Ancient Art Council

Ancient Art Department

Ancient Art Council
Legion of Honor

100 34th Avenue, Lincoln Park
San Francisco, CA 94121

All extant Greek tragedies were performed as part of the spring festival of the god Dionysus. The religious dimension appears strongly in the Oresteia trilogy of Aeschylus, where human events manifest the will—the purposes—of the gods: cross-generational violence in the House of Atreus leads to the divinely ordained establishment of the jury in ancient Athens. Seeing the drama is itself a religious exercise, taking the minds and emotions of the spectators away from their mundane concerns. Focusing on his translation of the Agamemnon, Merrill suggests that the religious, even ritual, aspect of the play is conveyed in the music of choruses and lyric dialogues. The formal meters, which he represents in English as closely as possible, enhance the experience. Hearing him recite passages from his translation helps a modern audience to appreciate the exciting musical rhythms of the Greek meters and understand how they reinforce the dramatic impact.

About Programs at the Ancient Art Council

Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.



Translating Ancient Greek Ritual Music-Drama: The Agamemnon of Aeschylus

Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor

Dr. Rodney Merrill

This lecture is free to the public; suggestion donation of $5 is welcome


Explore the Ancient Art Council: Upcoming Events


The Saga of Queen Zenobia and the Oasis City of Palmyra


A New Look at Ancient Nubia: Magic and Mystery on the Nile


On the Road from Persepolis


Deciphering Demons: Underworld Figures in Egypt and Etruria

Thank you for helping us acquire our first Egyptian royal portrait—a carved limestone relief of Ptolemy I Soter

Ancient Art Council supports Antiquities at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.



Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave

This exhibition reveals how, before Mount Vesuvius blew up in AD 79 and rocked the Bay of Naples, people in Pompeii and nearby farms and villages were engaged in typical daily activities, many of which revolved around food and drink.

Dates TBD