Penn Museum logo

Greece Gallery

Included with General Admission
Upper Level

Gallery at-a-glance

  • Immerse yourself in scenes of Greek life vividly depicted on striking red- and black-figure vases.
  • Explore the reaches of Alexander the Great’s vast empire through coins, pottery, and statues.
  • Discover more about the Classical World in the adjacent Etruscan Italy Gallery and Rome Gallery.


The Greece Gallery explores the ancient history and culture of Greece from around 3000 to 31 BCE. The objects on display come from Greece as well as Greek colonies in southern Italy, Sicily, Libya, and Cyprus, among others. During the height of Greek civilization, their city-states dominated the economy of the entire Mediterranean region from southern France to Asia Minor and the Black Sea.

The Greeks were pre-eminent merchants, and their pottery was exported throughout the Mediterranean world, as were the cults of their gods and heroes.

Many of the objects in the Museum’s Mediterranean collection were excavated, but many were donated by collectors who had acquired the objects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



Within the Greece Gallery there are many vases like this one, which was made in Athens around 535 BCE. It shows the death of Achilles in battle, a story which remains familiar today from Homer’s Iliad. Although the amphora (or vase with two handles) was made in Athens, it was found in Orvieto, Italy, showing how Greek pottery circulated throughout the Greek world.

Hermes Bust

This marble statue represents Hermes, the god of travel, and it forms part of a herm. Herms were square pillars usually topped with the head of Hermes and placed at important gates and crossroads beginning around the 6th century BCE. (Hermes was the god of travel.)

Decadrachm (coin)

One of many coins in the Greece Gallery, this silver “decadrachm” was worth 10 drachms—a very valuable coin—and was made in the ancient city of Syracuse in Sicily between about 405 and 345 BCE. One side shows a four-horse racing chariot, a common symbol for coins from Syracuse because of civic pride in the locally trained chariot teams’ victories in the Panhellenic festivals of mainland Greece.

the canaan and ancient israel gallery

Take a Virtual Gallery Tour

Explore our galleries from anywhere around the globe. Led by Penn Museum Graduate Guides with PhDs or master’s degrees in archaeology and anthropology, these virtual tours will open up your world with extraordinary artifacts on view and in storage.

Watch Now