The Parian Chronicle, carved in marble quarried on Paros, commands pride of place at this museum and describes events real and mythological, between 1581 and 299 b.c., recording the invention of corn by the god Demeter, the fall of Troy, the voyage of the Argonauts, and the mix of fact and fiction that weave magically in and out of Greek history. The fragment here  tells only the tail end of the story, from 356 to 299 b.c., highlighting such benchmarks as the march of Alexander the Great and the birth of the poet Sosiphanes. If you'd like to follow the entire chronicle, you need to travel to England, where the other slab has been on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford since 1667.

Among the other intriguing artifacts scattered about the museum is a marble frieze of the 7th-century-b.c. poet Archilochus, who was born on Paros and died on the island in a battle against the Naxians. The inventor of iambic pentameter is shown reclining on a couch, as if he is about to declaim one of his famously ironic verses laden with such timeless insights as “for tis thy friends that make thee choke with rage.”