Ancient Greek Athletes, Warriors And Heroes Come To Gosport Gallery

By Alex Cooper | 14 March 2007
a grey statue of a ancient greek man's head and shoulders

Marble bust of Homer from the 1st-2nd century AD. © Trustees of the British Museum

An exhibition entitled The Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes, featuring highlights from the British Museum’s collection, goes on show at the Gosport Gallery, Hampshire from March 31 2007.

The free exhibition will run until June 30 2007 and features many stunning artefacts on display for the first time outside of London. The exhibition then moves on as a five venue tour of England and Scotland.

The gallery, part of the Gosport Discovery Centre, will be host to some of the finest examples of Greek armour, sculpture and both black and red-figured vases to be found anywhere in the world.

a black and yellow ancient greek vase with women painted around it

© Trustees of the British Museum

It is also the largest selection of Greek artefacts ever lent by the British Museum and centres around the theme of competition in the ancient Greek world, focusing on sporting events such as the Olympics. It also looks at politics, drama, music and warfare.

The exhibition will also feature highlights from the Ancient Greek collection at Winchester College, on public display for the first time.

To officially open the exhibition on March 31 the Hoplites re-enactment group, wearing historic Greek warrior costumes, will parade through Gosport High Street to the Gallery, where they will perform a military display.

Community involvement is also being encouraged with various groups getting involved in making flags to wave at the official opening between 4pm and 6pm at the Discovery Centre on March 26 and 29. A further series of events, running between April and June, also aims to bring the exhibition alive for the local public and especially children through a number of programmes, including Greek costume activities.

a black round shield or plate with a gold and brown decoration in the middle of a man holding a spear

© Trustees of the British Museum

Other activities on offer are decorating pottery in the style of the ancient Greeks, children’s drawing skills workshops, internet discovery sessions, a curator's tour of the exhibition, a family open day, a illustrated talk and the retelling of Homer’s classic tale The Odyssey.

“We are delighted to be hosting this wonderful exhibition from the British Museum," said Councillor Maragret Snaith, the County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage. "Many of these collections have never before been seen outside of London which is why this is such a special exhibition. I hope people from far and wide take the opportunity to visit the Gosport Gallery and view it for themselves.”

The Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes was inspired by the website www.ancientgreece.co.uk, launched in 2006 by the British Museum. The website is part of a series of eight Ancient Civilization websites developed by the museum since 1998.

a blue rectangular tile with white angelic figures on it, one holding a lyre

© Trustees of the British Museum

Other touring exhibitions linked to the websites will follow on from this exhibition and are key components in the British Museum's programme of events leading up to the 2012 London Olympics.

After its stint as Gosport the exhibition moves to New Walk Gallery Leicester, Wardown Park Museum in Luton, The Collection: Art & Archaeology in Lincoln, South Shields Museum and Glasgow's Burrell Collection. Historical interpretation in these venues will be aided by the Spartan Society living history group. Contact individual venues for more details.

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