The Easel

28th November 2023

History’s most famous pot: the Meidias hydria

This hydria – a Greek water jar – arrived in Enlightenment London when the locals were potty over ancient Greece aesthetics. Its decorations depict Athenian gods and heroes enjoying the company of the young and beautiful. When it was manufactured (around 420BC), Athens was in a long war with Sparta. The decorations, although an escapist fantasy, are notable because they extolled concepts like love and health. Most likely the pot was exported to Italy where it became a burial object.