In the last lesson we talked about the great ancient civilizations that took care of their own past because this care guaranteed the continuity of the past in the present and in the future. We must also add that the attitude of humankind towards the past definitely changed when, in the ancient world, the horizon became larger and got in contact with different and far away worlds, of which they had had until that moment only uncertain and inaccurate news, and, in some instance, even no news at all. This happened in the ancient world, after Alexander the Great defeated the Persian Empire, and dominated a very large geographic area, as you can see in the slide, from the Eastern Mediterranean to Western India and to part of Afghanistan. When Alexander's successors came to power in countries of whose culture they new little, they tried, on the one hand, to have direct information about the ancient civilizations of those countries through the work of local scholars, like Manetho in Egypt, and Berossos in Mesopotamia: on the other hand, they began to appreciate and admire the most important monuments of those little known worlds, which for them were most peculiar. So, among the “Seven Wonders of the World”, with famous masterpieces of the Greek civilization, they included the extraordinary masterpieces of different civilizations, like the Pyramids of Egypt, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. These masterpieces could not be included in the category of the enigmatic works from a different and incomprehensible past, of no meaning for the identity of the present, as was probably the case with the megalithic structure of Stonehenge for the Romans, or in the category of those works, very ancient, and remote in time, yet basic for the identity of the present, like a 3000 years old temple of Mesopotamia for the Babylonians. The past, one may add, is a material and ideological treasure. As we have seen in the previous lesson, even the most ancient civilizations took care and tried to preserve it. Yet, they also took possession of it, when it didn't belong to them, not destroying it, because in the past they recognized values, though not those of theirs fathers. Lastly, the past was the subject of strong destructions and devastations, because the others' past, can be hated and refused beyond the imagination. So when did it happen that a culture, dominating in the political sphere, took hold of another culture, culturally advanced, making it its own? The most famous instance in the Western World is certainly the relation between Greece and Rome, summarized in a famous expression by the poet Horace at the time of Emperor Augustus: “Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio” “Greece, conquered [by Rome], conquered her wild winner, and introduced arts in the rustic Latium” A huge amount of priceless artistic works were sacked in all the main towns of Greece, when in the 2nd century BC, the victorious Roman generals annihilated the kings of Macedonia and the leagues of Greek towns, making of Greece a Roman province. The brutal sack of Corinth, which was considered the most beautiful town of Greece by consul L. Mummius, a resolute, yet ignorant man, brought to Rome very famous sculptures and paintings. The creation of the Roman province of Achaia opened the road for unlimited pillages, in every town of Greece, in order to adorn Rome with the treasure of Greek art. When later on, in the time of Anthony and Octavian, also Egypt became a province under the Roman Emperor's direct control, quite a number of obelisks, though with heavy difficulties in transportation, were brought from Thebes and the Heliopolis to Rome, where they still adorn a number of squares of contemporary Rome. In the Western World, mass appropriation of the works of art of the past took place also in modern times, during wars against enemies whose past was considered great, and of whom they wished to become the heirs. In much different ways, of course, the large amount of masterpieces stolen by Napoleon from Italy, several of which were given back to the Italian museums after the Vienna congress of 1815 and the numerous masterpieces stolen by the Nazis in Italy during the Second World War and afterward, largely given back to Italy, certainly belong to this kind of pillage of masterpieces of another culture, aiming at seizing the past of that different culture. Also in the Eastern world, works of art were pillaged in several occasions, not to destroy them, but to take hold of the past of a culture for which they somehow wished to be heirs. This happened with the first Moghul emperors of India, who seized several paintings, in particular miniature paintings by great masters of Iranian art, as they wished to become the followers of that great art, they much appreciated, though it was completely foreign to their history. These are forms of appropriation of works of the past, which, even if they appeared as pillages, didn't aim at destroying the works of the past, but merely stole them from their primary context; thus, they certainly made a damage, and they created for them a new context in a new culture. In these instances, they wished to prove, albeit without any historic reason, that the new culture felt, at least ideally, to be the heir of the culture which had produced those works of art. In the modern times, the creation of the great European and Western museums with universal vocation, the Louvre Museum of Paris, the British Museum of London, the Staatliche Museen of Berlin, the Pergamon Museum, The Museum of Saint Petersburg, and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, developed according a not too different logic. These museums, which were usually created during the 19th century, collect the masterpieces from every space and time in towns which had been and wished to remain capitals of empires with a supranational and planetary vocation. The message of these museums was that only in those imperial capitals one could admire masterpieces made by humankind in any time and place, because those capitals strongly rivaling with one another, felt they were the heirs of all things beautiful humankind produced in history. The case of the destruction of the past of other cultures, which for ideological, political or religious motives are not appreciated is completely different, and obviously much more tragic in its consequences than the appropriation of the past of other cultures. Thus, in these instances, they don't wish to hold the works of a past, they admire or somehow envy in other cultures, but rather they wish to destroy the past of other cultures, because they wish to annihilate that culture, and one wishes to reach this goal depriving it of its past, and as a consequence of its identity. This happened many times in history. In 689 BC Sennacherib of Assyria razed Babylon, diverting the course of the Euphrates, in order to prevent it from rising again, and made of it, a forlorn place, only fit for wild animals. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in 586 BC destroyed Jerusalem, pulling down its walls, razing Solomon's temple, and wiping out all traces of the town. Scipione the Emilian, in 146 BC not only conquered Carthage, but razed it, sprinkling salt over its ruins, so that no form of life could be found here. Rome itself during the fifth century, suffered from three dreadful pillages, in August 410 by the Goths, in June 455 by the Vandals, and in July 472 by the Visigoths, Burgundians and Ostrogoths: as a consequence of these pillages, huge amount of masterpieces of Greek art collected and exposed in the capital of the Roman empire were lost. During the Middle Ages and in the modern age of the Western World, voluntary destructions of works of the past were not less. Political reasons were the origin of the dreadful pillage of Constantinople in 1204 by the Christian kings leading the so-called Fourth Crusade: the famous horses of Saint Marc Basilica in Venice, are certainly a masterpiece of ancient Greece, stolen by the Venetians from the capital of Byzantium empire. Always political reasons caused the grievous sack of Baghdad, capital of the Abasid Caliphate by the Mongols in 1253, when, as they said, the Tigris became black from the destruction of thousand of Arabic manuscripts thrown in the river. Ideological motives were again the reason for which, in France, during the Great Revolution of 1789 a great number of masterpieces of the Middle Age were destroyed as symbols of the loathed kingship, they wanted to bring down. Political and ideological motives were the reasons during the Second World War, for the shelling and destruction of a large part of the historical center of Dresden, the so-called Florence of the north of Europe. Ideological and religious motives in our days are the reason for the destruction of the big Buddha’s statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan and of the Sunni sanctuaries of Timbuktu in sub-Saharan Africa in Mali State. Thus, in conclusion, humankind in the storms of history, in every part of the planet, on the one hand took care of the past, and were engaged in its protection, and in transferring its testimony to the humankind of the future, most of all in order to maintain their identity, and, on the other hand, they destroyed it, and were engaged in wiping out its memory. Most of all in order to annihilate other cultures' identity. Archaeology, which as has already been maintained, aims at recovering the past in every evidences of it, in any time and in any space, bears as is its ultimate scope, the rediscovery, preservation, protection of the past, in the clear perspective that the past, all the past, is a heritage of humankind beyond any ideological, religious and cultural distinction. By these examples, we have seen in this lesson that the preservation of the past was, in the ancient times, in function of political, religious, and ideological interests, very far from the perspective of the modern archaeology.