Mediterranean Identities

Across the wine-dark sea
Homer named the Mediterranean ‘wine-dark sea’, its dangers disguised by its beauty. Discover the ancient cultures that thrived on its shores.

Ancient poets had many names for the Mediterranean; none more evocative than Homer’s. The sea’s dangers were disguised by its beauty; its ebb and flow could bring fortune or catastrophe.

Although sailing was treacherous in winter, for the rest of the year the Mediterranean was a highway of traders, colonists and armies. Each traveller brought their own sense of self and community, but the sea's basin was like a mixing bowl (krater) in which cultures and identities were transformed.

This exhibition looks at the cultures of the Hellenic world, the Italian peninsula, and their Mediterranean neighbours. Different themes explore the ways in which identity was expressed through the material cultures of the Mediterranean in the first millennium BC.


Featured image (top of the page): Black figure band cup fragment, 550-520BC, Athens, Greece.

Related exhibitions