History of Ancient Greece

Arranged in chronological order, these eight items will give the consumer a good idea of the trajectory of Ancient Greek History from the early Bronze Age to the Classical period. Items have been chosen to give a breadth of knowledge of major cultural changes-- from the artistic to military and from economic to sociopolitical. This collection should also give an idea of Greece as a whole since the origin of these items range from Cyprus to Corinth to Paros near Naxos to Athens.

Item: Cycladic Figurine Material: Marble Time Period: 3200-2800 BC: Final Neolothic/Early Bronze Age Description: These types of female figurines have been found widely in Greece, especially in the Cycladies-- the center of culture in the Early Bronze Age (3000-2100 BC). This particular figurine is in a transitional style from the Neolithic plump figurines to the typically slim Cycladic Figurines.
Item: Bull-shaped Rhyton from Cyprus Material: Clay Time Period: 1450-1200 BC: Late Bronze Age Description: One could pour things through ryhtons, which suggests that such items were used in a religious fashion. The image of a bull is predominant in both suggestively religious material at this time as well as architecture as seen through "horns of consecration."
Item: Pitcher Material: Terracotta Time Period: 750-700 BC: Late Geometric/ Early Archaic Period Description: Little remains of Dark Age Greece (1200-700 BC), but there seems to have been a retrenchment period when evidence of writing, bronze and more populous habitations are rediscovered. This is called the geometric period because artists preferred to use linear decorations and during the late geometric period, figures and images that tell a story are reintroduced after being absent for 400 years.
Item: Corinthian (Hoplite) Helmet Material: Bronze Time Period: ca. 540 BC: Archaic Period Description: Between 725-650 BC, military changes resulted in the use of hoplite warfare-- an institution that effected politics and culture in Greece. Hoplites were heavily armored foot soldiers who would fight in tight formations called phalanxes, usually eight rows deep.
Item: Kylix (drinking cup) Material: Terracotta Time Period: ca. 500 BC: Archaic Period Description: Kylixes, often decorated so that a picture at the bottom would slowly be revealed as liquid was imbibed, were filled with wine and used at symposiums-- the drinking parties of wealthy men in Greek society. During the symposium, men would drink and discuss philosophy and art while enjoying music, dancing and other forms of entertainment.
Item: Athenian Coin Material: Silver Time Period: 465 BC: Classical Period Description: Athens began to mint coins under Pisistratus in the mid to late 6th Century BC, which facilitated trade with other city states, especially since Athenian currency began to become the most stable currency in the Aegean. This particular coin was created at the height of Athenian power, just after they destroy 200 Persian ships at the Battle of Eurymedon.
Item: Grave Relief from Paros Material: Marble Time Period: ca. 450-440 BC: Classical Period Description: Much of the information that we have of women in ancient Greece come from grave reliefs like this one. The markers give one an idea of dress and how ideal females were expected to act in contemporary society.
Item: Block IX of West Frieze on the Parthenon in Athens Material: Marble Time Period: 442-438 BC Description: This is one block on a long frieze on the west side of the Parthenon which depicts a long procession of people, sacrificial animals and horses perhaps as part of the Great Panathenaic festival held every four years in honor of Athena. The Parthenon itself was part of the Periclean building program and is still a symbol of Athenian power in Ancient Greece today.
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