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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 塞勒斯圆筒文物巡展广受关注

2017年08月01日09:51 来源:互联网
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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 塞勒斯圆筒文物巡展广受关注图1

The Cyrus cylinder——Diplomatic whirl

塞勒斯圆筒:外交漩涡

A show that tests the limits of cultural politics

一场巡展,一次文化政治学极限的考验

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CYRUS THE GREAT, king of Persia and conqueror of Babylon in the sixth century BC, has been a personal hero to many people. These include Thomas Jefferson and Iran's last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and, perhaps more oddly, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first leader.

公元前6世纪,居鲁士称帝波斯,征服巴比伦王国,史称居鲁士大帝(Cyrus the great)。其个人英雄形象万世流芳。粉丝包括美国总统托马斯杰弗逊、伊朗末代国王穆罕默德礼萨巴列维(Mohammad Reza Pahlavi),或许还意外地成为伊朗前总统马哈茂德艾哈迈迪-内贾德(Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)和以色列首任总理戴维本-古里安(David Ben-Gurion)的偶像。

Xenophon, a Greek historian whose “Cyropaedia” has been read by statesmen down the ages, believed that Cyrus embodied all the qualities of a perfect king. Now the British Museum (BM) is sending an object closely associated with Cyrus on a tour of five American museums, beginning with the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. The curators hope the show will highlight the Persian king's religious tolerance and his close relations with the Jews in particular, and that this may help improve ties between America and Iran.

希腊历史学家色诺芬(Xenophon)著有《居鲁士的教育》(Cyropaedia)一书流传至今,在政治人物中广为传阅。他认为,居鲁士身上凝聚了完美无缺的君主所具备的一切品质。如今大英博物馆(BM)将一枚这位波斯大帝的旧物运至美国,分别在5家美国博物馆进行巡回展览,首站便是华盛顿市的史密森尼博物院(Smithsonian)。各家馆长期望此次巡展能强调居鲁士大帝推崇的宗教自由,尤其他和犹太人之间的亲密关系,以此促进美伊两国关系。

The Cyrus cylinder, one of the BM's most important objects, is made of clay and covered in dense Babylonian cuneiform script. Unearthed in 1879, it is cracked and bits have fallen off it, but enough remains for the writing to have been deciphered.

大英博物馆重要藏品之一塞勒斯圆筒由黏土制成,通体镌刻密密麻麻的巴比伦楔形文字。它于1879年出土,筒身开裂,部分泥土脱落,不过剩下部分足以供人解读文字内容。

Under Cyrus the Persian empire became the largest kingdom the world had ever seen, unifying many tribes, languages and cultures, and stretching across vast distances. The cylinder, which had been placed at the base of a building in ancient Babylon (now modern Iraq) proclaimed Cyrus's ambitions for his rapidly expanding domain: that those people who had been captured and enslaved by his predecessors should be allowed to go back to their homes and the statues of their different gods returned to their original shrines to be freely worshipped. The exiled Jews, who wept by the waters of Babylon when they remembered Zion, the Bible says, could return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple.

居鲁士大帝统治下的波斯帝国成为前所未见的大国,吞并了众多部落、语言和文化,幅员广阔。这支塞勒斯圆筒一度躺在古代巴比伦(即现在的伊拉克)的建筑物脚下,叙述着皇帝谋求迅速向外扩张的雄心壮志:祖辈们俘获的奴隶们应该被允许回归故土,他们信奉的神祇挪回原位供信徒自由膜拜。圣经上说,原先犹太人被流放后,在纪念锡安圣地的日子涉过巴比伦河,此时获准返回耶路撒冷,重建寺庙。

No ruler before Cyrus had done anything like this, and many since have claimed a connection with him. After the 1917 Balfour declaration in favour of a Jewish homeland, Jews displayed photographs of King George V alongside images of Cyrus. In 1971 the shah prayed at his tomb during the celebrations of 2,500 years of Iranian monarchy, and new coins were struck with the shah and Cyrus on one side and the cylinder on the other. The shah's sister gave a copy of it to the secretary-general of the United Nations. Some call it the first charter of human rights.

居鲁士大帝此举开历史先河,为他赢得后人的绵绵景仰之情。支持建立犹太家园的贝尔福宣言得发表后,犹太人于乔治五世照片之侧放置居鲁士大帝画像。1971年,纪念伊朗君主制2500年之际,伊朗国王在居鲁士墓前祷告,并且发行新硬币,一面同时印上国王和居鲁士大帝,另一面则是塞勒斯圆筒。国王的一位姐妹将圆筒上的文字拓印成文,赠送给当时的联合国秘书长。这些文字被称为人权宪章的始祖。

【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 塞勒斯圆筒文物巡展广受关注图2

The leaders of revolutionary Iran at first turned away from everything that had been praised by the shah. But that began to change with the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, which began in 1980. Anxious to be regarded as superior to the Iraqis, Iran became more interested in its distant past. In 2010 the cylinder was sent to Tehran on loan. Nearly 500,000 people queued to see it, and its presence provoked a fierce national debate about Iranian values. Mr Ahmadinejad opened the exhibition at the National Museum of Iran, reminding visitors that Islam had a tradition of tolerance and that the Iranian constitution reserved seats in parliament for a Christian (Armenian), a Zoroastrian and a Jew.

伊朗陷入革命浪潮后,反对派领袖起先抗拒国王称赞有加的一切事物。不过随着一场为期八年的两伊战争在1980年爆发,他们的态度发生逆转。由于急于塑造超过伊拉克的形象,伊朗对本国悠久历史的兴趣大增。2010年,塞勒斯圆筒被租借至德黑兰。近50万人排队以求一睹其风采。伊朗国内掀起一股讨论伊朗价值观的热潮。内贾德在伊朗国家博物馆组织一次展览,透露给参观者:伊斯兰教拥有包容的优良传统;伊朗宪法保证基督徒(亚美尼亚籍)、拜火教徒和犹太教徒在议会的席位。

The American exhibition takes up just two rooms at the Smithsonian's Freer/Sackler Gallery. The first shows the cylinder together with jewellery and seals from the same period; the second focuses on Cyrus's influence. A glass case contains Xenophon's “Cyropaedia”. Loaned by the Library of Congress, it is one of two copies that Jefferson owned. On the walls are a selection of laudatory phrases: from that student of power, Niccolò Machiavelli, Edmund Spenser, a 16th-century English poet, and Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human-rights activist and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel peace prize.

本次美国展在隶属史密森尼博物院的弗利尔/沙可乐美术馆两个展厅进行:塞勒斯圆筒和同时期的一批珠宝和印章放置在其中一个展厅供人观赏,而另一展厅集中展出深受塞勒斯圆筒影响的后期文物。玻璃柜盛放着色诺芬所著的《居鲁士的教育》一书,为美国约瑟芬总统的两个藏本之一,由国会图书馆(Library of Congress)出面借得。墙上是名人所题的赞美之词:研究权利的学者马基雅维利(Niccolò Machiavelli),16世纪英国诗人斯潘塞(Edmund Spenser),伊朗人权活动家和首位获得诺贝尔和平奖的穆斯林女性莎琳艾巴迪(Shirin Ebadi)。

American Iranians and Jews have been among the many early visitors to the show, which opened on March 9th. The BM's director, Neil MacGregor, hopes others will come too. But America's relationship with Iran is still toxic. The exhibition catalogue is subtitled: “A New Beginning for the Middle East”. But the Smithsonian posters for the show merely say: “A New Beginning”, as if the mere mention of the Middle East might put people off.

3月9日展览举行伊始,迎来众多参观者,其中包括伊朗籍美国人和犹太人。大英博物馆馆长尼尔麦克格瑞格(Neil MacGregor)期待更多访客的到来。不过美伊关系依然紧张。此次展会目录的副标题为“中东新起点”,史密森尼博物院为其制作的海报却仅仅提到“新起点”,似乎中东这几个字眼会使人扫兴而归。

As for Mr Ahmadinejad's views on Cyrus, the Iranian leader's words of praise were expected to hang on the wall of the exhibition's second room, alongside those of Jefferson and Ms Ebadi. But they were not included. Exhibitions like this should help Iranians and Americans understand the past better. But such caution suggests that relations between the two countries will not improve fast.

提及伊朗前总统马哈茂德艾哈迈迪-内贾德对于塞勒斯圆筒的评价,这位领导人的溢美之词一度被指望登上第二展厅的墙壁,比邻杰弗逊总统和艾巴迪女士的名言。可惜未能如愿。举办此类展览理应促进伊朗和美国两国人民对历史的理解,不过采取如此谨慎的态度不免令人疑心美伊两国关系不会迅速改善。

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