From Gilgamesh to Griffith

Only an exhibition on Babylon could bring together samples of the most ancient art and the most modern. Among the artifacts from the first years of Babylon are clay tablets with verses from the «Epic of Gilgamesh,» the Sumerian king who is the hero of the oldest written piece of literature. It is believed to have been created in the 3rd millennium BC. Along with the text are sculptures and reliefs that depict the hero who battled monsters, loved his lost friend deeply and went on a quest for the secret of eternal life. What he learned, though, was that «only the gods live forever in the light of the sun, while man’s days are measured and all that he accomplishes is nothing but air.» Toward the end of the exhibition is a segment of D.W. Griffith’s film «Intolerance: Love’s Struggle throughout the Ages.» Filmed in 1916, a part of the silent masterpiece reconstructs the Persian conqueror Cyrus’ entry into Babylon. The director used 16,000 people and created images that were inspired by the archaeological discoveries of the lost world of Babylon.