CUNY Matters, Winter 2001 0
Winter 2001

Antiquities at CSI Placed on the Web



hown below is a drinking vessel, called a skyphos, from ancient Magna Graecia, which is now southern Italy and Sicily. In the 8th century bce, long before the rise of the Roman empire, Greeks began colonizing the area and produced vases such as this. The seated woman may represent a bride or the goddess of love, Aphrodite, who is often portrayed wearing much jGreek Vaseewelry.

The skyphos is one of several hundred artifacts on long-term loan to the College of Staten Island from the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences (SIIAS). On November 30 a web site was inaugurated that makes this collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Medieval artifacts-from sculptures to cuneiform tablets, coins, terracotta, and jewelry-available as a study collection, the first of its kind for a CUNY college.

Visit the site and you will be able to clarify at last the difference between an amphora and a krater, discover that those colonizing Greeks were rather literal (they called one new city Neapolis, which means "new city"-it's now Naples), and be amazed at how open-minded Egyptians were: even administrators were allowed to have furnished tombs.

The core of the SIIAS@CSI Study Collection for Ancient and Medieval Civilizations came to the Institute as the MacDonald Bequest in 1911, and several smaller bequests by Staten Islanders were added to it over the next half-century. The installation of the collection in the CSI Library and the creation of an Internet gateway to its contents are the work of CSI Professor of History Eric A. Ivison, an archaeologist who has worked at digs in Turkey and is a leader among Byzantinists in North America (his three degrees are from the University of Birmingham in Great Britain), and Professor Linda Jones Roccos of the Library, whose specialties are Greek art and archaeology (in addition to an M.L.S. she holds an NYU Ph.D. and B.A. and a Hunter M.A.).

The site they have created offers many photographs of artifacts, as well as contextualizing maps, illustrations, chronologies, descriptive text, bibliographical material, and links to related web sites. Its address is Appointments to view the collection in person can be made by calling 718-982-3917.