Bronze cauldron with inscription

Bronze cauldrons were luxurious vessels. In the Iliad, they are mentioned with the awards given by Achilles to the winners of the funerary games in honour of Patroclus (Iliad, 23, 259-260). Bronze cauldrons were often dedicated to sanctuaries by wealthy citizens or city-states. The cauldron of the Canellopoulos Museum bears an Attic inscription with dotted letters on the rim, which reads:

The Athenians [gave] prizes [in games organized] in honour of those fallen in the war

The same inscription is encountered on an identical bronze cauldron exhibited at the Louvre Museum, and on a ceramic hydria at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. The Canellopoulos Museum cauldron is said to have been found in a tomb at Marathon and has been dated ca. 480 BC (based on the type of the inscription letters). These facts, combined with information provided by ancient sources about funerary games organized by the Atheninans to honour the dead of the Persian Wars, has led to the hypothesis that the cauldron was an award in games organized in honour of the fallen in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC).

– Αmandry P. 1971. ‘Collection Paul Canellopoulos (I). Armes et lébès de bronze’, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 95, 585-626, esp. 602-610.
– Andreiomenou Α. 2006. Catalogue no. 128, in Choremi-Spetsieri Α. – Zarkadas Α. (eds), The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum. Ancient Art, Athens, 206-207.