Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Gods in classical sculpture

The gods going into battle vs. the giants, a so called gigantomachy. Here you see Heracles to the left (in his lions pelt), then Dionysoswith his panther skin and wagon drawn by the same animals and thereafter Apollo and Artemis with their bows. Many other gods are involved in this battle, but not seen in this shot. Relief from the treasury of the Siphnians at Delphi, late 6th century/early 5th.

Well it's time for a new theme, the last one has been going on long enough, and I would like to focus on the Greecoroman pantheon and how these are represented in sculpture - thus expect a lot of statues for a while. Remember that even as I use a lot of printed material as sources to write these posts (such as the Oxford Classical Dictionary, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology and a number of books written specifically on ancient religion and art) will much of what I present come from my own experience of ancient sculpture.

I would also like to add that I am perfectly aware of the dangers of talking about the Greek and Roman gods (as an example, Zeus and Jupiter) as the same entities, but it should be manageable as long as I do not wander of too far into mythological details - the focus is on the artistic representation in antiquity not on the origins, specific cults or epithets. Only gods that I've got found in classical sculpture will be represented here.

Artemis (Diana)
Ares (Mars)
Athena (Minerva)
Charados (A greek flood god)
Demeter (Ceres)
Dionysos (Bachus)
Tyche (Fortuna)
Helios (Sol)
Hera (Juno)
Hermes (Mercurius)
Hygieia (Sirona)
Kybele (Magna Mater, connected with Rhea)
Muses (connected with the Camenae)
Nike (Victoria)
Pan (Inunus or Faunus)
Persephone (aka Kore; lat. Proserpina)
Poseidon (Neptune)
Zeus (Jupiter)

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