chariot in London: the story of a processional chariot from south India

Friday 16 February 2018, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Richard Blurton, Curator of South Asian collections at the British Museum, tells the fascinating story of a major processional chariot and discusses the context in which it was made and used. 


Water beings: historical and contemporary religious beliefs in the powers of water

Water beings: historical and contemporary religious beliefs in the powers of water

Thursday 23 November 2017, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Cultural anthropologist Veronica Strang, Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Durham, and author of The Meaning of Water (2004) and Water, Nature and Culture (2015), considers the role of water serpent beings in religious belief and ritual. 


Worlds beyond nature and the everyday

Worlds beyond nature and the everyday

Thursday 18 January 2018, 13.30-14.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential

Jill Cook, Keeper of Britain, Europe and Prehistory at the British Museum and Exhibition Curator of Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond, explores how humans have symbolised their world in order to reshape and transcend it in beliefs from 40,000 years ago to now. She asks whether we should really be called Homo religious rather than Homo sapiens