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November 03, 2007


Samuel Merrin

I always enjoy reading your posts on ancient (and modern) Egypt, they're very insightful. This exhibition at the Met all those years ago brings back some memories.

I think you may enjoy an article about an Egyptian sarcophagus I've posted on my blog. Please let me know what you think.

John Ambrose

Thanks Sam. Coming from someone so well respected in the art field, I truly appreciate the kind words. I'll take a look at your blog as well.


I think that these statues were cheosn by the former Confederate states as an expression of the only heroes that they had at the time, in the most part. The Civil War was still in living memory in the 1920s, and in fact there was friction in World War I when the militias of Northern and Southern states were combined in the AEF (hence the Rainbow Division named so for bringing together the different factions of America into one.)I think the choice of Lee, Davis, et al for the Rotunda was a statement from the still-devastated South, a symbol of defiance. Remember, the South at this time still had little to no industry, and was achingly poor. They really had nothing to look forward to, so looked backwards. This was also the heyday of the romanticism of the Lost Cause Gone with the Wind, Hollywood movies depicting a sympathetic South, etc. The fact that the southern states were allowed to place those statues in the US Capitol speaks more to the strength of the Union than anything else. The choice of these state heroes was not in the spirit of reconciliation at all. It was defiance. Empty defiance. It was a shout to remind the rest of the nation how important they once were. I grew up poor in the Deep South, and this way of thought was deeply ingrained into the psyche of the people, even in the 60s and 70s. Even if some saw these statues as inflammatory (much like the sudden adoption of Confederate symbolism in state flags after the Civil Rights movement started in the 1960s,) there was no question that any state would ever mount another actual insurrection. The nation is strong enough and integrated enough as a people that such acts will never tear it apart again.

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