Saturday, April 21, 2007

Athens - Sparta - New York



The three irregular lines are supposedly the traditional spit coinage of Sparta. The originals are in New York City for the next three weeks, as part of an exhibition, Athens-Sparta, at the Onassis Cultural Center, 645 Fifth Avenue.

Admission is free. There is a lot of amazing pottery and scuplture, nearly all from Athens or Sparta.

I was also excited about some metal toy soldiers and mythological monsters. The exhibit card said the figures had some votive purpose. Maybe they are found in temples, but I still think they are toy soldiers. A lot of Christian churches keep a room full of toys, and not for any religious purpose other than to get parents to come to Bible study class.

Anyway, the coins. A very nice group of Athenian coins, including one of the ANS's dekadrachms. Most (all?) denominations of the Athena-owl coinage are on display, including the tiny fractions.

There is also a group of coinage spits of Sparta. I have no idea how archeologists tell these spits from cooking spits, it wasn't explained in the exhibit. (There is a very nice $30 catalog of the show but I didn't get it.)

A Syracusan dekadrachm is also present. I don't know why. It is on display in the middle of the Athenian coins. It kind of looks out-of-place. I never thought I'd turn down seeing a dekadrachm but the Athenian coinage would have been more impressive without the Sicilian invader.

1 comment:

Pat L. said...

If those are the little lead soldiers and animals, such as griffins, that I remember seeing by the caseful in the Sparta Museum, they definitely are votives. They wouldn't stand up. Also we do have lots of toys from childresn's graves all over Greece.