Athens-Sparta Exhibit review

Folks,

Pat Wictor, Shawn Budde and I went to the Athens-Sparta exhibt at the Onassis Cultural Center in NY, yesterday, Friday, February 16.

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We were all amazed by the quality of this small exhibit – there were a number of items that have either never left Greece or are simply famous pieces from Athens *and* Sparta. The surprise – and hook – of the show is the focus on Spartan art in the period before 550-500 BC (when art production seemed to stop in Sparta).

We were lucky in our timing because we were able to tag along on a tour given by classics doctoral student at Columbia – Todd Alexander Davis. Todd was great and deserves special thanks for allowing us to listen in on his *very* good lecture. Visit his student page at Columbia and send him a note of thanks.

Some of the best pieces include the famous statue of a hoplite warrior – photo above courtesy of the Onassis Cultural Center website – that is popularly believed to be Leonidas, the Spartan King who led the 300 Spartan warriors in the battle at Thermopylae. [1]

The show is on until May 16, 2007 – and is a must see if you can get to NY before it closes.

Phil

1 – Note that most experts – including Paul Cartledge – now believe that the statue is not of Leonidas but of a regular hoplite soldier. Nonetheless, it is still a famous statue. Todd said that there were even demonstrations by the local Spartan population trying to prevent it leaving Sparta to come to this exhibit.

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