In the long centuries between the enterprise of Alexander the Great and the advent of Islam, the horizons of the known world expanded like never before. In that world, cities were born as we understand them today, places of interrelationships within a capillary connective network that linked the Mediterranean to China.
In one of the most crucial points of this global network - central Mesopotamia - capitals of unmatched importance and size were founded, in a process that culminated in the founding of Baghdad.
The first capital founded in that place was, at the end of the fourth century BC, Seleucia al Tigri, a metropolis as large as Turin in the eighteenth century, which was followed, on the other bank of the river, by the mythical Ctesiphon, then integrated in the third century AD with the round city of Coche (or Veh Ardashir). These two poles of attraction on the opposite banks of the Tigris rivaled and prospered for centuries, alternating in ruling the fate of empires that were the counterpart of Rome.
Starting from 1964, the excavations carried out by the Archaeological Research and Excavations Center of Turin for the Middle East and Asia at the sites of Seleucia and Coche, brought to light housing structures and artefacts of various kinds.
The exhibition, curated by Vito Messina, Alessandra Cellerino, Enrico Foietta with the collaboration of Claudia Ramasso, presents a selection of about 40 small repertoires such as ceramics, terracotta, glass and common objects found in the two cities, putting in dialogue the production of the Hellenistic-Parthian period, coming from the Seleucia site, with the Sassanid one of Coche.
There are no collections of archaeological finds from Seleucia and Coche in Europe, with the exception of the one preserved today at the MAO : in the world, only the Kelsey Museum in Ann Arbor (Michigan) and the Iraq Museum in Baghdad boast similar collections. This exhibition, conceived as part of the (in) visible Collections project, of the Department of Historical Studies of the University of Turin funded by the CRT Foundation, is one of the rare opportunities offered to the general public to confront the history of large and little-known ones. city, and the Turinese who rediscovered them.