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Ancient Art of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean basin served as a stage for international trade and conquest, connecting the Near East to Europe and northern Africa. Borders in the region were in constant flux, retraced during the Greek and Persian wars, when the Athenians won independence from Persia, and much later by Alexander the Great and the Roman emperors. Southern Italy was known as Magna Graecia, a colony of Greeks who brought with them distinctive crafts and traditions.

Colonization and trade across the ancient Mediterranean shaped tastes in art and choices of material, from the ornate ceramic vessels used in Greek symposia to Egyptian funerary custom. The Ancient Art of the Mediterranean Gallery displays objects from Italy, Cyprus, Iran, Greece, and Egypt that reflect the relationships among these cultures.