The Classics Museum, on the campus of the Australian National University in Canberra, houses a representative collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, ranging across time from about 1500 BC to AD 500. It includes items from well-known centres such as Athens and Rome, along with material from many other parts of the Greco-Roman world. That world once encompassed the whole of the Mediterranean and beyond. Today its cultural impact remains as strong as ever.
Built up over the years from 1962, when it was founded by Professor R. St C. Johnson, this Museum collection, now available to you online, gives students, scholars, and the community of users across the world the opportunity to study the material evidence for life in those ancient societies.
You may wish to explore the highlights of the Museum or to study some of the collections that it embraces: its pottery, sculpture, or glass, for example, or its coins—all of these being artefacts that the ancient Greeks and Romans themselves had once handled and enjoyed. Information about each item is provided so that you can enhance your experience of the collection and your understanding of life in the ancient Mediterranean world.
The Classics Museum collection at the ANU was built up from various sources. There was in the early years financial support for purchases from the University and from its (then) Faculty of Arts. As the collection took shape, the guidance and expertise of Professor A.D. Trendall, at the time the Master of University House and a Deputy Vice Chancellor at the ANU, was invaluable. Some pots and figurines were acquired through the good offices of the Trustees of the British Museum and the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge. Loans from the Parliament of Australia Art Collection and the National Gallery of Australia have enriched the collection. A number of items have been presented by individual donors, to whom we are very grateful. For material from the Late Bronze Age Temple at Amman we thank the late Professor J.B. Hennessy of the University of Sydney, who directed those excavations; and for the collection of household items from the Hellenistic site Jebel Khalid in Syria we thank the Director of Excavations Emeritus Professor Graeme Clarke. Over the years from 1986, the then newly formed Friends of the ANU Classics Museum have presented a number of significant items to the collection. Their support and their commitment has been particularly welcome, especially in the straitened circumstances of recent times.
The Museum collection has been developed and maintained by its curators, in turn Dr Josephine Flood, Dr J.J. Coulton, Professor Beryl Rawson, Dr Ann Moffatt, and Professor Elizabeth Minchin.
The informative entries on each catalogue item here have been prepared for the most part by Emeritus Professor J.R. Green, to whom we are grateful beyond measure. Professor Green was the author of Antiquities: A Description of the Classics Department Museum in The Australian National University (Canberra, 1981) along with Beryl Rawson, who wrote the section on ancient coins in that volume. The text for the Roman coins was prepared for this online catalogue by Professor Rawson and the text for the Greek coins by Dr Douglas Kelly and Dr Peter Londey. But a great deal of invaluable numismatic research by others underpins all entries in this section on ancient coins: we must thank Dr Hugh Preston, Ms Susan Chessell, Ms Robyn Holt and Dr Fred Lomas.
For the photography throughout we thank Dr Bob Miller; for website design Mr Prakash Subramanian; and for the unenviable task of carefully uploading a mass of data Mr Glen Goodwin.