collage art, Christof Maupin art, amphora

Articles of interest from our sister blog

As many of our regular readers know, I started a “sister blog” a few months ago, dealing with my exploration of the intersection of art from the past and art from the present, and specifically how this impacts my own work as an artist. As so much of my work is impacted by art from the distant past, I thought it worth sharing some of my posts from the other blog site. Comments welcome:

Some Thoughts on the Persistence of Classical Imagery

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/some-thoughts-on-the-persistence-of-classical-imagery/

A few thoughts on the art of printmaking, views of antiquity and modern prints

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/a-few-thoughts-on-the-art-of-printmaking-views-of-antiquity-and-modern-prints/

The art of enameling, ancient and modern

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/the-art-of-enameling-ancient-and-modern/

A case study in reinterpreting an old technique: English slip decorated earthenwares and modern counterparts (including my own)

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/a-case-study-in-reinterpreting-an-old-technique-english-slip-decorated-earthenwares-and-modern-counterparts-including-my-own/

Broken Things

https://pastpresentartsandcrafts.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/broken-things/

 

Temple of Portunas, Piazza della Bocca della Verita, Roman antiquities

The Aventine Hill: One of Rome’s Lesser Known Treasures

When in Rome, most visitors focus on major tourist itinerary monuments clustered in and around the Capitolium, Forum and Palatine. Yet many Roman neighborhoods are home to very important monuments of the ancient past and it can be well worth the effort to get off the beaten path to visit these. This writer’s favorite such neighborhood is the Aventine Hill, located along the eastern bank of the Tiber. It is the southernmost of Rome’s famed Seven Hills.
Compared to the frenzy and traffic found in much of the central City, the Aventine is a relative island of calm. Most of the area is residential, with several large green open spaces, and it is connected to the equally quiet Trastevere neighborhood across the Tiber by two bridges. Getting there is easy, with major transit stops at Circo Massimo and Bocca della Verita. Alternately, one may take a long leisurely stroll along the Tiber from central Rome, starting where the Ponte Fabricio connects to the Tiber Island.
Most of the neighborhood’s major monuments, and those with the most charm in this writer’s view, are to be found in a small area centered on the Piazza della Bocca della Verita. This Piazza is so named for the famous “Mouth of Truth” located inside the portico of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which has foundations going back to the 6th Century. According to a many centuries old tradition, the visitor would insert their hand in the mouth and the mouth would snap shut if the visitor had told lies. The Mouth was made all the more famous by a scene in the 1953 film ‘Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. In fact, this huge white marble disc with the face of a river god may simply have been a large drain cover during the Roman imperial period.
ClioAncientArtBocca della Verita, Portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Roma

Bocca della Verita, Portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin

Just around the corner is the Arch of Janus. Dating from the first half of the fourth century, probably during the reign of Constantine the Great or one of his sons, the Arch today is almost completely stripped of its original decorative elements, giving it a strangely stark and modern look. It is an imposing structure, just the same.
Arch of Janus, Roman antiquities, Aventine Hill, ancient Romw

Arch of Janus

Alongside the Tiber, just a couple of hundred steps away from the Arch of Janus, shaded by umbrella pines, are the temples of the Forum Boarium. These two small temples are famed for both their remarkable state of preservation and for being almost unique in the repertoire of Roman architecture as survivors from the Roman Republic. Both buildings date from the 2nd Century BC. The more conventional of the two is the Temple of Portunus, dedicated to the god of rivers and ports, as there were once docks and related facilities here for the unloading of goods coming up the Tiber. Set on a high podium, the harmonious facade features simple lines and beautiful Ionic columns. The more unusual of the two, due to its circular format, may have been dedicated to Hercules and features elaborate Corinthian column capitals.
Temple of Portunas, Piazza della Bocca della Verita, Roman antiquities

Temple of Portunas, Piazza della Bocca della Verita

Temple of Portunas, Piazza della Bocca della Verita, Roman antiquities

Detail, Portico of the Temple of Portunas, Piazza della Bocca della Verita

Temple of Hercules, Piazza della Bocca della Verita, Rome

So-called Temple of Hercules, Piazza della Bocca della Verita

Among the many churches with ancient foundations in this area, one stands out – San Giorgio in Velabro. Dating mainly to the 7th Century and incorporating many ancient Roman columns, along with a Roman “mini-arch” of the Severan period, a charming 12th Century bell tower and 13th Century frescoes in the apse, the church also incorporates numerous inscribed ancient fragments in its portico and in the walls of the nave itself. This building is a sort of palimpset of Rome itself and is well worth a visit.
Late Roman Funerary Inscriptions, San Giorgio in Velabro, Roman antiquities

Late Roman Funerary Inscriptions Embedded in Walls of the Portico, San Giorgio in Velabro

While there is much more to see in this small area, one more spot at the southernmost end of the Aventine is also worth visiting. Very close to the Pirimide Metro station is the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius. This is actually a tomb constructed for a Roman official of the same name who died in 30 BC. This was the time when Egypt had come under Roman control with the death of Cleopatra VII and “Egyptomania” was all the rage in high end Roman artistic circles – some things never change! Unlike the true Egyptian pyramids of over 2,000 years earlier, this structure was built of concrete encased in white marble. In the late 3rd Century AD it was incorporated in the Roman defensive walls completed by Aurelian.
Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, Aurelian Walls, Porta San Paolo

Pyramid of Gaius Cestius on the Aurelian Walls at Porta San Paolo

Just across the street from the Pyramid – and watch out for the traffic here – there is an island of peace at the Protestant Cemetery, so called because during the many centuries of Papal rule non-Catholics could not be buried inside the walls of Rome, the same walls built by Aurelian. Here one finds the final resting place of many famous visitors to the Eternal City, including the great English romantic and poets and lovers of antiquity, Percy Shelley and John Keats.
This post is a slightly expanded version of a “Travelogue” from the Clio Ancient Art website http://www.clioancientart.com/index.html
If you found this post useful or interesting, please let us know and we will post additional stories about travel to Rome and other ancient sites.

A Bit of Egypt Beside the Thames

London has a wealth of Egyptian antiquities to see; the British Museum’s vast ancient Egyptian holdings and the collections at the Petrie Museum of Egyptology being the two best examples. But one needn’t enter a Museum to see a bit of ancient Egypt.

The Egyptian Obelisk of Pharaoh Thutmose III, circa 1450 BCE, now standing in Victoria Embankment Gardens, London, has a remarkable history — Erected by Thutmose at Heliopolis, inscribed 200 years later by Ramses II, moved to Alexandria in the Roman period, given as a gift to the United Kingdom by Mehmet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, lost in a storm in the Bay of Biscay on the way to England, salvaged and repaired in Spain, finally reaching London January, 1878. It has a twin now in New York City’s Central Park.

Weight:180 tons. Height: 68 feet. Material: Egyptian granite.

Here are a few images —

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For more about Egyptian antiquities in London, visit this Travelogues entry on our website, focusing on the Petrie Museum – http://www.clioancientart.com/id22.html

This public link takes you to a photo sampler of The British Museum’s Egyptian collections on my Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.445160798834988.101461.100000232140537&type=1&l=08c9fea6f3

Finally, here’s a link to the Egyptian section of our own website – http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/c2_p1.html

Clio Roman Antiquities

Roman Antiquities in the British Museum: A Photo Essay

The British Museum’s holdings of Roman antiquities, broadly covering about 800 years, from the early Republic through the collapse of the western Empire, are so vast that only a very small percentage of the material on display can be presented here. We hope this brief photo essay, focusing on antiquities and displays that are the author’s personal favorites, will inspire greater interest in Roman art, history and culture, to which we are all so indebted.

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The Great Dish from the Mildenhall Treasure, Britain, 4th Century

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A pair of silver bowls from the Mildenhall Treasure, Britain, 4th Century AD

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Mold made ribbed dish of marbled blue glass, made in Italy, 1st half of the 1st Century AD

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Mosaic glass dish, probably made in Egypt, found in Italy, Circa 25 BC – AD 25

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Roman blown glass vessels of the 1st Century AD

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Roman blown glass and mold made glass vessels, 1st & 2nd Century AD

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A nice selection of Roman transport amphorae, 1st-4th Century AD

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Examples of lead glazed pottery from various dates and locations around the Empire.

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Examples of ceramic oil lamps from throughout the Empire, 1st-4th Century AD.

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Disc brooches (fibulae), just one of many types of brooch, from the western provinces of the Empire, utilizing enameling or gilding.

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Bronze and terracotta deity statuettes for household or votive use.

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Gold body chain from the Hoxne Treaure, Britain, early 5th Century. Part of a vast treasure of gold and silver coins and objects buried as Roman Britain came to an end.

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Silver rings and scrap silver and the vessel they were found in, from the Snettisham Jeweller’s Hoard, Britain, 2nd Century AD.

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Lead water tank from Roman Britain, 4th Century AD, bearing the Chi-Rho symbol (early Christian).

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Terracotta architectural relief of Victory sacrificing a bull. Italy, late Republic or early Imperial.

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Terracotta panel showing scene from a Palaestra (wrestling school). Italy, 1st Century AD.

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Terracotta statue of a girl, perhaps a Muse, 1st Century BC or AD, found at Porta Latina, Rome, in the 18th Century.

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Bronze head of Hadrian, detached from a large statue, found in the River Thames in 1834.

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Venus (Aphrodite). Marble, probably made in Rome, 1st or 2nd Century AD, after an earlier Greek original.

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Portrait busts of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) and his 2nd cousin Matidia.

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Portrait busts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD) and co-emperor Lucius Verus. Found at Cyrene, North Africa. Made circa 160-170 AD.

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Three layered Sardonyx cameo of Emperor Augustus, made AD 14-20.

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Mosaic with cable pattern from a Roman house in Utica (North Africa), 3rd Century AD.

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Mosaic panel from a late Roman house in Carthage (now Tunisia), 4th-5th Century AD.

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Mosaic panel with dolphins, from a Roman house in Halicarnassos (now Turkey) 4th Century AD.

Clio Ancient Art offers many Roman antiquities in ceramic, bronze, glass and other materials, with prices ranging from under fifty Dollars up to several hundred Dollars, here:

* Find us on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/clioantiquities
* Find us on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClioAncientArt

 

Clio ancient Assyrian art

A Sampler of Ancient Assyrian Art at the British Museum

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Glazed terracotta tile. Nimrud. 875-850 BCE

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Protective spirit. Northwest Palace at Nimrud. 865 BCE

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Human headed winged lion, formerly flanking a doorway in the Northwest Palace at Nimrud. Time of Ashurnasirpal I, 865 BCE

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The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, showing scenes of tribute bearers from many lands. 858-824 BCE

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Gates from Shalmaneser III’s palace at Balawat. Embossed bronze strips over wood (reconstructed). 858-824 BCE.

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Winged human headed spirits. Northwest Palace at Nimrud. These may have guarded the entrance to the King’s private apartments. 865 BCE.

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Horses & grooms leaving Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, 700 BCE

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Protective spirits, Nineveh, 645-635 BCE. These figures are not fighting but are protecting against any evil that might approach from two directions.

Clio Ancient Art Kourion Cyprus

A Visit to Ancient Kourion, Cyprus

Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art

Kourion. remains of the Temple of Apollo Hylates from the south.

The archaeological site of Kourion, on the south coast of the modern Republic of Cyprus, has a long history by any standard. Herodotus, writing in the 5th Century BC, records that the site was founded by Achaean colonists from Argos in Greece, a claim that is supported by modern archaeological excavations revealing Mycenaean expansion in the Late Bronze Age (13th Century BC). The settlement developed rapidly and is attested in 12th Century Egyptian inscriptions. Kourion, along with the other kingdoms of Cyprus, later underwent occupation or political domination by the Assyrian, Egyptian and Persian Empires between the 8th and 5th Centuries BC. Under Ptolemaic and Roman rule, Kourion, (Curium in Latin) remained a prosperous but provincial center. The tragic recent events in Haiti serve as a reminder of how devastating a major earthquake can be to a relatively isolated island community. Badly damaged by the great quake of about 365 AD that devastated so much of the Eastern Mediterranean, the City was rebuilt and served as the seat of a bishopric in the Christian era. It was eventually abandoned after a series of Arab raids from North Africa in the 7th and 8th Centuries.

The excavated parts of Kourion, situated on high ground overlooking the sea, today straddle two kilometers of spectacular coastline. The modern visitor typically approaches the site from the town of Limassol, on Akrotiri Bay, traveling west for just a few kilometers along the coastal road. Along the way one may observe many rock cut tombs, mainly of the early Iron Age, in the local limestone hillsides. At the westernmost end of the site is the famous Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates (Apollo of the woodlands) and its many associated buildings, while at the eastern end of the site is the impressive Theatre and the House of Eustolios. Between these are the Roman Forum, an early Christian Basilica and several late Roman houses famed for their mosaics. In this Travelogue installment, I will describe the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Theatre and House of Eustolios.

The Sanctuary of Apollo seems to have been a sacred place even before the cult of that god was imported by the Greeks, as votive offerings of the 7th Century BC have been found. The term “Hylates” was not applied to the sanctuary until the mid-3rd Century BC. In its heyday during the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD, the sanctuary would have included a palaestra (exercise court), a bath, several buildings that may have served as dormitories for pilgrims, and a colonnaded processional street that led directly to the Temple of Apollo. The partly reconstructed remains of this building are thought to date to the reign of Nero. To either side of the processional street were an Archaic altar and an early tholos building enclosed in a small sacred grove.

Temple of Apollo, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Colonnade, South Building,Sanctuary of Apollo

Roman Bath, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Sub-floor heating, the Roman baths, Sanctuary of Apollo

For the modern archaeological visitor, it is difficult to imagine a more picturesque setting. The Temple complex stands on high ground with a view out to the shore and the Mediterranean almost directly below. The skies are free of pollution and the ruins often bathed in brilliant sunshine. While the partly reconstructed ruins of the Temple are impressive for their simplicity of line and solitude on the highest point of ground, one should not overlook the subsidiary buildings. The bath is especially well preserved, and one may observe in detail the sub-floor and interior wall heating technology (hypocaust system) used in a typical Roman bath. There are no real amenities at this part of the site but there is ample parking for those who have rented a car.

At the east end of the site is Kouion’s Theatre and several important associated residential structures. The Theatre itself seems to have originated in the 2nd Century BC but was greatly enlarged around AD 50. After suffering damage in an earthquake in AD 77, the structure was repaired and took on the form the visitor sees today. It continued in use until the great earthquake of AD 365 and was then gradually stripped of much of its stone, including most of the seats, the colonnade and the stage building. Partly restored by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities in 1961, the building is still used today for plays and concerts. The setting is, like so much of Kourion, spectacular.

Roman Theater, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion, The Roman Theater

Roman Theater, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Spirally fluted column of imported
marble from the scenae frons of the Theater

Adjacent to the Theatre at Kourion is an important private residence dating from the late 4th to mid-7th Century AD. This structure, built upon the ruins of an earlier palatial residence, is the House of Eustolios, named for its builder / owner. Eustolios seems to have been a major patron of Kourion in the Christian period and contributed significantly to reconstruction of the town. Among his contributions were repairs to the Theatre and construction of a public bathing facility. Upon entering the House, one sees a Greek mosaic inscription welcoming the visitor with “Enter for the good luck of the house.” The House’s east hall features a fine and well preserved mosaic panel featuring fish and various birds (all early Christian symbols) amid geometric motifs and an inscription proclaiming the Christian nature of the residence. The bathing facilities provided by Eustolios are well preserved and contain one of Kourion’s most famous mosaic panels. This is in the frigidarium or cold room of the baths and depicts a medallion with the head of a young woman holding in her right hand a measure equivalent to one Roman foot. The inscription reads “KTICIC”, meaning Creation or Founding Spirit. This is a highly unusual representation in mosaic art and may be a direct reference to the rebirth of the City following the great earthquake of AD 365.

Kouse of Eustolios, KTISIS mosaic, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Detail of The famous ktisis mosaic
in the frigidarium, House of Eustolios.

Roman mosaics, House of Eustolios, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Kourion. Late Roman mosaic pavement with birds, fish & inscription,
SE courtyard, House of Eustolios.

House of Eustolios, Roman House, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Detail of in-house plumbing and water supply drains, House of Eustolios, Kourion

House of Eustolios, Roman Mosaics, Late Antiquity, Kourion, Cyprus, Clio Ancient Art Antiquities

Detail of mosaic border from the House of Eustolios, Kourion

This end of the site has excellent amenities, including plenty of parking, restrooms, a small gift and bookshop, and snack bar. There is much more to see at Kourion, including many more fine mosaics, and many important finds housed in the site museum at the nearby village of Episkopi. Signage is generally good throughout the site and access from Paphos or Limassol is easy. I definitely recommend a visit. For an excellent review of Kourion’s history and excavation, I suggest David Soren and Jamie James, Kourion, The Search for a Lost Roman City, Anchor Press Doubleday, NY, 1988. Also very useful is the site guide by Dr. Demos Christou of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, Kourion, Its Monuments and Local Museum, Filokipros Publishing, Nicosia, 1996.

A Bit More About Who We Are…

Who Are You, You Ask?

Beyond the obvious — proprietor, Clio Ancient Art & Antiquities (www.clioancientart.com), international dealer in fine antiquities, with an academic background in archaeology. I’m also a sometimes world traveler (will try to put more archaeological travel pics up here from time to time) —

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— and basically life-long Northern Californian transplanted to North Carolina.

Life is simply never what you think its going to be!

Egyptian Antiquities

With the ongoing political instability in Egypt there has been concern about looted antiquities from that country reaching the western art markets. This is made possible both by an insatiable demand for all things ancient Egyptian worldwide but also by corrupt local officials in Egypt and economic desperation among working people there. All of the Egyptian antiquities offered for sale at Clio Ancient Art have been acquired in accordance with international conventions governing transfer of cultural property and have good provenance. We offer Egyptian antiquities in textile, faience, ceramic and other materials. Check back frequently for updates. Here is a link to our Egyptian Antiquities page, and a few images below —

http://www.clioancientart.com/catalog/c2_p1.html

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Welcome: Clio’s First Post on WordPress

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Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities was established by Chris M. Maupin with the aim of making the enjoyment of art and antiquities from the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern worlds accessible to the widest possible audience.

Started in the San Francisco Bay Area and more recently relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, Clio Ancient Art utilizes Mr. Maupin’s academic background in archaeology and a life long interest in ancient art. He has traveled extensively in the Mediterranean world and visited countless archaeological sites in Italy, Greece, Egypt and other countries. With 25 years collecting experience, he has consulted for museums, academic institutions and private collectors, and has established a Trust that sets aside key pieces of ancient art for donation to museums building their own collections of Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern antiquities.

We live in a world obsessed with change that seems constantly to be reinventing itself. This wasn’t always so. For most of recorded history, change occurred slowly and this was especially true of art. Only rarely, as with Greek vase painting, did styles evolve rapidly.

Holding an object, however modest, from ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt and feeling a human connection to its maker can help ground us, briefly silence the din of modern life and put in perspective our own place in time.

Visitors to the Clio website sometimes ask why a distinction has been made between antiquities and ancient art. The answer lies in our modern perception of what art is and how we moderns perceive the ancient past. Many of the antiquities for sale here or on display in a museum were never intended to be viewed as art. These items may have served a utilitarian purpose, and may even have been ornamented by their makers to move them beyond the realm of the ordinary, but were not viewed as “art” in their own time. “Art” is an appellation we have ascribed to these objects, partly in reverence of their age and rarity. By contrast, other pieces on this site such as Roman marble sculpture, Attic and Greek South Italian vases or Luristan bronzes were clearly designed in their own time to serve much more than utilitarian needs.

Another question sometimes asked is “Why Clio?” Clio is the Muse of History and thus appropriate here. The Muses were companions of the god Apollo. Originally deities associated with springs, their number and functions changed over time but in the classical era it was finally determined there were nine Muses, each with her own unique character. Clio, whose name means “the proclaimer,” is most often depicted in Greek and Roman art with her attributes, the trumpet and clepsydra (a device for measuring time).

Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities is a member of the Association of International Antiquities Dealers (AIAD), a not-for-profit international association of antiquities dealers, ancient art and numismatic dealers and others keen to promote the positive aspects of antiquities ownership. The organization promotes responsible antiquities dealing and provides a support network and means of exchanging information about fakes, forgeries, misrepresentation and stolen goods with a view to identifying such items offered for sale and notifying appropriate authorities. AIAD promotes responsible trading in antiquities, which includes meeting all legal requirements concerning reporting and documentation, and its members adhere to its Code of Conduct.

Visit our website at: http://www.clioancientart.com