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How an Ancient Greek Vase Inspired the Euro 2020 Trophy

euro 2020 greek vase
The Euro 2020 trophy is inspired by an ancient Greek vase. Credit: UEFA, Andreas Kropp. Illustration by Greek Reporter

The cup that will be held aloft by the glorious winners of the delayed Euro 2020, which starts on Friday, is inspired by an ancient Greek vase, an archaeologist revealed.

Dr. Andreas Kropp, a Classical archaeologist from the University of Nottingham, has spotted the trophy’s more than passing resemblance to a specific ancient Greek amphora.

Dr. Kropp said “Something about this shiny silver pot caught my eye, and then I remembered that amphora from my first-year teaching. Both the overall design and details such as the twisted handles correspond closely to a red-figure neck amphora found in Vulci (Etruria), 47 cm high, dated c. 510 BC, now in the Louvre,” he told Mirage News.

The new trophy was made for EURO 2008 by Asprey, among the best-known designer, manufacturer and retailer of jewelry, silverware based in London.

Euro Cup inspired by ancient Greek potter Euphronios

Kropp says that the inspiration for its design came from Euphronios, an ancient Greek vase painter and potter, who was active in Athens in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC.

Euphronios was one of the pioneers of early “red-figure” painting, best known for large-scale works such as a krater depicting a wrestling match between Herakles and Antaios. His works place him at the transition from Late Archaic to Early Classical art, and he is one of the first known artists in history to have signed his work.

On the amphora, now at the Louvre in Paris, only the neck bears a figural scene. It shows a reclining banqueter with a wreath on his head holding his skyphos (drinking cup) with only the index finger of his right hand, playing a popular drinking game (kottabos).

The inscription informs us that this man “Leagros is handsome” (“Leagros kalos”). His head is turned sharply to the right, presumably towards his companion on the other side of the vase’s neck, a fellow reveler playing the lyre.

“The silver trophy is not merely inspired by an Attic amphora,” he says, “it is a neck amphora with twisted handles. It is not, however, an exact copy of Euphronios’ piece as it differs at the base,” Kropp says.

Neck amphoras with twisted handles, though not exactly common, were also made by Euphronios’ contemporaries and successors down to the fourth century BC.

The trophy has just toured the 11 host cities of the tournament and will feature everywhere in the EURO 2020 coverage on our screens and in the papers over the next few weeks.

The official EURO 2020 logo itself is a clipart graphic of the trophy. So Kropp is, for one, urging fans to take a moment to ponder this hitherto unacknowledged sporting tribute to the Athenian creative genius embodied by the silver cup.

“UEFA”, he says, “won’t tell the public about its trophy’s debt of gratitude to Athens’ finest potters and painters, and sadly Euphronios and consorts aren’t here to sue for copyright violations,” he tells Mirage News.

Italy takes on Turkey in opening game of Euro 2020

Euro 2020 gets under way on Friday when Group A favorites Italy take on Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The tournament, to be held in 11 cities in 11 UEFA countries, was originally scheduled from 12 June to 12 July 2020. The tournament was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and rescheduled for 11 June to 11 July 2021. It will still retain the name “UEFA Euro 2020”.

England and Scotland will meet in the second round of Group D matches, and the two neighbors will also be pitted against Croatia and Czech Republic. Wales face Switzerland and Turkey in Baku before heading to Rome to take on Italy.

The undoubted “group of death” this summer features the 2014 World Cup winners Germany, the reigning world champions France, and the reigning European champions Portugal. Hungary is the unlucky nation dropped in Group F and will need to produce something special to come out the other side.

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