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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
Amphora with Scene from the Iliad
c. 520 BC

10 5/16 x 5 1/2 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase funded by George Fleming, Robin Gibbs, Lee Godfrey, Charles W. Tate, and Richard Mithoff in honor of Lee Hage Jamail at "One Great Night in November," and by Ali and Hicham Aboutaam

Department of Antiquities


This amphora depicts scenes from Homer's Iliad, the greatest war epic of the ancient world. An amphora was a general-purpose container for liquids. In a funerary context, these vessels could also hold the ashes of the deceased. They are named for their two characteristic handles.

Here, two hoplites, or foot soldiers, engage in face-to-face battle. Both wear menacing Corinthian helmets. They hold shields on their left arms and wield spears in their right hands. Paris, the Trojan prince who started the war by abducting the beautiful Helen, flees from the battlefield. He wears Eastern dress and carries a quiver of the arrows that would eventually cause the death of the great hero Achilles.