Sunday, 24 September 2017

The sarcophagus of Hercules

The sarcophagus of Hercules was brought from Zurich to Istanbul earlier this month and was put on display in the museum of Antalya, a southern city where the second century artifact originated. The sarcophagus is believed to have been stolen from the ancient city of Perge, 18 kilometers (11 miles) east of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast, sometime in the 1960s. After undergoing restoration in the U.K. several years ago, it was seized by Swiss customs authorities in 2010. The fabled Twelve Labors of Hercules, from the killing of a mythological lion to cleaning the stables, are depicted on the exterior of the sarcophagus.

Since 2003, Turkey has been pursuing a legal process for the retrieval of several artifacts. Over 4,000 smuggled historical artifacts were repatriated to Turkey from 2004 to 2016.
The piece was placed next to the "Weary Heracles" statue, which itself was retrieved from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The top half of the statue was missing for decades before being located in the Boston museum, which purchased it in 1982. The bottom part was discovered in Perge in 1980 and was showcased in the Antalya Museum.
Culture and Tourism Minister Numan KurtulmuĊŸ attended an unveiling ceremony yesterday where the sarcophagus was covered in red velvet and circled with bougainvillea flowers.