In Pictures: Treasures from Heracles to Alexander the Great at the Ashmolean

By Richard Moss | 05 April 2011
The Ashmolean Museum is currently home to a remarkable collection of Hellenic treasures.

More than 500 objects recovered from the ancient city of Aegae have gone on display - the first time the vast majority of them have been seen anywhere in the world.

They represent a fascinating journey tracing the chronological development of Aegae's long and illustrious history from the pre-Temenid era (1100-650 BC) to the age of Philip II and Alexander the Great (around 350-300 BC).

Here, we take a close look at some of the treasures on show.

Clay busts (circa 480 BC)

a photo of a smiling ceramic head
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
a photo of a smiling ceramic head
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
a photo of a terracotta head of a bald man
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
One of the burials in the "queens" cluster at Aegae, dating to around 480 BC, yielded 26 lifesized clay heads. Astonishing both in terms of their early date and their realistic and expressive facial features, these enigmatic faces would originally have been part of wooden statues (xoana).

Medusa. Gold, from the tomb of Philip II

a photo of two golden medallipons representing the face of Medusa
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
These gold Medusa heads, found in the tomb of Philip II, would originally have adorned a linen cuirass of the king. As a popular evil-averting device, it was thought that whoever looked at the eyes of Medusa would turn to stone. These examples are of a particularly high quality.

Gold shield decoration. Gold foil, from the royal cemetery (5th century BC)

a photo of a golden fragment featuring Greek warriors
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
This gold strip shows a scene of combat between two warriors, both nude and equipped with helmets, shields and spears. It comes from the decoration of a shield and was found in the tomb of a member of the royal family.

Silver wine jug from the tomb of Philip II

a photo of a silver jug with a face motif on its side
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
a photo of the a face motif on the side of a silver jug
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
This fine silver jug or oinochoe is one of two found among the banquet vessels in the tomb of Philip II (336 BC). It is a small masterpiece made by an artist of the time. Decorated on the rim and handle it is further embellished with the head of a satyr – a male follower of the company of Dionysus.

Marble head of a young man (circa 340-330 BC)

a photo of a marble head in side profile
© The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism - Archaeological Receipts Fund
This marble head of a youth, or perhaps a hero, was discovered in the Sanctuary of Eukleia, the goddess of fair repute. The sanctuary, located in the agora of the city of Aegae, has yielded evidence for the presence of the royal family in the form of sculptural dedications by Queen Eurydice, mother of three kings and grandmother of Alexander the Great.
  • Exhibition runs until August 29 2011. Read our preview of the show.
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
Related listings (74)
See all related listings »
Related resources (195)
See all related resources »
Related collection items (8)

Events

  • 1 mile
  • 2 miles
  • 3 miles
  • 4 miles
  • 5 miles
  • 10 miles
  • 20 miles
  • 50 miles
  • Any time
  • Today
  • This week
  • This month
  • This year

advertisement