A Roman bronze key from the western cemetery of Aosta, northern Italy. Date unknown. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta)
A colossal basalt statue of Coatlicue ('Serpent Skirt'), the Aztec mother-earth goddess and mother of Huitzilopochtli. The goddess is represented with a severed head replaced by two snake heads, wearing a necklace of severed hands and human hearts with a skull pendant, and a dress of entwined snakes. She also has claws on her feet and hands which she used... [continue reading]
The Arch of Titus is a Roman Triumphal Arch which was erected by Domitian in c. 81 CE at the foot of the Palatine hill on the Via Sacra in the Forum Romanum, Rome. It commemorates the victories of his father Vespasian and brother Titus in the Jewish War in Judaea (70-71 CE) when the great city of Jerusalem was sacked and the vast riches of its temple plundered... [continue reading]
Slavery was an ever-present feature of the Roman world. Slaves served in households, agriculture, mines, the military, manufacturing workshops, construction and a wide range of services within the city. As many as 1 in 3 of the population in Italy or 1 in 5 across the empire were slaves and upon this foundation of forced labour was built the entire edifice... [continue reading]
Trade was a fundamental aspect of the ancient Greek world and following territorial expansion, an increase in population movements, and innovations in transport, goods could be bought, sold, and exchanged in one part of the Mediterranean which had their origin in a completely different and far distant region. Food, raw materials, and manufactured goods... [continue reading]
The Arch of Constantine I, erected in c. 315 CE, stands in Rome and commemorates Roman Emperor Constantine’s victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius on 28th October 312 CE at the battle of Milvian Bridge in Rome. It is the largest surviving Roman triumphal arch and the last great monument of Imperial Rome. The arch is also a tour de force of political... [continue reading]
Roman mosaics were a common feature of private homes and public buildings across the empire from Africa to Antioch. Not only are mosaics beautiful works of art in themselves but they are also an invaluable record of such everyday items as clothes, food, tools, weapons, flora and fauna. They also reveal much about Roman activities like gladiator contests... [continue reading]
The Arch of Septimius Severus, erected in 203 CE, stands in Rome and commemorates the Roman victories over the Parthians in the final decade of the 2nd century CE. The triple triumphal arch was one of the most richly decorated of its type and even today, although badly damaged, it stands in the Forum Romanum as a lasting and imposing monument to Roman vanity.  ... [continue reading]
A map of Machu Picchu, the Inca site in the high Andes in the Urubamba Valley. The settlement was founded by Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui in c. 1450 CE. Typical of Inca architecture, the settlement follows the contours of the natural topography.
The Intihuatana Stone or 'Hitching Post of the Sun' at Machu Picchu in the High Andes. The stone was used by Inca priests for astronomical observations, especially of the sun. In ceremonies during the solstices the priests symbollically tied the sun to the stone using a sacred cord.
A silver plate bust of Jupiter Graius with lightning engraved on the armour. 2nd-3rd century CE, La Thuile, North Italy. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta).
A map of Lake Texcoco and the Valley of Mexico indicating the principal settlements c. 1519 CE, including the Aztec Triple Alliance cities of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan.
The Triumphal Arch known as the Arch of Augustus in Aosta, northern Italy. The arch was erected in the reign of Augustus in 25 BCE to honour the emperor and his victory over the Salssi. The central iron crucifix and roof are more modern additions.
An Attic red-figure stamnos depicting the death of Orpheus, c. 470 BCE. (Louvre, Paris)
The three remaining Corinthian columns of the Temple of Castor & Pollux in the Roman Forum, Rome. The present temple dates from the end of the 1st century BCE and early 1st century CE but replaced a temple also dedicated to the demi-god twins of Zeus built in 484 BCE.
The 22 m high façade (scaena) of the Roman theatre at Aosta in northern Italy. The theatre was constructed in the 1st century CE and further extended in the 3rd century CE. The theatre had a capacity of 3-4,000 spectators.
The Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar of the Augustan Peace in Rome. Built to celebrate the return of Augustus to Rome in 13 BCE following campaigns in Spain and Gaul, it is a masterpiece of Roman sculpture and, in particular, portraiture. Officials and the Imperial family are depicted in an animated procession in the relief panels on the exterior of the altar. (Museo dell'Ara Pacis, Rome)
A 1st century CE Roman blown glass bowl with added 'omega' handles. From the western cemetery of Aosta, North Italy. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta)
Craftsmen of the Minoan civilization centred on the island of Crete produced stone vessels from the early Bronze Age (c. 2500 BCE) using a wide variety of stone types which were laboriously carved out to create vessels of all shapes, sizes and function. The craft continued for a millennium and vessels were of such quality that they found their way... [continue reading]
An artist's impression of what the Colossus of Rhodes statue, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, may have looked like. (19th century engraving by Sidney Barclay)
A map indicating the location of Sparta and her territory in the Peloponnese.
The ever evolving pottery from the Minoan civilization of Bronze Age Crete (2000-1500 BCE) demonstrates, perhaps better than any other medium, not only the Minoan joy in animal, sea and plant life but also their delight in flowing, naturalistic shapes and design. Kamares Style Following on from the pre-palatial styles of Vasiliki (with surfaces... [continue reading]
The Tizoc Stone is a huge stone cylinder from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan which depicts a sun-disk on its flat upper surface and carries a frieze around its outer edge showing Aztec warriors and the Aztec king Tizoc, whose reign from 1481 to 1486 CE was troubled by rebellions across the empire. The stone was almost certainly used during sacrificial ceremonies... [continue reading]
A statue of a comic actor in the costume of Old Silenus, a companion and teacher of Dionysos, the god of wine. He holds a drum and has an empty wine skin over his shoulder. 2nd-1st century BCE, Delos. (Site Museum, Delos)
The egg and dart ornamentation is a common feature of Classical architecture, used especially to decorate a cornice. This example comes from the 5th century BCE Temple of Apollo on Delos.
Travel opportunities within the ancient Greek world largely depended on status and profession; nevertheless, a significant proportion of the population could, and did, travel across the Mediterranean to sell their wares, skills, go on religious pilgrimage, see sporting events or even travel simply for the pleasure of seeing the magnificent sights of... [continue reading]
This 2nd century CE head of Mars Ultor (the Avenger) was once part of a relief sculpture and is inspired by a similar representation originally part of the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus, Rome. The piece was extensively restored in the 16th century CE. (Palazzo Altemps, Rome)
The Roman sarcophagus known as the Grand Ludovisi Sarcophagus, discovered near the Porta Tiburtina in Rome. The front scene depicts three layers of narrative: at the top are victorious Roman soldiers, in the middle are Romans fighting 'barbarians' and at the bottom level are defeated and dying 'barbarians'. Proconnesian marble, 2nd to 3rd century CE. (Palazzo Altemps, Rome)
A marble bust of Roman Emperor Gordian III, r. 238-244 CE. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
The 4th century Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum of Rome. Once housing a cult statue of Saturn it was the focal point of the annual Saturnalia celebrations every December and housed the city's treasury.
The 4th century CE Temple of Saturn is situated in the north west corner of the Roman Forum of Rome and has eight majestic columns still standing. Built in honour of Saturn it was the focal point of this ancient cult and stood on the site of the original temple dedicated in c. 497 BCE by the dictator Titus Tatius, which itself had replaced the god's... [continue reading]
An image illustrating the submission of arms to a victorious Roman army.
The Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum of Rome was erected in the final decade of the 1st century BCE, replacing the earlier temple to the twin sons of Jupiter which had stood on the site since 484 BCE. Today only the inner concrete core of the podium and three columns survive of this once massive structure. Castor and Pollux... [continue reading]
A 2nd century CE floor mosaic depicting Dionysos and satyrs with laurel crowns. From the area of the Villa della Farnesina, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
The Roman bridge of Pont-Saint-Martin in northern Italy, built between 142 and 22 BCE along the Gallic consular road. The bridge, at its highest point, is 46.25 m above the river Lys and the arch spans 31.55 m.
The headdress of Motecuhzoma II, Aztec ruler 1502-1520 CE. Although there is no evidence that it was ever worn by Motecuhzoma the headdress may have been amongst the gifts he gave to Cortés, who in turn passed them on to Charles V. This is an exact replica of the original now in the Museum für Völkerkunde of Vienna. It is made with 450 green quetzal... [continue reading]
The sport known simply as the Ball Game was popular across Mesoamerica and played by all the major civilizations from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. The impressive stone courts became a staple feature of a city’s sacred complex and there were often several playing courts in a single city. More than just a game, though, the event could have a religious significance... [continue reading]
Part of the sacred precinct of Monte Alban, in the Oaxaca Valley of Mexico. The site was the capital of the Zapotec Civilization from c. 500 BCE to c. 900 CE.
A Roman bronze bucket handle in the form of Medusa. Date unknown. Excavated from the theatre of Aosta, northern Italy. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta)
The Discobolus Lancellotti in Parian marble. This is the most complete example from antiquity of the discobolus type statue, all of which were based on an original Greek bronze of c. 450 BCE by Myron. This example dates to the 2nd century CE. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A 5th century BCE marble sculpture of one of the daughters of Niobe, dying from an arrow wound in her back. According to the story from Greek mythology Niobe insulted the goddess Lato by thinking herself more worthy. Lato then had her children Apollo and Artemis strike down Niobe's children with their deadly arrows. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
Frescoes are the source of some of the most striking imagery handed down to us from the Minoan civilization of Bronze Age Crete (2000-1500 BCE). Further, without written records, they are often the only source, along with decorated pottery, of just how the world appeared to the Minoans and give us tantalizing glimpses of their beliefs, cultural practices... [continue reading]
The Temple of Mars Ultor stands in the Forum of Augustus in Rome and was built to commemorate Augustus’ victory in 42 BCE at the Battle of Philippi over the assassins of Julius Caesar. The building became the place where important military decisions were taken and a site of several state ceremonies with a military connotation. The Forum... [continue reading]
A 1st century CE bronze portable abacus, part of a Roman scribe's kit. From St. Martin-de-Corléans Cemetery, Aosta, North Italy. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta)
The pan-Hellenic mythological hero Jason was famed for his expedition with the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece aboard the ship Argo, one of the most popular and enduring legends of Greek mythology. Jason was believed to have been educated by the wise centaur Cheiron in the forests of Mount Pelion. He had been placed under the centaur’s... [continue reading]
A bust of Roman statesman and general Marcus Licinius Crassus (c. 115-53 BCE). Glyptothek, Copenhagen.
The Temple of Vesta is the popular name given to the round temple near the Tiber River in Rome (now Piazza Bocca della Veritá). The association with Vesta is due to the shape of the building but in fact it is not known to which god the temple was dedicated. It may have been dedicated to Hercules Olivarius, patron of the Portus Tiberinus oil merchants... [continue reading]
The jewellery of the Minoan civilization based on Bronze Age Crete demonstrates, as with other Minoan visual art forms, not only a sophisticated technological knowledge (in this case of metalwork) and an ingenuity of design but also a joy in vibrantly representing nature and a love of flowing, expressive, shapes and forms. Materials & Technology... [continue reading]
The pottery of the Mycenaean civilization (1550-1050 BCE), although heavily influenced by the earlier Minoans based on Crete, nevertheless, added new pottery shapes to the existing range and achieved its own distinctive decorative style which was strikingly homogenous across Mycenaean Greece. Mycenaean wares typically display stylized representations... [continue reading]
The Cycladic islands of the Aegean were first inhabited by voyagers from Asia Minor around 3000 BCE and a certain prosperity was achieved thanks to the wealth of natural resources on the islands such as gold, silver, copper, obsidian and marble. This prosperity allowed for a flourishing of the arts and the uniqueness of Cycladic art is perhaps best illustrated... [continue reading]
WARNING: This article contains sexually explicit language that might not be appropriate for children or teenagers. The Roman town of Pompeii was preserved in metres of volcanic material following the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. Often, we may experience the ancient past only through the second-hand interpretations of historians... [continue reading]
Although the male citizen, with his full legal status, right to vote, hold public office, and own property, may well have dominated Greek Society, the social groups which made up the population of a typical Greek city-state or polis were remarkably diverse. Women, children, immigrants (both Greek and foreign), labourers, and slaves all had defined roles... [continue reading]
Abacus - a large slab placed above the column capital to support the architrave or an arch placed above it. Akroterion - a decorative piece added to the roof of a temple at the apex and corners, usually made of clay or bronze and often in the form of a palm or statue, for example of Nike. Adyton - the most sacred inner... [continue reading]
Alabastron (pl. alabastra) - a small jar for storing perfumes, named after the material (alabaster) the first examples were made from. They were often carried by a string looped around the neck of the vessel. Amphora (pl. amphorae) - one of the most common forms in Greek pottery, various shapes, always with two vertical neck-handles and... [continue reading]
The interiors of Roman buildings of all description were very frequently sumptuously decorated using bold colours and designs. Wall paintings, fresco and the use of stucco to create relief effects were all commonly used by the 1st century BCE in public buildings, private homes, temples, tombs and even military structures across the Roman world. Designs... [continue reading]
The remaining columns of the Temple of Hercules, Agrigento, Sicily. Built in the 6th century BCE, the temple originally had 6 columns on each facade and 15 along the sides.
Roman glassware includes some of the finest pieces of art ever produced in antiquity and the very best were valued higher than wares made with precious metals. However, plain glass vessels such as cups, bowls, plates, and bottles were also used as everyday containers, in particular, for storing and serving food and drinks. Glass was also used by the Romans... [continue reading]
The Arch of Janus, erected in the 4th century CE, stands in the forum Boarium of Rome and was most probably set up as a boundary-marker rather than a commemorative triumphal arch. The four-way marble arch stands over the Cloaca Maxima or Great Drain which ran down to the river Tiber. The monument presents an imposing squat block of masonry... [continue reading]
The Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar of the Augustan Peace in Rome was built to celebrate the return of Augustus in 13 BCE from his campaigns in Spain and Gaul. The marble structure, which once stood on the Campus Martius, is a masterpiece of Roman sculpture and, in particular, of portraiture. Senators, officials and the Imperial family are depicted on the... [continue reading]
A portion of the marble procession relief from the Ara Pacis Augustae in Rome, c. 9 BCE. The hooded figure has been identified as Agrippa. (Museo dell'Ara Pacis, Rome)
The Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar of the Augustan Peace in Rome (south entrance). Built to celebrate the return of Augustus to Rome in 13 BCE following campaigns in Spain and Gaul, it is a masterpiece of Roman sculpture and, in particular, portraiture. Officials and the Imperial family are depicted in an animated procession in the relief panels on the exterior... [continue reading]
A detail of the Discobolus Lancellotti in Parian marble. This is the most complete example from antiquity of the discobolus type statue, all of which were based on an original Greek bronze of c. 450 BCE by Myron. This example dates to the 2nd century CE. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A Roman cosmetic toolkit in bronze with two tweezers and two spoon-headed instruments (specilli) and a mirror also in bronze with (originally) a polished silver face. The toolkit is of unknown provenance whilst the mirror is 1st century CE and from Aosta, North Italy. (Archaeological Museum, Aosta).
A detail from a 2nd century CE Roman statue showing the armoured breast plate (lorica), tunic and cloak (paludamentum) typical of a Roman soldier. The armour is decorated with acanthus leaves and from the hanging pieryges are, alternately, griffins and wild animals. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
These 1-meter high basalt reliefs depict Assyrian warriors of different ranks in procession with a royal chariot led by the commander in chief of the Assyrian army. These reliefs were acquired and gathered during the years 1848, 1946, 1948, 1982, and 1995 to reassemble the entire walls. From the palace of the Assyrian king Tiglath-PIleser III (744-727 BCE... [continue reading]
The 1st century BCE circular temple of Vesta (or Hercules), by the Tiber in Rome. The unusually tall Corinthian columns of Pentelic marble would once have been topped by an entablature. The present roof is a later addition. The building is now the church of S. Maria del Sole.
A stamped brick with cuneiform inscription, from Borsippa, Ziggurat of Nabu, Sumer, Mesopotamia (2500 BCE).
A Roman hairpin made from bone, second half of the 4th century CE. One of the two busts at the head has broken off. The inscription reads 'Petronia Florian(u)s'. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
Romulus & Remus being suckled by the she-wolf. In Roman mythology the two demi-god brothers were credited with the founding of Rome in 753 BCE. The sculpture is traditionally dated to the 5th century BCE Etruscans but it may be later. The figures were added in the 15th century CE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
Roman gold pendants depicting various emperors. The far left pendant shows Hadrian (119-132 CE), the central shows Severus Alexander (222-235 CE), and the right example shows Gallienus as Mars (253-268 CE). (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
Roman gold and saphire rings, second half of the 2nd century CE. The ring on the right has a garnet centre stone. From an unidentified marble sarcophagus in Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A marble representation of Orestes and Electra, the children of Agamemnon from Greek mythology. They stand before the tomb of their father and are in mourning as indicated by the postures and short hair of Electra. A stele behind Orestes identifies the sculptor, the inscription reads: 'Menelaos student of Stephanos made this'. 1st century BCE to 1st century CE. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A Roman gold and saphire necklace, 2nd half of the 2nd century CE. From an unidentified marble sarcophagus in Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A marble bust of Roman emeperor Valens, r. 364-378 CE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
A Roman mosaic depicting Orestes and Iphigenia. The mosaic was the emblemata (centrepiece) of a larger floor mosaic. From the Horti Maccenatiani, 2-3rd century CE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
A marble bust of Roman emperor Gordian I who reigned in 238 CE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
A marble bust of Clodius Albinus (150-197 CE) who, on the death of Pertinax in 193 CE, was declared Roman emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
A bust of Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus (r. 305-306 CE) who was the father of Constantine the Great. (Vatican Museums, Rome)
A marble herm bust of the Greek 4th century BCE orator Bias of Priene. Considered one of the seven sages his famous motto was 'Most men are bad'. Roman copy of the Hadrian period from a Greek original. (Vatican Museums, Rome)
A marble bust of the 4th century BCE Athenian politician Demosthenes. 2nd century CE from a Greek original by Polyeuktos c. 280 BCE. (Vatican Museums, Rome)
The Tizoc Stone which depicts on its flat upper surface a sun-disk and around its edge a continuous frieze showing the Aztec king Tizoc and other warriors capturing deities of conquered peoples. 15th century CE. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).
A bust of Sophocles (497/6 - 406 BCE) the Greek tragic poet and author of such masterpieces of Greek Tragedy as 'Oedipus the King'. Second half of the 1st century BCE. (Vatican Museums, Rome)
The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, located on an island on Lake Texcoco in present-day Mexico. The capital was founded in 1345 CE and destroyed in 1521 CE.
A model reconstruction of the Temple Mayor at the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. In use from the 14th to early 16th century CE, the huge pyramid was topped by two temples, one dedicated to Tlaloc, the god of rain (north side), the other to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war (south side). (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).
A model reconstruction of the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital on Lake Texcoco. The city was founded in 1345 CE and fell to the Spanish forces led by Cortés in 1521 CE. The sacred complex was dominated by the central pyramid known as the Temple Mayor, dedicated to the gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).
A brass dupondius coin depicting Roman Emperor Didius Julianus (r. 193 CE).
A stone vessel depicting Mictlantecuhtli the Aztec god of death and Lord of the Underworld. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).
A bronze sestertius from the reign of Roman Emperor Pertinax (183 CE).
One of the walls and goals of the ball court in the Maya-Toltec city of Chichen Itza.
The ball court of the Mayan city of Copan. The game was popular across Mesoamerica and the objective was to put a rubber ball through a hoop placed on the side walls.
The Classic Period ball court of Monte Alban (150-650 CE). The ball game was popular across Mesoamerica and the objective was to put a rubber ball through a hoop placed high on each wall. Any part of the body could be used except the hands.
One of the goals of the ball court at the Maya-Toltec city of Chichen Itza. The objective of the ball game, popular across Mesoamerica, was to strike a rubber ball through the hoop using any part of the body except the hands.
Pyramid B of Tollan in central Mexico, the capital of the Toltec civilization (10-12th century CE). The five-tiered pyramid is topped by stone warrior columns which would have once supported a roof structure. In the foreground stand the ruins of a colonnaded walkway.
A statue of Xochipilli (the Prince of Flowers) the Aztec god of summer, flowers and pleasure. The god wears a mask, is covered in flowers and is playing a rattle (missing) and singing. 1450-1500 CE. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City)
The Aztec Sun Stone (also known as the Calendar Stone) is a representation of the five eras of the sun from Aztec mythology. The stone was part of the architectural complex of the Temple Mayor of Tenochtitlán and dates to c. 1427 CE. The basalt stone measures 3.58 metres in diameter, is 98 centimetres thick and weighs 25 tons. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).
Stone skulls from the Templo Mayor in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. They represent the tzompantli or skull racks where the heads of sacrificial victims were placed.
A map showing the principal settlements of the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica (modern-day Mexico) which flourished from c. 1200-300 BCE.
A marble bust of Roman emperor Commodus as the hero of Greek mythology Hercules, c. 190-2 CE. (The Capitoline Museums, Rome)
The columns atop Pyramid B at the Toltec capital of Tollan (Tula) which once supported a roof structure. They are each composed of four column drums and represent Toltec warriors ready for battle wearing their customary headdress and butterfly pectoral. (10th-12th century CE)
A diagram of the sacred precinct at Tollan (Tula), the capital of the Toltec civilization (10-12th century CE) in Mesoamerica. The site includes two step pyramids, colonnades, a palace structure and two ball-courts.
A turquoise mosaic mask representing Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec god of fire, 1400-1521 CE. The mask is of cedar wood with mother-of-pearl eyes, conch shell teeth and once with gold leaf on the eyelids. (The British Museum, London).
A 15th century CE vase representing the Mesoamerican god of rain, storms and agriculture Tlaloc. From the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan. (National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Maximinus I, r. 235-238 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Hostilian, r. 253 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Macrinus, r. 217-218 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Pupienus, r. 238 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Elagabalus, r. 218-222 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Probus, r. 276-282 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Severus Alexander, r. 222-235 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Gallienus, r. 253-268 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Commodus, r. 180-192 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, r. 138-161 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A Minoan rock-crystal bowl in the form of a duck, 16th century BCE. The vessel was found at Mycenae but has been attributed to the earlier Minoan civilization based on Crete. The vessel was probably used to store cosmetic creams. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
A range of stone vessels from Minoan Crete, 15th century BCE. (Archaeological Museum of Herakllion, Crete).
The Minoan stone vessel known as the 'Harvester Vase', from Hagia Triada on Crete, 1500-1450 BCE. The vase is carved from serpentine and was originally covered in gold leaf. The scenes in relief depict a sowing festival and the vase was probably used to pour liquids during religious rituals. (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete).
A Minoan vase carved from rock-crystal, from Zakros on Crete, c. 1450 BCE. The collar includes gilded ivory discs and the handle is made from rock-crystal beads strung on bronze wire. The vessel was probably used to pour liquids in religious rituals. (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete).
A panorama of the archaeological site of Delos, one of the most important religious sanctuaries in the Greek world and a major trading centre in the 1st and 2nd century CE Roman world.
The remains of the foundations, crepidoma and doorway leading from the prodromos to the cella of the 6th century BCE temple of Apollo on Naxos in the Cyclades. The doorway is 6m high and 3.5 m wide. The temple itself, as indicated by its surviving foundations, measured some 59 by 28 metres.
Marble figurines from Naxos in the Cyclades. The significance of the statues is not known for certain only that they were once painted and are generally found in a burial context across the Cyclades group. These examples date to between 2800 and 2300 BCE. (Archaeological Museum, Naxos).
A section of the garden fresco from the triclinium or dining room from Livia's Villa, Rome, 1st century BCE. The fresco runs around all four walls and gives a 360° panorama of a luxuriant garden with birds and insects against a brilliant blue sky. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A section of the 1st century CE cupids frieze from the triclinium or dining room from the House of the Vetti in Pompeii. The frieze depicts cupids selling flowers and perfumes and as workers who sell flowers, make wine and work gold.
A decorated human skull thought to represent the Mesoamerican god Tezcatlipoca. Mosaic of turquoise and lignite cover the skull with red thorny oyster shell used around the nasal cavity. Polished pyrite surrounded by white conch shell provide the eyes. The interior lining of the skull and straps are made with deerskin. (Date unknown, The British Museum, London).
A detail of the 1st century BCE fresco which entirely decorated a cubiculum (probably a bedroom) of the Villa of the Farnesina in Rome. The room has a distinct Egyptian flavour mixed with scenes from Greek mythology. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A detail of the 1st century BCE fresco which decorated the dining room (triclinium) of the Villa of the Farnesina in Rome. The long frieze depicts judicial scenes, perhaps famous cases and the events which led to the trial. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
The Belvedere Apollo statue considered to be a 2nd century CE copy of a bronze statue of the 4th century BCE by Leochares. The god would have once held a bow in his left hand. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
The mummy of Armenirdis, late XXII-XXV Dynasty (800-664 BCE), Thebes. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A detail of the carved niches on the Arch of Janus which stood in the forum Boarium of Rome and was constructed in the 4th century CE most probably to act as a boundary marker.
Xipe Totec was the Mesoamerican god of spring and patron of planting, seeds and goldsmiths and particularly worshipped by the Aztecs. Human sacrifices were made to the god and the skins of the victims worn in imitation of the process of regeneration of seeds when they shed their husks. This image from the Codex Barbonicus clearly shows the god wearing one of the skins of his victims.
A 19th century CE print depicting the major Hindu deity Indra riding his white elephant Airāvata and carrying a chisel, sword and thunderbolt indicating his role as king of the gods and bringer of beneficent rain. (British Museum, London).
Laocoon was a Trojan hero who during the Trojan war tried to warn his compatriots against accepting the gift of the Trojan Horse. However, Athena and Poseidon, who supported the Greeks, sent two gigantic sea snakes to destroy Laocoon. This marble statue, dated to 40-30 BCE, captures the moment the snakes kill Laocoon and his two sons. According to the myth... [continue reading]
The Arch of Janus in the forum Boarium of Rome, constructed in the 4th century CE. The four-way marble arch probably acted as a boundary marker and, perhaps not coincidentally, stands directly over the Great Drain or Cloaca Maxima which fed into the river Tiber.
The Papyrus Fresco from the Room of the Ladies from the house of the same name, Akrotiri, Thera. Papyrus is not indigineous to Thera and therefore suggests that the Cycladic artists were borrowing iconography from elsewhere, perhaps Egypt or Minoan Crete. 17th century BCE. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Santorini).
A large storage pithoi decorated with dolphins and lilies, 17th century BCE, Akrotiri. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Santorini).
A detail of a 7th century BCE amphora displaying the common design motifs of the Geometric style of Greek pottery. The style was in use from 900 to 600 BCE in the Greek world and involved decorating vessels with simple linear motifs and stylised figures. From ancient Thera, Santorini. (Archaeological Museum, Thera).
Detail of the Mykonos pithamphora which shows the wooden horse the Greeks used to infiltrate the city of Troy in the final stages of the Trojan War. The wheels on the feet of the horse can be clearly seen. Manufactured in the second quarter of the 7th century BCE. The vessel was made on the island of Tinos in the Cyclades and found at Chora on Mykonos. (Archaeological Museum, Mykonos).
An Archaic marble statue of a Gorgon, the fearsome monster from Greek mythology of whom Medusa was the most famous. She holds a snake which is also wrapped around her waist and has a torso of scales. The statue dates from the mid-6th century BCE and is believed to be the first example of the monster as a statue. It was discovered on Paros in the Cyclades inside... [continue reading]
An architectural sculpture from Teotihuacan of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed-Serpent god of Mesoamerican religion and mythology. He was regarded as a creator god and a god of wind by such civilizations as the Maya and Aztecs.
A detail of the neck and handle of a Roman glass bottle (1st - 3rd century CE). The handle shows the common technique of adding handles separately and the folding over of the glass at the ends due to the glassmaker's lack of cutting shears. (Archaeological Museum, Naxos, Greece).
A Roman glass drinking cup, 1st - 3rd century CE. The shape and carved horizontal handles are typical of glass drinking cups of this period and their use was widespread throughout the Empire, even by those of more modest means. (Naxos Archaeological Museum, Greece).
A Roman glass vase dating from the 1st to 3rd century CE. Glass vessels were often decorated so as to imitate more expensive metalware. (Naxos Archaeological Museum, Greece).
A section of a wall-painting with relief ornament and painted rosettes from Akrotiri on Thera (Santorini), 17th century BCE. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Santorini).
The celebrated Lycurgus cup, one of the finest examples of Roman glassware made in the 4th century CE. The cup is an example of the diatreta or cage-cup type where the glass was cut away to create figures in high relief attached to the inner surface with small hidden bridges behind the figures. The cup is so named as it depicts the myth of Lycurgus entwined in a vine. (British Museum, London).
The celebrated Portland vase, one of the finest examples of Roman glassware. The vase was made during the reign of Augustus (27 BCE - 14 CE) and displays gemcutting techniques used to create a cameo-like depiction of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis from Greek mythology. (British Museum, London).
A gold ibex figurine from Akrotiri on Thera (Santorini), 17th century BCE. The figurine was discovered in 1999 CE in mint condition having been originally placed inside a wooden box within a clay chest. It is hollow and was made using the lost-wax technique. The legs, neck and tail were soldered on and finishing touches were added using a small hammer, indentations... [continue reading]
Two examples of the distinctive Kamares Style of pottery decoration used by the Minoans based on Crete in the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1700 BCE). The designs were rendered with bold strokes of red and white on a black background and the style is named after the place on Crete where most examples have been excavated.
The central tondo from a 6th century BCE black-figure kylix or drinking cup. The left figure is Poseidon who fights the giant Polybotis. From a cemetery in ancient Thera (Santorini).
Ten of the most common decorative ornaments used in ancient Greek pottery. These were used principally on the outer edges of the pottery wares and also on the neck, foot and around handles.
A column plinth from the arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, 203 CE. The relief sculpture depicts a Roman soldier with a Parthian prisoner.
One of the four relief panels and friezes from the arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, 203 CE. The panels, two on each façade, depict battle scenes, seiges, prisoners, and the emperor addressing his troops during his campaigns in Parthia in the last decade of the 2nd century CE.
A sarcophagus of a Roman general depicting scenes of combat between Romans and German tribes, 180-190 CE. From Portonaccio, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
The inscription on the arch of Septimius Severus in Rome (203 CE). It is repeated on both façades, and shows that the triumphal arch was dedicated to Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons Caracalla and Geta who ‘restored the Republic and expanded the dominion of the Roman people’ in successful military campaigns against the Parthians.
A detail of a 3rd century CE Roman statue of Hecate (or Hekate), goddess of the Moon. As here, she is often depicted having three heads and bodies. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A fragment of a limestone relief from an Egyptian tomb in Memphis. 18th Dynasty, 1550-1307 BCE. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
The Shichi Fukujin or Seven Gods of Luck from Japanese folklore. From left to right: Daikoku, Bishamonten, Ebisu, Fukurokuju, Benzaiten, Hotei, Jurojin.
A marble relief depicting theatre masks as worn by actors in both Greek and Roman tragedies and comedies. 2nd century CE (Vatican Museums, Rome).
The possible positions taken in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BCE between Sparta and Thebes. The Thebans, led by the brilliant general Epaminondas, won the battle and established Thebes as the most powerful polis in Greece.
A 2nd century CE Roman sculpture depicting the infant Hercules strangling the snake put into his cradle by Hera jealous of her husband Zeus' infidelity with Alkmene which produced Hercules. (Capitoline Museums, Rome).
A bronze statue of the Greek hero Perseus who has just slain the Gorgon Medusa. (By Cellini 1545-54 CE, Florence).
A representation of the Titan Oceanus, a figure from Greek mythology who was a personification of the river or ocean which encircled the world and was the source of all other rivers. With the Titan Tethys, he was the father of the Oceanids and the various river-gods, including Styx. (From the Trevi Fountain, Rome).
A Roman statue of the pastoral god Pan, from a Hellenistic original. Provenance: Campo Marzio, Rome. (Capitoline Museums, Rome).
The triumphal arch of Septimius Severus in the Forum Romanum of Rome, erected in 203 CE to commemorate victory over the Parthians.
An illustration of the Propylaea or monumental gateway of the Athenian acropolis, 5th century BCE.
The temple of Baachus at Baalbek (Modern Lebanon), ca. 150 CE.
A reconstruction of the peristyle from the house of the Vetti, Pompeii.
The Tholos temple of Delphi, c. 580 BCE and originally with 20 columns.
A cornice from the Arch of Titus, Rome, completed c. 81 CE.
A diagram illustrating the pronaos of a temple - the space between the outer columns and entrance of a Classical temple.
The pediment of the pantheon in Rome, completed c. 125 CE. Once it would have carried a gilded bronze emblem, possibly an eagle and wreath.
a cornice with dentils, from the rear of the Pantheon (c. 125 CE), Rome.
A Roman sculpture of Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance, playing a lyre, 1st century CE. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A Roman 2nd century CE sculpture of Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. The sculpture is a copy of a 2nd century BCE Hellenistic sculpture which was itself a copy of a 4th century BCE Greek original. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A 1st century CE Roman sculpture of Erato, the Muse of lyric poetry, playing the lyre. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A Roman sculpture of unknown date depicting Clio the Muse of history. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A 1st century CE Roman sculpture of Melpomene, the Muse of tragedy. She holds a sword and the tragic mask of Hercules. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A sculpture of Urania, the Muse of Astronomy. Originally the statue was of Persephone but recarved and with a head addded taken from a 2nd century CE statue of another Muse. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A Roman statue of unknown date depicting Hygieia, the goddess of Health. Believed to be a copy of a 2nd century BCE original. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
Limestone head of Egyptian pharaoh Mentuhotep II, 11th Dynasty 2061-2010 BCE. The head comes from a column of the mortuary temple Deir el-Bahari at Thebes West. Mentuhotep II was the Theban king who ruled for half a century and reunified Egypt at the end of the First Intermediate Period 2134-2040 BCE. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
The inscription from the Triumphal Arch of Titus, erected in the Roman Forum in c. 81 CE by Domitian to commemorate his brother Titus' campaigns in the Jewish War (70-71 CE). It reads: The Senate and People of Rome, to Divus Titus, son of Divus Vespasian, Vespasian Augustus.
A panel from the Triumphal Arch of Titus, erected in c. 81 CE by Domitian to commemorate his brother Titus' campaigns in the Jewish War (70-71 CE). The relief shows Titus riding a chariot and being crowned by Victory. Forum Romanum, Rome.
A panel from the Triumphal Arch of Titus, erected in c. 81 CE by Domitian to commemorate his brother Titus' campaigns in the Jewish War (70-71 CE). The relief shows the victory procession carying booty from the Temple of Solomon in Jersualem. Forum Romanum, Rome.
A detail from the Triumphal Arch of Titus, erected in c. 81 CE by Domitian to commemorate his brother Titus' campaigns in the Jewish War (70-71 CE). The top frieze is a victory procession whilst below two winged Victories stand on a globe. Forum Romanum, Rome.
The coffered vault or intrados of the Triumphal Arch of Titus, erected in c. 81 CE by Domitian to commemorate his brother Titus' campaigns in the Jewish War (70-71 CE). The central figure is the deified Titus. Forum Romanum, Rome.
A Roman floor mosaic dating to the 1st century BCE and depicting Nike. From a Roman villa near via Ruffinella, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A Roman floor mosaic in geometric design dating to the late 1st century CE. From a villa near Guido Castle, near Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
The Triumphal Arch of Titus, erected in c. 81 CE by Domitian to commemorate his brother Titus' campaigns in the Jewish War (70-71 CE). Forum Romanum, Rome.
A Roman floor mosaic dating to the 4th century CE and depicting Dionysos fighting Indians. Dionysos was a very popular subject in Roman mosaics. Provenance: Villa Ruffinella, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A Roman floor mosaic dating to between 350 and 375 CE and depicting fish. Food was a popular subject in mosiacs throughout the Roman period. Provenance: Toragnola, Rome. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A Roman floor mosaic dating to the 3rd century CE and depicting one of the four Seasons. Black and white mosaics were very popular throughout the Roman period in Italy. Provenance: via Prenestina, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
Kali is the Hindu goddess (or Devi) of death, time and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure.
The view of Rome's Circus Maximus in the present day. The original circus lies 9 m below ground level and was first laid out in the 6th century BCE. The present site was remodelled in the 1930s CE to resemble the original.
An illustration of what the Circus Maximus chariot track of Rome might have looked like. The Circus Maximus dates back to the 6th century BCE but was at its most splendid in the 1st century CE when it had a capacity for 250,000 spectators who watched chariot races, games, gladiatorial contests and public executions.
A diagram showing the floor plan of the Pantheon of Rome, completed in c. 125 CE under the reign of Hadrian.
A cross-section diagram of the Pantheon of Rome, completed in c. 125 CE under the reign of Hadrian.
The Pantheon of Rome, completed in c. 125 CE under the reign of Hadrian. The exact function of the building in antiquity is not known, no other example is known in Rome of a temple to all the gods (as its name suggests) and it was, therefore, more likely built as a building or temple for a ruler cult.
A detail from Trajan's Column in the Forum Romanum of Rome. Erected in 113 CE the column and its reliefs commemorate the emperor's campaigns in Dacia. The reliefs are an invaluable source of information on the Roman army and depict such military subjects as weapons, armour, ships, fortifications and troop formations.
A detail from the Arch of Constantine I in Rome. Dedicated in 315 CE, the triumphal arch celebrates the emperor's victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius in 312 CE. Between two Dacian prisoners taken from an earlier monument to Trajan, are two sculpted 3x2 m panels (of 8 in total) which were taken from a now lost monument in honour of Marcus Aurelius (c. 176 BCE).
A detail from the Arch of Constantine I in Rome. Dedicated in 315 CE, the triumphal arch celebrates the emperor's victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius in 312 CE. The two medallion panels were taken from a now lost monument (130-138 CE) in honour of Hadrian and each is 236 cm in diameter. On the left is a successful lion hunt whilst the right depicts... [continue reading]
The south side of the Arch of Constantine I in Rome. Dedicated in 315 CE, the triumphal arch celebrates the emperor's victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius in 312 CE. It is the largest surviving triumphal arch and the last great Imperial Roman monument.
The north side of the Arch of Constantine I in Rome. Dedicated in 315 CE, the triumphal arch celebrates the emperor's victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius in 312 CE. It is the largest surviving triumphal arch and the last great Imperial Roman monument.
The inscription which appears on both sides of the Arch of Constantine I in Rome. Dedicated in 315 CE, the triumphal arch celebrates the emperor's victory over the Roman tyrant Maxentius in 312 CE. The inscription reads: IMP CAES FL CONSTANTINO MAXIMO P F AUGUSTO SPQR QUOD INSTINCTU DIVINITATIS MENTIS MAGNITUDINE CUM EXERCITU SUO TAM DE TYRANNO QUAM... [continue reading]
A map indicating the alliances and major battles of the Peloponnesian War in the Hellenic world (431-404 BCE).
Trajan's Column in the Forum Romanum of Rome. Erected in 113 CE the column is covered in a spiral relief depicting scenes from the emperor's victorious Dacian campaigns.
A detail from Trajan's Column in the Forum Romanum of Rome. Erected in 113 CE the column and its reliefs commemorate the emperor's campaigns in Dacia. The reliefs are an invaluable source of information on the Roman army and depict such military subjects as weapons, armour, ships, fortifications and troop formations.
A 3D representation of Athenian hoplites in battle. The Gorgon device on the central figure's shield was a typical feature of Greek shield design. In Greek mythology the stare of the Gorgon Medusa was said to turn people to stone.
A Roman gold medallion depicting Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great. Early 3rd century CE. (Walters Art Museum).
An illustration of the Long Walls fortifications which connected the city of Athens to its port of Piraeus from the 5th century BCE.
A detail of the west pediment of the Temple of Artemis (c. 580 BCE), Corcyra. The central figure is the Gorgon Medusa who was to be slain by Perseus. She is here depicted in her role as Mistress of Animals and is flanked by leopards. The temple pediment is the earliest example from Greece which is carved in stone. (Archaeological Museum, Corfu Town, Corfu)
A 1st century bust of Roman emperor Titus, reign 79-81 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
A detail of a statue of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, reign 138-161 CE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome).
A bust of Roman emperor Trajan (r. 98-117 CE). The portrait is idealised and was produced in the reign of his successor Hadrian in 117 CE. Provenance: Ostia. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A detail of the Artemesium bronze believed to represent Zeus (or Poseidon), 460 BCE. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
A detail from a 3rd century CE Roman sarcophagus showing the amazon Penthesilea and the Greek hero Achilles in a scene from the Trojan War. Achilles was said to have fallen in love with the amazon at the very moment he killed her with his spear. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A 3rd century CE Roman floor mosaic depicting Bacchus, god of wine. From via Flaminia, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A room from the Villa of the Farnesina, Rome, early 1st century BCE. Probably used as a bedroom. The fresco surrounds the whole room and uses trompe-l'oeil effects to create perspective. The central panel shows Dionysos nursed by nymphs, the left panel shows a seated Aphrodite with Eros. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
Head of Alexander the Great from a smaller than life-size statue, goldleaf on bronze, 2nd century CE. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A red-figure loutrophoros from Apulia, 4th century BCE. These tall slim vessels with elongated handles were used during wedding and funeral rites and as grave markers, especially for those who died unmarried. This example depicts women and youths in preparation for a special ocassion. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
An Attic louterion vessel, used for pouring water, wine or in funeral rites and usually wiith a central spout as in this example, 760-735 BCE. (British Museum, London).
A red-figure Attic pyxis, 460-450 BCE. Pyxides were lidded boxes used for storing small items such as jewellery. This example depicts the birth of Aphrodite with Eros on the left. (Metropolitan -museum of Art, New York).
An Attic kantharos (drinking cup) with a head of a satyr, c. 420 BCE.
A southern Italian lebes gamikos vessel, c. 340-320 BCE. Lebetes gamikoi are distinguished by their high handles and they were associated with wedding and funeral rituals. On this example a lady perhaps prepares for a wedding or festival as erotes fly overhead. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
A red-figure Attic Lekanis, 400-300 BCE. (Provenance: Spina Necropolis). Lekanides were often used for serving food where the lid could be overturned and its handle became a foot. The woman depicted here holds a tympanon or drum.
A map illustrating the position of Greek (blue) and Persian (red) forces at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE. The allied Greek city-states led by Athens would win the battle and repel the invasion of Greece by Persian King Darius.
A scene from the end of the Trojan War. The Greeks, to infiltrate the city, had taken the advice of Odysseus and tricked the Trojans into believing the Greek forces had left Troy. Leaving behind the offering of a massive horse the Greeks hoped the Trojans would take the horse into their city, which they did. Hiding inside, though, was a contingent of Greek warriors... [continue reading]
A 5th century BCE marble figure of a Spartan hoplite, perhaps of Leonidas in memory of his sacrifice at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE. (Archaeological Museum of Sparta, Greece).
A row of shop fronts (botteghe) on via dei Balconi, in the Roman port town of Ostia, late 1st-early 2nd century CE.
The main entrance of the 2nd century CE Horrea Epagathiana, Ostia. Horrea were used to store huge quantities of foodstuffs such as grain, however, the large number of locks found at the site suggest this particular building was used to store more valuable objects.
A scroll written by Babatha, a Jewish woman living in the 2nd century CE and found in the Cave of Letters, Israel, in 1960-1 CE. The document here refers to a date orchard.
A map of Ostia Antica, the ancient port of Rome, at the mouth of the Tiber River.
The colossal head of Athena from an acrolith statue dating to the late 1st century CE and believed to be a copy of an original by Phidias. Provenance: Tor Paterno. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
The colossal statue of Antinous, favourite of Roman Emperor Hadrian, who drowned in the Nile in 130 CE and was officially made a god by the emperor. Excavated from the site of Hadrian's villa. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
Eros the Greek god of love and desire from an Attic red-figure kylix, 510-500 BCE. (Museo Archeologico Etrusco, Florence).
A Roman ivory doll from the mid-2nd century CE. From the 'Grottarossa Mummy' sarchophagus, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
The hull of the Olympias, a full-scale reconstruction of an ancient Greek trireme warship. The principal strategy in battle of the trireme was to sink or damage the oars of an enemy vessel using the bronze ram fixed to the ship's prow. Triremes were used throughout antiquity and used most famously in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE when the allied Greek fleet defeated that of Persian king Xerxes.
A Roman marble sculpture of a sleeping hermaphrodite displaying both male and female anatomy. A mid-2nd century CE copy of mid-2nd century BCE bronze original from Asia Minor. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A Roman marble statue of the Egyptian god Anubis. Provenance: Anzio, Villa Pamphili, 1st-2nd century CE. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
The remains of the 2nd century CE Temple of Apollo at Side (modern-day Turkey).
A Roman necklace in gold and glass paste, 6-5 BCE. From a sarcophagus at Fidene, Rome. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
The floor plan of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. Completed in c. 235 CE.
The floor plan of the Baths of Diocletian in Rome, completed in c. 305 CE.
A detail from a Roman sarcophagus in Procennesian marble depicting the Calydonian boar hunt from Greek mythology. The Greek hero Meleager attacks the boar with his spear while Artemis looks on. Provenance: Vicovaro, date unknown. (Capitoline Museums, Rome).
Fragments of the mosaic flooring form the first floor promenade of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome (c. 235 CE).
The mosaic flooring (in situ) of the frigidarium of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome. Completed c. 235 CE.
The natatio or swimming pool (Olympic size) of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome, completed c. 235 CE.
The Roman baths complex in the south of Rome known as the Baths of Caracalla were probably commissioned by Septimius Severus but were opened by his son Caracalla in 216 CE and finished c. 235 CE. They are one of the best preserved bath complexes from antiquity and could accommodate as many as 8,000 bathers. The building was some 30 metres high and covered an area of 337 x 328 m.
A colossal gilded bronze statue of Hercules, 2.41 m high. 2nd century BCE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
The head, hand and sphere (symbol of power) from the colossal bronze statue of Constantine I, 4th century CE. The head alone is 1.77 m high. (Capitoline Museums, Rome).
A Neolithic (3500 BCE) skull showing evidence of a trephination operation - the removal of a part of the cranium to relieve pressure, used as a medical treatment for a variety of ailments from migraines to mental illness. The treatment was used in many ancient cultures. (Natural History Museum, Lausanne).
A marble statue of a wounded Amazon. From an original by 5th century BCE Greek sculptor Phidias. Head: replica of that of the Amazon by Polykleitos. Provenance: Villa d'Este, Tivoli. (Capitoline Museums, Palazzo Nuovo, Rome)
Bust of the Greek philosopher Plato, mid-1st century CE copy from a 4th century BCE original statue by Silanion. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A bronze gilded statue of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, larger-than-lifesize and most probably erected in 176 CE and placed in Rome, perhaps in the Forum. (Capitoline Museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome).
A detail of the garden fresco from the winter triclinium (dining room) from the Villa of Livia, wife of Augustus, Rome. The life-size representations of trees, flowers, fruit and birds decorate all four walls of the room to create a continuous and 360° view of a garden which adds perspective by increasing clarity in the foreground subjects. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
Roman sculpture in pentellic marble. An amazon rider is about to deal the fatal blow to a barbarian. This marble sculpture is influenced by the 2nd century BCE Pergamene school of sculpture and itself dates from the mid-2nd century CE. Provenance: Imperial Villa, Anzio. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A 1st century CE marble bust of Roman Emperor Domitian, r. 81-96 CE. (Musée de Louvre, Paris).
Roman dice in bone and ivory. The larger, triple dice is an unfinshed work. Roman Imperial period. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A black-figure kantharos (drinking cup) depicting Hercules and centaurs. From Boeotia, c. 550 BCE. (Antikensammlungen, Munich).
A hydria (plural: hydriai) was an ancient Greek vessel in clay or bronze used to carry water. Two horizontal handles were used to carry the vessel and one vertical handle to pour. This example is from Attica, c. 500 BCE and the main body depicts two sirens with grapes and vine leaves. (British Museum, London).
The base of a cup which shows graffito - an incised mark, usually in the form of letters or numbers but also sometimes words and phrases. When such marks are painted they are called dipinto. The marks may indicate prices, trademarks and ownership or have been used by potters to match vessels with lids after firing. They most often occur under the foot... [continue reading]
A gold aureus coin depicting the Roman emperor Postumus (r. 259-268 CE)
A bronze coin depicting the Roman emperor Victorinus (r. 268-270 CE).
A black-figure Lakonian kylix, c. 570-560 BCE, depicting the Titans Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders and Prometheus being tormented by an eagle sent by Zeus to eat his liver as punishment for giving mankind the gift of fire, stolen from Hephaistos. (Gregoriano Etrusco Museum, Vatican).
A portrait bust of Roman emperor Nerva, 35-98 CE. (Capitoline Museum, Rome)
A remaining section of the aqueduct built by Emperor Valens in the 4th century CE in Constantinople.
A Greek ceramic plate used for serving fish and seafood. A central depression collected any excess oil. The shape was popular in both Attica and Magna Graecia. Attic dishes almost always have the fish painted with their underside towards the outer edge whilst in southern Italy the underside of the fish was nearest the plate's centre. This example is from Attica... [continue reading]
One of two monumental Medusa carvings which hold up columns in the Basilica Cistern of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). The cistern was constructed in the 6th century BCE reusing the Medusa blocks from an earlier Roman building. One Medusa head is placed on its side whilst the other is upside down, perhaps in an attempt to negate the power of the Gorgon's... [continue reading]
Part of the Binbirderek cistern or Cistern of Philoxenos under Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) first built in 330 CE to hold the city's water reserves which were fed by conduits and aqueducts.
The former cathedral and mosque Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). Although some historians disagree (claiming Constantine laid the foundation), Constantius II is credited with building the first of three Hagia Sophias, the Church of Holy Wisdom, in 360 CE. The church would be destroyed by fire in 404 CE, rebuilt by Theodosius II, destroyed... [continue reading]
The unusually steep cavea of the 2nd century BCE theatre in the Hellenistic city of Pergamon (modern Turkey).
A clay black-figure decorated epinetron from Attica, depicting four women weaving, c. 500-480 BCE. Epinetra were placed over the thigh with the closed end over the knee and used in preparing wool for weaving. The upper surface was often incised to make a rough surface over which the wool fibres were rubbed. The closed end, as in this example, was often decorated... [continue reading]
An Attic red-figure dinos bowl decorated with scenes of Theseus fighting the Amazon Andromache, 440-430 BCE. Dinoi were used for mixing wine with water. (The British Museum, London).
A map indicating the location and military positions taken in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE between the Persian invading forces of Xerxes I against a small Greek force led by Spartan king Leonidas. Defending the pass for three days, the Greek force was ultimately defeated.
An Attic astragalos clay vessel depicting possibly Aelous directing the dance of the clouds, 470-450 BCE. These vessels took the form of a knucklebone (hence their name) and were possibly used to also store sheep knucklebones which were used as gaming pieces and dice. (The British Museum, London).
An illustration showing Greek scientist Eratosthenes' method for calculating the circumference of the Earth. By measuring the angle of a shadow in one location (Alexandria) and comparing at the same time with a second point (Syene) where the sun was directly overhead and created no shadow and by calculating the distance between these two points, Eratosthenes... [continue reading]
A detail of a sculpture of the Titan Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders, 2nd century CE. (National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy).
A detail from Raphael's 'The School of Athens' (c. 1509 CE) showing Greek astronomer, mathematician and geographer Hipparchus of Nicea (c. 190-120 BCE).
A Minoan jug in the Barbotine style where decorative excrescenses were added to the vessel, 1850-1800 BCE from Knossos. (British Museum, London).
A Minoan cup in the Kamares style, a polychrome decoration of bold lines in red/orange and white on a black background, prevalent from 2000 to 1700 BCE. (British Museum, London).
A 2nd century CE Roman statuette of the Greek hero Odysseus. Here he holds a cup of wine in offering to the Cyclops Polyphemus. By getting him drunk the hero was able to blind Polyphemus and escape from the Cyclops' cave to continue his voyage home to Ithaca. (The Vatican Museums, Rome)
A Corinthian alabastron vase depicting two lions and an owl, 595-500 BCE. These vessels were used for storing perfumes and fine oils. (Getty Villa, Malibu)
A squat alabastron, c. 1400-1375 BCE from Ialysus, Rhodes. These flat jars first appeared in the Minoan civilization on Crete and were used for storing creams and unctions. This three handled example is typically decorated with stylised rocks and spiral motifs. (British Museum, London).
An Attic column-krater, 470-460 BCE, depicting Jason about to take the Golden Fleece (left side). (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
An Attic lekythos vase, c. 450 BCE. This type of vessel was used for storing fine oils and perfume and often dedicated in burials. Here, Charon is depicted, the boatman who ferried souls across the river Styx to Hades. To the right is Hermes, identified by his kerykeion or herald's staff and fulfilling one of his functions as guide to the dead. The white-slip... [continue reading]
A red-figure bell-krater from Paestum 360-340 BCE. In a scene from Greek comedy, Dionysos is depicted with a comic actor balancing a basket on his head. The actor is in typical costume - padded stomach, added phallus and bearded mask.
A stone version of a mask from tragedy theatre representing a king, 1st century BCE - 1st century CE. (Ashmolean museum, Oxford, U.K.).
An oil painting representing the ancient city of Rhodes by Frantisek Kupka (1906 CE). Probably a realistic representation of the Colossus of Rhodes which was a gigantic bronze statue, 32 metres high, of the island's patron god Helios, the Sun god. The statue was sculpted by Chares of Lindos, c. 304 BCE and was toppled by the earthquake of 228 or 226 BCE. (Centre... [continue reading]
The intrados or inner surface of the principal arch of the Triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus built in 203 CE.
A black granite statue of Lady Sennuwy, the wife of a powerful provincial governor, Djefaihapi of Asyut. From Kerma (Sudan), Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret I, 1971–1926 BCE.
The mud brick temple of Western Deffufa, Kerma (modern day Sudan), Middle Kerma Period ('Kerma Moyen') c. 2050-1750 BCE equating to the 11-13 dynasties of Middle Kingdom Egypt.
The shaded area illustrates the position of the adyton, the most sacred inner part of a temple, usually at the end of the cella furthest from the entrance, often with restricted access to the initiated or priests.
The initial positions of the Greek (blue/purple) and Persian (red) armies prior to the Battle of Plataea in August 479 BCE. The two armies were separated by the river Asopus. Also indicated are the Persian fortified camp, the town of Plataea and the hills of Cithaeron (dark brown).
The distribution of the respective fleets of the Greek allied states (blue) against the Persian forces of Xerxes (red), 480 BCE. The Greeks would outmanoeuvre the Persians in the shallow waters of the straights and win a victory which would (with the land Battle of Plataea one year later) end Xerxes' imperial ambitions in Greece.
A representation of Ganesha, one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon. He is considered to be the patron of intellectuals, travellers, commerce and new projects. In his hands he often holds a bag of sweets and either an axe or goad, symbolic of his ability to overcome obstacles.
A stone version of a mask used in Greek comic theatre. Contorted features were typical in theatre masks and this one represents a slave. Pentellic marble (2nd century BCE). Found in Athens near the Dipylon Gate (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
Here the Hindu god Shiva is depicted as the Lord of the Dance or Nataraja and is represented in his triple role as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. He stands within a flaming halo representing Time, which is cyclical and has no end. He has one foot on the dwarf figure apasmara purusha who represents illusion and who leads men away from truth. He holds... [continue reading]
A map illustrating in red the Khmer Empire c. 900 CE.
The Hindu temple complex of Angkor Wat built from 1122 CE under Suryavarman II of the Khmer Empire.
The Ghana Empire (6th-13th century CE) at its greatest extent is indicated in green.
The peristyle of the house of the Vettii, Pompeii. The villa was preserved following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE.
The Doric temple attributed to Juno Lacinia but dating from c. 450 BCE, Agrigento, Sicily. The columns are a good example of entasis - the thickening at the base and centre of columns to give the optical illusion of being perfectly perpendicular when seen from a distance.
Fluted column drums from the Propylaea of the Athenian acropolis, 5th century BCE.
A plan of the Greek temple of Aphaia, 500-480 BCE.
A column drum with 24 flutes from the temple of Artemis, Sardis.
The three steps of the crepidoma or crepis of the temple of Zeus at Olympia (457 BCE).
A plan of the decastyle temple of Apollo Didymaeus at Miletus (late 4th century BCE).
An akroterion (or acroterion), an architectural feature of Classical buildings, particularly temples where they were placed at the apex and extremities of the roof.
The portico of the Pantheon in Rome, c. 135 CE.
The seven remaining columns of the Doric peripteral temple of Apollo at Corinth (550-530 BCE). The columns are monolithic, that is carved from a single piece of stone.
Pilaster columns on the Colosseum of Rome, completed in the 1st century CE.
The 2nd century BCE Temple of Portunus, Rome. At the sides can be seen engaged columns.
The Temple of Nike, Athens, 427-424 BCE.
Examples of the buttress, a device from Classical architecture to strengthen a wall and increase its load-bearing capacity. Roman houses, Rome.
The 2nd century BCE Temple of Portunus, Rome. The façades carry two engaged Inoic columns.
The entablature of the Temple of Athena, Priene (Turkey), 340-156 BCE. The cornice decoration includes egg-and-tongue designs and also visible is a lion-head water spout.
The west pediment of the temple of Aphaia, 500-490 BCE.
Column drums from the temple of Zeus at Olympia, 457 BCE. The central hole can be clearly seen which, with a wooden peg, helped hold the column drums in place.
The Antikythera Mechanism (c. 50 BCE), a device used to calculate astronomical positions. The device was found in a shipwreck off the coast of the island of Antikythera. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
A view of the parodoi - the monumental gate entrances common to Classical theatres through which the audience entered the theatre.
10th century CE Greek copy of Aristarchus of Samos's calculations of the relative sizes of the sun, moon and the earth.
A representation of the Titan Oceanus, a figure from Greek mythology who was a personification of the river or ocean which encircled the world and was the source of all other rivers. With the Titan Tethys, he was the father of the Oceanids and the various river-gods, including Styx. (From the Trevi Fountain, Rome).
A plan of the acropolis of Athens. Occupied from Mycenaean times, the monuments visible today largely date from the 5th century BCE.
A plan of the acropolis of Mycenae, 1500-1200 BCE. Fortification walls are indicated in brown.
The Temple of Saturn in Rome which was the location of the Roman state treasury. This was supervised by the quaestors during the Roman Republic.
The arcades of Anjar (8th century CE) in modern Lebanon are a typical feature of Umayyad architecture.
A black-figure Calyx-Krater from Attica, c. 530 BCE. The scene is probably the battle over Partoklos' body during the Trojan War. The figures wear the full hoplite panoply. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)
An arch from the ruins of Anjar (8th century CE) in modern Lebanon. The structure recalls Roman architectural archways.
A general view of Anjar (8th century CE) which illustrates the plan of the city, clearly showing the rationality of Umayyad town planning. The organic medieval cities that were eventually to house the Palace, Mosque, Souq, and private residential buildings are laid out according to a structured plan.
The Roman Columns in Anjar (8th century CE) were most probably reused from earlier 4th century CE Christian buildings.
Mihrab or niche in the wall of a mosque at Anjar (8th century CE) that indicates the qibla or direction to Mecca, decorated by an apex arch lintel carved with vegetal carving above Byzantine characters.
The Portara of Naxos. The doorway leading from the prodromos to the cella of the 6th century BCE temple of Apollo. The doorway is 6m high and 3.5 m wide. The temple itself, as indicated by its surviving foundations, measured some 59 by 28 metres.
The Hittite Empire at its maximum extension c. 1300 BCE (indicated in red. The Eyptian area of influence is indicated in green).
The 8th century CE ruins of Anjar, a city of the Umayyad civilization (modern day Lebanon). The palace of the Caliph - highest area of the whole site - the Roman arcade is clearly seen. The site reveals a long period of early occupation by the Greeks and Romans.
A bronze nummus of Aquileia depicting Galerius, 294 CE (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
The Roman aqueduct of Caesarea Palestina.
A map of the world in 1000 BCE illustrating: hunter-gatherers (yellow) nomadic pastoralists (purple) simple farming societies (green) complex farming societies/chiefdoms (orange) state societies (blue)
The Roman theatre of Carthago Nova (New Carthage), in modern southern Spain.
A gold solidus from Antioch depicting Emperor Julian, 361-363 CE. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
An Attic red-figure stamnos depicting the satyr Silenus being led before the seated King Midas. c. 440 BCE attributed to the Midas painter. (British Museum, London).
Bronze coin of Byzantium: Dolphin flanked by two tunny fish, 146-176 CE. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
A typical depiction of the pastoral god Pan with goat legs and horns. 1st century BCE, from near the theatre of Pompey, Rome. (Capitoline Museum, Rome).
The obverse of a silver coin from Corinth (300-250 BCE) depicting the mythical winged-horse Pegasus. (British Museum, London).
A map illustrating the spread of Buddhism from its origins in India in the 5th century BCE with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama - the Buddha.
A peltast was a type of Greek infantryman who was usually armed with a javelin and who carried a light shield. Originating from Thrace, the peltast was a common sight in Greek warfare during the Classical period and especially following the Peloponnesian War.
Magna Graecia (Megalē Hellas) refers to the coastal areas of southern Italy which were colonized by various Greek city-states from the 8th to 5th centuries BCE. Later writers such as Strabo also included Sicily and eventually the term came to signify the whole Greek world.
An idealised bust attributed to Athenian statesman and general Alcibiades (c. 451-403 BCE). Roman copy of a 4th century BCE original (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome).
The Propylaea, monumental gateway to the acropolis of Athens. Constructed between c. 437 and 431 BCE in the age of Pericles under the supervision of architect Mnesicles.
The Propylaea, the monumental gate to the acropolis of Athens. Interior (west) view. Architect: Mnesicles, c. 437–431 BCE.
A 2nd century CE Roman statue of the Greek goddess of hunting Artemis. The statue is a copy from a mid-4th century BCE Greek original. Weapons in bronze were commonly added to marble sculpture, such as the bow here. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
The Propylaea, the monumental gate entrance to the Athens acropolis. Architect: Mnesicles, c. 437–431 BCE.
The plan of the Propylaea, the monumental gate of the Athens acropolis, c. 437-431 BCE.
The death mask of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. The mask is made of gold, precious stones and glass inlay, 14th century BCE. (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo)
A bust of Alexander the Great, 2nd-1st century BCE. Said to be from Alexandria, Egypt. (The British Museum, London).
The Minaret of the Friday Mosque, Saveh, Iran (1110 CE).
The minaret of the Ali Mosque, Isfahan, Iran. Erected during the reign of Seljuk sultan Sanjar (118-1157 CE). Decorated by two balconies. The shaft below the balconies embellished with interlocking stars in recess, altering to a diamond pattern at the top end, four bands of Kufic inscriptions, three of which are highlighted with glazed tiles.
The Sarban ('Camel-driver') minaret at Isfahan (Jubareh area), Iran (1130-1155 CE). The shafts are decorated with alternate bands of decorative brick and blue tile work in geometric patterns, and two girdles of stalactite ornament. The horizontal bands of square Kufic inscriptions with hexagonal, octagonal and lozenge shaped patterns. The embellished cornices... [continue reading]
The minaret of the Ali Mosque Manar, Isfahan, Iran (1118-1157 CE). Erected during the reign of Seljuk sultan Sanjar (118-1157 CE). Decorated by two balconies. The shaft below the balconies embellished with interlocking stars in recess, altering to a diamond pattern at the top end, four bands of Kufic inscriptions, three of which are highlighted with glazed tiles.
The Gar Minaret, Gar (east of Isfahan), Iran. An inscription reveals its date as 1121 CE. Decorated with square Kufic inscriptions that are carved into the brick shaft.
The minaret of Vabkent (or Vobkent), 1196-7 CE. Location: Town of Vabkent north of Bukhar, Uzbekistan. Patron by Abd al-Aziz II. Embellished by wide bands with high relief carving and crowned by a lantern at the top.
An illustration by F.AlSulaiti of the Kirat Minaret, Khurasan, Iran (11th century CE). Seljuk era patron unknown. Balcony at the middle of the shaft missing which was supported on corbelled brick and decorated with Muqarnas vaulting, and the octagonal base decorated with patterned bands.
A scene from the interior bowl of a red-figure kylix or stemmed drinking cup (490-480 BCE) depicting a symposiast and hetairai - high-class prostitute. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
The remains of the 1st century BCE Roman theatre of Gades (Cadiz, Spain).
In The Upanishads, the connection between Atman and Brahman is spiritual. When moksha or liberation is achieved, Atman returns to the Brahman, to the source, like a drop of water returning to the ocean.
The Indus Valley, looking towards Nimmu.
A coin depicting Roman general and statesman Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Pompey the Great. The reverse side shows Neptune. (c. 40 BCE).
A section of the cemetery of ancient Carthage (modern Tunisia). Used between c. 400 and 200 BCE, the grave stelae on the site were usually set up above an urn of cremated remains of the deceased.
A 1st century CE bust of the Roman orator and statesman Cicero 106-43 BCE. (Capitoline Museum, Rome).
The Diskobolos or Discus Thrower, 2nd century CE. Roman copy of a 450-440 BCE Greek bronze by Myron recovered from Emperor Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy. (British Museum, London)
An extract from The Vedas (or Rig-Veda) written in Sanskrit (early 19th century CE).
On the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire, the Antonine wall was built c. 140 CE on the orders of Antoninus Pius. The wall stretched from the Firth of Forth to the Clyde estuary.
The Trojan king Laomedon(?) from the east pediment of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina (c. 490-480 BCE). The scene is thought to depict Hercules' attack on the city of Troy. (Glyptothek, Munich).
A detail from an Apulian red-figure bell krater by the Pronomos Painter. First quarter of the 4th century BCE. Depicted is Orpheus in Thracian dress defending himself against Maenads(?). (Taranto, Museo Nazionale Archeologico, temporary loan)
An early 1st century CE bronze lion, a typical decoration used to crown the rudder shaft of Roman warships. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
An Attic black-figure neck-amphora (540-530 BCE) depicting Hercules wearing his lion skin and engaged in one of his celebrated 12 labours. The hero wrestles the hind of Keryneia and is breaking off one of its golden horns. On the left stands Athena and on the right Artemis. The amphora was a typical shape in Greek pottery and the designs on this example... [continue reading]
The Proto-geometric style (1000-900 BCE) of Greek pottery decoration was a forerunner of the full Geometric style. This amphora dates from the first half of the 10th century BCE and displays the popular circle design. These were achieved using multiple fixed brushes attached to a compass. Also typical of the style are the plain black horizontal bands. (British Museum, London).
A Boeotian early orientalizing pithos-amphora depicting a lion, 670-660 BCE, Thebes. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
Abu Simbel is a Temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second cataract of the Nile River. The two temples which comprise the site (The Great Temple and The Small Temple) were created during the reign of Ramesses II (c. 1279 - c. 1213 BCE) either between 1264 - 1244 BCE or 1244-1224 BCE. The Great Temple... [continue reading]
The Small Temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to Hathor and Queen Nefertari, stands at a height of 40 feet (12 metres) and is 92 feet (28 metres) long. The temple is adorned with colossi across the front facade, three on either side of the doorway, depicting Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari (four statues of the king and two of the queen) at a height... [continue reading]
The Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome was built in 203 CE and was dedicated by the Senate and the People of Rome (S.P.Q.R.) to both Septemius Severus and his son Caracalla in honour of their victories against the Parthians, relief scenes of which, decorate the arch.
A bamboo version of 'The Art of War' (composed late 6th century BCE) widely attributed to the Chinese military strategist Sun-Tzu. (University of California, Riverside)
A detail of the Arch of Constantine in Rome, built in c. 315 CE to commemorate the Roman emperor's victory over Maxentius in 312 CE. On each side of the arch four free-standing Corinthian columns support statues of Dacian prisoners taken from the earlier Arch of Domitian.
The Arch of Constantine in Rome, built in c. 315 CE to commemorate the Roman emperor's victory over Maxentius in 312 CE. It is the largest surviving example of a Roman Triumphal Arch.
A detail of the celebrated Athenian black-figure belly amphora (Type A) by Exekias, c. 530 BCE. The central scene depicts Achilles and Ajax playing a board game during a respite in the Trojan War. (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, The Vatican, Rome)
A polychrome Krater fragment (mid 7th century BCE) depicting the blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus, one of Odysseus' many adventures on his long voyage home to Ithaka following the Trojan War. (Argos Archaeological Museum, Greece)
An Attic red-figure stamnos from Vulci c. 480-450 BCE depicting the myth of Odysseus tied to his ship's mast in order to resist the enchanting song of the Sirens. The episode occurs during the hero's long voyage home to Ithaka following the end of the Trojan War. Interestingly, the vase shows one Siren descending into the sea which possibly references the legend... [continue reading]
From the Yang Xin Dian (Hall of Mental Cultivation) in the Forbidden City in Beijing, constructed in 1537 CE. Eight emperors of the Qing Dynasty lived here. The words "Yang Xin" come from the Mencius (a collection of the thoughts of the philosopher Mencius), meaning that the best way to cultivate one's mind is to reduce one's desires.
A portrait of Liu-Bang who became the Chinese emperor Gao of the Han (Gaozu). Victor in the famous battle of Gaixia in 202 BCE, he founded the Han dynasty which would rule China from 202 BCE to 220 CE.
The François Vase is named after Alessandro François who found the vase in Chiusi in Etruria (central Italy) in 1845 CE. This Athenian volute-krater dates from c. 570-565 BCE and is signed by the potter Ergotimos and the painter Kleitias. It is an example par excellence of Attic Black-figure pottery and is decorated with 270 labelled human and animal figures from Greek mythology.
A Qing Dynasty print showing Confucius presenting Gautama Buddha to the philosopher Lao-Tzu.
A detail from the handle of one of the finest surviving examples of Attic black-figure pottery, the Francois Vase (570-565 BCE) depicting Ajax carrying the body of Achilles during the Trojan War. (Archaeological Museum, Florence)
The so-called death mask of Agamemnon - the king of Mycenae in Homer's Iliad. Gold funeral mask from Grave Circle A, Mycenae (mid-16th century BCE). The mask in fact predates Agamemnon by 400 years but nevertheless remains solid evidence of Homer's description of Mycenae as 'rich in gold'. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
A statue of Shi Huangti (259-210 BCE, also known as Qin Shi Huang, Qin Shih Huandi, Shih Huan-ti) who was the first emperor of a unified China. Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.
An engraved amethyst ring of Roman Emperor Constantius II, c. 360 CE (British Museum, London)
A kylix depicting the god Apollo pouring a libation and holding an early version of the lyre (chelys) which was made from the shell of a tortoise. The bird may represent the crow which announced the marriage of the nymph Aigle-Korone, the daughter of King Phlegyas. Provenance: Delphi, 480-470 BCE, artist unknown. (Delphi Archaeological Museum).
A statue of Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of Dance. A 2nd century CE copy from a Greek original (The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).
A 12th century CE cover of the Sion Gospels from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
An 1886 CE print by Toyohara Chikanobu of Susanoo, the Shinto storm god. Here he is about to rescue the beautiful Kushinada Hime from the serpent monster Yamato-no-Orochi. (San Diego Museum of Art).
A print by Utagawa Toyokuni III showing the sun goddess Amaterasu, the most important deity of the Japanese Shinto religion. Here she emerges from self-exile in a cave. The figure on the right is most probably the god Ame-no-tajikara-wo.
The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) are a collection of scrolls found in the desert east of Jerusalem on the shore of the Dead Sea. They represent the largest manuscript collections of texts from the Second Temple Period found in the area of Judah, an area notorious for its lack of manuscripts. Around 930 texts were found in 11 caves in the hills surrounding Khirbet... [continue reading]
Lion attacking gazelles in a mosaic from the floor of the bath hall in the palace complex of Khirbat Al Mafjar. The palace was built by Walid Ibn Yazid in 734 CE and is located near Jericho in the Jordan Valley. It is one of the last surviving sophisticated desert palaces in the region and is renowned for its early Islamic classical art including elaborate mosaics, stucco carvings and sculpture.
The six Ionic columns of the front entrance of the Erechtheion temple on the Athenian acropolis which was constructed between 421 and 406 BCE.
The wedded rocks known as Meoto-iwa are located in Japan near Ise jingu. They represent the two creator gods of the Shinto religion, Izanami and Izanagi. The rocks are joined by a sacred rope (shimenawa) of plaited rice stalks which symbolizes the marriage bond between the two gods. The white gate or torii can be seen on the larger rock (Izanagi) which marks the site as sacred.
The Erechtheion temple of the Athenian acropolis was constructed between 421 and 406 BCE. The temple was built to house the ancient cult wooden statue of Athena and as a shrine to other local gods such as the early Athenian kings Erechtheus and Kekrops, and Boutes and Pandrosos. Poseidon and Zeus also had sacred precincts within the building. The south porch... [continue reading]
A detail of the south porch of the Erechtheion temple on the Athenian acropolis. The building was constructed between 421 to 406 BCE to house the ancient wooden cult statue of Athena and as a shrine to various local deities including Erechtheus.
A print of the Jade Emperor, (aka Yuhuang Shangdi, Yudi and Mr Heaven), the supreme deity in Chinese traditional religion. He is often depicted, as here, seated on a throne and wearing full imperial costume.
A floor plan of the Erechtheion on the Athenian acropolis, constructed 421-406 BCE. On the right, indicated in purple are the six Caryatids of the south porch. The main cella is divided into four chambers, the largest of which housed the cult wooden statue of Athena Polias. The north porch of six Ionic columns was an area sacred to Poseidon and Zeus. The... [continue reading]
No contemporary portrait of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (c. 551 to c. 479 BCE) survives but the most popular print during the Imperial period was taken from a now lost original by Wu Daozi (Wu Taoutsi) in the 8th century CE.
A statue of Confucius, located in Hunan, China on the shore of the Dongting Lake. No contemporary physical likeness exists of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (c. 551 to c. 479 BCE) but he is most often represented as an old man with long grey hair and moustaches. On occassion he is represented in imperial costume, representing his status as ‘the king without a throne’.
A bronze statue of the Hindu god Vishnu represented as the avatar Kurma, the giant tortoise, 18th-19th century CE. (British Museum, London).
The Chinese yin and yang are an important element of Chinese philosophy and religion, representing the principle that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites, the correct balance of which creates harmony. They are mutually dependent and contain at their core an element of their opposite, represented by the dots. Examples of opposite pairs... [continue reading]
A collection of Egyptian Bastets and Sekhmets illustrating the importance of cat iconography in Egyptian culture. (Ashmolian Museum, Oxford).
Many of the buildings in the Roman town of Pompeii, preserved following the burial of the town by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE, were covered in electoral notices and graffiti on all manner of subjects.
A mummified cat from Egypt, late Ptolemaic Period. (Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, California).
A Fresco (c. 60 CE) from the Roman town of Pompeii depicting Terentius Nero holding a scroll and his wife who holds a stylus and writing tablet. From the Villa di Guilia Felice. The villas of Pompeii were richly decorated with wall paintings depicting all manner of subjects such as mythology, erotica, architecture, trompe-l'oeil, religious practices, sports... [continue reading]
A mosaic from the Roman town of Pompeii, buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. Such fine mosaics were a common feature of floors in the villas of the town and depicted scenes from mythology, the owner's business interests or, as here, animal scenes. (Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy).
The theatre of the Roman town of Pompeii was built in the 2nd century BCE and it was extensively renovated c. 79 BCE and repaired following the earthquake of 62 CE. At full capacity the theatre would have seated 5,000 spectators.
A portion of the 2nd century BCE Basilica of the Roman town of Pompeii, the oldest surviving example of such a building from the Roman world. In the Roman world the basilica was used for any large gathering and was the typical location of lawcourts.
A black and white photo taken c. 1900 CE of the Roman town of Pompeii, buried in volcanic ash following the eruption of Veusvius in 79 CE. In the foreground are two theatres.
Colonnades of the Stabian Baths at Pompeii, the Roman town buried in volcanic ash following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. The building was first constructed in the 4th century BCE and modified in the 2nd century BCE.
A view of the millstones and oven of a bakery (Pistrinium) in the Roman town of Pompeii which was buried in volcanic ash following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. The millstones have square sockets in which wooden beams would have been placed and harnessed to mules in order to turn the stones and so grind the grain for flour. Grain was poured into the... [continue reading]
A cast of the 'muleteer', a victim of the eruption of Vesuvius which completely covered Pompeii in 79 CE. The poisonous and super-heated gas cloud which struck Pompeii following the initial ash fall-out asphyxiated and baked any remaining people in the town. This victim was discovered near a skeleton of a mule under a porticoe of the Palaestra.
A 1st century CE bronze gladiator helmet of the Samnite class. Roman gladiator helmets were richly decorated and plumed with ostrich or peacock feathers. This relatively plain example has the embossed head of Hercules at the front. Provenance: Pompeii. (British Museum, London)
A bronze sestertius from the reign of Titus (79-81 CE) which depicts the Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheatre. Clearly shown are the four arched stories, statues within the arches and the large monumental fountain - the Meta Sudans - which stood outside.
A cross-section of the Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome (begun in 72 CE). The diagram illustrates the four floors with wide access stairways and the outer decoration of (starting from the bottom) Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns.
An illustration of the evolution of the various architectural column orders and their principal features.
A section of the Great Wall of China just north of Beijing. The wall was begun in the 7th century BCE and significantly extended by the Ch'in emperor Qin Shi Huangdi from 220 to 210 BCE.
Construction of the Colosseum in Rome was begun in 72 CE by Vespasian and completed between 81 and 96 CE in the reign of Domitian. The arena hosted gladiator contests, wild animal hunts and public executions.
An illustration showing the principal architectural features of the Parthenon (447-432 BCE). The left side (A) illustrates the facade, the right side (B) illustrates the inner cella.
The god Dionysos from the east pediment of the Parthenon (447-432 BCE). The reclining posture makes good use of the limited space of the angled pediment end. (British Museum, London).
A portrait bust of Roman Emperor Vespasian (1st century CE), recovered from the River Tiber. (Palazzo Massimo, National Museum of Rome).
A drawing illustrating the floor plan of the Parthenon (447-438 BCE). The number of Doric columns in the outer colonnade (8x17) was unusual for a Greek temple (6x13). The cella contained the 12m high cult statue of Athena and the rear smaller chamber was used as the treasury of the city of Athens.
A Roman period statue of possibly Kore-Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. The head in fact is restored after a head of Apollo. She is sculpted in the style of 5th century BCE Greek statues and is wearing a peplum, a common type of Greek dress. Provenance: Hadrian's Villa. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
The late Neolithic Age site of The Balnuaran of Clava, popularly known as Clava Cairns, dating from 2500 BCE.
The late Neolithic Age site of The Balnuaran of Clava, popularly known as Clava Cairns, dating from 2500 BCE.
A view from Filoppappos Hill of the Parthenon in Athens (447-432 BCE) built to house the giant statue of the goddess Athena, patron of the city.
Skara Brae is a neolithic site situated in the Orkney islands of Scotland. The village of stone buildings was inhabited from c. 3100 to 2500 BCE.
A bust of Roman Emperor Vitellius, 69 CE (Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen)
A lion sculpture in marble from the island of Delos in the Greek Cyclades, 7th century BCE (this is a replica as the originals are now in the museum of Delos). Orignally nine or even as many as 16 lions lined an avenue in the sanctuary complex dedicated to Apollo.
Heather in the Scottish Highlands (between Perth and Aberdeen)
The Knap of Howar on the island of Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands, believed to be the oldest stone house in northern Europe (3700-3500 BCE).
A mask of jadeite from the Olmec civilization of the Gulf coast, Mesoamerica, 900-500 BCE. Provenance: Rio Pesquero, Mexico. (Dallas Museum of Art)
A ceramic storage jar from the Anasazi civilization of northern America. The jar displays the typical geometric black on red designs of the Wingate Style, 1125-1200 CE. (Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA).
A basalt colossal head from the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. Provenance: Veracruz, Mexico, 1200-900 BCE. The significance of the heads is disputed but as no two heads are alike and each headdress has distinctive designs they may represent rulers. (de Young Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco).
An Attic psykter vessel depicting hoplites riding dolphins, c. 520-510 BCE. These vessels were used for cooling wine by filling them with wine and placing the vessel within a larger vessel (a krater) which was itself filled with cool water. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
A Celtic parade helmet in gold with coral inlay, c. 350 BCE. Found buried in a cave in Agris, western France. (Bernisches Historisches Museum, Bern, Switzerland)
A life-size ceramic 'baby' figurine from the Olmec civilization of Mexico, Mesoamerica, 12th-9th century BCE. The significance of these figures, often depicting infantile gestures, is not clear. They may represent deities or royalty. Provenance: Las Bocas in Puebla. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
A marble statue of the pan-Hellenic hero Perseus wearing the cap of Hades (which rendered the wearer invisible) and holding the head of the Gorgon Medusa. (By Antonio Canova, 1804-6 CE, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
A marble head from a large Cycladic figure sculpture, 2600-2500 BCE. The head shows traces of pigment on the forehead - probably a diadem - and the nose and cheeks. (J.Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, USA).
A marble figurine from the Cycladic islands, 2800-2300 BCE, depicting a flute or aulos player. It is one of the earliest representations of a musician in sculpture from the Bronze Age Aegean. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
Early Cycladic 'violin' figurines in marble, 3200-2800 BCE. The figurines represent a squatting female figure but their exact significance is not known. Most probably they represent a female fertility deity. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
A 28cm high, marble harp player from the Cycladic islands, 2700-2300 BCE. It is one of the earliest representations of a musician from the Bronze Age Aegean. (J.Paul Getty museum, Malibu, USA).
A statue by Giambologna depicting Hercules fighting the centaur Nessos following the latter's attack on Hercules' wife Deianeira as they crossed the river Evenus. 1599 CE (Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy).
A marble figurine from the Cycladic islands, c. 2400 BCE. The posture and incised details are typical of Cycladic sculpture and the swollen belly may suggest pregnancy. The function of the statues is unknown but they may represent a fertility deity. (J.Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, USA).
A Mycenaean terracotta stirrup jar, c. 1200 BCE. The name derives from the resemblance of the handle to a double stirrup. The handle is often decorated with a false spout whilst the true spout is to the side and separate from the handle. This form first appeared in Crete in the 16th century BCE but became popular with the Mycenaeans in the 14th century BCE... [continue reading]
A Mycenaean vase or krater depicting a stylized octopus (1400-1300 BCE). Provenance: Ialysos, Rhodes. (British Museum).
A Mycenaean stemmed cup (1350-1300 BCE) in terracotta and depicting stylized seashells. (The Getty Villa, Malibu, USA).
A Mycenaean vase (1300-1200 BCE) in the pictorial style depicting stylized bulls and birds. From a tomb in Enkomi, Cyprus. (British Museum, London)
A portrait of the Greek philosopher Antisthenes (c. 450-370 BCE), founder of the Cynic school of philosophy. Roman copy of a lost Greek original c. 300 BCE. (British Museum, London)
A modern reproduction of the lost statue of Athena which once resided in the Parthenon of Athens. The 12m high original, sculpted by Pheidias in the mid-5th century BCE, was made of an inner wooden core covered in ivory and gold. In her right hand stands the goddess Nike. (The Nashville Parthenon, Nashville, Tennessee).
A clay tablet with cuneiform from an Assyrian trading post, c. 1875-1840 BCE. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, L.A.).
A bronze bust widely credited as depicting Lucius Junius Brutus (4th-3rd century BCE). Brutus was the first Roman consul of the Republic in 509 BCE. (Capotoline Museum, Rome).
Bodhisattva Maitreya Kushan period 2nd-3rd century CE from the ancient region of Gandhara, India/Afghanistan. (Asian Art Museum, San Francisco).
A detail of an Attic red-figure bowl (500-480 BC) depicting Achilles fighting Hektor in the Trojan War. (British Museum, London).
Head of a Bodhisattva, Pakistan or Afghanistan Gandharan region 4th-6th century CE. Stucco with traces of pigment. (The Art Institute of Chicago).
A marble head of a figurine from Iraq, 3rd Millennium BCE. (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology).
Head of the 'cow goddess' Hathor, 1417-1379 BCE. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
A column capital in the form of a bull-man from the Tripylon, Persepolis, Achaemenid Period, Reign of Xerxes 486-465 BCE. (The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago)
A Hellenistic bust of Greek philosopher Aristotle by Lisippo from a bronze original. (Palazzo Altemps, Rome).
A marble bust of Roman Emperor Caracalla, 215-217 CE (Capotoline Museum, Rome)
A marble representation of the Roman Emperor Otho, 69 CE. (Louvre, Paris)
A mid-2nd century CE copy of a Greek original depicting the Greek philosopher Socrates. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
Colonnade with canal in the foreground, temple of Ba'al (1st-2nd century CE), Palmyra, Syria.
Known as the Antikythera Ethebe, the statue is one of the very few surviving ancient Greek bronzes and is a masterpiece of Greek Classical sculpture (c. 340 BCE) The statue may represent either Hercules holding the apples of the Hesperides or Perseus holding the head of the Gorgon Medusa. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
The stage of the Roman theatre of Dougga, North Africa (168-169 CE)
An engraved gold ring from the Minoan civilization on Crete, 15-14th century BCE. The ring probably originates from Knossos and depicts the epiphany of a goddess: seated in a shrine, floating in the air and standing in a boat. The hoop is decorated with granulation. (Herakleion Archaeological Museum, Crete).
A solid gold Minoan pendant depicting two bees clutching a honeycomb (1800-1700 BCE), found in the Old Palace cemetery at Chrysolakkos near Malia, Crete. (Herakleion Archaeological Museum, Crete)
A detail of a mosaic flooring from a Roman Villa, Corinth, circa 2nd century BCE (Corinth Archaeological Museum)
A Boeotian figurine of a cavalryman with spear or javelin, 6th century BCE. (Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens)
Marble bust of Roman Emperor Trajan, 112-115 CE. (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
The doorway of the Roman Temple of Vesta, 1st century BCE. (Tivoli, Lazio, Italy)
The Mausoleum of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, 6th century CE. (Ravenna, Italy)
Marble bust of Roman Emperor Caligula, 40 AD (Getty Villa,Malibu,CA,USA)
A 2nd century AD bust of Roman emperor Hadrian. (Musée départemental de l’Arles antique,Arles,France)
A modern reconstruction of the ancient Greek musical instrument, the sistrum (rattle). (Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments, Katakolon)
2nd century AD marble bust of Aristotle (Museo Nazionale Romano,Palazzo Altemps,Rome).
1st century BC bust of the ancient Greek goddess Hera (Ludovisi Collection, ex Cesi Collection, Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Altemps, Rome).
A segment of typical 2nd century CE Roman wall from Butrint (modern Albania). The wall is in the opus mixtum style which combined layers of opus testaceum (standard brick facing)with opus reticulatum (square-based pyramid blocks set in a diagonal pattern). Beyond its obvious decorative appeal the technique may also have allowed less-skilled labour to build more quickly.
2nd century BCE marble sculpture of the Ancient Greek god of war Ares (Roman name: Mars). Ludovisi Collection, Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Altemps, Rome.
The Sphinx dedicated to the oracle of Delphi by the state of Naxos, c. 560 BCE. Originally, it was placed atop a 10 m tall Ionic column. (Delphi Archaeological Museum).
The inside steps descending to the 'lion gate' of Butrint, 2nd century BCE (modified 2nd century CE). The steep incline immediately after a fortification gate was an added defence to restrict access in case of attack.
A gate in the fortification walls of Butrint (modern Albania), 2nd century BCE. The lintel shows a lion devouring a bull carved in relief and was probably reused from an earlier 6th century BCE building. The gate was lowered in height in Roman times (c. 2nd century CE) to restrict access.
A gate entrance in the Hellenistic fortification walls of Butrint (modern Albania), 2nd century BCE. Constructed using large ashlar blocks with angled joins designed to minimise earthquake damage. Despite this precaution the large cracks on the left are the result of seismic damage.
A detail of the Hellenistic fortification walls of Butrint (modern Albania) employing large polygonal blocks. 2nd century BCE.
Remains of shop buildings in the roman forum at Butrint (modern Albania), 2nd century CE.
A section of the Roman baths flooring at Butrint (modern Albania), 2nd century CE. The brick piles allowed for the circulation of warm air to heat the baths.
The theatre of Butrint (modern Albania), early 2nd century BCE.
The theatre of Butrint (modern Albania), early 2nd century BCE. Due to the low-lying terrain the floor is now flooded.
Brick remains of the Roman stage buildings of the theatre of Butrint (modern Albania). The theatre was first constructed in the early 2nd century BCE and modified and enlarged in the 2nd century CE.
A third of a stater in electrum from either Ionia or Lydia, ca 600 BCE. O: Geometric motif. (R: Incuse oblong).
Sixth of a stater in electrum from either Ionia or Lydia, 630-600 BCE. O: Non-type. R: Two incuse squares.
A 1st century CE portrait of the Greek blind poet Homer, celebrated author of the Iliad and Odyssey. This bust is based on a 5th century BCE original but even that was an idealised representation as no contemporary portrait existed. (Vatican Museums, Rome)
Silver didrachm from Corcyra (Corfu), 229-48 BCE. O: Head of Dionysus. R: Pegasus.
Silver stater from Corcyra (Corfu), 500-450 BCE. O: Cow suckling its calf. R: Incuse square.
Silver drachm from Corcyra (Corfu), 229-48 BCE. O: Head of Dione. R: Pegasus.
Silver hemidrachm from Corcyra (Corfu), 229-48 BCE. O: Pegasus. R: Head of Aphrodite.
Bronze coin from Corycra (Corfu), reign of Commodus, 180-192 CE. O: Head of Commodus. (R: Zeus).
Silver tetrobol from Pale, Cephallonia, 4th century BCE. O: Persephone. R: Cephalus seated on a rock.
Silver third of a stater from Zacynthos, 500-456 BCE. O: Amphora. R: Tripod.
Silver stater from Leucas, 330-250 BCE. O: Pegasus. R: Head of Athena.
Silver tetradrachm from Thrace, reign of Lysimachus, 323-281 BCE. O: Head of Alexander as Ammon-Zeus. R: Athena holding Nike.
Silver tetradrachm from Macedonia, reign of Antigonus Doson, 229-221 BCE. O: Head of Poseidon. R: Apollo on a ship's prow.
Silver tetradrachm from Macedonia, reign of Perseus, 179-168 BCE. O: Head of Perseus. R: Eagle on a thunderbolt in a wreath of oak.
Silver tetradrachm from Epirus, reign of Pyrrhus, 295-272 BCE. O: Head of Zeus Dodonaios. R: Dione on a throne.
Silver tetradrachm from Macedonia, reign of Demetrius Poliorcetes, 306-283 BCE. O: Nike blowing a trumpet on a ship's brow. R: Poseidon with trident.
Silver tetradrachm from Sparta (Lacadaemon), reign of Cleomenes III, 227-222 BCE. O: Head of Cleomenes III. (R: Artemis).
Silver tetradrachm from Pontus, reign of Mithridates VI Eupator, 120-63 BCE. O: Head of Mithridates. R: Stag.
Silver tetradrachm from Bactria, reign of Demetrius I, 205-171 BCE. O: Head of Demetrius I. R: Hercules.
Silver tetradrachm from Bactria, reign of Antimachus I, 185-170 BCE. O: Head of Antimachus I. (R: Poseidon).
Silver didrachm from Rhodes, Caria, 304-166 BCE. O: Head of Helios. R: Rose.
Silver tetradrachm from Cos, Caria, 300-190 BCE. O: Head of Hercules. R: Crab
Silver stater from Thera, Cyclades, c. 500 BCE. O: Two dolphins. (R: incuse square).
Silver stater from Siphnos, Cyclades, 540-500 BCE. O: Eagle. (R: incuse square).
Silver stater from Calymna, Caria, 600-550 BCE. O: Male head in crested helmet. R: Lyre in incuse square.
Silver dodecadrachm from Derrones, Macedonia, ca 500-480 BCE. O: Nude male figure with two oxen. (R: incuse square).
Silver drachm from Delos, Cyclades, late 6th century BCE. O: Lyre (R: incuse square).
Silver stater from Poseidonia, Lucania, 520 BCE. O: Poseidon with trident. (R: as obverse but incuse).
Silver didrachm from Selinus, Sicily, c. 530 BCE. O: Celery leaf. (R: incuse square with triangle sections).
Silver stater from Metapontum, Lucania, 520 BCE. O: Ear of wheat. R: Incuse ear of wheat.
Silver tetradrachm from Eretria, Euboea, c. 485 BCE. O: Cow. R: Octopus in incuse square.
Silver tetradrachm from Catane, Sicily, c. 410 BCE. O: Head of Apollo. (R: Charioteer and Nike).
Silver decadrachm from Syracuse, Sicily, c. 400 BCE. O: Quadriga with Nike crowning a charioteer. R: Head of Arethousa with dolphins.
Silver tetradrachm from Naxos, Sicily, c. 460 BCE. O: Head of Dionysos. R: Ithyphallic Silenos holding a cantharus.
Silver stater of the Archadian League, c. 360 BCE. O: Head of Zeus Lykaios. R: Seated Pan.
Silver didrachm from larissa, Thessaly, 395-344 BCE. O: Head of the nymph Larissa. R: Horse trotting.
Silver stater from Pheneos, Arcadia, c. 350 BCE. O: Head of Demeter. R: Hermes with caduceus and the infant Arcas.
Silver stater from Stymphalos, Arcadia, 360-350 BCE. O: Head of Artemis Stymphalia. R: Hercules with club.
Silver stater from Elis, 340 BCE. O: Head of Hera. R: Eagle.
Silver stater from Aegina, 550-500 BCE. O: Sea turtle. R: Incuse square with eight sections.
Silver siglos from Persia, kingdom of Achaemenids, 5th-4th century BCE. O: King with bow and quiver. R: Incuse oblong.
Gold daric from Persia, kingdom of Achaemenids, 5th-4th century BCE. O: King with bow and quiver. R: Incuse oblong.
Gold stater from Lydia, reign of Croesus, 560-546 BCE. O: Lion and ox. R: Two incuse squares.
Electrum stater from Miletos, Ionia, pre-575 BCE. O: Seated lion. R: Three incuses with stag's head (top), fox (middle), floral design (bottom).
Silver stater from Aegina, 4th century BCE. O: turtle. R: Incuse square with five sections.
Silver tetradrachm from Athens, 479-454 BCE. O: Head of Athena. R: Owl and olive branch.
Silver tetradrachm from the reign of Alexander the Great, 336-323 BCE. O: Head of Hercules. R: Zeus seated on a throne holding an eagle.
Silver stater from Corinth, 525-500 BCE. O: Pegasus. R: Incuse square of swastika design.
Silver tetradrachm from Knossos, Crete, 2nd or 1st century BCE. O: Head of Zeus. R: Labyrinth.
Lydian silver stater from the reign of Croesus, 560-546 BCE. O: Foreparts of a lion and ox. (R: Two incuse squares).
Macedonian gold stater from the reign of Philip II, 359-356 BCE. O: Head of Apollo. R: Charioteer driving a racing biga.
Silver stater from Corinth, 386-307 BCE. O: Pegasus. R: Head of Athena.
A Boeotian tripod exaleiptron (also known as a kothon), mid-6th century BCE. These vessels were used for keeping fine oils and perfumes and had an inverted lip to reduce spillage.
Egyptian scarab amulets from the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period, 2040-1550 BCE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome).
The triumphal arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, erected in 203 CE to commemorate victory over the Parthians.
Macedonian silver tetradrachm from the reign of Philip II, 359-336 BCE. O: Head of Zeus. R: Horseman carrying a palm branch.
A bronze statue of the god of wine Dionysos (Greek name) / Bacchus (Roman name), early 2nd century CE. His head is crowned with vine leaves and fruit. The eyes are from limestone, the pupils would have probably been in coloured glass paste and the lips are in copper. The statue was made using the lost-wax technique. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome).
A detail from a Book of the Dead, on papyrus showing hieratic writing of Hornefer, Ptolemaic Period, provenance unknown. (Museo Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
A detail from a Book of the Dead, on papyrus showing hieratic writing of Hornefer, Ptolemaic Period, provenance unknown. (Museo Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
A Mastos wine cup from Etruria, c. 520-500 BCE. Mastoi were shaped like a female breast with a nipple at the base instead of a foot. (British Musuem, London).
A stone carved labrys or double axe, a common motif in Minoan art and architecture, Malia (1700-1450 BCE).
A detail from a Book of the Dead, on papyrus showing hieratic writing of Hornefer, Ptolemaic Period, provenance unknown. (Museo Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Carved and guilded wood representation of Bacchus (ca. 1677 CE). Attributed to Filippo Parodi. (Museo Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
A section of the semi-circular seats at the end of the stadium of Delphi. Such stone seats behind the starting line were a common Roman addition to Greek stadia, these being added at Delphi in the second century CE.
A reconstruction of the ancient Greek stringed instrument. It was associated with the god Apollo, regarded as the most gifted player of the instument and patron of musicians. (Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments, Katakolon, Greece).
A reconstruction of the forminx, a stringed instrument which was played to a singing accompaniment. (Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments, Katakolon, Greece).
A modern reproduction of the most common form of panpipes played by the ancient Greeks (Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments, Katakolon, Greece).
Late Minoan polychrome vase, mid-15th century BCE, from Isopata. (Archaeological Museum, Heraklion)
This bronze sculpture, from the mid-second century BCE, was found in the sea near Artemision (with the famous bronze statue of Poseidon). It is not certain that the two figures belong to the same composition. (National Museum, Athens)
Bronze torso from an equestrian statue of Emperor Octavian Augsustus. (National Museum, Athens)
Also known as the Tower of the Winds because of the relief carvings of the eight winds near its top, this marble tower, built in the first century BCE, contained the clock which ran on water from the Acropolis spring. It was located in the Roman agora.
An ivory figurine representating a bull-leaper from a three dimensional composition (with two other figures and a bull) depicting this Minoan sporting or religious activity. Hair would have been added using bronze wire and clothes in gold leaf, 1600-1500 BCE. It is perhaps the earliest known attempt in sculpture to capture free movement in space. (Archaeological... [continue reading]
Also known as the Theseum because of its decorative sculpture depicting the feats of Theseus, the Doric temple, built in 449 BCE, is situated in the agora of Athens. Hephaistos and Athena, as gods of crafts were worshipped here and within were bronze statues of the divinities.
A fresco detail from a banquet scene (known as 'La Parisienne') from Knossos, 1400-1350 BCE. The figure, in a robe and with a sacral knot at her neck, is perhaps a priestess. (Archaeological Museum, Heraklion)
A view from Phaistos over the Mesara plain in Crete.
Cloth covered, plastered and painted wood anthropoid coffin of Tetet, XXII-XXIV Dynasty. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Plastered and painted funerary stele from VII-IV century BCE. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Plastered and painted linen burial shroud, XXVI Dynasty. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
A mummified ibis bird from the Greco-Roman period. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
A wooden scribe's palette from the New Kingdom, Egpyt. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Plastered and painted wood sarcophagus from the Greco-Roman period. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Plaster inlaid with stone funerary mask from 3rd to 4th century CE. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Bronze statue of Isis, XXV Dynasty (775-653 BCE). (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
The communal latrine at Ephesos. Fresh water continuously ran down the channel in the floor in front of the seats for users to wash their hands (1st century CE).
Plastered and painted wood lid interior of the anthropoid coffin of Pa-di-Khonsu XXII-XXIV dynasty, Thebes. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Limestone sphinx head from the Ptolemaic period, Medinet Madi, Temple of Isis-Thermutis. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Limestone statue (seated) of Amenemhat III, XII Dynasty, Medinet Madi, Temple of Isis-Thermutis. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
Limestone head of Ptolemaic King, 2nd to 1st century BCE, Medinet Madi. (Egyptian Museum, Castello Sforzesco, Milan)
A solid gold pendant from the Minoan civilization depicting a deity holding two birds, possibly geese (18-17th century BC). Provenance: Aegina (British Museum, London)
A deatil of the facade of the library of Ephesos (c. 117 CE).
The partially reconstructed wing of the palace of Knossos c. 1500 BCE.
Model of the Minoan palace at Malia, Crete (1675 BC-1450 BCE).
Coloured stone Roman mosaic flooring from Mediolanum (modern Milan), 2nd to 3rd century CE. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Marble head of Empress Agrippina (The Younger) 15-59 CE, wife of Emperor Claudius. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Bull horns were a common religious symbol in the Cretan Minoan culture (2000 BCE - 1450 BCE), represented in fresco, on pottery and as here from the palace of Knossos, in architectural stone decoration.
Roman coloured stone mosaic floor with panther or lioness from a private residence in Mediolanum (modern Milan) 3rd century CE.
Greek red figure stemless cup from Apula, 330-320 BCE, depicting a dancing maenad - female follower of Dionysus - holding a bell and tambourine. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Red figure skyphos or cup (410 BCE) depicting a nude athlete holding a strigil - used to clean the body of oil, dust and sweat after exercise. To the left is possibly a mid-race marker post. Attributed to the Amykos painter, Lucana (Southern Italy). (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Red figure Greek ceramic phiale or tray depicting Nike with chariot, last quarter 4th century BCE from Apula. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Attic ceramic kylix or drinking cup (490-480 BCE) depicting an erotic scene. The male holds a sandal, often used as an instrument for stimulation in erotic games. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Ceramic Etruscan amphora in geometric style with cranes, attributed to the Crane painter. First quarter 7th century BCE. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
1st century CE limestone Roman funeral memorial with portraits.(Archaeological Museum, Milan)
Large grain marble head believed to be a local (Mediolanum) copy of an official portrait of Roman emperor Claudius (41-54 CE). (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
This Cypriot oinochoe or pitcher in Mycenaean geometric style dates from the late 8th to early 7th century BCE. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
This marble piece shows a 2nd century CE theatre mask being held in a hand from a statue, probably of a Muse. As tragic and comic masks depicted an open mouth this is probably a pantomime mask. From Cesarea Marittima, Palestine. (Archaeological Museum, Milan).
This vessel was used to mix wine and water and dates from the second half of the fourth century BCE. Provenance: Apula. Depicted are two female figures with gifts approaching a deceased person seated on a funeral monument. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
A depiction of the Aztec god of war and the sun Huitzilopochtli. The god carries his typical atl-atl or spear-thrower, feathered arrows and shield and wears hummingbird feathers. (Codex Barbonicus).
This Attic black figure vase shows Theseus killing the Minotaur of the Cretan labyrinth. A feminine figure looks on from the right, possibly Ariadne. Late 6th, early 5th century BCE. (Archaeological Museum, Milan).
First half 3rd century CE, this marble bust depicts Emperor Severus Alexander (225-235 CE). Unknown provenance. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
This Attic vase shows Hercules wrestling the Nemean Lion in one of his 12 labours. Late 6th, early 5th century BCE. Athena looks on from the right.(Archaeological Museum, Milan).
Terracotta statue of a throned divinity, probably Demeter (Goddess of harvests and earth fertility). Late 6th, early 5th century BCE, from Sicily. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
The Doric temple of Zeus, Nemea. c. 330 BCE.
This marble head (1st century CE) comes from a statue of the Roman God, probably copying the cult statue of Zeus from Olympia in pose i.e.: seated on a throne. The head was found in Milan near the Castle Sforzesco in the quarter known since antiquity as the 'Porta Giovia'. (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
The temple of Zeus at Nemea was constructed in c. 330 BCE and replaced an earlier temple which had stood from the 6th to 5th century BCE. Inside was a cult statue of the god. The temple was composed of an exterior Doric peristyle (6x12 unusually tall and slim columns) with an interior Corinthian colonade, topped by a second story of the Ionic order. There... [continue reading]
The Bath (last third of the 4th century BCE) was used for washing and bathing by athletes (and possibly also spectators) during the games. A large central pool - waist deep - is flanked by two tub rooms with wash basins. The building seems to be a pre-cursor of the later gymnasion or palaistra.
The 'Apodyterion' or athletes locker room was where athletes would have made their final preparations before entering the stadium via a passageway and tunnel linking the two. The building originally surrounded a small court on three sides by Doric columns. 330-320 BCE.
Constructed in 330-320 BCE, the entrance to the stadium is mostly hidden from view from the spectators in the stadium and the athletes entrance would have been all the more dramatic.
The starting line or 'balbis' consisted of 12 lanes with posts held in vertical sockets between which a catapult mechanism or 'hysplex' of tensed rope would prevent any athlete from false starting. A judge would simultaneously release the rope blocking the athletes. The rope or twisted sinews were at two heights (knee and waist); when released they would... [continue reading]
The Panhellenic Games of Nemea were held every two years from 573 BCE to 271 BCE with a brief transferal to Argos between ca. 415BC and ca 330 BCE. Originally, they commemorated the death of Opheltes. The stadium visible today dates from 330-320 BCE. The clay surface running track measured 600 ancient feet (178 m). The capacity could have been up to 30,000... [continue reading]
This 36.5m long passageway, constructed in 330-320 BCE leads from the athletes locker room into the stadium and is the entrance through which the athletes would have first appeared to the waiting spectators.
A modern reconstruction of panpipes (or syrinx), first used by shepherds in the Cycladic islands as early as the third millennium BCE were a popular musical instrument in ancient Greek culture and are often depicted on Greek pottery. (Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments, Katakalon, Greece).
The theatre was constructed ca. 300 to c. 290 BCE and built into the hill of Panayir Dagi.
The ancient Greek double aulos (diaulos) consisted of two pipes (auloi) attached at the mouthpiece and sometimes held in place with a leather strap (forveia) to the player's face. The pipes could be of equal length or unequal, the latter giving a double, supporting melody. The sound produced was rich, rhythmical and penetrating, often in support to a male chorus... [continue reading]
A detail of the facade of the Celsus Library in Ephesos (ca. 117 CE). The statue represents ennoia (intelligence) an attribute associated with the former proconsul Celsus to whom the building was dedicated.
Completed in 117 CE, the library was ordered built by Tiberius Julius Acquila in memory of his father Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, proconsul (governor) of the Asian province c. 105 to 114 CE.
Kore from the Athenian Acropolis, late 6th century BCE. (National Museum, Athens)
This protective spirit (one of a pair)in the guise of a royal figure with cloak and mantle, guarded the doorway into the Temple of Ninurta (chief god of the city of Nimrud and Assyrian god of war and farming) in Nimrud. The temple itself was built by King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE). British Museum, London.
A statue of Boudicca on her chariot (close to the Houses of Parliament, London).
First constructed in the reign of Lysimachos (early 3rd century BCE), the theatre is built into a natural hill and construction evolved through Hellenistic and Roman times. The seated area (or cavea) was larger than a semi-circle and 38m in height, 154m in diameter. Two passages create three sections of seats reached by 12 stairways. The seating capacity may have reached 24,000.
The Odeion (or small theate) of Ephesos was built in the second century CE and was used as both a meeting chamber and for entertainment. The marble seats gave a capacity of approximately 1,400.
Part of the northwest shops of the agora of Roman Corinth with the archaic temple dedicated to Apollo in the left background.
The remains of the archaic temple of Apollo, Corinth (550-530 BCE). Originally, there were 6x15 Doric monolithic columns.
The remains of the Roman temple attributed to Octavia - sister of Augustus (1st century BCE) and described by Pausanias as containing a statue of Octavia, who, seated on a throne inside the temple acted as a symbol of the Julia family. The temple was enclosed with Corinthian columns and built on a podium surrounded by stoas.
A general view of the agora of ancient Roman Corinth with the Lechaion road, lined with remains of stoas and shops. In the background can be seen the acrocorinth, site of the ancient acropolis.
A detail from the frieze of the Treasury of the Siphians at Delphi depicting the Gods fighting the Giants (525 BCE), Delphi Archaeological Museum. Note the representation of the gorgon at the shield centre.
A detail from the frieze of the Treasury of the Siphians at Delphi depicting the Gods fighting the Giants (525 BCE), Delphi Archaeological Museum.
A detail from the frieze of the Treasury of the Siphians at Delphi depicting the Gods fighting the Giants (525 BCE), Delphi Archaeological Museum.
Bronze shield from Olympia, 6th century BCE. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Terracotta ceremonial masks from Tiryns, 7th century BCE. Nafplio Archeaological Museum.
Glass vases from the necropolis of Epidaurus and Arkadiko, 1st century CE. Nafplio Archaeological Museum.
Mycenaean bronze tripod cauldron (1180-1050 BCE), Mycenae. Archaeological Museum, Mycenae.
Marble head of Cupid (Eros), 1st-2nd century CE. Discovered in the Forum of Ancient Corinth. (Corinth Archaeological Museum Corinth).
Tessellated mosaic from a Roman villa, Corinth. Depicted is a pastoral scene. (150-200 CE) Corinth Archaeological Museum.
Colossal statue of a Phrygian Captive used as a pier in the 'Captives Facade' of the north Basilica, Corinth (second half 2nd century to early 3rd century CE), Corinth Archaeological Museum.
Central panel from tesselated floor of a Roman villa (second half 2nd Century BCE), Corinth. Depicted is Dionysos with fruit and ivy in his hair. Corinth Archaeological Museum.
A Corinthian vessel depicting animals and carrying a protome of a female head on the handle, c. 570 BCE. (Getty Villa, Malibu).
Leading from the Heracles Gate to the Celsus Library, Curetes street (named after the priest class of Ephesos) was lined with colonnaded galleries, various temples, store rooms and houses, and statues of the city's benefactors (of which the inscribed bases remain).
A black-figure Attic kyathos depicting the Gorgon Medusa, c. 510-500 BCE. Kyathoi were used for serving wine into cups. (Getty Villa, Malibu).
Marble statue of Emperor Augustus (27 BC-34 CE), Corinth Archeological Museum.
Restored stone table on which were placed the sacrificial offerings to the Gods in Greek religious practice. One tray was for the 'Epidaurian Gods' (Apollo & Esklepios), the other for Zeus. (c. 300 BCE). Nemea Archaeological Museum.
A detail of a seat with back for dignitaries made of reddish stone, present in the front rows of each tier. (3rd century BCE).
The theatre of Epidaurus was first built in the 4th century BCE and is possibly the best preserved ancient Greek theatre. Extensions were made in the 2nd century BCE taking its capacity to 12,000.
Terracotta figure of a goddess, Medea. Tiryns, 13th century BCE.
Three conical shaped rhyta (1500-1450 BCE) Mycenae area, Nafplio Archaeological Museum.
Strings of gold beads in the form of rosettes, papyrus and lillies from Mycenae area (14th century BCE). Nafplio Archaeological Museum.
The Hill of Larissa, site of the ancient acropolis of Argos (6th to 5th century BCE). Visible today are the fortifications of the 10th century CE which incorporated some of the ancient polygonal walls, particularly on the north side.
A string of gold beads (1500-1350 BCE) from Mycenae. Nafplio Archaeological Museum.
Detail of the 'Cyclopean' walls of the south tower of Mycenaean Tiryns (13th century BCE).
Built from the 4th to 3rd century BCE. Originally there were 81 rows of seats giving a total capacity of 20,000 spectators, making it the largest Greek theatre.
Tiryns was a major Mycenaean centre, the magnificent walled fortifications visible today date from the 13th century BCE. The large size of the stones of the walls led the ancient Greeks to believe they were the work of the Cyclopes.
A marble sacrificial altar dedicated to the Roman gods Mars and Venus, c. 124 CE. Later used as a pedestal for a statue of the god Silvanus. The carvings tell of the founding of Rome with the figures of Romulus and Remus, their adoptive shepherd father Faustulus and a personification of the river Tiber. (Palazzo Massimo, Rome)
A gold death mask from a Shaft Grave IV, Grave Circle A, Mycenae, 1600-1500 BCE. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
The interior ceiling of the 'Treasury of Atreus', tholos tomb (1450 BCE), Mycenae.
The view to the south from the upper citadel of Mycenae looking towards Argos (1350 BCE).
Mycenaean tholos tomb at Mycenae (1450 BCE).
Mycenaean fresco from Mycenae (1250-1180 BCE). Archeaological Museum Mycenae.
The royal grave circle within the walls of Mycenae (1600 BCE). It was in the shaft graves here that Heinrich Schliemann discovered in 1876 CE the famous gold death mask attributed (incorrectly) to King Agamemnon.
Mycenaean bridge-spouted jug displaying a Minoan influence (1500-1450 BCE). Found in the Kalkani tomb, Mycenae. Archaeological Museum Mycenae.
Built in 1250 BCE and contemporary with the Lion Gate.
The south gate of the citadel (1200 BCE) with foundations of two houses (A & B) visible on the left.
The inner entrance to the stepped tunnel (1200 BCE) which descends 18 metres to a subterranean well. The well is supplied via a stone aqueduct from a spring east of the citadel.
A detail of the assembly of the gods from the east frieze of the Treasury of the Siphians (525 BCE), Delphi. Delphi Archaeological Museum.
The stadium of Delphi, orginally built in the 5th century BCE, the stone seats visible today were added in the second century CE.
Attic black-figure column crater depicting a foot race (510-500 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A bronze statue of a boxer (2nd century BCE). The leather thongs wrapped around the fist can be clearly seen. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The Citadel of Mycenae, occupied from late Neolithic times until the twelfth century BCE. The Mycenaean civilization was at its peak from 1350-1200 BCE and it is from this period that the fortifications acquired the form seen today.
The Gymnasion was built in the second century BCE and was used as a training ground for the javelin, discus and running athletes.
The Archaic temple of Hera in Olympia (7th century BCE).
Marble statue of Nike, Olympia. Dedicated to Zeus by the Messenians and Naupaktians after their victory over Sparta in 424 BCE. Sculpted by Paionios of Mende. (Olympia Archeaological Museum, Greece).
A boxing scene from an attic red-figure kylix (c. 500 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A depiction of a chariot with charioteer on an attic black-figure kylix (510-500 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The Palaestra where athletes trained and lived before events (3rd century BCE). Originally, there were 72 columns in the stoas.
The Philippeion was erected by Philip II, King of Macedonia after the victory of Chaeroneia in 338 BCE. Originally there were 18 Ionic columns and inside were gold and ivory statues of Philip's family.
Metope from the west side of the Temple of Zeus, Olympia. Here Hercules tames the Cretan Bull. (470-460 BCE) Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Metope from the east side of the temple of Zeus, Olympia. Here Herakles labours to clean the Augean Stables with the help of Athena. (470-460 BCE) Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A bronze sheet griffin, perhaps once covering a wooden metope (630-620 BCE), Olympia, Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Metope from the east side of the temple of Zeus, Olympia. Here Hercules holds the Earth on his shoulders with the aid of Athena, on the right Atlas gives the Apples of the Hesperides. (470-460 BCE) Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A marble statue of emperor titus (79-81 CE), Olympia Archaeological Museum. The corselet depicts two Nereids riding on sea monsters.
Bronze armour and boar tusk helmet (15th century BCE) from a mycenaean cemetery in Dendra. Nafplio Archaeological Museum.
A marble statue of emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE), Olympia Archaeological Museum. The corselet depicts Athena standing on the wolf of Rome between two figures of Nike.
The Acropolis of Athens. Dominating the acropolis is the Parthenon, built between 447 and 432 BCE in the Age of Pericles, and dedicated to the city’s patron deity Athena.
An inscribed bronze discus from Olympia dedicated by Publius Asklepiades (After 241 CE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A jumping weight carried by athletes in each hand in the long jump event to gain distance (date unknown). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The stadium of Olympia (present form: 5th century BCE) with the starting line. The capacity at its maximum was 45,000.
The Krypte, which was the official entrance to the stadium of Olympia (200 BCE).
Stone bases of the Zanes of Olympia. These statues of Zeus were funded from fines from offending athletes in the Games. (4th century BCE).
The starting line of the stadium in Olympia (4th century BCE). Athletes had to place their toes in the front grooves on the block.
The Hermes of Praxiteles, from the temple of Hera, Olympia (340-330 BCE). The infant is Dionysos. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Marble statue (severe style) of Apollo (c. 460 BCE) from the west pediment of the temple of Zeus, Olympia (Olympia Archaeological Museum).
Lapith women from the west pediment of the temple of Zeus, Olympia in the severe style (c. 460 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The west pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia representing the battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs in Thessaly. Symbolic of the greek victory over barbarians or reason over savage nature. Severe style sculpture, c. 460 BCE. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Marble statue of Deidameia in the severe style, from the west pediment of the temple of Zeus, Olympia (c. 460 BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Built in 490 BCE following the Athenian victory over Persia at Marathon the treasury takes the form of a Doric temple.
A bronze 'Corinthian' helmet (6-5th century BCE). Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A marble portrait head of Nero, 54-68 CE, provenance: Elis. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A marble statue of the emperor Claudius as Jupiter (41-54 CE), provenance: Olympia. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The remains of the temple of Apollo, Delphi (4th century BCE). Site of the oracle and for the greeks the centre of the ancient world.
A detail from the north frieze of the Treasury of the Siphians at Delphi depicting the Olympian gods fighting the Giants (525 BCE), Delphi Archaeological Museum.
A carved stone representing the omphalos (navel) or centre of the earth and symbol of Apollo (c. 330 BCE), Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece.
The theatre of Delphi and the temple of Apollo below (4th century BCE). The capacity of the theatre was around 5,000 spectators.
Bronze victory charioteer in the severe style (480-460 BCE), part of a larger composition of a four horse chariot. Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece.
The Roman arena of Verona, Italy, built 30 CE.
Twin Kouroi of Argos - named Kleobis and Biton - sculpted by Polymedes (c 580 BCE), mature archaic style. Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece.
Marble funeral stele depicting a hoplite soldier, signed by Aristokles (500 BCE), National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
A bronze statue of Poseidon (or Zeus) from Cape Artemisium (460 BCE), National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
The cave in Athens said to be where Socrates was held prisoner and died.
The theatre of Herodes Atticus, Athens acropolis. 2nd Century CE.
Archaic period sphinx (6th century BCE), Acropolis Museum, Athens.
The platform on the Pnyx hill where speakers stood to address the Athenian democratic assembly in the 5th century BCE. The space dedicated for the assembly could hold 6000 people.
The Pont Du Gard Roman aqueduct, Southern France, 1st century CE
A detail of the Pont Du Gard Roman aqueduct, 1st century CE, Southern France.
The Roman temple (Maison Carré) of Nimes, France, built 19-16 BCE.
The lawcode from Gortyn, Crete was written in the 5th century BCE and is said to be the largest epigraphic text in ancient Greek (8 m x 1.70 m).
Faience figurine of the Minoan Snake Goddess - her dominion was over nature and fertility. New-Palace period (1600 BCE). Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete.
Gold votive double axes, New Palace period (1600-1450 BCE), Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete. The double axe, also known as 'labrys', may be the origin of the labyrinth myth of Knossos.
A fresco showing bull leaping, Minoan Knossos (Final Palatial period 1450-1400 BCE), Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete.
The griffin fresco in situ, Minoan palace of Knossos, Crete, (1700-1450 BCE).
A detail of a wrestling scene, National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
A detail of the griffin fresco from the throne room, palace of Knossos, Crete, (1700-1450 BCE).
A detail of the dolphin fresco, the Minoan palace of Knossos, Crete, (1700-1450 BCE)
The 5th century BCE Doric temple of Poseidon, Sounion, Greece.
The 5th century BCE Erechtheion, the Acropolis, Athens.
A corinthian capital, situated in the Agora of Athens.
The 5th century BCE temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens.
Ionic capital from the Acropolis, Athens, (447-432 BCE).
Entablature detail from the 5th century BCE Parthenon, Athens. Above the column capitals lies the abacus which supports the entablture. This latter element consists of the architrave, frieze and cornice. Here the frieze carries triglyphs (with vertical grooves) and between them sculpted metopes.
Stone rhyton (libation vase) in the form of a bull's head from the Minoan site of Knossos, New-Palace period (1600-1500 BCE), Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete.
Part of the remains of the Roman temple at Brixia (modern Brescia).
Caryatids of the 5th century BCE Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis.
Remains of the Roman Capitolium, Brixia, (modern Brescia), Italy.
Dictean Cave, central Crete. Said to be the cave where Zeus was hidden as a baby.
The stone Kernos for food offerings of the collected harvest, the Minoan settlement of Malia, Crete (1650-1450 BCE).
The Roman town of Gortyn archaelogical site, Crete (1st Century BCE).
Hypostyle Hall with six pillars, the Minoan settlement of Mallia archaeological site, Crete (1650-1450 BCE).
The minoan settlement of Phaistos archaeological site, Crete (2000-1400 BCE). A silo for grain storage.
Inside the 'labyrinth' of the Minoan palace at Knossos, Crete, (c. 1500 BCE).
The Palace at Knossos, Crete, (c. 1500 BCE). A restored upper-level lightwell.
The Minoan palace at Knossos, Crete (c. 1500 BCE).
Late New-Palace period (1450 BCE) clay jug with distinctive leaf pattern, from Phaistos. (Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete)
The Minoan settlement of Phaistos archaeological site, Crete (2000-1400 BCE).
The Minoan settlement of Phaistos archaeological site, Crete (2000-1400 BCE). Perhaps an early theatre.
One side (B) of the Phaistos Disk, New-Palace period (1600-1450 BCE). Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete,
New-Palace period (1500-1450 BCE) Cretan Clay askos with 'Marine Style' decoration, (Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete)
Temple of Poseidon (444-440 BCE), Sounion, Greece.
Ancient Cretan Pithoi, used for storage of food products. Malia, Crete (1900-1450 BCE).
One side (A) of the Phaistos disk, New-Palace period (1600-1450 BCE), Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete, Each side of the clay disk is impressed with hieroglyphic symbols as yet undeciphered.
The stadium (181 m long), built in the 4th century BCE, held athletic games every four years at the sanctuary of Asklepios, Epidaurus. Still visible are the starting pillars and a number of the stone benches for spectators.
A reconstruction of the clapper (Krotala), an ancient percussion instrument made from cane, shell, wood or metal. Usually held in each hand with thumbs and middle finger through the leather loops for stability, they were played much like Spanish castanets. Played to keep tempo, they usually accompanied choruses in festivals and theatre performances.(Museum... [continue reading]
The Boxers Fresco from Bronze Age Akrotiri on the island of Thera (Santorini), c. 1700 BCE. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)
A 1st century CE bust of the Athenian statesman Pericles probably from a 5th century BCE original bronze. Provenance: Rome. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
The Mazeus-Mithridates Gate, consisting of three arched entrances, led from the library of Celsus to the Roman Agora of Ephesos. It was built by and named after two emancipated slaves of emperor Augustus in 4 or 3 BCE, who dedicated the gate to their patron on being freed.
The 2nd century BCE bronze statue known as 'The Hellenistic Prince'. The statue perhaps represents Attalus II, king of Pergamon. The head may also be a portrait of an unknown wealthy Roman, eager to appear as a Hellenistic prince. The work is influenced by the 4th century BCE sculpture of Alexander by Lysippus and is one of the very rare examples of bronze Hellenistic... [continue reading]
The head of the 2nd century BCE bronze statue known as 'The Hellenistic Prince'. The statue perhaps represents Attalus II, king of Pergamon. The head may also be a portrait of an unknown wealthy Roman, eager to appear as a Hellenistic prince. The work is influenced by the 4th century BCE sculpture of Lysippus and is one of the very rare examples of bronze Hellenistic... [continue reading]
The Agora (or market place) of Ephesos was first built in the 3rd century BC but was adapted over the Roman period to reach its final form in the early 3rd century AD. On a square plan (111m x 111m) the Agora was accessible through three separate gates and surrounded on three sides by storerooms. Originally, in the centre was a fountain and large number... [continue reading]
One of the gates of the 25 BCE double Praetorian Gate of Aosta in northern Italy. The two gates stand 12 m apart and each has three arched entrances - one central gateway for wheeled vehicles and two smaller passages positioned either side for pedestrians. Some of the orignal mable facing is still in situ. The gate was one of the four gates and 20 towers... [continue reading]
A detail of the temple dedicated to the Roman Emperor Hadrian, Ephesos (2nd century CE). The temple consisted of an outer porch - with four frontal columns, triangular pediment and arch - and an inner cella.
The remains of a 2-1st century BCE Roman house on the island of Delos. The building is known as the House of Hermes and was originally of five stories, three of which survive. The building includes a peristyle, stairs, and various rooms including a bathroom. Such tall buildings, as here, were typically built into hillsides.
A marble exedra at Delos, in front of the Propylaea, 2-1st century BCE. These were used as a place to set up dedicatory statues or as seating for weary travellers to the site.
A detail showing the tiger from the Dionysos Mosaic emblemata which depicts the god riding the animal. From the House of Dionysos, Delos. (Hellenistic Period).
A detail of the fresco from the façade of a private house on Delos. The fresco depicts two boxers or wrestlers, a trumpeter and Hercules. 2-1st century BCE. (Site museum, Delos)
The façade of the Doric Temple of Isis, Delos. (2nd century BCE). In the left foreground is the altar to the goddess.
The cistern used to collect rainwater near the theatre, Delos, 3rd century BCE. The eight arches once held the roof and are made from granite blocks. The cistern is the largest on Delos, 8.3 m deep and capable of holding 270 cubic metres of water.
Part of the floor mosaic from the House of the Trident, Delos. It is a motif commonly seen in mosaics at Delos. 3rd-2nd century BCE.
Two columns topped by a phallus, each carrying relief scenes of Dionysos and Pan, c. 300 BCE. The phallus was a typical symbol of the cult of Dionysos. They stand as part of the Stoivadeion, a rectangular exedra.
The 5.8 m high columns of the atrium of the House of Dionysos, Delos. 3rd-2nd century BCE. The famous mosaic depicting Dionysos riding a tiger was discovered here.
The marble lions of Delos. Originally there were as many as nine lions which lined the avenue leading from the sanctuary to the harbour of Skardanas. They were donated by the citizens of Naxos in the 7th century BCE.
The original marble lions inside the site museum of Delos (those outside being copies). Originally there were as many as nine lions which lined the avenue leading from the sanctuary to the harbour of Skardanas. They were donated by the citizens of Naxos in the 7th century BCE.
A roman portrait bust of an unknown man, 2nd century BCE. From the palaestra of Delos. The bust is a typical example of the sometimes unflattering realism of Roman portraiture.
The theatre of Delos, c. 300 BCE. The theatre had a capacity for 5,000 spectators and the front row has marble seats with backs for dignitaries.
A cup depicting an owl in the red-figure style. Attributed to the Marlay painter, third quarter 5th century BCE. (Archaeological Museum of Mykonos)