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Ancient & Classical

The CU Art Museum’s Classics Collection is comprised of examples of ancient art from Meso-America, Southeast Asia, China and Iran, as well as from ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.

Highlights of the museum’s ancient and classical collections are the Wilton Jaffee Roman Coins, featuring rare coins that reflect the entire history of the Roman Empire. The silver coin shown to the right was minted 54 – 55 CE to commemorate the death and deification of the emperor Claudius, who died in 54 CE. Claudius’ reign fell between two of the most infamous Roman emperors in history: Caligula and Nero. Many people have credited his wife Agrippina the Younger with his murder, who was the sister of Caligula and the ambitious mother of Nero.

Other ancient and classical artifacts include Roman glass vessels and ancient Iranian pottery. About half of the Roman glass vessels in this collection were used to hold oils and perfumes that ancient men and women used for their daily beautification, including the small glass bottle pictured to the right. To see the online exhibition of CUAM’s Roman glass vessels, click here.

The collection also consists of ancient Greek vases that represents the span of Greek history from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Age, as well as ceramic figurines which may have been used as votive offerings to the Greek gods. The archaeological relics in this assemblage teach us about the everyday activities of eating, drinking, and worship that people practiced thousands of years ago. To see the online exhibition of CUAM’s Greek Vases, click here.

The collection also encompasses several examples of ancient Ban Chiang Southeast Asian pottery and Meso-American pottery and stone carving, as well as a 5th – 6th century CE Chinese Seated Buddha, carved of limestone.

[+]Unidentified artist, Roman
Claudius Roman Coin (obverse)
41-54 CE
Gold Coin of Twelve Caesars
2.2 cm diameter

Gift of Wilton Jaffee to the Classics Department (2003),Transfer, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado at Boulder
Photo: Scott Nikiel
(c) CU Art Museum

[+]Unidentified artist, Roman
Roman Aryballos
3rd - 4th century CE
3 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches

Gift of H. Medill Sarkisian and Mrs. Justine Sarkisian Rodriguez to the University of Colorado (1979), Transfer, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado at Boulder
Photo: Tara Hornung
(c) CU Art Museum

[+]Unidentified artist, Greek (Apulia?)
Apulian-style Pelike
c. 350-320 BCE
painted ceramic
7 1/8 x 4 1/2 inches

Transfer from University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado at Boulder
Photo: Scott Nikiel
(c) CU Art Museum