What mad pursuit?

The faded vase now sits behind glass in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Made in Athens around 550 B.C., it depicts a race—probably the 200-yard stadion or the 400-yard diaulos—at the Panathenaic Games, which honored the goddess Athena. Eventually the black-figure lekythos made its way to the Roman city of Narce, where it lay buried in a chamber tomb until its excavation in 1896—the same year the Olympic contests were revived in Athens.

Those first modern Olympics were funded by the sale of special commemorative stamps. On June 9, at a ceremony at the University Museum attended by several of Penn’s Olympian alumni, the U.S. Postal Service continued the tradition by releasing the first of its 71 million 2004 Olympic Games stamps. The inspiration for the stamp’s streaking black figure? That faded vase from Athens.



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  2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 07/01/04