What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

The Warren Cup

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1999,0426.1

  • Title (object)

    • The Warren Cup
  • Description

    A silver stemmed drinking-cup originally with two vertical handles (now lost) comprising decorated outer casing (now split in one place) enclosing, in order to facilitate both drinking and cleaning, the drinking vessel. The handles and foot were cast separately. The decorative scenes on the outer casing were raised by hammering and elaborated with chased and engraved details, some enhanced by gilding (now lost). The decoration consists of two scenes of male homosexual love-making, set in interiors elaborated with textile hangings. On the obverse the older, active lover (erastes) is bearded and wears a wreath, while the younger, passive partner (eromenos) is a beardless youth. On the reverse the erastes is a beardless youth, crowned with a wreath, and the eromenos is a boy. The boy at the door with short hair, who is observing the scene, is a probably a slave.

    More 

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 15BC - AD15
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 9.9 centimetres (max, rim)
    • Diameter: 4.8 centimetres (min, base)
    • Height: 11 centimetres (max)
    • Height: 8.3 centimetres (max, bowl)
    • Diameter: 11 centimetres (max, sleeve)
    • Height: 8.4 centimetres (max, sleeve)
  • Curator's comments

    Such double-walled cups decorated with scenes in relief were a Hellenistic innovation, replaced in the later first century AD by solid cast vessels. It is likely that the cup was commissioned by wealthy members of a Greek community, perhaps one of the major cities of the Eastern Mediterranean. The cup is said to have been found in Palestine with coins of the Emperor Claudius (41 - 54 AD). The age and status of the figures in both scenes is carefully shown. The bearded man and youths are shown in a style typical of the classicizing art of the reign of the emperor Augustus (30BC - AD14), and can probably be dated more closely to approximately 15BC-AD15. The musical instruments, wreaths and mantles suggest a cultured, Hellenized setting. Both partners in the reverse scene have long locks of hair, the youth's bound up, the boy's loose. Such locks were worn by Greek boys, and were offered to the gods in a rite celebrated at puberty.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Williams 2006 bibliographic details
    • Opper 2008 127 bibliographic details
    • MacGregor 2010 36 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2006-2007 1 Dec-22 Jan, York, Yorkshire Museum, The Warren Cup
    2008 24 Jul-26 Aug, London, BM, 'Hadrian: Empire and Conflict'
    2010 Jan - April, Nottingham, Lakeside Arts Centre, The University of Nottingham, 'Roman Sexuality: Images, Myths and Meanings'
    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2012 28th April - 30th June, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, 'The Warren Cup'
    2014 Feb - May, Brading Roman Villa, Isle of Wight, Roman Sexuality: Images, Myths and Meanings

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1999

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1999,0426.1


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: GAA61318

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...