Meguro UNESCO Lecture Series "The Culture of Ancient Rome arrived at Silla"

Sponsor : Meguro Board of Education / Organizer : NPO Meguro UNESCO Association
Lecturer: Prof. Tsuneo Yoshimizu (Art historian)
January 29(Fri), 2010 14:00- / Midorigaoka Cultural Hall / 52 attendees
Prof. Yoshimizu is researching archaeological finds including gold swords, crowns, accessories, glassware and glass balls, which have been excavated at the site of the Silla Kings’ tombs, located at Gyeongiu City in the Korean Peninsula, used during the 4th~5th centuries. Showing us various photos in PowerPoint, he presented factual evidence that the culture of ancient Rome in the west of Eurasia had already spread to the east end of the continent. For example, a gold crown found there, decorated with agate comma-shaped beads, was typical of a crown of ancient Rome with tree branch-like ornaments; an excavated golden sword was decorated with comma-shaped emblems of the Celt from the river Danube; and some gold necklaces, bracelets, and rings with designs in common with those of Italy. From his viewpoint as an art historian, the presentation was very persuasive and impressive.
Roman culture had been introduced all the way to Silla from the area of what is now Bulgaria and Romania, along the river Danube, through the northern part of the Crimean peninsula, across the continent using the route now followed by the Trans-Siberian Railway, on to Datong, which was the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty, along the River Hwang Ho, and down to Pyongyang. This route, a path for equestrian people, was used instead of the Silk Road. After the mid 6th Century, however, the route was disrupted due to chaos in Rome and Persian goods were subsequently brought to Silla through China.
Although the above theory hasn’t been recognized for years by mainstream academy, it has lately been reviewed. Moreover, Prof. Yoshimizu told us that KBS TV in South Korea was planning to broadcast the cultural relationship between Silla and Rome in February.
Afterwards a couple of questions were asked, and it really was an enthusiastic seminar.
     -written by Shigeru Tamesue and translated by Sumiko Hattori

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