The exhibition will run at the museum from the 4th May until the 13th August 2023.

(c)the Trustees of the British Museum

The British Museum is set to explore the relationship between luxury and power in the Middle East and southeast Europe between 550-30 BC in this brand new exhibition opening next month.

Moving beyond Ancient Greece to delve into the complex story of luxury and power in ancient Iran, Athens, and the world of Alexander through displaying exquisite objects from Afghanistan to Italy, it will explores how the royal Persian court used objects of exquisite luxury as markers of authority, defining a distinct style that was copied by different social classes throughout the empire.

Among the loans for the exhibition include the Panagyurishte Treasure from Bulgaria. Accidentally discovered by three brothers in 1949, these treasures are outstanding examples of ancient metalworking and demonstrate the influence of Persian and Greek luxury across the Balkans. The Treasure consists of nine richly decorated gold vessels: eight rhyta used to pour wine and one bowl to drink it. The exhibition will also include objects from the British Museum collection such as a gilt silver rhyton shaped as a griffin which is a
remarkable example of Persian craft. Originally used as a wine-pourer, this drinking vessel reflects the opulence of the Persian court. Also from the Museum’s collection will be a gold wreath from Turkey, similar to those found in elite tombs in the kingdom of Macedonia. The gold oak wreath, consisting of two branches with a bee with two cicadas, showcases the spread of luxury across the region and how styles evolved into the period after the death of Alexander in 323 BC.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said: “Luxury and power: Persia to Greece provides a fascinating opportunity to look at the ways luxury influenced political power across Persia and Greece. The exhibition explores the people of the past and their way of life, from the highest elite of the Persian court to the ordinary citizens who were affected by them.”

To book tickets for the exhibition visit:


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