Libation and Greek artefacts with Professor Amy Smith


We were delighted to welcome Professor Amy Smith from the Ure Museum and University of Reading this week to talk to Year Eights through to Thirteens about ancient Greek religious artefacts.

Amy talked about the role of libation in ancient Greek life, and showed us examples of libation vessels such as lekythoi (such as the one we have in our collection here) and an oinochoe (wine-pourer). Amy explained how, for the ancient Greeks, festivals were celebrations with the gods, and food and drink would be given to the gods before anyone got to eat and drink.

Amy told us about how images on Greek vases as well as writing by ancient authors gives us information on how libations and sacrifices worked. She noted how there was debate about how exactly these ancient rituals worked, as sometimes images could be interpreted in different ways, whether concerning what types of animals, or whether or not women were involved in sacrifices.

Students asked a really wide range of questions, both about ancient Greek pottery – how it was made, and where the colours came from, and what the scenes represented – and more broadly about the ancient Greeks – did they know what dinosaurs were, and the ethics of displaying human remains.

We are really grateful to Amy for delivering a very interesting talk, which was so wide-ranging and brought in many different angles.

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