Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Tripoli's museum of antiquity only Gaddafi is lost in revolutio

Hewn from marble 2,000 years ago, the giant statues of the Roman emperors Augustus, Claudius and Tiberius command the floor at Libya's National Museum. But they have to settle for ground level. Muammar Gaddafi reserved the top floor for himself.

Gaddafi opened the Jamahiriya Museum in Tripoli 23 years ago on Sunday. And he made sure visitors were left in no doubt that the flowering of Roman, Byzantine and Islamic cultures were mere historical footnotes to his own ascent as "king of kings".

Brushing aside curators' preference for classical antiquity, Libya's leader gave pride of place in the first gallery to the Volkswagen Beetle he drove in the sixties and the open-top Jeep that swept him to power in 1969. Both have been vandalised and their future is uncertain in a post-Gaddafi Libya, where his ubiquitous image has been furiously purged from everything but banknotes.

More at The Guardian

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