Gela Krater On View at the Getty

Interesting press release from the Getty:

Attic red-figured volute krater, Greek, about 475 - 425 B.C., attributed to the Niobid Painter. Terracotta. Museo archeologico regionale Agrigento, Agrigento, Italy, AG 8952

The Gela Krater
Loan from Museo Archeologico Regionale di Agrigento in Sicily is first Manifestation of Agreement with Sicily
At the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa
June 1, 2010 through October 2010

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the installation of the Gela Krater in the permanent collection galleries at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa. The loan of this celebrated object is part of a long-term collaborative agreement between the Getty Museum and the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity, which was announced earlier this year.

Attributed to the Niobid Painter, the monumental red-figure volute-krater (wine mixing vessel) was produced in Athens between 475 and 450 B.C. One of the most important works from the Museo Archeologico di Agrigento, the krater is on loan to the Getty and will be on view through the end of October in the Getty’s Stories of the Trojan War Gallery (gallery 110), where it joins works of art that illustrate Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Before installing the Gela Krater in the gallery, the Getty Museums conservation team, in collaboration with conservators from the Archaeological Museum in Agrigento, will construct a custom seismic isolation base and pedestal for the object. When it returns to Sicily, the krater will be accompanied by its new seismic isolator and pedestal for display in its home museum.

In announcing the loan, acting Getty Museum director David Bomford commented, We are grateful to our colleagues in Sicily for the loan of this important work of ancient art, which can now be shown alongside our own extraordinary antiquities collection. I am especially pleased that our initial project with Sicily has a conservation component and that we are able to bring our own expertise with earthquake mitigation technology to bear on this object. One goal of our agreement with Sicily is to share our knowledge with our Sicilian colleagues and, in partnership with them, work to preserve Italys rich cultural heritage.

In conjunction with the loan announcement, Assessore Gaetano Armao remarked: “Our collaboration with the Getty is intended to not only help advance an appreciation of Sicilys unique cultural heritage, but to also allow both sides to benefit from the sharing of knowledge and expertise. I am pleased that we are now beginning to see the fruits of this collaboration and that this remarkable object from Agrigento is now on view to visitors to the Getty in Los Angeles.”

Adds Dr. Giuseppe Castellana, the director of the Museo Archeologico in Agrigento, “We are very pleased that when this object comes back to us later this year, it will come with a new base that will make it more secure. I am hopeful that this first collaboration is only the beginning of a long-lasting friendship between our two institutions and will pave the way for a number of additional projects.”

Another outstanding object from the Museo Archeologico in Agrigento, the marble statue of a Youth (Ephebe), will come to the Getty in the fall of 2010 for the development of a similar seismic isolator base. An exceptional example of the Greek severe style dating to about 480 B.C., the Agrigento Youth will then be installed in the Villas Athletes gallery until spring 2011. In addition to these two specific projects, the Getty Museum and the Sicilian region will engage in an ongoing dialogue on best practices in the museum profession, and an exchange of professional expertise in educational programs and exhibition planning and design.

These loans are a result of a long-term partnership between the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity and the J. Paul Getty Museum, which was announced in February 2010. The agreement outlines a number of collaborative efforts, including object conservation, seismic protection of collections, exhibitions, scholarly research, and conferences. In addition to the Sicilian region, the Getty Museum has now established cultural partnerships with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.

The Gela Krater
Produced in Athens between 475 and 450 B.C., this monumental red-figure volute-krater was excavated in 1889 at the site of Gela, formerly an ancient Greek colony founded on the southeastern coast of Sicily. A luxurious banquet vessel used to mix and serve wine, the krater stands almost 80 cm (31.5 inches) high. Decorated in the red figure technique, its body is illustrated with a vivid battle between armored Greek warriors and their mythical female opponents, the Amazons, a combat known as an Amazonomachy. Representing a collective endeavor of the Greeks against barbarian foes, the scene centers on a confrontation between a Greek heropossibly to be identified as Achilles or Theseus and a fallen Amazon. Mirroring the main scene, a secondary figural frieze on the neck depicts encounters between Greeks and another mythical race, the part-horse, part-human Centaurs.

The anonymous artist who painted this vase is known as the Niobid Painter, one of the foremost painters of Athens during the high Classical period. The krater is one of a distinct group of large Athenian vases with elaborate Amazonomachy scenes, which may have drawn inspiration from contemporary wall-paintings. During the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., significant quantities of Athenian pottery were exported to Gela, peaking around the mid-fifth century. Like this krater, the majority were discovered in graves, where large vessels were sometimes used as containers for the cremated remains of the deceased. The Gela Krater’s immediate appeal was as it remains today its monumental scale, exceptional craftsmanship, and energetic narrative composition.
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About the Museo Archeologico Regionale di Agrigento
Located just outside the town at Contrada San Nicola, the Museo Archeologico Regionale di Agrigento chronicles the history of the ancient Greek colony of Akragas and its territory from prehistory to the Roman period. Arranged both chronologically and topographically, the galleries display important materials from excavations in southwestern Sicily, especially those conducted by the Soprintendenza Archeologica of Agrigento. They are housed in a complex of buildings, redesigned in the 1960s by architect Franco Minissi to meld the museums new wing with the restored fourteenth-century Church of San Nicola, which contains a library, conference hall, and auditorium. The museum features panoramic views over the Valley of the Temples, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The area surrounding the museum was recently identified as the upper part of the ancient city, where numerous architectural remains of an amphitheater and residential quarters have been uncovered.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Additional information is available at


Classical Works Knowledge Base

The Cornell University Seal
Image via Wikipedia

A very interesting project at Cornell:

Scholars looking for multiple sources and translations from among 1,000 years of ancient Greek and Latin texts will have a powerful new tool in their research arsenal with a database being developed at Cornell.

The Classical Works Knowledge Base (CWKB) — a relational database and specialized link resolver software — will facilitate linking from citations of ancient texts to the online versions of those texts. The database will ultimately cover all Latin and Greek authors from Homer to Bede, from approximately the eighth century B.C. to the mid-eighth century A.D.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently granted $215,000 to the American Philological Association (APA) to implement the project, spearheaded by principal investigator Eric Rebillard, professor of Classics and history, in collaboration with Cornell librarians David Ruddy and Adam Chandler. The APA project also received a Mellon planning grant in 2008.

“I got in touch with University Librarian Anne Kenney for consulting with library specialists about the possibility of using the OpenURL framework for linking citations to full texts. She organized a meeting, and after that the project developed in a collaborative way with David Ruddy in E-Publishing and Adam Chandler in Database Management,” Rebillard said.

Rebillard, Ruddy and Chandler have developed a working prototype at Rebillard expects the fully functional version of CWKB to be online in two years.

CWKB works by parsing OpenURL links (commonly used in libraries to help patrons retrieve scholarly articles) once a citation has been clicked on. OpenURL metadata is sent to the link resolver, which “creates several links — because you can have several versions for the same citation, in the original language and in translation,” Rebillard said.

“OpenURL was created about 10 years ago to solve this problem of linking from a citation to the full text,” said Chandler, the database management research librarian who programmed the CWKB software. “The current OpenURL method of journal citation isn’t quite what we needed, so we designed another metadata format for linking to these canonical works.”

The electronic version of the database of classical bibliography L’Année philologique (The Year in Philology) will be the first abstract and index database to propose such links to CWKB. Many other resources are potential users of the new tool.

“For example, the works of the Founding Fathers are full of references to classical texts,” Rebillard said. “It would greatly enhance the reading of the Founding Fathers to have links to those texts.”

With applications for canonical citations in other fields and types of literature, the project can serve as a model and tool for scholarship in a number of disciplines.

“We’ve wanted to keep the OpenURL metadata part of our project as widely useful as possible,” Ruddy said. “This work can be applied to any discipline that has developed conventions of textual citation which are reasonably independent of specific editions, such as in Biblical or Shakespearean studies.”

Cornell Chronicle: Classical Knowledge Base project.

Hopefully this will be something that is open access …

Oriental Institute Lectures

Chuck Jones just posted about some recently-posted lectures at the Oriental Institute site, so I poked around and found a couple which might be of interest to readers of rogueclassicism:

Sea of Galilee Boat
Shelley Wachsmann, Texas A&M University

Tracing Roman Luxor
Michael Jones, Associate Director, American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo

Past, Present and Future of the Landscape in the Land of King Midas: Gordion, Turkey
Naomi Miller, University of Pennsylvania Museum MASCA-Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem iv nonas junias

Dupondius-Didius Julianus-RIC 0012
Image via Wikipedia

ante diem iv nonas junias

Tenea Kouroi Update II

John Ketseas (thanks!) tracks down another one … this time with a photo of one of the missing legs:

via arxaiologia

more: Συμπληρώνεται το παζλ του μυστηρίου των δίδυμων κούρων | Arxaiologia online

The article gives us a couple more interesting details, including that the two kouroi have affinities with something called the “Youth of Tenea” which was unearthed in the area back in 1854. We also get some ancient references to Pausanias, who mentions a sanctuary called Tenea Eileithya and Strabo, who mentions a temple of Apollo there. I think they’re referring to the Apollo of Tenea which has been in the Munich Glyptothek since 1854 (and found in 1846):

So called “Apollo (or Kouros) of Tenea”, corin...
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s what Strabo has to say (via Lacus Curtius) in 8.6.22:

Tenea, also, is in Corinthia, and in it is a temple of the Teneatan Apollo; and it is said that most of the colonists who accompanied Archias, the leader of the colonists to Syracuse, set out from there, and that afterwards Tenea prospered more than the other settlements, and finally even had a government of its own, and, revolting from the Corinthians, joined the Romans, and endured after the destruction of Corinth. And mention is also made of an oracle that was given to a certain man from Asia, who enquired whether it was better to change his home to Corinth: “Blest is Corinth, but Tenea for me!” But in ignorance some pervert this as follows: “but Tegea for me!” And it is said that Polybus reared Oedipus here. And it seems, also, that there is a kinship between the peoples of Tenedos and Tenea, through Tennesthe son of Cycnus, as Aristotle says; and the similarity in the worship of Apollo among the two peoples affords strong indications of such kinship.

… and Pausanias 2.5.4 (via

Such is the account I heard of the Asopus. When you have turned from the Acrocorinthus into the mountain road you see the Teneatic gate and a sanctuary of Eilethyia. The town called Tenea is just about sixty stades distant. The inhabitants say that they are Trojans who were taken prisoners in Tenedos by the Greeks, and were permitted by Agamemnon to dwell in their present home. For this reason they honor Apollo more than any other god.

Given the strong connections to Apollo, I think I’ll withdraw my idle early speculation that the kouroi which started all this might represent Cleobis and Biton.