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Pericles' wine cup found in commoner's grave

ATHENS -- A cup believed to have been used by Classical Greek statesman Pericles has been found in a pauper's grave in north Athens, Greece's top daily reported Wednesday.

The ceramic wine cup, smashed in 12 pieces, was found during building construction in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia, Ta Nea daily said.

After piecing it together, archaeologists were astounded to find the name “Pericles” scratched under one of its handles, alongside the names of five other men, in apparent order of seniority.

Experts are “99 percent” sure that the cup was used by the Athenian statesman, as one of the other names listed, Ariphron, is that of Pericles' elder brother.

The cup was likely used in a wine symposium when Pericles was in his twenties, and the six men who drank from it scrawled their names as a memento, Matthaiou said.

“They were definitely woozy, as whoever wrote Pericles' name made a mistake and had to correct it,” he said. The cup was then apparently gifted to another man named Drapetis (“escapee” in Greek) who was possibly a slave servant or the owner of the tavern, said archaeologist Galini Daskalaki.

Ironically, the cup was found on Sparta street, Athens' great rival and

nemesis in the Peloponnesian War that tore apart the Greek city-states for nearly 30 years.

General of Athens during the city's Golden Age, Pericles died of the plague in 429 BC during a Spartan siege.

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