ancient Greece

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Voices

Getty Voices: The Ancient Funny

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A Greek, a Roman, and a priest walk into a bar… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Voices

Mystery Cults and the Mother Goddess

Orphic Prayer Sheet / Greek
Orphic Prayer Sheet, Greek, 350-300 B.C. Gold, 1 7/16 x 7/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 75.AM.19. Gift of Lenore Barozzi

Only initiates could take part in the rites of the mystery cult, and they were forbidden to ever speak of what occurred. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Education, Getty Villa, Voices

Getty Voices: Digging the Sacred

Engraved Gem (Snake-legged Creature)
Engraved gem with snake-legged creature, Unknown, Roman, 200 - 400 A.D., The J. Paul Getty Museum.

“I can really appreciate the ancient system where borrowing, amalgamating, and generally mixing it up was perfectly acceptable.” More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

An Ancient Curse Revealed

Curse Tablet / found in Morgantina, Sicily
Curse Tablet, about 100 B.C., found in Morgantina, Sicily. Lead, 3 11/16 x 1 13/16 in. (9.4 x 4.6 cm). Museo Archeologico Regionale of Aidone

One small but powerful object stands out among the artifacts excavated from the ancient city of Morgantina in central Sicily, now on loan to the Getty Villa from the Museo Archeologico Regionale of Aidone and on view in Gallery 104…. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Seven Ways of Seeing “Lion Attacking a Horse”

Lion Attacking a Horse / Greek
Lion Attacking a Horse, Greek, 325–300 B.C.; restored in Rome in 1594. Marble, 150 x 250 cm. Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale—Musei Capitolini

In August, the Greek sculpture Lion Attacking a Horse flew over the back wall of the Getty Villa and took up residence in our Atrium. We have now lived with the sculpture for over three months, and are already lamenting… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

“Not Like a Coward”: Remembering a Warrior’s Death

Gravestone of Pollis / Greek
Gravestone of Pollis, Greek, made in Megara, about 480 B.C. Marble, 60 1/4 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 90.AA.129

The intimate association between being remembered and risking one’s life on the battlefield lies at the heart of Homer’s Iliad. The preeminent warrior Achilles famously chose to die young in battle and be forever honored, and this heroic code is well… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Education, Getty Villa

Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, and Why Your Kids Need to Know Classical Culture

A family visiting the Getty Villa explores ancient art, history, and mythology through frescoes from the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum.
Mosaic with boxers: A scene from the Aenied in which two boxers fight to a bloody end for the watching crowd. (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 71.AH.106)

The adventure and derring-do of ancient myth is an easy sell to kids, and parents too for that matter. But I believe your kids need to know more. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art

Grit, Money, Glory: Olympics Then and Now

Athletes and Competition (Gallery 211) at the Getty Villa

This weekend marked the start of the 2012 Olympics, a spectacle with 10,500 Olympic and 4,200 Paralympic athletes in competition across 26 sports, from handball to taekwondo to the good old-fashioned pentathlon. The Olympics we’re familiar with today are an… More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Getty Villa

What Did Ancient Music Sound Like?

Sarcophagus with Scenes of Bacchus / Roman

Ancient works of art illustrate that music had a strong presence in daily life of classical Greece and Rome. Vase paintings and sculptures in the antiquities collection offer an eye-opening view of the variety of musical instruments that were played, as… More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa

Reclining and Dining (and Drinking) in Ancient Greece

Getty Villa docent Don Petersen reclines on his left side, elbow raised on a stack of pillows, with his right knee bent. He holds a skyphos, a common stemless drinking cup.

Elite Greeks and Romans reclined to dine, and ordinary people copied them when they could. Although the practice seems strange to us, it must have been both comfortable and convenient, since reclining during meals spread throughout the Mediterranean and survived… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: Warnings to the Rich & Powerful

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      It would be awesome if this was Medieval hangman, or a really awkward frat party, but it’s actually the result of a one-letter swap gone wrong in a book about the fates of the rich. 

      Here’s the full story:

      You sometimes regret what pops out unexpectedly when you open your mouth, but in this case, even the fish must have been quite surprised when a wooly lamb burst forth. 

      The stories in this text by Giovanni Boccaccio warn of the terrible fate that often awaits the rich and powerful. He uses here the example of King Polycrates, who tossed a ring into a river, hoping for good luck, and found it later in the mouth of a fish. 

      Someone got confused, though, and instead of a ring (in French, annel), what came out instead was a lamb (agnel). Apparently, neither the ring nor the lamb worked because the king was later hanged (background).

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.

      08/31/15

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