We are all thrilled to be starting the Greek in Italy project in January 2014. Although we already had a fairly good idea of what we would be working on, there were a few decisions left to make – such as the all-important project mascot.
Fortunately, James Clackson came across this wonderful water-jar (hydria) in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Although it belongs to a group of vases known as “Chalcidian”, after the city of Chalcis in Greece, this example was probably made in Southern Italy by someone who had emigrated to one of the western colonies – perhaps Rhegion (modern-day Reggio di Calabria), which was a colony of Chalcis right on the toe of Italy. And since the jar was found in an Etruscan city in Central Italy, it is also evidence for the trade routes that took Greek goods from the Greek-speaking colonies to the other peoples of Italy further north. The painting shows a conversation between a man and a woman, and is evidence for the use of the local Chalcidian dialect and alphabet in Italy. The combination of Greece, Italy and Cambridge was too good to resist, and we’re proud to use such an interesting piece as our group mascot.
Many thanks to the Fitzwilliam Museum for their permission to use this jar as the symbol of our project! (Image copyright Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).