July 28th, 2016 (WPVI) --The failed coup in Turkey has been in the news lately, but an exhibition at the Penn Museum tells the story of another Turkish leader who ruled nearly 3000 years ago-the King with the Midas touch.
The exhibition is called the Golden Age of King Midas. It's filled with never-before-seen artifacts and it seeks to separate the truth from the myth of the legendary King famously remembered for turning everything he touched to gold.
King Midas ruled the city of Gordion, a site in what is now central Turkey, in the late 8th century B.C. Curator Dr. C. Brian Rose says, "he's famous for having had a golden touch and donkey's ears but, in fact, he's one of the most powerful kings in the ancient Near East."
The Penn Museum partnered with major museums in Turkey to present more than 120 objects from the time of the king's reign, and Rose says, many have never been shown in North America, "we tried to tell the story of Midas' interaction, the people he fought with, the people he liked, the people with whom he was allied."
The exhibit includes a replica of what the city of Gordion would have looked like during King Midas' rule along with actual artifacts, including thrones and jewels, most of which were found by the Penn Museum during their travels to Turkey.
Penn has been excavating at the site of Gordion for the last 65 years. Rose says one of their biggest finds was the tomb of King Midas' father, "the so-called Midas Mound, one of the largest burial mounds in ancient Turkey, rising over 170 feet in height", and Rose says, "all of the material that was put in that tomb in 740 B.C., we have here for you as part of this exhibit."
Rose says Penn continues to excavate at Gordion every summer, "this will be very much a living exhibit. So you'll be able to see our latest discoveries as we make them ourselves."
The Golden Age of King Midas is on display thru November 27th. For tickets and museum hours go to www.penn.museum.