An ancient Greek cup, believed to be approximately 2,500 years old, that was awarded to the winner of 1896′s first modern Olympiad marathon has been returned to Athens

A millennial-old Greek artifact is finally back home. The ancient chalice had been presented to Spyros Louis, the Greek-born marathon winner, in the late 19th century.

On Wednesday, Greece’s Culture Ministry explained that the 6th century B.C. vessel was considered lost for decades until it was rediscovered in 2014, as part of the University of Muenster’s collection.

After the ornate black-and-brown cup, which depicts two runners, was brought to the attention of the university, it agreed to return the vessel, which had been part of a private German collection bought in 1986, reported The Associated Press.

A statement from the agency stated that the double-handed cup proved “beyond any doubt” that it was the same one given to Louis 123 years ago.

The vessel was showed off at a Wednesday ceremony at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, where it will be exhibited for three months before being permanently displayed at a museum in Olympia, the site of the ancient games.

Louis, a water carrier with no formal athletic training, became a national legend after his unexpected victory in the marathon — viewed as the most Greek of Olympic disciples — in Athens.

For his win, in which the 23-year-old runner bested 16 competitors, Louis also received a silver cup and silver medal.

posted Thursday November 14th
by Storm Gifford