Here are several items from the MMA’s Greek collection that illustrate topics discussed in my course on Homer’s Odyssey at WCC’s Collegium, mostly black-figure vases. The items show ancient Greek writing (ALL CAPS), glorious athletic contests & prizes, scenes from the Odyssey, and the role of Homer in education in Classical Greek.
Odysseus and Circe
Showing the incident in Book 10 of the Odyssey, when Odysseus compelled the goddess Circe to remove the magic spell that had turned his men into swine.
Student Learning Homer
Homer was the centerpiece, and the bulk, of a student’s education in Classical Greece.
Games and Prizes
The following Black Figure vases illustrate the glory of athletic games and prizes in Classical Greek. How far from the undignified fight staged by the suitors: two beggars competing for a sausage!
Ancient Greek Writing
The ancient Geeks used only upper case letters. the more-familiar, more convenient, lower-case versions of the Greek alphabet were developed many centuries afterwards (by Byzantine scribes).
Two Scenes from the Odyssey
I was a little surprised that the Odyssey itself was not a more common subject for Athenian artwork. Other subjects seemed more common. But I was delighted to come across these two panels, illustrating events that we are discussing right now in our WCC Collegium course: the meeting of Penelope and Odysseus, and Eurykleia washing his feet.
Thanks for those pictures and explanations. There is so much to see at the Met so it’s good to have the pertinent exhibits narrowed down. I’ve been there so often but would have missed what you were kind enough to send. Next offer from you should be trips to Greece for the class to visit t sites in situ (if any are still there.)