University of Colorado at Boulder  


Wining, Dining, and Dying in Ancient Greece


Why Study Greek Vases? Pots are a wonderful way to learn about the cultures and societies of antiquity. Potsherds survive the years by the thousands and afford archaeologists, art historians, and social historians unparalleled insights into the lives of the people who made, used, and broke them. The shape of a vase can suggest its use; its decoration can tell us about the tastes and lives of the people who used it. The relative quantities of sherds, or the findspots of vases, can let us think about the ways their users lived, the kinds of food the people ate and liquids they drank, how they stored things (and what they stored), or even the kinds of things they considered important. Some vessels are spectacularly beautiful. And even the most utilitarian of pots was a thing touched and used by people in their day-to-day existence.

This exhibit has been created by students in a graduate seminar at the University of Colorado, CLAS 7109: Greek Vase Painting. Each student has been responsible for two or more of the pots now owned by the University of Colorado's Art Museum, has done research into the pot's shape, decoration, and function, and has taken on research into additional, related, aspects of Greek social and ceramic history. The essays included here, and the links provided, are the result of their work.

The exhibit has been made possible thanks to the collaborative and unflagging efforts of the University of Colorado Natural History Museum, the Special Collections Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, the Classics Department, and ITS-Graphics. Support was provided by a grant from the President's Fund for the Humanities.

New links provided October 2013 by Kallan Oliver:

South Italian Vase Painting
Greek Pottery and other material made in the 4th century BCE
Greek Pottery and its chronology
The Pottery of Ancient Greece

To see the online exhibit of Roman Glass objects at the CU Art Museum, click here.

For more information, please contact Professor Elspeth Dusinberre,

All photographs and 3D VR images included in this exhibit were created by Tim Riggs, of ITS-Graphics. They are all © Regents of the University of Colorado / CU Art Museum.
No images may be reproduced without permission. To request use of an image, please contact CU Art Museum Collections at (303) 492-2551.

The vases in this collection were for the most part originally published by Hara Tzavella-Evjen, in "Greek and Roman Vases and Statuettes from the University of Colorado Collection," Deltion 28 (1973) Athens 1975, pp. 192-197.


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