Soliman is a neuroscience major but is getting a certificate in Mediterranean archaeology.
“I’ve always had a fascination with ancient civilizations and ancient history. Both of my parents are Egyptian, so I’ve been drawn to other cultures,” she said. “After reading Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson’ series, I got more interested in it.”
When it was her turn, she handled the cup with care to respect its antiquity.
The clay cup is painted with six male figures on its outer surface with a seventh in the center of its broad serving bowl, which would probably hold at least a half bottle of wine. The students scrutinized the cup trying to decipher the story the artist was trying to convey in the scene.
On one side, an older, bearded man appears to address two younger men carrying a staff and an animal-skin carrying case for a flute. The opposite side is similar, but one young man cradles a stringed instrument called a lyre.
The cups were a big part of social life in ancient Greece, Burrell said. Groups of men would gather for a “symposium,” where they would talk, joke, enjoy music or even play drinking games such as “kottabos” where participants fling the dregs of their wine cup at a target.
UC fifth-year senior Christopher Keil interpreted the scene as a classic coming of age story. He saw the older figure offering two younger men advice about their future, either to be practical about the future or perhaps to follow their artistic dreams instead.
“That’s why the figure in the bottom of the cup holds one icon of each. He’s trying to figure out, ‘Do I pursue my music or do I take up a life of responsibility?’” Keil said.