Friday, December 19, 2014

Art Eyewitness Review: When the Greeks Ruled Egypt

When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: Alexander the Great to Cleopatra

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) of New York University
15 84th Street, New York City

October 8, 2014 - January 4, 2015

Reviewed by Ed Voves

As Alexander the Great lay dying in Babylon in 323 BC, he was asked to whom he would bequeath his vast empire. Legend has it that Alexander gasped in reply, "To the strongest."

Alexander's senior generals, known to history as the Diadochi or "successors," began to squabble over who should get what province to rule. Before long, they were at each other’s throats like Mafia capos after the death of the Don.

This bloodstained chapter in ancient history forms the political backdrop to a splendid exhibition at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) of New York University. When the Greeks Ruled Egypt charts the social, cultural and religious aspects of Ptolemaic Egypt, the most enduring state to emerge from the chaos following Alexander's death.

One of Alexander's junior lieutenants, Ptolemaios or Ptolemy, survived the ensuing bloodbath. Ptolemy was not "the strongest" of the Diadochi. But he was the smartest. Ptolemy took control of Egypt, the most easily defended province. Ptolemy also seized custody of Alexander's body which he installed in an elaborate sarcophagus. Ptolemy's rule as Alexander's heir was solidified in 305 B.C., when he nominated himself as king. His dynasty continued to rule Egypt for an amazing three centuries.

The longevity of Ptolemy's dynasty in Egypt derived from a delicate balancing act which is very evident from the 150 objects on view in the ISAW exhibit. 

After assuming power, Ptolemy and his successors embraced the traditional culture of Egypt. In particular, they celebrated the ancient cult of Isis, Osiris and Horus,  soon known by his Greek name, Harpocrates. At the same time, the Greek philosophical and scientific initiatives which Alexander had championed were given pride of place in the Ptolemaic political agenda. 

The ISAW exhibit focuses almost exclusively on Egypt, but the insights it shares helps promote a general understanding of the post-Alexander Hellenistic period. So much attention has been lavished on fifth century B.C. Athens and on the extraordinary career of Alexander that the Hellenistic age often gets only a cursory "look-see" in history text books. 

The late Michael Grant was one historian who examined the Hellenistic Age in detail. It is worth quoting his 1982 book, From Alexander to Cleopatra, on the psychological foundations of that period:

Reality was one keynote of the time... just as the scientists were making new efforts to explain what happens in the universe, so writers and artists wanted to show life as it is. And to show life as it is meant showing the individual as he or she is: this was the age, the first age, of the recognition, development and delineation of the individual person.

To promote creative endeavor among the native Egyptian population and the growing Greek immigrant population in Egypt, Ptolemy and his successors had to square the circle of two very different sets of artistic standards.

Block Statue of Shebenhor, 664–525 B.C.

Egyptian art was founded upon idealized forms, codified and sanctified by practice dating back to the Old Kingdom two thousand years before. Consummate craftsmanship combined with a determined adherence to tradition. The result was an art both static and spiritually moving.

Fragment of Vase Depicting Berenice II, 246–221 B.C.

The emerging Greek school, on the other hand, was busily delineating individual character traits into portraits of gods and men. From the Hellespont to Afghanistan, a revolutionary art brimming with human vitality followed in the footsteps of Alexander's phalanx.
In Egypt, as Ptolemy I secured his power base, tradition and realism found the means to co-exist - and flourish.

A superb example of the handling of "eternal" themes by Egyptian artists is the head of a priest named Wesirwer which means "Osiris Is Great." It dates to a point between 380 to 342 B.C., before Alexander had ousted the Persians from control of Egypt.

Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu, ca. 380-342 B.C.

This head of Wesirwer was sculpted from schist, a stone which the Egyptians had been using in masterful fashion for millennia. Despite the glimmer of human familiarity in his almond-shaped eyes, Wesirwer might well have been the subject of the sculptor of the alien beauty of the Amarna princesses, dating to 1353 to 1336 B.C.

When we look at Wesirwer, we never for an instant think that he will open his pursed lips and speak - except perhaps with the "voices of silence" worthy of André Malraux.

That's not the case of the regal and imposing Head of a Ptolemaic Queen, from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This work is thought to be a portrait of Arsinoë II, daughter of Ptolemey I and later Queen of Egypt from 278 B.C. to 270 B.C. Despite the goddess-like demeanor of this marble likeness, we immediately sense a powerful personality, that of a charismatic, capable woman who lived in an age which gave Greek women a role in power politics for the first time.

Marble head of a Ptolemaic Queen,  ca. 270–250 B.C.

Head of a Ptolemaic Queen is certainly an idealized, reverential portrait. The flattened crown of the head is thought to have been covered with a veil made from stucco. A much less flattering likeness of Arsinoë II appears in a fragment of a faience vase, also in the Metropolitan collection, and it shows a very formidable character, indeed.

Fragment of a Vase Depicting Arsinoe II,  ca. 275–270 B.C.

Arsinoë II was noteworthy - or notorious - for being the royal consort of her brother, Ptolemy II.  As bizarre as this might sound, Arsinoë had earlier married a half-brother, Ptolemy Kerauno, after her first husband, King Lysimachus of Macedonia, was killed in battle. But Arsinoë began to plot against Ptolemy Kerauno and barely escaped with her life. Two of her sons were not so lucky.  When she reached Egypt, Arsinoë put some cold steel into the statecraft of her second brother-husband, helping Ptolemy II to build an impressive battle fleet and beat off an enemy attack.

When Arsinoë II died, Ptolemy II deified his sister-wife and a vigorous religious cult arose. Arsinoë II was worshipped as a goddess in Egypt, by the Egyptians as a counterpart of Isis and by the Greeks as a new Hera or Demeter. In this way, the Ptolemaic regime found common ground for Egyptians and Greeks, alike.

Other significant ethnic minorities needed to be accommodated as well, especially the Jewish immigrants who settled in the newly established city of Alexandria. The ISAW exhibit devotes one of its two galleries to showing how three languages, Egyptian demotic, Greek and Aramaic were written and spoken in Ptolemaic Egypt. This was a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual society which despite some strain and occasional discord was remarkably successful in giving opportunity to citizens of different racial origins.

Ptolemy I and his successors, each of whom was also named Ptolemy, were immortalized by portraits in the tradition of the great pharaohs of Egypt's distant past. But one of the Greek innovations to Egypt - coinage - provided the Ptolemaic regime with a way impress its image on Greek and Egyptian subjects alike.

Greek coins, unlike the serene uniformity of early Egyptian portraiture, exuded individuality. We can see this, beginning with a coin minted in Alexandria in 310 B.C., five years before Ptolemy promoted himself from governor of Egypt to its king. The silver tetradrachm presents a lifelike portrait of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s intense "war face" is contrasted by the heroic, elephant head piece he wears, symbolizing his conquests in the Indian subcontinent.

Such realistic character studies of the Greek rulers of Egypt continued to be issued down to the last and most famous of the Ptolemies, Cleopatra VII.

The coins of the Ptolemaic dynasty literally profile the "warts and all" looks of its members. Ptolemy I had a distinctive long, hooked nose. A gold octadracm minted around 260 B.C. by his successor, Ptolemy II, showed his sister-wife, Arsinoë II, next to him on one side of the coin; his father, Ptolemy I, appears alongside his queen, Berenice, on the other. The trademark hooked nose is very much in evidence on the portrait of Ptolemy I. 

Octadrachm of Ptolemy III Euergetes,  ca. 246–221 B.C.
A similar octadracm was issued by Ptolemy I's grandson, presenting the matched heads of his parents and grandparents (shown here, though it does not appear in the ISAW exhibit). It was a touching tribute by Ptolemy III Euergetes, who was a very capable ruler himself, with many of his grandfather's talents - though not a hooked nose.

However, this genetic quirk was bequeathed to a number of the other descendants of Ptolemy I, most famously to Cleopatra VII. Some coins and portraits of Cleopatra tried to minimize this unseemly blemish. The truth, however, cannot be disguised. Cleopatra VII was no Vivian Leigh or Elizabeth Taylor!

Cleopatra, however, inherited more than a hooked nose. From the gutsy Arsinoë II and the other remarkable women of the Hellenistic era, Cleopatra shared a tigress temperament to defend her own. Everyone knows about the feminine "wiles" of Cleopatra, which she used to entice Mark Antony. But Cleopatra was a savvy diplomat and a true Egyptian patriot. Despite the embrace of Egyptian customs by the earlier Ptolemies, Cleopatra was the first member of the dynasty to learn to speak the native Egyptian language. 

In the end, the juggernaut of Octavian Caesar's legions crushed Cleopatra's bid to keep Egypt independent. One thinks that had Arsinoë II lived in 31 B.C. rather than two and a half centuries earlier, she would have fared no better against ruthless Rome.

The ISAW exhibit is brilliantly curated and, given its free admission, is one of the best buys in New York City. Located two short blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this insightful look at Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty can easily be combined with visits to the Met's Egyptian and Greek and Roman galleries. The exhibit is entering its final weeks.

When the Greeks ruled Egypt reminds us that conquerors may come to Egypt, but they always go. The Ptolemies were more sensible and adaptable to native custom than most, which was one reason they lasted as long as they did. But this wonderful exhibit has one undeniable lesson to teach. Eternal Egypt always outlasts the revolving door despots who would rule it, in ancient times or modern.  


Text: Copyright of Ed Voves, all rights reserved 
Images Courtesy of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University and the  Metropolitan Museum of Art

Introductory Image:                                                                                                         Tetradrachm. Obverse: Head of Alexander the Great. Reverse: Athena Alkidemos, Eagle on Fulmen. Silver, Diam. 2.9 cm; 15.58 g. Minted in Alexandria, 310 B.C. American Numismatic Society: 1974.26.5294

Block Statue of Shebenhor, Basalt; H. 28 cm; W. 13 cm; D. 16.2 cm, XXVI Dynasty (664–525 B.C.) Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Mrs. George L. Otis;  (1924.754)© Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Fragment of Vase Depicting Berenice II, Faience, H. 15 cm (5 7/8 in.); W. 7 cm (2 3/4 in.); D. 3.7 cm (1 7/16 in.), Ptolemaic Dynasty, 246–221 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926, (26.7.1016) Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu, Schist, 6 x 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (15.2 x 8.9 x 11.4 cm), XXX  Dynasty, ca. 380-342 B.C. Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, (55.175) © Brooklyn Museum Photograph 

Marble head of a Ptolemaic Queen,  Marble, H. 15 in. (38.1 cm), Hellenistic, ca. 270–250 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, The Bothmer Purchase Fund, Malcolm Hewitt Wiener, The Concordia Foundation and Christos G. Bastis Gifts and Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund, 2002, (2002.66)  Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Fragment of a Vase Depicting Arsinoe II, Faience, H. 3.8 cm (1 1/2 in.); W. 2 cm (13/16 in.); D. 3 cm (1 3/16 in.), Ptolemaic Period, ca. 275–270 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926, (26.7.1017) Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York   

Octadrachm of Ptolemy III Euergetes. Reverse: Conjoined Busts of Ptolemy I and Berenice I. Gold, Diam.: 1 in. (2.5 cm).  Minted in Alexandria, ca. 246–221 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915, (30.115.22)  Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Art Eyewitness Review: Why Homer Matters

Why Homer Matters
By Adam Nicolson
Henry Holt/320 Pages/$30

Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (September 22, 2014–January 4, 2015)    

Homer and the Epics Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Reviewed by Ed Voves

Never underestimate Homer. The Iliad and The Odyssey have a curious habit of surprising us, taking us to places and thoughts we never imagined we would go. These epic poems possess a relevance to both contemporary events and the timeless challenges of life that is often uncanny. If a blind poet named Homer never existed, then somebody in antiquity possessed a degree of human empathy that has never been surpassed - and rarely equaled. 
Adam Nicolson's new book, Why Homer Matters, directly addresses these issues. Nicolson cautions against definite claims that Homer lived. It is better, he maintains to think of Homer as a poetic tradition rather than as an inspired individual.

Homer, imagined likeness, late 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D.

If there was a Homer, Nicolson reflects, then it was likely that he was "the man who joined, in the way of the poet, things that might otherwise have lived apart ..." These were the vast oral traditions of legends and stories about a great war in the Greek past and a terror-fraught voyage home afterward.

Nicolson's views demand respect. His grasp of Homer is based upon profound insight and an impressive command of academic scholarship. But it is Nicolson's life as a seafarer and globe traveler that gives his voice a commanding authority.

Two current art exhibitions impart a visual context to Why Homer Matters, thus reinforcing the impact of this fine book. Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (September 22, 2014–January 4, 2015) charts the age of "orientalization" that took place in Greece around the time that  Homer's epics were composed in written form, around 700 BC. Likewise, the newly opened Homer and the Epics Gallery at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts brilliantly complements Nicolson's book by showing how the later Greeks came to depict the Homeric tales in Classical art.

In the opening pages of Why Homer Matters, Nicolson looks at an amazing work of art from antiquity that is the closest "portrait" of Homer that we are likely to ever have.

In 1939, the great American archaeologist, Carl Blegen of the University of Cincinnati, began excavating Pylos in southern Greece. Pylos was the site of the palace of one of the Greek leaders in the Iliad, Nestor, and Blegen was not disappointed. Blegen's team discovered the first examples of Linear B, the earliest form of Greek script, found in Europe, and the remains of a stunning painting, The Lyre Player, amid the wreckage of Nestor's palace.                                                                                                                          
The Lyre Player, Late Bronze Age, from Pylos

The Lyre Player fresco was found shattered in pieces and later reconstructed by the artist Piet de Jong. This image of a Bronze Age poet with a bird taking wing is one of the most extraordinary representations of poetic expression in the history of art. As a symbol of the imagination in action, this scene, which decorated the throne room or megaron at Pylos, has few equals.

Pylos was one of the great palace-states of Mycenaean Greece. Around 1200 B.C., Pylos, Tiryns and Mycenae all were sacked and burned. The massive fortifications of these early Greek states collapsed before waves of attackers once identified as "Dorian" invaders. The conquering hordes may actually have included insurgent peasants and slaves once held in subjection by the Mycenaean warlords. These armor-clad nobles - Nestor, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Diomedes and the incomparable Achilles - were the protagonists of Homer's Iliad and other tales of the Trojan War which have not survived in written form.

According to tradition - which the Greek historian Thucydides accepted - the Mycenaean strongholds fell to assault eighty years after Troy was put to the sword. It was a well-deserved payback for the swaggering, blood-thirsty Greeks who had torched Troy.

That scenario may be a little too neat. Nicolson has an alternative theory that the Iliad may be traced to stories handed down from perhaps a thousand years earlier. Instead of one war against Troy, Nicolson maintains that the Iliad recalls adventures of the Indo-European ancestors of the Greeks as they migrated over the vast steppe lands of southern Russia and the Ukraine on the journey to their eventual homeland.

Nicolson brilliantly probes the origins of words used by Homer and the ancient Greeks. Thalassa, the word for sea in the Iliad and the Odyssey, is not of Indo-European origin. It is a loan word, possibly from Minoan Crete, whose script, Linear A still has not been deciphered.

The Greeks took verbal control of thalassa as they gained political dominion over the Aegean Sea and surrounding territories. But even after they became master mariners, the Greeks often used words or phrases in seafaring that referred to horses and wandering over the land. Poseidon, the god of the sea, was also the horse god who "climbed into his chariot and drove it across the waves."

Terracotta Chariot Kraterca. 1375–1350 B.C.

A number of assaults or raids on Troy, between 1800 to 1200 B.C., may have been 
conflated in Greek memory to create the legend of a great Trojan War. Troy, the northernmost outpost of the great belt of civilized cities extending from Babylon and Assyria, was an inviting target for the Achaeans. But war begat war and the traditional date of Troy's fall, 1200 B.C., corresponds to the widespread collapse of Bronze Age centers such as Pylos.

When Greek art revived, it was very different from the elegance and beauty of Mycenaean palace art. The Lyre Player lay buried in the rubble of Pylos and a new artistic revolution was in the making.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art displays several monumental terracotta vases or kraters, used to hold the ashes of fallen warriors. These date to the 8th century B.C., from around the time that the text of the Iliad was being composed and the Greek city-states were being formed. 

Terracotta Krater, late 1st quarter of the 8th century B.C.

The crude, if vigorous, Geometric style of these kraters raises the fundamental question of how Greek art was able in a few short centuries to evolve the polished Classical elegance on display further on in the Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum and in the Boston Museum's Homer and the Epics Gallery.

An answer may be found in the link between an amazing work in the Homer and the Epics Gallery and a rather inconspicuous piece on loan from the British Museum to the Assyria to Iberia exhibit at the Met.

Two-handled Jar (amphora) with Achilles and Ajaxabout 525–520 B.C.

The Two-handled Amphora from Boston shows Ajax and Achilles taking a break from fighting the Trojans. They are playing a board game, which were hugely popular in the Greek, Egyptian and Near-Eastern societies of the Bronze Age and later. This stunning work, dated to 525-520 B.C., shows the same scene on both sides, in Red Figure style by the Andokides Painter, in Black Figure by the Lysippides Painter. This type of transitional work is referred to as "bilingual” vase painting.

Game Box with Chariot Hunt,  Late Bronze Age, 1250–1100 B.C.

The game that Ajax and Achilles are playing likely came in an elaborately carved ivory container. Phoenician merchants exported luxury goods like this all over the Mediterranean basin. The hunting scene on the  ivory box reworks the vast bas reliefs from Nineveh of Assyrian kings slaughtering prey animals of all descriptions. This brought new levels of realism to Greek art as it turned from the Geometric style to representational art.

Elaborate pieces of metalwork also provided imagery for the growing Homeric cult. Supplied by the Phoenicians, these were often presented to religious shrines like Olympia and Delphi. This gilded silver bowl, found in an Etruscan tomb in Italy, is an example of such a presentation piece. It is decorated in a way that recalls Homer's description of the Shield of Achilles which was emblazoned with scenes of peace and war.

Bowl with Egyptianizing motifsearly 7th century B.C.

The splendid objects on display in the Assyria to Iberia exhibit show how artistic elements from foreign cultures, particularly from the Middle East, influenced the Greek view of their heroic, Homeric past. But for the Greeks at the turn of the 6th to the 5th centuries B.C., the dawn of the Classical Age, the scenes of peace and war that Homer placed on the shield of Achilles were far more than artistic motifs.

With the Persian Empire threatening Greece in 480 B.C., peace and war were issues of sheer survival. Homer's role in the Greek response to the looming Persian invasion raises perplexing questions. Why did the Iliad and the Odyssey assume a paramount status in Greek culture when these tales confirm almost all of the bad habits that bedeviled the Greeks as they tried to unify to resist Persian aggression?

Nicolson writes insightfully that the Homeric poems were a means to regard and understand the world, not serve as a code for ethical behavior like the Ten Commandments. Nicolson writes:

The Homeric view of the world is essentially traumatic and multiple...The claims of individual triumph can never be reconciled with the claims of communal love and society. We live in the great and eternal war between those principles, Timē and Aretē, honor and virtue, self and other.

Homer, Nicolson concludes "is the great voice of understanding, regarding us all, refusing to decide."

To a very significant degree, Homer's insights for the Greeks were like the Judeo-Christian code of free will. Right and wrong are clearly obvious in the Iliad. The heroes, Greek and Trojan, despite the occasional intervention of the gods, have the power to choose and they usually make very bad choices.

A particularly vivid illustration is on view at the Boston Homer and the Epics Gallery. A mixing bowl or calyx krater made in Athens about 470–460 B.C. shows scenes from the fall of Troy. When stretched out, the dramatic Red Figure depictions by the Altamura Painter represent a virtual panorama of human virtue and vice, heroism and depravity. 

Mixing bowl (calyx krater) with scenes from the fall of Troyabout 470–460 B.C.

Here we see the tragic King Priam watching as his daughter Cassandra is dragged naked to the Greek ships. Priam is about to be killed as his tiny grandson is bludgeoned to death. On the other side of the krater, a heroic Trojan warrior unsheathes his sword to fight a rear-guard action enabling Aeneas to carry his aged father to safety.

The Altamura krater was made in Athens ten years after the Persian invasion was repulsed. The poignancy of the scenes may reflect the suffering to which the Greek people were briefly exposed before the victories of Salamis and Plataea prevented a repetition of such horrors on a wide scale. Yet, the Athenians themselves were to visit this terrible fate on fellow Greeks on the island of Melos in 415 B.C. because they favored Athens' enemy, Sparta.

Everyone involved in this infamous episode was well-acquainted with Homer. Yet the men and boys of Melos were slaughtered and the women and girls were enslaved. This deed was committed by the troops of democratic, enlightened Athens.

If Homer's influence was unavailing on Melos in 415 B.C., can we really concur with Nicolson that the Iliad and Odyssey still matter today?

Today, as the nations of the world still plot and maneuver for dominance, these questions are pressing ones. Seen in this light, we cannot but agree with Adam Nicolson that properly understood, Homer imparts "the ability to regard all aspects of life with clarity, equanimity and sympathy, with a loving heart and an unclouded eye."

Text: Copyright of Ed Voves, all rights reserved 

Special thanks to:

Ms. Carol Hershenson, Curator, Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati
Dr. Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, Archivist, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Images Courtesy of the Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA.

Introductory Image: Why Homer Matters, 2014 (cover) Image credit: Henry Holt and Co.

Homer, Marble (probably from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens) Height: 41cm (16 1/8 in.); length (of face): 21 cm ( 8 1/4 in.), late 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D.  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (04.13)  Image: © The  Museum of Arts, Boston

The Lyre Player, Fresco from Late Bronze Age, excavated by Dr. Carl Blegen and recreated in watercolor by Piet de Jong.  Presented as Plate 126 43H6 in The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western Messenia II: The Frescoes by Mabel L. Lang, 1969. Courtesy of The Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati.

Terracotta Chariot Krater, Terracotta, H. 14 7/16 in. (36.7 cm) diameter 10 11/16 in. (27.2 cm), Late Helladic IIIA:1, ca. 1375–1350 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76, (74.51.964) Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Terracotta Krater, attributed to the Workshop of New York MMA 34.11.2, Terracotta,  H. 39 in. (99.1 cm) diameter 37 in. (94 cm), Geometric, late 1st quarter of the 8th century B.C., Attic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Fletcher Fund, 1934 (34.11.2) Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Two-handled Jar (amphora) with Achilles and Ajax, attributed to the the Andokides Painter, the Lysippides Painter, Ceramic, Height: 55.5 cm (21 7/8 in.); diameter: 34 cm (13 3/8 in.) Archaic- Red and Black Figure (Bilingual), about 525–520 B.C. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, (01.8037)  Image: © The  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Game Box with Chariot Hunt, Ivory, Enkomi, Chamber Tomb 58, Late Bronze Age, 1250–1100 B.C., The Trustees of the British Museum, London, Image: © The Trustees of the British Museum

Bowl with Egyptianizing motifs,  Gilded silver, Praeneste, Colombella necropolis, Bernardini Tomb Phoenician or Orientalizing, early 7th century B.C. Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, Rome Image: Bruce White

Mixing bowl (calyx krater) with scenes from the fall of Troy, attributed to the Altamura Painter, Ceramic, Red Figure, Height: 48 cm (18 7/8 in.); diameter: 49 cm (19 5/16 in.) from Athens, about 470–460 B.C. Museum of Arts, Boston (59.178)  Image: © The  Museum of Arts, Boston