Princesses of the Mediterranean at the Dawn of History is a new show organized by the Athens Museum of Cycladic Art, in collaboration with the University of Crete and the Ministry of Public Education and Culture.
For the first time the exhibit will educate the public on the role of Mediterranean women, princesses, aristocrats, priestesses, therapists and sorceresses; women of culture and prestige in the first Iron Age, from the 10th to the 5th centuries BC.
On view from December 13 to April 10, the show is being held under the patronage of Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. It includes more than 500 treasures of art from antiquity, clearly showing the participation of women in the creation of more open cultural horizons as well as their role in the development of the ancient Mediterranean culture. The archeological finds are divided into 24 sections, and come from women’s tombs unearthed in various parts of Greece, from Attica and Eubea to Crete and Macedonia, as well as Cyprus, southern Italy and former Etruria.
On display are copper vases and utensils, copper, ivory and terracotta statuettes, glass vases and votive offerings to the dead, water ladles, and tiny spoons that women used to spread cosmetic products.
Not to be missed is their jewelry: belts, rings, bracelets, and earrings in bronze, gold, iron, silver, and precious stones, various styles and sizes, some of the items shaped like enormous pomegranates. The famous wooden throne belonging to an Etruscan princess buried in the Verrucchio site in the Picene area is also on display for the first time outside Italy.
Seen all together, these archeological finds from sites throughout the Mediterranean, their common criteria, the level of their wealth and the amount of votive offerings as well as the affinity between burial customs, denote the existence of a common ideological current and social dimension, tangible proof that women occupied prestigious positions in their societies at the time.
Not only that, but they were carriers of new cultural and ideological elements: this show is the living proof of an entire world of art and wealth, of ideas and beliefs, belonging to actual women who lived at the dawn of history.
The exhibition is curated by Professor Nicolas Stampolidis, Director of the Museum of Cycladic Art, in collaboration with archeologist Mimica Giannopolou. On the occasion of this exhibition, artists from the renowned Zolotas jewelry company have created a collection in silver, gold and gold-plated silver inspired by the archeological treasures on display.