I was going to hold off on writing anything archaeological for a while, but then I found this bit of news and I made an exception: It seems a cup believed to have been used by Classical Hellenic statesman Pericles has been found in a pauper's grave in north Athens. The cup was found in twelve pieces and has 'Pericles' scratched into it, or so the report says.

Pericles (Περικλῆς, Periklēs) was born in 495 BC, and grew up to become arguably the most prominent and influential Hellenic statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age— specifically the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. He promoted the arts and literature, successfully led his army into battle against Sparta, and was the father of most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis. He was so influential that the period during which he led Athens--roughly from 461 to 429 BC--is sometimes known as the 'Age of Pericles'. He died a painful death of the plague in 429 BC, during a Spartan siege.

The skyphos was found with six names engraved, one of them Pericles'. One of the other names listed, Ariphron, is that of Pericles' elder brother, which has made archaeologists feel secure in linking the cup to Pericles. Angelos Matthaiou, secretary of the Greek Epigraphic Society, told the newspaper the Ta Nea daily:

"The name Ariphron is extremely rare, [h]aving it listed above that of Pericles makes us 99 per cent sure that these are the two brothers."

According to archaeologists, the cup was likely used in a symposium when Pericles was in his twenties, and the six men who drank from it drunkenly scratched their names into it as a memento. The cup was then gifted to another man named Drapetis who was possibly a slave servant or the owner of the tavern. Ironically, the cup was found on Sparta street, Athens' great rival and nemesis in the Peloponnesian War that tore apart the Greek city-states for nearly 30 years.