Greek mythology, as in other ancient cultures, was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Myths were also intricately connected to religion in the Greek world and explained the origin and lives of the gods, where humanity... [continue reading]
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Until Sir Arthur Evans unearthed the palace of Knossos, the half-man-half bull killed by Theseus was considered just a popular legend; archaeology changed that perception. King Minos, of Crete, fought hard with his brother to ascend the throne and, having won the kingship and exiled his brother, prayed to the god of the sea, Poseidon, for a snow white... [continue reading]
In Greek mythology the terrible and powerful Titans were those deities which preceded the Olympian gods. Never worshipped as the other gods, they nevertheless helped, through contrast, to clarify the position in the universe of the Olympian gods who defeated the unruly and chaotic Titans in the Titanomachy. Indeed, the very name Titan signifies ‘Strainers&rsquo... [continue reading]
Detail of the Mykonos pithamphora which shows the wooden horse the Greeks used to infiltrate the city of Troy in the final stages of the Trojan War. The wheels on the feet of the horse can be clearly seen. Manufactured in the second quarter of the 7th century BCE. The vessel was made on the island of Tinos in the Cyclades and found at Chora on Mykonos. (Archaeological Museum, Mykonos).
The Trojan War, fought between Greeks and the defenders of the city of Troy in Anatolia sometime in the late Bronze Age, has grabbed the imagination for millennia. A conflict between Mycenaeans and Hittites may well have occurred, but its representation in epic literature such as Homer’s Iliad is almost certainly more myth than reality. Nevertheless... [continue reading]
Smarthistory, Art History at Khan Academy
published on 04 April 2014
More free lessons at: http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=hXQa7psqSTY Unknown sculptor, Venus after the Greek original by Praxiteles from the 4th century B.C.E., Roman, 175-200 C.E. (Getty Villa) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris, Dr. Francesca Tronchin, Dr. Steven Zucker
A sculpture of Urania, the Muse of Astronomy. Originally the statue was of Persephone but recarved and with a head addded taken from a 2nd century CE statue of another Muse. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A marble statue of a wounded Amazon. From an original by 5th century BCE Greek sculptor Phidias. Head: replica of that of the Amazon by Polykleitos. Provenance: Villa d'Este, Tivoli. (Capitoline Museums, Palazzo Nuovo, Rome)
Zeus was the king of the Olympian gods and the supreme deity in Greek religion. Often referred to as the Father, as the god of thunder and the ‘cloud-gatherer’, he controlled the weather, offered signs and omens and generally dispensed justice, guaranteeing order amongst both the gods and humanity from his seat high on Mt. Olympus. Zeus’ Struggle... [continue reading]