Watch Art on Ancient Greek Vases Come to Life with 21st Century Animation

Every stu­dent of his­to­ry sure­ly feels impressed by one achieve­ment or anoth­er of the ancient Greeks, whether in the field of engi­neer­ing, art, or the con­ver­gence of the two. Even a bored col­lege under­grad in a thou­sand-seat lec­ture hall has to admire ancient Greek vas­es when they pop up in the lec­tur­er’s Pow­er­point slides. That much-stud­ied cul­ture’s pen­chant for styl­iz­ing images of their soci­ety on their pot­tery has allowed us to see their world as, in some sense, a liv­ing, breath­ing one — or to see it through the eyes of the arti­sans who lived to see it them­selves. But for all their mas­tery of the art of the vase, they nev­er actu­al­ly got their images to live nor breathe. For that, we must turn to 21st-cen­tu­ry tech­nol­o­gy, specif­i­cal­ly as applied by Panoply, a project ani­ma­tor of Steve K. Simons and ancient Greece schol­ar Sonya Nevin, which was designed to bring these vas­es to life.

“Panoply cov­ers a lot of aspects of cul­ture as method tying the arti­facts to infor­ma­tion about Greek life,” writes io9’s Katharine Tren­da­cos­ta. “There are ones on myths, sport, and war­fare,” the last of which, “Hoplites!,” you can watch at the top of the post. Simons and Nevin made this sev­en-minute bat­tle scene out of the foot sol­diers actu­al­ly depict­ed on a vase dat­ing to about 550 BCE cur­rent­ly held by the Ure Muse­um of Greek Archae­ol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Read­ing.

Just above, we have “The Cheat,” a short and humor­ous scene from the ancient Olympics that plays out on the sur­face of a shard. The ani­ma­tion below fea­tures a fig­ure of Greek myth that even the most inat­ten­tive stu­dent will know: a cer­tain Pan­do­ra, and far be it from her to resist the temp­ta­tion to open a cer­tain box. (Actu­al­ly it was a vase/pithos.) You can watch more on Panoply’s Youtube chan­nel. As uncon­ven­tion­al means of visu­al­iz­ing ancient Greece go, it’s got to beat 300 for accu­ra­cy.

via io9

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mod­ern Artists Show How the Ancient Greeks & Romans Made Coins, Vas­es & Arti­sanal Glass

What Ancient Greek Music Sound­ed Like: Hear a Recon­struc­tion That is ‘100% Accu­rate’

Dis­cov­er the “Brazen Bull,” the Ancient Greek Tor­ture Machine That Dou­bled as a Musi­cal Instru­ment

How the Ancient Greeks Shaped Mod­ern Math­e­mat­ics: A Short, Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion

Hear Homer’s Ili­ad Read in the Orig­i­nal Ancient Greek

Down­load 78 Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es: From Ancient Greece to The Mod­ern World

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.