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A Middle Eastern Odyssey: From Constantinople to Palmyra


Mon 28 May 2018, 8:30am–5:00pm
Tue 29 May 2018, 8:30am–5:00pm
Wed 30 May 2018, 8:30am–5:00pm
Thu 31 May 2018, 8:30am–5:00pm
Fri 1 Jun 2018, 8:30am–5:00pm

Where: University of Otago Library, 65 Albany St, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

An imaginary circle that encompasses modern day Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel provides the boundaries for this exhibition on the Middle East. The lands beyond the borders of Turkey and Iran are excluded.

The catalyst for this exhibition was the inventory of Middle Eastern and Islamic language materials compiled recently by Dr Majid Daneshgar, former lecturer at Theology and Religion at the University of Otago, now University of Freiburg, Germany. On display are a number of Arabic, Urdu, Persian, and Turkish language books and manuscripts. The printed books are scarce; the manuscripts unique.

They are mainly from the collection of the Rev. William Arderne Shoults (1839-1887). There are also some modern publications in the exhibition. These are mainly from the library of Charles Brasch (1903-1973), who was an archaeological field assistant at Tell el Amarna, Egypt, from 1933 to 1935.

The choice travel and history books displayed not only help contextualise the language-based items, but also convey a wider picture and greater understanding on this area of the world, a region that has not only been called ‘the cradle of civilisation’, but also the ‘fertile crescent’. Indeed, the Middle East was once the greatest, most advanced and most open civilisation in history (Bernard Lewis).

The exhibition offers an overview of the Middle East. Importantly, it is historical, with those items displayed grounded in a past stretching back to antiquity. Please enjoy.

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