A gift for a friend: chamomile in a Grecian urn, depicting the eruption of Santorini and the flight of the Minoans (chosen for these very specific memories: our mapping project in Thera’s volcanics; a pottery obsession and later lament for my wallet as my friend documented all with nigh–on local amusement; the select vocabulary gleaned thence in Greek, among which numbered “cheese? I am coming!”; third–year mornings in the Hatherley Court kitchen, with chamomile tea and strong–brewed stovetop coffee; crisis corridor discussions in the crush of exams, and the lament of “I am a chamomile” alongside “I am a potato” – the former being the more aesthetic token to embroider in a vase, though now I’m intrigued by its replacement with the latter).
Certain artistic liberties were taken, what with the volute krater being used as a vase, instead of a wine–diluter, and the supposed flight of the Minoans concurrent to the Plinian eruption in 1600 BCE (thought instead to have occurred earlier from the lack of bodies in the Akrotiri archeological site, the evacuation possibly due to precursory unrest). Still, the umbrella cloud is well–informed, given the P1 pumice deposits mantling the island (a fall out product from a convective cloud, unlike some of the later phases of the eruption).
Somewhat disingenuously in the background is a tea towel from Verulamium, which I acquired today during my visit to the St Albans museum. It’s an odd juxtaposition; relics of Roman Britain, some 2000 years ago and relics from Bronze Age Greece, some 2000 years further back still, with pots common to both (much to my everlasting joy). Certainly, those better informed than me in ancient history would probably wince a little, but here we are!
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