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Ancient Greece

'Finding of the Sibylline Books and the Tomb of Numa Pompilius', workshop  of Giulio Romano with Polidoro Caldara da Caravaggio, c.1524-25 © Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome

Antiquities were high stakes and high profit in 16th-century Rome, and no one was above breaking the law for loot.

A Renaissance imagining of the Temple. Tempel van Diana te Efeze, Philips Galle, after Maarten van Heemskerck, 1581 - 1633. Rijksmuseum.

On 21 July 356 BC, the day Alexander the Great was said to have been born, the temple burned to the ground.

Detail from the Bull-leaping fresco from the Minoan Palace of Knossos

King Minos and the Minotaur remain shrouded in mystery and mythology, yet evidence of a Bronze Age ‘Bull Cult’ at the Minoan palaces abounds. Were bulls merely for entertainment or did they have a deeper significance?

Talos of Crete

Autocrats have deployed automatons as weapons since antiquity, not just in myth but in reality. 

Parthenon, Athens. c. 1895 - c. 1915. Rijksmuseum.

The Athenian temple was partly destroyed on 26 September 1687.

Kore 674, Archaic period marble statue from the Acropolis, Athens.

A reconsideration of our complicated relationship with ancient Greece, questioning how we view it through the lens of the 18th century.

Britain’s ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures has caused controversy since they were first brought to London in the early 1800s. Keen to keep the Greeks onside, the debate became highly charged during the Second World War.

Bust of Philip II of Macedon, first century AD. (Bridgeman Images)

The urge to create a Greek nation state goes back millennia. Its success depended on a shared notion of ‘Greekness’ across widespread city states. 

Play on: red-figure amphora with musical scene, attributed to the Niobid Painter, c.460-50 BC.

Though originally set to music, we almost always encounter the Ancient Greek epics as mute texts. But now their songs can be heard again.

The Temple of Athena at Delphi. © akg-images

The priestesses of Delphi played a pivotal role in the religious life of the ancient Greek world, connecting the human to the divine.