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Musēum

Μουσεῖον). Originally a temple of the Muses, then a place dedicated to the works of the Muses. In this sense the most remarkable and most important museum of antiquity was that established at Alexandria by Ptolemy Philadelphus in the first half of the third century B.C., or perhaps by his father, Ptolemy Soter. This institution contributed very largely towards the preservation and extension of Greek literature and learning. It was a spacious and magnificent edifice, supplied with everything requisite for its purpose, such as an observatory, a library, a portico (περίπατος), a public lecture-room (ἐξέδρα), and a large hall or common-room where the professors dined together. There were also botanical and zoölogical gardens. It lay near the royal palace and communicated immediately with the temple of the Muses. Noted men of erudition were there supported at the cost of the State, to enable them to devote themselves to their learned studies without interruption. They were under the supervision of principals chosen from their own body, while the priest of the Muses was at their head. The Museum was practically, therefore, a great university. Its scholars formed four faculties—letters, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine; and there are said to have been at one time as many as 14,000 students in attendance. Under the Roman emperors, when Egypt had become a province of the Empire, it was still continued as an imperial institute and the centre of all learning, especially in mathematics and astronomy (Strabo, p. 794). Caracalla confiscated the pensions of the learned men attached to it, and the institution itself was completely destroyed during the Civil Wars under Aurelian in the third century.

The Alexandrian Museum was probably suggested by the Museum at Athens founded in accordance with the will of Theophrastus, the pupil of Aristotle (Diog. Laert. v. 5). This may have taken its name from the earlier Μουσεῖον at Stagira, Aristotle's birthplace. The Athenian Museum was like that of Alexandria in its general purpose, though on a much smaller scale. See Education, p. 572; and for the Alexandrian Library attached to the Museum, the article Bibliotheca. On the influence of the two, see Alexandrian School; Canon Alexandrinus. The following works may also be consulted: Parthey, Das alexandrinische Museum (Berlin, 1838); Ritschl, Opuscula, i. pp. 1- 70, 123-172, 197-237; Susemihl, Gesch. der alexandrin. Literatur, i. pp. 327 foll.

Modern Museums.—The modern museums that are of the greatest interest to the classical student because of the value of their archaeological collections, are the following:


1.

the various collections of the Vatican at Rome, comprising the Museo Chiaramonte, the Museo Pio-Clementino (in which are the Apollo Belvidere, the Laocoön group, the so-called statue of Antinoüs, the most beautiful statue in the world, and the tomb of Scipio Barbatus), the Braccio Nuovo, opened in 1820; the Museo Gregoriano, with a superb collection of Etruscan antiquities, and the Egyptian Museum;


2.

the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitol, containing the famous Capitoline Wolf, with Romulus and Remus, and many Etruscan terra-cottas;


3.

the Capitoline Museum, founded by Innocent X., and containing the so-called Dying Gladiator, the Satyr of Praxiteles (a copy), a fine collection of busts of celebrated characters of antiquity, a collection of the busts of the Roman emperors, the mosaic called the Capitoline Doves, and the Capitoline Venus;


4.

the Kircherian Museum, founded by the Jesuit, Kircher, about 1680, containing the Cista Ficoroniana (q.v.) and the famous caricature of the crucifixion (see Graffiti);


5.

the Museum of the Lateran (Museum Gregorianum Lateranense), established in 1843 by Pope Gregory XVI., and containing a famous statue of Sophocles;


6.

the Museo Nazionale at Naples, formerly the Museo Reale Borbonico, famous for its immense collection of objects found at Herculaneum and Pompeii, for its collection of inscriptions, and for the statues of the Farnese Hercules, the Farnese Bull, Venus Callipygé, etc.;


7.

the collections of the Galleria degli Uffizi at Florence, containing the Venus de' Medici, the Wrestlers (see p. 758), and numerous inscriptions, bronzes, and gems;


8.

the Louvre in Paris, with a splendid collection of inscriptions, the Venus de Milo, the Borghese Athlete, the Victory of Samothrace, the Melpomené, the Polymnia, and remarkable terra-cottas, fragments of sculptures from the Parthenon, Olympia, and Assos, with many painted vases;


9.

the British Museum in London, opened in 1759, and containing the Elgin Marbles, the Phigalion Marbles, the Xanthian (Lycian) Marbles, the Halicarnassian Marbles, besides immense treasures of art in the shape of statuary, with inscriptions, etc., making it perhaps the finest collection in the world;


10.

the Glyptothek at Munich, with a remarkable collection of some 1300 ancient vases;


11.

the Royal Museum at Berlin, with objects found at Troy and Pergamus;


12.

the Imperial Museum at Vienna, with an especially fine collection of bronzes;


13.

the Museum of the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, rich in vases and jewels;


14.

the Museum at Athens, with marbles from the Theseum, objects from Mycenae, and funerary remains. The most noted museum in America is the Metropolitan Museum in New York, containing a fine collection of objects from Cyprus, collected by Gen. di Cesnola. See Cyprus.

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