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Antiquity & Conflict: Some Historical Remarks on a Matter of Selection

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines how carefully selected spoils of antiquity, kept and explained in various encyclopaedic museums and museums of antiquities in Europe, have been intrinsically bound up with political ideals and war since the emergence of the modern nation states in the early decades following Napoleon's war of conquest around 1800. It also takes into consideration that the removal of Roman collections by the French in 1797 enlarged the stage for a tradition that can be traced back to humanist times. The Napoleonic example with regard to classical antiquity was the first major example of a political and military conflict related to ancient heritage in the modern era. It was only part of the large scale mobility of artefacts from Egypt, Greece and Europe to Paris and London around 1800, and in all cases this process was directly or indirectly related to Napoleonic invasions and imperialism.

Keywords:antiquity; conflict; Napoleonic invasions



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