Greek Hexagon Box: Can You Tell When This Was Made?

hexagonal box greeceAlthough Greece was established over 2500 years ago, the resemblance between some ancient artifacts and modern items is uncanny. For example, look at this box – would you believe it is thousands of years old?

While in Athens, I visited the National Archeological Museum and saw many very interesting historical artifacts. One of the most intricate and impressive pieces of history I saw was this box made of wood and gold. The box, also known as a pyxis, or small medicinal box, is a hexagonal prism in form, with matching engravings on each of the six sides depicting deer being attacked by lions. The exact symmetry of these engravings is phenomenal, especially when considering that each intricate line and detail was carved by hand! The amount of effort required to create such an item makes me wonder whether the shape had a special meaning in ancient Greece.

This small piece of history is another wonderful example of how the world is full of arithmetic and provides a great opportunity to discuss the ancient and enduring relationship between geometry, art, and history.