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(235) One Hundred Years of Sather Classical Lectures 1914-2014:
The François Vase, a black-figure volute krater, depicts 270 animals and mythological figures labeled with 121 inscriptions. It is signed "Klitias megraphsen, Ergotimos mepoiesen." (Klitias painted [me]; Ergotimos made [me]). The two Athenians flourished from 580 to 550 BC, and from what remains of their work, seem to have been a productive team.
Such a fragile, transient medium. So easily broken and then, irreparable, discarded on a trash heap or broken up still further for ostraka--pottery shards used to vote an Athenian citizen into exile. Twenty-five hundred years after the artist and potter labored together their reconstructed teamwork survives and is paid the highest praise--it is copied by another artist.
Copying is the way most literature is preserved. Few original autographic manuscripts have survived wars, fires and natural disasters. I have seen only a little of the world's art, architecture and sculpture; a fraction of the world's music has been performed live before me. Copies are not much like the original; to copy is to alter. But copies preserve things that might otherwise have been lost. What I know of these things is in reproduction, recordings, photographs. I have never seen the François Vase.
My copy of the horses drawing the chariot of Zeus changes and preserves, but it is also a new thing. I honor the shade of Klitias, and I can only hope that, twenty-five hundred years from now, someone will copy me.