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「【博物館巡禮】英國:大英博物館」- London, England: British Museum


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At the peak of its empire, when the Union Jack flew over a quarter of the planet, England collected art and artifacts as fast as it collected colonies. This place, the British Museum, is the showcase for those extraordinary treasures.
在大英帝國的巔峰,在英國國旗飄揚於地球四分之一土地上時,英國收集藝術和工藝品的速度就和它收集殖民地一樣快。這個地方,大英博物館,是那些出色寶物的展示處。

Its centerpiece is the Great Court—an impressive example of Europe's knack for preserving old architectural spaces by making them fresh, functional, and inviting. The stately Reading Room—a temple of knowledge and high thinking—was the study hall for Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, and T.S. Eliot. Karl Marx researched right here while writing Das Kapital.
它的中央物是「大中庭」--一個歐洲維護古老建築空間技巧的出色例子,藉由使老建物變新、具功能性,且吸引人。宏偉的閱覽室--一座知識及崇高思想的殿堂--曾是 Oscar Wilde、Rudyard Kipling,以及 T.S. Eliot 的自習室。Karl Marx 在寫《資本論》時正是在這裡做研究的。 

The British Museum is the chronicle of Western civilization. You can study three great civilizations—Egypt, Assyria, and Greece—in one fascinating morning. The Egyptian collection is the greatest outside of Egypt. It's kicked off with the Rosetta Stone, which provided the breakthrough in deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Discovered in 1799, it told the same story in three languages: Greek, a modern form of Egyptian, and ancient Egyptian.
大英博物館是西方文明的記錄。你可以在一個迷人的早晨裡看到三大文明 (埃及、 亞述以及希臘)。埃及展品是埃及境外最傑出的。它從羅賽塔石碑開始,羅賽塔石碑提供解開古埃及象形文字之謎的突破性發展。於 1799 年被發現,羅賽塔石碑描述一段相同的故事,使用三種語言:希臘文、當代的埃及字體以及古埃及文。

This enabled archaeologists to compare the two languages they understood with the ancient Egyptian, which was yet to be deciphered. Thanks to this stone, they broke the code, opening the door to understanding a great civilization.
這使考古學家得以將兩種他們理解的語言和古埃及文做對照,當時古埃及文尚未被解開。託這塊石碑的福,他們破解那密碼,開啟瞭解一個偉大文明的大門。

The Egypt we think of—you know, pyramids, mummies, pharaohs, and guys who walk funny—lasted from about 3,000 to 1,000 B.C. It was a time of unprecedented stability—very little change in government, religion, or arts. Imagine 2,000 years of Eisenhower. Egyptian art was art with a purpose. It placated the gods—the entire pantheon, a cosmic zoo of deities, was sculpted and worshipped—and it served as propaganda for the pharaohs. They ruled with unquestioned authority and were considered gods on earth. And much of the art was for dead people—for a smoother departure and a happier afterlife. In ancient Egypt, you could take it with you.
我們想到的埃及--你知道,金字塔、木乃伊、法老還有走路很好笑的傢伙們--約從西元前三千年延續到西元前一千年。那是個前所未見安定的時期--在政治、宗教或者藝術上少有變動。想像兩千年的艾森豪時期。埃及藝術是有目的的藝術。它安撫眾神--所有神祇,無邊無際的一群神,都被雕刻及膜拜--而且藝術有替法老宣傳的效果。法老以不容置疑的權力統治,且被視為人世間的神。多數藝術是為往生的人所做--為了有個更順遂的離去以及更幸福的來世。在古埃及,你可以將這帶著走。

Corpses were painstakingly mummified: The internal organs were removed and put in jars. Then the body was preserved with pitch, dried, and wrapped from head to toe. The wooden coffin was painted with magic spells and images thought to be useful in the next life.
屍體被費心地製成木乃伊:體內器官被移開然後放進罐子裡。然後身體用瀝青防腐、乾燥並被從頭到腳包起來。木棺以被認為是在來生有用途的咒語和圖像彩繪。

The finely decorated coffins were put into a stone sarcophagus like this. These were then placed in a tomb, along with the allotted baggage for that ultimate trip. The great pyramids were just giant tombs for Egypt's most powerful—carefully designed to protect their precious valuables for that voyage into the next life.
裝飾精美的棺材被放進像這樣的石棺裡。這些接著被置到墳墓裡,連同替那最終之旅分配的行李一起。偉大的金字塔只是給埃及最有權者的巨大墳墓--謹慎設計來保護他們為進入來生旅程準備的珍貴財產。

In its waning years, Egypt was conquered by Assyria—present-day Iraq. These winged lions guarded an Assyrian palace nearly 900 years before Christ. Assyria considered itself the lion of early Middle Eastern civilizations. It was a nation of hardy and disciplined warriors. Assyrian kings showed off their power in battle, and by hunting lions. This dying lioness, roaring in pain, was carved as Assyria was falling to the next mighty power: Babylon. History is a succession of seemingly invincible superpowers, which all eventually fall.
在埃及的衰落年間,埃及被亞述征服--現今伊拉克。這些有翼獅像在耶穌前近九百年前守護著一座亞述宮殿。亞述將自己視為早期中東文明的獅子。它是個勇敢且守紀律戰士們的國家。亞述國王在戰鬥中,以及藉著獵獅來炫耀他們的力量。這隻垂死的母獅,痛苦地吼叫,是在亞述落入下一個強權:巴比倫時雕刻的。歷史是看似所向無敵的強權的接替,那些強權全終將殞落。

Greece, during its Golden Age—roughly 400 B.C.—set the tone of so much of Western civilization to follow. The city of Athens was the site of a cultural explosion, which, within a couple of generations, essentially invented our notion of democracy, theater, literature, mathematics, science, philosophy, and so much more.
希臘,在它的黃金時期時--約西元前四百年--定下許多西方文明遵循的方式。雅典城是一次文化爆發的地點,那次文化爆發,在幾世代內,基本上創造出我們對民主、戲劇、文學、數學、科學、哲學的概念,以及其他更多。

An evocative remnant of Greece's glory days is the sculpture, which once decorated the Parthenon—a temple on the Acropolis Hill in Athens. Here, a long procession of citizens honors the goddess Athena. The carvings of the temple's pediment—even in their ruined state—are a masterpiece, showing gods and goddesses celebrating the birthday of Athena. The Greeks prided themselves on creating order out of chaos, here, symbolized by the struggle between half-animal centaurs and civilized humans. First, the centaurs get the upper hand. Then, the humans rally and drive them off. In Golden Age Greece, civilization finally triumphed over barbarism.
一項喚起希臘光榮時日的殘物是那雕刻,它曾裝飾帕德嫩神殿--一座位在雅典衛城山上的神廟。這兒,一列長長的市民隊伍向雅典娜女神致敬。神殿山型牆的雕刻品--即便在它們毀損的狀態下--都是個傑作,展示出眾神和女神歡慶雅典娜的生日。希臘人以從混亂中創造秩序為豪,這兒,以半獸的人馬和文明人類間的對抗為象徵。最初,人馬占上風。接著,人類重整並將人馬擊退。在黃金時期的希臘,文明終於戰勝野蠻。

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