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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An Archaic marble statue of a Gorgon, the fearsome monster from Greek mythology of whom Medusa was the most famous. She holds a snake which is also wrapped around her waist and has a torso of scales. The statue dates from the mid-6th century BCE and is believed to be the first example of the monster as a statue. It was discovered on Paros in the Cyclades inside... [continue reading]
published on 02 June 2013
A detail of the west pediment of the Temple of Artemis (c. 580 BCE), Corcyra. The central figure is the Gorgon Medusa who was to be slain by Perseus. She is here depicted in her role as Mistress of Animals and is flanked by leopards. The temple pediment is the earliest example from Greece which is carved in stone. (Archaeological Museum, Corfu Town, Corfu)
Hades was both the name of the ancient Greek god of the underworld (Roman name: Pluto) and the name of the shadowy place below the earth which was considered the final destination for the souls of the dead. Perhaps the most feared of the gods, he is described by both Homer and Hesiod as ‘pitiless’, ‘loathsome’, and ‘monstrous&rsquo... [continue reading]
Head of Polyphemus (one of the one-eyed Cyclopes). It dates from the 4th century CE and comes from the amphitheatre at Salona. It is exhibited in the Split Archaeological Museum in Croatia.
A detail of a 3rd century CE Roman statue of Hecate (or Hekate), goddess of the Moon. As here, she is often depicted having three heads and bodies. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
Ancient Greek god of fire, metallurgy, and crafts, Hephaistos was the brilliant blacksmith of the Olympian gods, for whom he fashioned magnificent houses, armour, and ingenious devices. Born from Hera and without a father, Hephaistos was, unlike the other gods, a less than beautiful figure. So much so, that in Greek mythology he is said to have been... [continue reading]
Hera (Roman name: Juno), wife of Zeus and queen of the ancient Greek gods, represented the ideal woman and was goddess of marriage and the family. However, she was perhaps most famous for her jealous and vengeful nature, principally aimed against the lovers of her husband and their illegitimate offspring. Hera herself was notable as one of the very few deities... [continue reading]
Metope from the east side of the temple of Zeus, Olympia. Here Herakles labours to clean the Augean Stables with the help of Athena. (470-460 BCE) Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Metope from the east side of the temple of Zeus, Olympia. Here Hercules holds the Earth on his shoulders with the aid of Athena, on the right Atlas gives the Apples of the Hesperides. (470-460 BCE) Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The pan-Hellenic mythological hero Hercules (or Herakles) was famed for his great strength and endurance and celebrated as an extraordinary mortal who, through success in seemingly impossible labours, won his immortal place amongst the Olympian gods. Being the greatest of Greek mythological heroes, he has been ascribed a multitude of adventures and heroic exploits... [continue reading]