Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece


ATHENS, Greece (AP) – An ancient Greek cup awarded as a prize to the marathon winner in the first modern Olympics of 1896 has been returned to Athens from a German university.

Greece’s Culture Ministry says the 6th century B.C. pottery vessel was considered lost for decades until research in 2014 by archaeologist Giorgos Kavvadias identified it in the University of Muenster’s collections.

A ministry statement says it was proved “beyond any doubt” that the two-handled cup painted with ancient runners was the one given to Spiros Louis, the Greek marathon victor in 1896.

Following correspondence with Greek officials, the university agreed to return the cup, which was part of a private German collection it had bought in 1986.

The vessel was presented at a ceremony Wednesday at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni stands behind an ancient Greek drinking cup decorated with runners, which was one of the awards presented to Spyros Louis, the Greek winner of the Marathon in the 1896 first modern Olympic Games, at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Greece’s Culture Ministry said Wednesday the ancient vase has been returned to Athens by the University of Muenster in Germany where it had ended up.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)