The Museum of Cycladic Art (Athens, Greece) presents its new archaeological exhibition under the title ‘Princesses’ of the Mediterranean in the dawn of History, curated by the Museum’s Director Professor Nicholas Stampolidis, in collaboration with Dr Mimika Giannopoulou. The exhibition presents 24 examples of ‘princesses’ from Greece, Cyprus, Southern Italy, and Etruria from 1,000 to 500 BC, and over 500 artefacts.
Royal ladies or princesses; priestesses or healers; women of authority or knowledge; local women, who stood apart from the rest; other women, who accepted and adopted the cultural traits of different societies or of the men they married in their homeland – local or foreign men – or even those women, who for reasons of intermarriage, traveled from one place to another, are the women this exhibition examines. Through their stories, one can distinctly perceive how these women played a contributing role in broadening the cultural horizons of their time, including their involvement in the development of the archaic Mediterranean culture.
This exhibition presents real women. Not mythical or other figures. Women who were born, who lived; women of flesh and bone. Or, even better, women whose material remains, their bones, survive and ‘speak’ after thousands of years. When considered with tomb and burial types, funerary customs, and, above all, the grave gifts and other objects (garments and jewellery) buried with them – whether chosen by the deceased in life, or provided after their passing by loved ones to take to Persephone’s meadow – these remains can potentially help ‘resuscitate’ them by lifting the veils of time to see their likeness, however faintly, as far as archaeological thinking and interpretation permits.
The Lady of Lefkadi in Euboea, the Wealthy Athenian Lady from the Areopagus, the famous Picenean queen from Sirolo-Numana near modern Ancone, burials from Verucchio and Basilicata in Italy, from Eleutherna in Crete, from Sindos in Thessaloniki are only a few examples of the exhibition which dazzles with its wealth of objects.