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Wine Cup with a Boy Holding a Lyre
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Signed by Douris, painter; Attributed to Python, potter
Greek, Athens, about 480 B.C.
Terracotta
4 11/16 x 15 5/16 x 12 5/16 in.
86.AE.290

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Scenes of the daily lives of Athenian schoolboys decorate this red-figure cup. In addition to basic literacy and mathematics, Greek boys were trained in athletics and music. On the interior of the cup, a boy holding a lyre stands in front of a bearded man, who must be his music teacher. On the outside, men and boys form similar scenes. The imagined walls of the schoolroom are hung with musical instruments and athletic equipment: lyres, string bags with knucklebones, sponges, and aryballoi. The scenes on this cup are not purely educational, however. On one side of the vase, a boy holds a hare on his lap, while on the other, a man offers a hare to another boy. In addition to serving as a classroom, the gymnasion in its role as the center of Greek physical and intellectual life was also the center of romantic courtship. Hares were popular love gifts in the homosexual relationships between older men and boys favored by the Athenian aristocracy in the early 500s B.C.