Roman, 15 BC-AD 15
Ht 11 cm
Purchased with the aid of several members of the Caryatids (the Greek and Roman Department’s international group of supporters), and the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund and the British Museum Friends
This Roman silver cup is decorated with homoerotic scenes.
The Romans had very different views about sexuality than we do today, while in the Greek world the partnering of older men with youths was an accepted element of their education.
Representations of sexual acts are widely found in Roman art, on glass and pottery vessels, terracotta lamps and wall-paintings in both public and private buildings.
Such images would have been seen by men and women of all ages and social classes.
The cup takes its name from its first owner in modern times, the art-lover and collector Edward Perry Warren (1860-1928).
After Warren’s death the cup remained in private hands, largely because of the nature of the subject matter.
Only with changing attitudes in the 1980s was the cup exhibited to the public, and in 1999 the British Museum was able to give this important piece a permanent home in the public domain.