D. G. Rossetti's "The Burden of Nineveh"
Iraqi and Middle-Eastern Archaeological antiquities had been, and still are subjects to burgling by the excavators and looters. In 1850, the British Pre-Raphaelite poet-painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1822-1888), made a visit to the British Museum which coincided with the hoisting into the museum of a winged bull from Nineveh and he selected the Nineveh statue as the focus of his musings. This event induced a train of thoughts in the poet and inspired his poem "The Burden of Nineveh" in which he contemplates on the Bull's identity, time and civilizations. The poet goes into the future of London to imagine the sculpture and its new role as a relic in the London Museum. He predicts that in the future, archaeological excavators; travellers from Australia, digging up the massive Assyrian bull-god sculpture from the ruins of London and the British Museum will assume it to be a relic of London rather than of Nineveh and an object of worship by native Britons, representing London's culture and religion. This paper, therefore, is an attempt to shed light on the significance of this poem as an eye-witness on the acts of stealing the Iraqi and the Near Eastern antiquities and conveying them to the British Museum and other museums. It, also, attempts to explore Rossetti's critique of imperial cultures and his concept of time and inconstancy as well as his prediction of an aura of decline and ruin of Western civilization.