Icons of Conquest

Victorious Empires have long benefitted from the fruits of conquest, through territorial expansion, wealth accumulation, and cultural dominance. But they also enriched themselves through the acquisition or cultural appropriation of monuments, objects, and icons.

 At worst the spoils of war have also involved the simple pillaging, stealing or destruction of national treasures belonging to the conquered.

Pillaging has ancient routes.

In this Empire Builders special, we look at how and many of these famous icons of conquest were removed, what made them special and the debate on whether, when and how they should be returned.

With contributions from experts in the field we explore the stories behind pillaging from the Romans through the Ages of Enlightenment. Discovery and Colonialism to the Nazis, and the efforts and debate behind moves to have national treasures returned to their homelands.

Empire Builders – series