Ancient Mediterranean



Ashurbanipal taking aim at a lion (detail), Lion Hunts of Ashurbanipal (ruled 669-630 B.C.E.), c. 645 B.C.E., gypsum,Neo-Assyrian, hall reliefs from Palace at Ninevah across the Tigris from present day Mosul, Iraq (British Museum)
Led by aggressive warrior kings, Assyria dominated the fertile crescent for half a millennia, amassing vast wealth.

Assyria, an introduction





Pompeii, once called the "City of the Dead," gives a marvelous sense of day-to-day Roman life.

Pompeii, an introduction



Kamares ware jug
This delicate type of pottery helps us understand the far-reaching trade networks in the ancient Mediterranean.

Kamares Ware Jug


Hagia Triada sarcophagus
This beautifully painted sarcophagus depicts an elaborate burial ritual—was it made for royalty?

Hagia Triada sarcophagus



Bull's head rhyton from the palace at Knossos
This hollow stone vessel in the shape of a bull's head is both frighteningly realistic and beautifully stylized.

Bull’s Head Rhyton


Harvester Vase from Hagia Triada
The exuberant procession depicted on this small but luxurious object celebrates the fruits of farming the land.

Harvester Vase


Octopus vase from Palaikastro
This vase with a charming image of a writhing octopus was made during the height of the Minoan sea trade.

Octopus vase


Snake goddess from the palace at Knossos
Goddess, priestess, or simply a Minoan woman? Mysteries abound in this small figurine from Knossos.

Snake Goddess





Knossos
The archaeological site of Knossos (on the island of Crete) —traditionally called a palace—is the second most popular tourist attraction in all of Greece.

The Palace at Knossos (Crete)





Second Style painting, cubiculum (bedroom), Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, 50–40 B.C.E., fresco (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii two millennia ago—creating a time capsule of the evolution of Roman painting.

Roman wall painting styles