A forthcoming exhibition from the British Museum will feature more than 170 objects, many of which have never been seen in the southern hemisphere.
Delayed for a year by the pandemic, Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes is coming to the National Museum of Australia in December as part of an Australasian tour.
The exhibition, curated by Dr Peter Higgs, explores the theme of competition through sports, politics, drama, music and warfare through dozens of artefacts from ancient Greece.
National Museum of Australia senior curator Cheryl Crilly said among her favourite items was "the small but lovely dress pin of the goddess of victory, Nike, that would have been used to fasten a garment. It is just five centimetres high.
"And at the other end of the scale is one of the two-metre slabs from the frieze of the mausoleum at Halikarnassos. It was part of a frieze that would have been about 140 metres long. It depicts one of the great battles of Greek mythology, the fight between the Greeks and the Amazons."
She said, "It's great for us to be having this the year the Olympics are in" - the Tokyo Games having been rescheduled from 2020 because of the pandemic.
The exhibition comes as part of a partnership between the British Museum, the National Museum of Australia, the Western Australian Museum, and the Tmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.
National Museum of Australia director Dr Mathew Trinca said he was delighted that the show, which features Olympic sporting prowess in ancient Greece where the Olympic Games originated, will now bookend the rescheduled 2021 Olympics year.
He said, "We are thrilled that we can finally bring Ancient Greeks to east coast audiences after a 12-month delay. With Covid still among us and Australians looking for exciting experiences at home, this show really fits the bill.
"I know audiences will be mesmerised by the stories of competition in the ancient Greek world and by the beautiful depictions of athletes, the ceramics, sculptures, armour and jewellery featured in the show."
Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes will be on at the National Museum of Australia from December 17, 2021 to May 1, 2022. nma.gov.au.
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