Quotes by: Neil MacGregor
Creation stories, so central in the religions of the Middle East, play a surprisingly marginal part in Greek myth. The Greeks had nothing to set alongside the resounding 'In the beginning' in the book of Genesis, where one eternal God creates the universe out of nothing.
As the Persians wrote very little about how they ran their affairs, the Greek propaganda of the 5th century B.C. has for centuries gone virtually unchallenged - indeed, for Edward Said, it was the beginning of Europe's long habit of misunderstanding and ill-informed contempt of the Middle East.
For the Greeks, there was no single canonical version of creation, but a number of overlapping stories.
The spread of Viking bling is a good indication of the spread of its culture.
In a very literal way, of course, Shakespeare did change the course of history: when it didn't fit the plot he had in mind, he simply rewrote it. His English histories play fast and loose with chronology and fact to achieve the desired dramatic effect, re-ordering history even as it was then understood.
Thanks to the unprecedented reach of British navigation, London in the early 18th century was not just the emporium of the world, it was the first place in which it was possible to assemble artifacts from around the world and allow people to study them.