Case 7: Greeks beyond Greece
Collecting the Greek Past
An ‘Olympic medal’
This medallion was bought by Colonel Leake during the Napoleonic wars (1799-1815), at Serres in northern Greece. He had been sent there to help the Turkish government organize the defence of Greece in case the French invaded.
The style and subjects of the medallion – the head of Athena and Alexander the Great on horseback hunting a lion – recall earlier Greek designs. But this example was probably struck in AD 242, to mark the ‘Olympic’ games celebrated that year in Macedonia, in honour of Alexander the Great.
Date: around 242 BC
Find spot: Macedonia, northern Greece
Object Number: CM.LK.4210-R
Bearded male figure, perhaps the god Zeus
The dark surface coating (patina) of this figure is very characteristic of bronzes from the Leake collection.
Production place: Greece
Date: around 450–350 BC
Bronze (copper alloy)
Object Number: GR.5.1864
Stemless cup (kylix): the oracular head of Orpheus
According to some versions of the story of the legendary musician Orpheus, after he had lost his wife, Eurydice, he took no interest in any other women. The women of Thrace were so irritated by his indifference that they tore him into pieces. His head floated down various rivers to the sea, and was carried over to Lesbos where a shrine was set up for it and it uttered oracular sayings. In this scene, a seated man is writing down the head’s words, watched by the god Apollo.
The painter of this vase is a craftsman known today as the 'Painter of Ruvo 1346'.
Production place: Athens
Date: around 420 BC
Fired Clay, red-figure technique
On loan from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Object Number: Loan Ant.103.25
Click on the images below to view their label information