Art of the ancient Mediterranean

3000 B.C.E. - 400 C.E.: The Great Pyramids at Giza, the Parthenon, the Colosseum, and more.
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Ancient Near East

Ancient Near Eastern cultures established the first cities, the earliest code of laws, and the oldest known writing which was used, not for poetry, but for bookkeeping.

Egyptian art and culture

The art of the ancient Egyptians was (for the most part) never meant to be seen by the living—it was meant to benefit the dead in the afterlife.

Aegean art

19th century archaeologists sought evidence for Homer's epic poems. Instead they uncovered bronze-age art of the Cyclades, the Minoans, and the Mycenaeans.

Greek art

Ancient Greek art was collected in ancient Rome, studied during the Renaissance and formalized in the 19th century. It is the most influential art ever made.


The Siq is a canyon leading to Petra, the greatest city of the Nabataeans, a people who occupied the area from Sinai to northern Arabia and southern Syria.


Before Rome, the Etruscan civilization ruled much what is now Italy. The Etruscans left fine metalwork, elaborate tombs and a deep mark on ancient Roman culture.


The brilliance of ancient Roman art can be seen in the wall paintings of Pompeii, the massive ambition of the Colosseum, and the daring engineering of the Pantheon.
A thumbnail for: Palmyra


Palmyra, an ancient caravan city in the Syrian Desert, is renowned for its monumental architecture and colonnaded streets, as well as for its distinctive tower tombs. The ancient city and its material culture incorporated elements from Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern cultures and the city itself existed at a key point of connectivity where the spheres of the Mediterranean, Persian, and Near Eastern world overlapped.

Judaism and art

Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion with a focus on sacred texts rather than sacred images, making its art an especially interesting area of study.