Ancient Cup Given to 1st Marathon Victor Returned to Greece

The cup, given to the legendary Spyros Louis, was thought lost until new research traced it to a German university.

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 Spyros 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.


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