Curated by Eric Klingelhofer, Department of History

This display was unveiled on October 21, 2013

Currency expresses the ideals of the government that mints it and the society that uses it. Ancient coins typically carried the image of a divinity or of a ruler, sometimes on each side (obverse and reverse). Attributes and style of the image changed as society changed. Displayed here are coins from the Holmes collection that reveal more than a thousand years of western art and politics. The faces from the past come to you just as they appeared then, in purses and pouches, when exchanged for goods and services, or given with blessings at births, weddings, and funerals.

The Ancient World has left behind many images of gods and heroes, as well as mortals, both adults and children, all in innumerable attitudes and activities. The Holmes Collection shows various representations, from stiff Egyptian underworld guides and afterlife servants (ushabtis) to uninhibited Greco- Roman dancers. Each image tells us part of a story: one face among the many that made a civilization. Here we also find modern attempts to imitate the past, as occasional antiquarian interest became a booming tourist trade. When not enough interesting artifacts could be found, they were manufactured for the tourists. Such objects certainly convey the appearance of the past, while lacking its meaning.

The Holmes Collection has several artifacts that one would find in an upper-class woman’s home: instruments for cosmetic preparation and application, containers for unguents (oils) and perfumes, and of course a mirror. In Egypt and the Near East, and later in the Hellenistic Greek and Roman worlds, some upperclass men used cosmetics, perhaps in rituals but also as a social custom or fashion. Prostitutes of both sexes would use cosmetics and perfumes as part of their trade, as the Gospel story of Mary Magdalene may illustrate.

When I was in the Fourth Grade, I became fascinated with Ancient History as I first studied the pyramids and became even more interested as I became actively involved in Christianity. The first ancient artifacts from the Holy Land that I ever saw belonged to Dr. Marc Lovelace who taught me Biblical Archaeology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a result I desired to have a collection of my own. I first obtained some ancient pottery shards when I was a Brandeis University student. I obtained more shards and my first artifact when I was a student at the Hebrew University. I seriously began my collection about 1973 when I took a group of University of West Georgia students to work on an archaeological excavation in Israel. My collection expanded dramatically in 1984 when Dr. Lovelace offered to sell me his whole collection of several hundred pieces. I bought his collection and continue to buy ancient artifacts in Israel and Egypt each time I visit there. I also buy a few things off of eBay whenever I can find artifacts that I think are good and will enhance the collection.

My wife and I have signed an agreement to give the Holmes Holy Land Ancient Artifact Collection (composed of over 700 pieces) to Mercer University at my death so that it can be used to show students and the people of south and central Georgia real artifacts of the ancient Holy Land and hopefully give to them a better understanding of the Ancient World and the Bible. Until my death, Mercer University has been given the right to have regular exhibits of the ancient artifacts in the collection.

Yulssus Lynn Holmes

Dr. Y. Lynn Holmes is a native of Vidalia, GA and grew up in the Dublin area. He received his B.A. in English from Mercer, Bachelor of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Old Testament Studies, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Ancient History. During his career as teacher, scholar, and administrator, he has held research fellowships from the Rotary Foundation, the American Council of Education, and the National Defense Foreign Language program, and a number of academic positions - President and Professor of History, Brewton-Parker College; Vice President, West Central Technical College; Assistant to the President/ACE Fellow, Mercer University ; Director of International Programs, Central Michigan University; and Associate Professor of History and Director of Placement and Cooperative Education, University of West Georgia. He has published numerous scholarly papers on ancient History and the Modern Middle East.

Dr. Holmes is married to Elizabeth Nasser Holmes, born in Haifa, Palestine to Palestinian Christian parents. The eldest of 7 children, Elizabeth was educated at a private French Catholic School in Jerusalem. The school emphasized the study of languages and as a result, she is fluent in 4 languages (Arabic, Hebrew, French and English). After graduation, Elizabeth worked as a secretary at the Baptist Church in Jerusalem where she met Lynn; they married in 1968. She studied at the University of West Georgia and Brewton- Parker College, and is a frequent speaker about the Middle East in the community. Elizabeth enjoys spending time with their 3 daughters and their families, including 8 grandchildren, as well as calligraphy, painting and singing. Lynn and Elizabeth currently reside in Carrollton, Georgia.

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