Museum Home Past Exhibitions Coming of Age in Ancient Greece

September 14–December 5, 2004 at the Getty Center

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Wine Jug
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Wine Jug with Three Boys Playing Knucklebones, about 420 B.C.
Hear it!
Apollonia, an ancient Greek girl, tells us about knucklebones, her brothers' favorite toys.
It's like marbles or jacks,but with bones!Play It!
Boys and girls collected knucklebones and played games like marbles or jacks with them. They threw them, and each side of the bone is worth a different number of points.
See it!
Knucklebones, 200 B.C.–A.D. 100
Detail: playing knucklebones
Detail: playing knucklebones
Vessel with a Girl Riding Piggyback on a Satyr
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Vessel with a Girl Riding Piggyback on a Satyr, 470–460 B.C.
It's piggyback with a twist.

Look at how the girl being carried here has her knee bent. And the girl on the vase at the right covers the eyes of the person carrying her.

What is going on here?

This game goes like this:


You and a friend balance a tall stone upright on the ground and take turns trying to knock it over with a pebble or ball.


If you knock it over first, you get a piggyback ride from your friend, who can only hold on to one of your legs, which you have to bend at the knee. You have to struggle to keep your balance.


Your friend has to try to touch the stone while carrying you.


Hold your hands over your friend's eyes to make it harder!

Statuette of Two Girls Playing Piggyback
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Statuette of Two Girls Playing Piggyback, about 300 B.C.