The character being depicted in the centre of this pot is the hideous gorgon, Medusa. Medusa was the only mortal out of the three gorgons encountered by Perseus. Perseus was a hero in Greek mythology who is known for chopping off the head of Medusa.
Nike of Paionios, from Olympia, c 425-421 BC, cast
The winged goddess Nike (Victory) is flying in to land on top of a tall triangular pillar. At the same time, an eagle passes beneath her feet. The figure was made of Parian marble, by the sculptor Paionios of Mende. It was found fallen from its base in front of the temple of Zeus, where the traveller Pausanias had seen it in the mid second century AD. The speed of her descent presses the thin dress of Victory against her body. This was a favourite motif among Greek sculptors in the late fifth century.
Drain pipe, Palace at Knossos, Crete, 1800-1400BC, clay
The control of water resources and the provision of sanitation are always associated with power and administration. The Knossos drainage system still remains the most extensive and elaborate known from a Minoan site. It consists of clay pipes of various types and stone channels. The Knossos drainage system has excited people ever since it was discovered, at a time when municipal waterworks and modern sanitation were on everyone�s mind in Victorian England.
This is one of the largest intact marble figures of the early Cyclades. It represents a pregnant woman with her arms folded, perhaps to cradle her future baby. Some body features are clearly shown. The eyes were originally painted and traces of the right eye are visible halfway down the nose. The formation of the feet makes it impossible for the figure to stand upright without support, It is said to be from a cist grave (a shallow grave, lined with stone slabs) in Amorgos.
Heracles was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, Alcmene. Zeus's wife Hera hated Heracles as he was a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity. Throughout Heracles life Hera tried many times to kill him and/or ruin his life. As a child she sent two snakes into his bed to kill him, however Heracles strangled the snakes before they could do him harm.
This tablet records women workers along with girls and boys (probably their children). This and other similar examples have survived through being burnt, probably as a result of a fire. The content of clay tablets like this are exclusively about bureaucracy and book keeping, but they give a voice to people living and working at the time. Around 100 scribes at Knossos were responsible for writing the surviving just over 4,000 documents.
On this pot we can see the goddess of Victory and success known as Nike. She was also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory and is strongly linked with sports and the Olympic Games, and has the power to determine the outcome of battles and sporting events. Nike appears as a goddess with a beautiful pair of swan wings and is often seen with various items and accessories. These range from items such as an olive branch crown, or a palm branch, to musical instruments such as a lyre which is the instrument she holds in the image on this pot.
This jar is from the Palace at Knossos, Crete, 1450-1400BC. It is decorated with a six-tentacled octopus and purple red dye from murex shells, a popular colourant for textiles across the east Mediterranean. The design reflects a sea faring society.
The ancient Greeks depicted images of their everyday lives on pots and vases. Later by around 8th century BC they began to paint images of Greek myths and legends. The ancient Greeks used these pots for storage, drinking equipment, as vessels for personal hygiene, and also for rituals. These mythological paintings served as a great way to show new ideas, beliefs, and ways of thinking
Athenian black-figure pottery amphora (storage jar), attributed to the Swing Painter, 550-501BC
Winners at the Panathenaic Games in Athens received a large jar of olive oil with the goddess Athena on one side and an image of an event on the other. Here, three youths compete in a foot race. The Panathenaic Games, modelled on the Olympic Games, were held every four years in Athens from 566BC into the 3rd century CE. They were named after Athena, patron deity of the games and host city, Athens.
Pandora was sculpted by goddess Athena and god Hephaestus (both featured on this pot) out of clay from the ground. Each god helped to create her by giving her a unique gift, Hermes, who wears the winged sandals, put deception into her heart and lies into her mouth. Zeus then sent her as a gift to Epimetheus (on the left) who was known for being foolish. Here we can see Pandora rising from the earth before the love-stricken Epimetheus in the presence of Zeus.
Storage jar (pithos), Palace at Knossos, Crete 1700-1400BC
This jar comes from one of 18 storerooms in the west wing of the Palace at Knossos. These storerooms were filled with large jars, the largest of which could hold up to 500 litres, revealing the grand scale of storage at Knossos. These jars were probably used for storing wine, oil, grain and pulses.
Bending intently over his task, a shoemaker cuts out a leather sole around the foot of a customer. Another man looks on, probably the owner of the workshop. All three men are bearded; the customer is not a child but has been represented at a smaller scale to fit the space. Underneath the table is a bowl of water, used to soften the leather before cutting. A shelf above displays the cobbler's knives. Craftsmen generally had a low status; many were slaves. Scenes of men at work are rare, but give us a captivating glimpse into ancient daily life.
The symposium was a drinking party held by elite Greek men. Gathering at a private home in a room called the andron, guests reclined on couches and drank wine mixed with water. Conversations ranged from debates on politics and philosophy to light-hearted banter and gossip, becoming increasingly raucous as the night wore on. Led by a chosen master of ceremonies, participants were encouraged to recite poetry and perform songs. Musicians playing lyre or flute, and dancers and courtesans further entertained the revellers.
The Romans renamed the Greek Hero Heracles, Hercules. Here we find Hercules facing a choice between pleasure and virtue. Heracles stands with two women who represent pleasure and virtue. Virtue stands on the left pointing up to a scene in the background that looks rocky, dark and challenging. Pleasure lies on the ground in an enticing way inviting Heracles to come and enjoy pleasure which can be represented by the jug of wine on the right.
Marble architectural relief. From the Aegean or Western Turkey, 460-450 BC
This pediment-shaped relief probably hung above the entrance to a weights and measures office in the marketplace of a Greek city. It shows the upper part of a male torso, head turned to the side with an outstretched arm. A right footprint is shown above the arm and a fist-sized cavity has been deliberately cut near the wrist. The right end of the relief is lost. Each feature - the hand, arm spans, footprint and fist cavity - represents a different unit of measure.
The myth tells the story of a mythical beast which was half-man, half-bull known as the Minotaur. The Minotaur lived in a labyrinth within the kingdom of King Minos. Theseus, a young Prince from Athens, travelled to Crete as one of the 7 boys and 7 girls that were offered to the Minotaur if the King Minos refrained from attacking Athens. Eventually Theseus slays the Minotaur with the help of King Minos's daughter Ariadne. The scene that we can see here shows Theseus slaying the Minotaur with a sword.
Zeus arranged Peleus's marriage to Thetis, a sea goddess. Zeus was attracted to Thetis himself, but prophecy stated that if she bore a son with another God, their son would be the most powerful and usurp Zeus. Therefore, he married her off to a mortal. Zeus did not want anything to go wrong at Peleus and Thetis's wedding so he did not invite Eris, the personification of dissonance and strife. However, she showed up anyway, with an apple inscribed,'Fairest one of all'. It is this apple that starts cycle of events that leads to the Trojan War.