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Due to expected inclement weather, the public lecture that was scheduled for Wednesday 3/21 has been postponed. Please refer to Events for an updated schedule.

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


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"Romance and Reason: Islamic Transformations of the Classical Past" Opens February 14th!

By Maggie Pavao

The story of antiquity reads as an endless cycle of expansion, conflict, and conquest as different groups and leaders sought to expand their power, enhance their resources, and understand the universe. Despite the divi­sions that existed between people and nations, the exchange of images and ideas was boundless. Beginning in the 8th century CE, with the ascent of the Abbasid dynasty at the helm of the Muslim Empire, images from Classi­cal antiquity were incorporated into Islamic culture and contributed to the shaping of the Islamic world through the dawn of modernity. 

Organized by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, in partnership with the National Library of Israel, Romance and Reason explores such Islamic representations and adaptations of Classical figures and thought. From the story of Alexander the Great to the insights of Greek medicine, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, and philosophy, this exhibi­tion presents the transformations of the Classical past through an engaging display of illuminated Islamic manuscripts. Representing both heroic and historic figures, Romance and Reason includes works from the 11th through 18th centuries, created in Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey. 

We look forward to seeing you in our galleries! 

Book on the Shapes of the Fixed Stars (Kitab suwar al-kawakib al-thabita). The Constellation of Corvus the Raven (detail). Author: #Abd al-Rahman ibn #Umar Sufi (903–986); Language: Arabic. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper, folio: H. 20 cm; W. 14.6 cm. Iran, 16th century. Brooklyn Museum, Designated Purchase Fund: 74.23. Photo: Brooklyn Museum.

Romance and Reason: Islamic Transformations of the Classical Past will be open February 14 - May 13:

Closed Monday and Tuesday 
Wednesday - Sunday: 11am-6pm
Friday: 11am-8pm; free guided tour at 6 pm
Free admission