Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Antiquities Collection to Enrich Graduate Studies

Antiquities collection to enrich Graduate Studies 

Owl Insignia

Not only is the new Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art home to one of the leading collections of antiquities in the state, it is also an unprecedented resource for students enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

With more than 260 antiquities dating from the 10th century B.C. through the third century A.D., the collection, which was donated to the University by Fordham alumnus William D. Walsh, FCRH ’51, and his wife Jane, who passed away last January, provides students a rare opportunity to experience firsthand these ancient artifacts.

Included in the collection are several large ceramic vessels from the ancient Etruscans, whose culture flourished in central Italy in the centuries before the rise of the Roman Empire; a terracotta kylix, or drinking cup, depicting Dionysos, the Greek god of wine; an eight-foot-high male funerary statue from Rome, circa A.D. 10; a marble bust of Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar and the first emperor of Rome; and a bronze bust of the Roman Emperor Caracalla of the Severan Dynasty, circa A.D. 200.

Also featured in the collection is a nickel-sized Athenian silver coin, with an owl insignia, from the fifth or sixth century B.C. GSAS uses this insignia as a symbol of its commitment to wisdom and rational inquiry.

Robert J. Penella, Ph.D., professor and chair of the classics department, said the new museum, which is located on the first floor of the William D. Walsh Family Library, is reflective of Fordham’s rising prominence within New York’s classical art scene and the University’s commitment to a humanistic education.

“Few universities have a collection of classical antiquities like the one William D. Walsh has given to Fordham,” he said.  “Our classics department has traditionally had a strong textual orientation. This collection will encourage our graduate students to also explore the material side of Greek, Etruscan and Roman culture.

Walsh, whose lifelong interest in the classics took root during his youth when he studied both Greek and Latin, said that he wanted to leave the collection to Fordham to be used as a resource for students, and to be available for public display.

“You can’t get a feel for classics in books alone,” Walsh said.  “Seeing [the objects] gives people a feel for it.  I hope it will be very inspirational and energizing.” 

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