Tag: Greece&Rome

Elgin Marbles: A Debate of Ownership

When the Parthenon was constructed in the 5th century BCE, Athens was thriving as a democracy under the rule of Pericles. This temple was built to honor the patron deity of Athens, Athena. This goddess’ attributes of intellect and warrior prowess reflected ideals that the Athenians revered. As a warrior culture with extreme civic pride, Athena’s Parthenon was the focal point of the Acropolis and visible from around the city of Athens. Decorative marble sculpture series adorned the pediments of the sculpture. These marble sculptures depicted scenes from Greek mythology, such as the birth of Athena and Athena’s victory over Poseidon. As a culture that lived by the notion that any non-Greek person was barbaric, the marble statues of the Parthenon stood as reminders to Athena’s people of Greek and Athenian supremacy.

More than two millennia after completion of the Parthenon and the decorative marble statues, Athens was no longer that mighty republic thriving under Pericles but was subjected to Ottoman authority. A British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, was fascinated with the concept of classical Greek history and took particular interest in the Parthenon’s marble statues while visiting the Acropolis. Initially the ambassador only called for sketches to be made of the statues. After concluding that the marbles were suffering in situ, he removed the pedimental sculptures, metopes, and portions of the frieze to return to England. It was later sold to the British Museum of Art where it still resides.

Today much controversy surrounds the ownership ‘Elgin Marbles.’ Both the British and Greeks argue that each have legal and moral claim over the Parliament’s marble adornments. The British defend their ownership of the marbles based on Greece’s lack of an adequate museum and the fact that they paid for the pieces (McGuigan 2). They further bolster their argument claiming that Western culture including Britain is a product of Greek antiquity, thus the Elgin marbles are part of British history as well (The British Museum 2). The Greeks counter this claim of ownership by building a new Acropolis Museum in 2009 while making extra effort not to disturb any ancient cultural sites (McGuigan 1). Furthermore, the Greeks liken the removal of the marbles to the Nazi plundering of art during World War II (Kimmelman 2). Due to their initiative of preservation and the heritage of the objects, I believe the Elgin Marbles ethically and legally belong in the possession of the Greeks.

It is my opinion that the Elgin Marbles are legally and ethically the property of Greece. Because this issue of ownership is extremely controversial and prevalent today, many believe that the case of ownership should be considered in a modern court. It may be difficult for the legality to be settled in court today, but I do not believe that it is impossible or unadvisable. I do not think there should be a statue of limitations on the looting of a cultural treasure. Greece’s former cultural minister, George Voulgarakis, compares Elgin’s taking of the marble statues to the Nazis plundering priceless art during World War II (Kimmelman 2). Still today Nazi looted art is being returned to their legal owners as an act of atonement for those atrocities. A court case regarding the possibility of the Elgin Marble’s return to Greece could be handled similarly to the homecoming of Nazi looted works. I believe that the Greek government has the greater claim to the Marbles for various reasons. Initially I do not believe that Elgin had the legal authority to remove the marble statues from the Parthenon. Additionally, Elgin’s supposed motivation behind removing them, the lack of the ability to conserve the works, is now invalid. A new Acropolis Museum was constructed in 2009 a mere thousand feet away from the Parthenon. The Greeks now have a worthy space that can preserve and display their national monument just steps from its original location. Furthermore, after discovering an ancient settlement on the construction site, the museum’s plan was altered by elevating the structure on columns and utilizing a glass floor to allow for a view of the excavation (McGuigan 1). This new museum and its subsequent alterations demonstrate the Greek government’s desire for maintaining and preserving its culture. Though I believe there is an inherent difference between a moral and legal right to ownership, I personally consider Greece to be both morally and legally the rightful owners of the Elgin Marbles. Morally, the marble statues are a vital part of Athenian culture and should belong to the nationalistic Greeks. Legally, I don’t believe that Lord Elgin had permissible right to remove the statues, thus his selling them to the British Museum of Art was not legally right. When determining which right of ownership is more pressing, Voulgarakis states it best: “The problem is not legal. It’s ethical and cultural…The Acropolis is special” (Kimmelman 2). I believe that modern courts have an obligation to overturn past legal actions if they are contrary to what is correct for modernity. Without progressing from the past, there can be no advancing to the future. The removing of the marble sculptures during an unstable moment in Greece’s history may have appeared benevolent during the early 19th century, but today they should be returned to the civilization that is prepared to care for its cultural treasure. There are guaranteed to be issues arriving from modern courts overturning past legal actions, such as general opposition to the idea and an influx of reconsidered cases, but correcting a previous action for today’s society is too important to be stymied by potential controversy.

Because of its ongoing preservation efforts and the legacy of the objects, I believe that the Elgin Marbles belong to the Greek government. The marble statues of the Parthenon were taken during a vulnerable time for the Greeks, and today they have proven that they are deserving and able to own the Elgin Marbles. These objects are a significant part of Athenian and Greek history, a culture founded on nationalistic pride. I believe that based on Greece’s efforts and heritage, the Elgin Marbles should be repatriated to Athens.

 

Julia Stewart

 

Works Cited

 Kimmelman, Michael. “Elgin Marble Argument in a New Light.”

The New York Times, June 2009.

McGuigan, Cathleen. “Romancing the Stones.” Newsweek, June

2009.

“The Parthenon Sculptures.” The British Museum. http://www.

britishmuseum.org/about_ua/news_and_press/statements/

parthenon_sculpture. s.aspx.

 

The Trustees at the British Museum. You are permitted to use any of the images that are available on the British Museum website subject to our terms of use. The Museum will also grant a licence to use a larger version of an image, free of charge, subject to additional terms and conditions. These include usage in: non-commercial research or private study (unpublished), or one-off classroom use in a school, college or university presentation or lecture without entrance fee, including PowerPoint, reproduction within a thesis document submitted by a student at an educational establishment (an electronic version of the research may be made available online provided that it is at no cost to the end user) reproduction within (but not on the cover of) an academic (peer-reviewed) book, journal article or booklet, provided that the publication is published by an organisation set as a charity, society, institution or trust existing exclusively for public benefit and that the publication has a print-run of no more than 4,000 copies. E-book rights are not covered; for these please contact sales@bmimages.com. The image will be supplied in JPEG format, with the longest edge at 2,500 pixels, which will appear at a maximum of 21 cm (A5) when printed at 300 dpi. Please note the image may not have been cleaned or colour-managed.
The Trustees at the British Museum. You are permitted to use any of the images that are available on the British Museum website subject to our terms of use. The Museum will also grant a licence to use a larger version of an image, free of charge, subject to additional terms and conditions. These include usage in: non-commercial research or private study (unpublished), or one-off classroom use in a school, college or university presentation or lecture without entrance fee, including PowerPoint, reproduction within a thesis document submitted by a student at an educational establishment (an electronic version of the research may be made available online provided that it is at no cost to the end user) reproduction within (but not on the cover of) an academic (peer-reviewed) book, journal article or booklet, provided that the publication is published by an organisation set as a charity, society, institution or trust existing exclusively for public benefit and that the publication has a print-run of no more than 4,000 copies. E-book rights are not covered; for these please contact sales@bmimages.com. The image will be supplied in JPEG format, with the longest edge at 2,500 pixels, which will appear at a maximum of 21 cm (A5) when printed at 300 dpi. Please note the image may not have been cleaned or colour-managed.

 

 

Athena: Goddess of Wisdom

l_pl1_54766_fnt_tr_t91iiiAthena (Minerva to the Romans) was the goddess of reason, wisdom, handicrafts, and war. She was also the guardian of Athens, of which was named after her. She was seen as a fierce, brave warrior, but would only fight in conflicts that would threaten her state, and was said to value peace. She is the daughter of the Greek chief god Zeus, and was said to be his favorite child. In one interpretation of her origin, she sprung to life from Zeus’s forehead, full grown, and without a mother. She was known as the Parthenos (the virgin). She was associated with birds, specifically owls. She is most commonly depicted wearing armor, and carrying a spear and shield matching her roll as a goddess of war, and as a guardian. As Minerva, her roles don’t change much from her Greek incarnation other than taking over the victory aspects of the Greek goddess Nike.

Athena in mythology is noted for inventing many different items that would become essential to the people’s lives. In the fields of agriculture she invented the bridle ,  the rake, and the plow. In transportation, she invented the ship, and the chariot, and in entertainment, she invented the trumpet, and the flute.  Athena is also noted for having a turbulent history with Poseidon, the god of the sea. Both Athena and Poseidon competed to be the patron god of what would be Athens, and Athena won the contest by giving the humans the olive tree. In one story, a beautiful woman named Medusa fell in love with Poseidon, and the two mated in Athena’s temple. This Angered Athena and she placed a curse on Medusa which caused her to turn into a monster so vile that a single glance at her would turn a person to pure stone. In Homer’s The Odyssey, the titular character, Odysseus, angers Poseidon by not crediting him for the siege of Troy, and the end of the Trojan war, and dooms Odysseus to never be able to return to his home in Ithaca. Athena intervenes in Poseidon’s plans, and guides/protects Odysseus from Poseidon on his journey home.

In this statue, Athena is depicted wearing an armored helmet and holding an owl, the emblem of her wisdom, in her right hand. Originally this statue held a spear in her left hand, but has since been lost. The statue’s lack of body armor and shield seems to indicate that this statue may have been created during a time of peace.  Her helmet is adorned with a miniature sphinx, which in addition to fitting her guardian traits, it could possibly be a nod to the mental battle the sphinx engages Oedipus, and the “Riddle of the Sphinx” which would coincide with the wisdom aspects of Athena’s character.

– Connor Carraway

Works Cited

1. About.com. “Medusa With Snaky Hair.” Accessed March 11, 2015http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/monsters/ss/Monsters_4.htm

2. About.com. “Myths about Athena.” Accessed March 11, 2015. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/athenaminervamyth/qt/052509BulfinchAthena.htm

3. Encyclopedia Britannica.”Athena.” Accessed March 11, 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40681/Athena

4. Encyclopedia Britannica.“Minerva.” Accessed March11, 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/383802/Minerva

5. Encyclopedia Britannica.“Sphinx.”  Accessed March 11, 2015.  http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/559722/sphinx

6. Greek Mythology.com. “Athena.” Accessed March 11, 2015. http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Athena/athena.html

7. Greek Myths & Greek Mythology. “Goddess Athena.” Accessed March 11, 2015. http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/goddess-athena/

 

Ariadne

According to Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of Minos, king of Crete, and his wife Pasiphae. Minos was charged by Poseidon to care for a dangerous Minotaur in a labyrinth and offer it human, Athenian sacrifices every nine years. On the third cycle of sacrifices, Athenian prince Theseus volunteered to go with the sacrifices and slay the beast. Upon meeting the Athenian hero, Ariadne fell in love and devised a plan to help Theseus escape from the labyrinth and the hybrid creature. She secured a string between herself and Theseus so that he may kill the Minotaur and safely find his way out of the labyrinth. The plan was successful, and the two lovers escaped to the island of Náxos. Ariadne soon fell out of favor with Theseus, and the Athenian abandoned the Cretan princess on the island. She was eventually rescued by and married the god Dionysus. He raised her as an immortal, the goddess of vegetation, and placed her marital crown in the sky as a constellation (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 1).

 

The long, oral tradition of the myth of Ariadne was written down in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the first century CE. This epic poem documents the lives of gods and goddesses from Greek mythology, particularly in relation to change and love. In the book regarding Ariadne, Ovid charts the rapid peaks and plummets of love between Ariadne and her suitors (Ovid, 384-385). This consistent motion, further reflected in the cyclic movement of her constellation, is a concept important to ancient Grecians, particularly in relation to the seasons and associated vegetation. The ancient Greeks relied on the cyclic patterns of vegetation for their food source. This mythological tradition of Ariadne supported this idea and allowed for a physical representation that they could worship to ensure a successful harvest (Webster, 22).

Image used with permission and downloaded from a museum website: Marble Sarcophagus with Garlands and Myth of Theseus and Ariadne. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of John L. Cadwalader, 1914. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/90.12a,b,
Image used with permission and downloaded from a museum website: Marble Sarcophagus with Garlands and Myth of Theseus and Ariadne. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of John L. Cadwalader, 1914. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/90.12a,b,

The Marble Sarcophagus with Garlands and the Myth of Theseus and Ariadne is an ancient example of an object containing imagery of Ariadne. This object, discovered in 1889 near Rome, is a marble sarcophagus intended to hold human remains. This Greek myth would have been popular among the Romans due to the popularity of Ovid’s epic poem and its subsequent influence on Roman culture. The imagery on this object depicts both the attributions of Ariadne as a goddess of vegetation as well as the myth surrounding her and Theseus. The concept of vegetation goddess is evident in the sarcophagus through the flora, erotes, and animals. Depicted in shallow relief on the lid, four winged erotes drive chariots pulled by a bear, lion, bull, and boars. These beasts are associated respectively with spring, summer, fall, and winter. On the front of the piece, swaths of garlands featuring wheat, flowers, and fruits further represent the idea of vegetation associated with the Greek goddess. This series of vegetation-related imagery bolsters the idea of the ancient Greek and Roman dependence on a deity for their seasonal harvests. Further adding to the relief imagery on the sarcophagus, three installments of the myth’s narrative are positioned between the draping garlands. They represent Ariadne assisting Theseus with the string, Theseus slaying the Minotaur, and Ariadne abandoned on Náxos awaiting Dionysus (“Marble sarcophagus,” 1). This representation of a Greek myth on a roman sarcophagus denotes the culture’s interest in the literature produced by Ovid.

Julia Stewart

Works Cited

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Ariadne”, accessed March

05, 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topics/

34105/Ariadne.

“Marble sarcophagus with garlands and the myth of Theseus and

        Ariadne [Roman, Hadrianic or early Antonine]” (90.12a,b) In

        Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan

        Museum of Art, 2000-.http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/

        works-of-art/90.12a,b. (August 2009).

Ovid. The Metamorphoses. Translated by AS Kline. Luxembourg:

        Poetry in Translation, 2000.

 Webster, TBL. “The Myth of Ariadne from Homer to Catullus.”

Greece & Rome 13, no. 1 (1996): 22-31.

 

 

 

 

 

The Minotaur in Ancient Greece

The Minotaur was born from a mortal but he was not a man. The name stems from the Greek name “Minos” and the greek word for “bull.” The story of the Minotaur began with Minos. Minos claimed to have the support of the Gods on his side and believed he could ask them for anything. He prayed to Poseidon to send him a bull that he would sacrifice. Poseidon sent Minos a beautiful white bull and this proved that Minos was meant to be king. However, Minos sacrificed a different bull and kept the beautiful one to himself. This angered the god and as a punishment he caused the King’s wife, Pasiphae, to lust after the bull. Once Pasiphae was cursed, she recruited the help of Daedalus and Icarus to construct for her a wooden cow covered in cowhide to lure the bull to mate. The wooden cow was taken into the pasture with the bull and Pasiphae climbed inside. Pasiphae laid with the bull and became pregnant (Britanniae, 2013).

When the baby was born King Minos learned of his wife’s infidelity. King Minos did not punish Pasiphae but enslaved Daedalus and Icarus for assisting her. The baby had the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man. Pasiphae was able to care for him while he was young, but once the Minotaur grew he could not be sustained on normal food. He began to eat humans and they were his only source of sustenance. Because of the danger that the Minotaur presented, Minos had Daedalus and Icarus build a labyrinth to keep him contained (Britanniae, 2013).

While the Labyrinth was being constructed, King Minos found out that his only son, Androgeos, had been killed. He blamed the Athenians for the death of his son because it was believed that the King of Athens, Aegeus, devised his death. Minos harassed the Athenians until they agreed to sacrifice fourteen youth every nine years, half being men and half being women, to be fed to the Minotaur. Through harsh persuasion of the gods the Athenians were forced to submit to this sacrifice (Britanniae, 2013).

Theseus, the son of King Aegeus, claimed that he could kill the Minotaur and volunteered to be sent to Crete. When Theseus arrived in Crete, King Minos’ daughter Ariadne fell in love with him. She devised a plan to help him kill the Minotaur and escape death. She provided him with a sword and a ball of yarn to be able to find his way back out of the labyrinth. Theseus succeeded in killing the Minotaur and escaping Crete. On his journey back to Athens he absentmindedly forgot to sail the white flag that he had agreed to fly if he was still alive. His father, King Aegaeus, believed him to be dead and threw himself into the sea in despair. When Theseus made it back to Athens he was crowned King (Britanniae, 2013).

The mythological representation of the Minotaur provides us with a tale of monsters, traditional heroism, and kingship. While the Minotaur, King Minos, and Theseus only existed in mythology there has been belief that there is some historical representation in Knossos, an ancient town and site of the Palace of Minos (Vavouranakis, 213). The myth of the Minotaur is not solely about the myth of the beast. The ancient hero, Theseus, is most known for his destruction of the Minotaur. The Minoans were a real civilization and were named after the mythical King Minos. Today we recognize the Minoan civilization as having existed in Crete from around 3100 BC to 1450 BC (Browne, 109). The image presented is of a sculpture titled “Theseus Slaying the Minotaur.” Here Theseus is shown overpowering the Minotaur who is struggling. Many historical art pieces depicting Theseus and the Minotaur are pictured similarly with the Minotaur being defeated. Theseus was known as a traditional heroic figure in mythology. This can show us the cultural representation of a hero during the ancient times. Theseus used his strength to overpower the Minotaur but he also used his intelligence and wits. Representation of a King in this aspect shows that the greeks honored strength, wisdom, and sacrifice. Theseus volunteered to save the lives of those who would be eaten.

– Lauren Bowles


Works Cited

Britanniae, Brittany. “Minotaur,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified September 01, 2013.
http://www.ancient.eu /Minotaur/.

 

Browne, Eric, Jamiee Canty, Jennifer Casey, Linda Goldman, Eleanor Gwen, Tabitha Judy, and Phyllis Barkas
Goldman, et al. 2001. “Minoans.” Monkeyshines On Ancient Cultures 108. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost
(accessed March 12, 2015).

 

Vavouranakis, Giorgos. 2013. “Working on a Dream: The ‘Palace of Minos’ at Knossos in Archaeological
Research, Heritage Protection and Daily Life.” Cultural History 2, no. 2: 213-231.Historical Abstracts with Full
        Text, EBSCOhost (accessed March 11, 2015).

 

 

Myth as Propaganda-Roman Venus

 

Silver denarius of Julius Caesar. Reproduced with permission of Metropolitan Museum of Art. www.metmuseum.org
Silver denarius of Julius Caesar. Reproduced with permission of Metropolitan Museum of Art. www.metmuseum.org

The Goddess known to the Romans as Venus was originally a minor goddess of fertility in the Italian peninsula. Scholars believe that it was not until contact with the Greek world in the 4th century B.C that Aphrodite became coopted, and Venus then became associated with courtly and erotic love.

Consider the opening lines of Lucretius’ epic poem of atomic theory and epicurean philosophy :De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things):

Mother of the descendants of Aeneas, bringer of pleasure to gods and men, nurturing Venus, beneath the gliding constellations of heaven you fill the bearing sea and the fruitful lands. Through you all living things are conceived and at birth see the light of the sun. Before you, O goddess, the winds withdraw, and at your coming, the clouds in heaven retreat. For you the variegated earth puts forth her lovely flowers, for you the waters of the sea laugh and the sky at peace shines, overspread with light. For you the Zephyr the West Wind, creator of life, is unbarred. You first, O goddess, and your coming do the birds of the air salute, their hearts struck by your power.

Venus plays a larger role in Roman society than her Greek counterpart. According to legend, Venus had lain with a Trojan shepherd by the name of Anchises, and the results of their passions was the Trojan prince Aeneas. Aeneas is the epic hero and the subject of Publius Vergilius Naso (Vergil)’s tale of the Trojan War and its aftermath from a Trojan perspective. According to the Homeric tradition and confirmed in Vergil’s account, the Olympians took sides in the Trojan War. Juno aided the Greeks and Venus the Trojans. According to the Aeneid, Aeneas finally makes his way to Italy and his son Iulus (Ascanius) settles in the area known as Latium. This becomes important to the establishment of the hierarchy of Roman deities and Venus becomes more elevated in power to the Romans. Sometime in the 4th century she is paired off as the prime consort of Mars, the deity who had lain with the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia to produce the twins Romulus and Remus. The deities of Love and War- they are held in high regard as the progenitors of the Roman people. The Romans then take this as a sign that they are divinely governed to be a great civilization of people. Venus becomes a highly worshipped deity with several temples being erected to her. She has several epithets attached to her and each of these versions of the deity have slightly different realms of power. She is referred to as Venus Obsequens, Venus Erycina, Venus Victris, Venus Cloacina, Venus Felix, and Venus Genetrix.

Venus Genetrix (Venus the ancestral mother) is incredibly important source of power and imperium for Julius Caesar and his adopted nephew Octavian (Augustus) Caesar. Shortly after military victory and shortly before his death in 44 BC, Julius Caesar begins a building project to create a Forum Iulium and contained within it a temple dedicated to Venus Genetrix since the Julio-Claudian family traces their lineage to Iulus. However to according to the historian Suetonius in his Lives of the Caesars: The Deified Julius Caesar, the temple of Venus Genetrix is what causes the final reason for the conspirators to assassinate Julius Caesar:

However, the extreme and fatal envy he inspired was particularly provoked by the following: when the entire senate came to him, bringing many decrees conferring the highest honours, he received them in front of the temple of Venus Genetrix, without getting up. Some think that he was held back when he tried to rise by Cornelius Balbus. Others believe that he made no attempt to get up and that when Gaius Trebatius actually advised him to rise, he gave him a very hostile look.

What Caesar did to offend the senate was essentially regard himself as a God therefore he was putting himself above the gods and the security and benefit of the Roman Republic. This violates Roman morals particularly pietas. It is ironic that Julius Caesar is seen to violate this moral when he alleged ancestors Aeneas and Iulus are described with the epithet pious on numerous occasions by Vergil in the Aeneid. This silver denarius was minted by Julius Caesar to display his name alongside Aeneas and Anchises on the reverse. On the obverse side of this coin is an Image of Venus but stylistically she is depicted as a high status Roman woman wearing an elaborate braided hairstyle and crown. ( I recommend forumancientcoins.com for an expansive image gallery and more information on Roman coinage).

Furthermore Augustus and other Julio-Claudian emperors would use this connection to assert their power.

 

Jennifer Lantrip

 

Works Cited

Accessed March 12, 2015. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/.
Morford, Mark P. O., and Robert J. Lenardon. Classical Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Suetonius, and Catharine Edwards. “The Deified Julius Caesar.” In Lives of the Caesars. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ares

Ares, son of Zeus and Hera, is god of warfare. In the Roman pantheon, he is known as Mars. He personifies the brutal, animalistic violence of war. Ares was not a very well liked or widely worshipped god, unlike his Roman counter-part, who was only slightly more liked. He is often portrayed with Fear, Terror, and Discord, represented by his sons, Phobos and Deimos, and his sister, Enyo, respectively. Ares often makes rash and intuitive decisions that often lead him to defeat and humiliation. Unlike Athena, the goddess of strategic warfare, Ares is known for not thinking things through and rushing into battle head-on. He is mostly depicted bearded, young, and dressed for battle. His lack of distinctive features can make him difficult to identify.

Ares has many great adventures in Greek mythology. Some – most notably the Trojan War – end in failure and humiliation, as depicted in Homer’s Iliad. Initially siding his mother and sister, Hera and Athena, to fight with the Greeks, Ares was convinced by his lover, Aphrodite, to back the Trojans instead. This, of course, incurred the fury of Athena and Hera. During the battle, Ares lost his son, Askalaphos, to Deiphobos of Troy. Once Zeus allows the gods to join the battle on whichever side they pleased, Ares finally enters the battlefield and is joined by his Amazon daughter, Penthesileia. However, she is quickly slain by Achilles. When Ares and Athena finally met on the field, Ares is defeated and led away by Aphrodite.

For all his rash violence, nobody can question Ares’ love for his children and his demand for justice. When Poseidon’s son, Halirrhothius, raped Ares’ daughter, Aclippe, Ares sought revenge and killed Halirrhothius. Ares was taken to trial held on the hill Acropolis in Athens. In the end, Ares was acquitted.

AN01085489_001_m
You are permitted to use any of the images that are available on the British Museum website subject to our terms of use. The Museum will also grant a licence to use a larger version of an image, free of charge, subject to additional terms and conditions. These include usage in: non-commercial research or private study (unpublished), or one-off classroom use in a school, college or university presentation or lecture without entrance fee, including PowerPoint, reproduction within a thesis document submitted by a student at an educational establishment (an electronic version of the research may be made available online provided that it is at no cost to the end user) reproduction within (but not on the cover of) an academic (peer-reviewed) book, journal article or booklet, provided that the publication is published by an organisation set as a charity, society, institution or trust existing exclusively for public benefit and that the publication has a print-run of no more than 4,000 copies. E-book rights are not covered; for these please contact sales@bmimages.com. The image will be supplied in JPEG format, with the longest edge at 2,500 pixels, which will appear at a maximum of 21 cm (A5) when printed at 300 dpi. Please note the image may not have been cleaned or colour-managed.

 

 

Paolo Alessandro Maffei’s drawing of the Ludovisi Ares sculpture shows a seated Ares holding his sword and resting his foot on his helmet. In the original sculpture, it is the figure of Cupid at Ares’ feet, not his helmet. Cupid’s presence indicates that the sculpture could be a romantic gift or some symbolism of softness contrasted with Ares’ harshness. The replacement of Cupid with a helmet completely eradicates the idea of any romance and instead places Ares in his natural combative habitat. Perhaps this is the moment before or after battle, where Ares sits in contemplation.

 

– Bridget O’Hara

Works Cited

 

Encyclopedia Brittanica. “Ares.” August 6, 2013. Accessed March 11, 2015.

 

“Collection Object Details.” British Museum. Accessed March 12, 2015.

Artemis and Diana: The Goddess of the Hunt

Artemis (Diana in Roman mythology) was the virgin goddess of the hunt, wild animals, chastity, the moon, and childbirth (to a lesser extent). She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, a titan, as well as the twin sister of Apollo. She was an Olympian goddess, and was extremely important in several parts of the ancient Greek religion. She is described in Homeric Hymn 27 as “Artemis of the gold shafts […] the modest virgin, the deer-shooter profuse of arrows, own sister to Apollo of the golden sword,” (Homer 209).

She was a popular patron goddess of agrarian areas, due to her association with the wilderness. Artemis was worshipped in many places, but her sanctuary at Brauron was one of the paramount sites. Many young Athenian girls were sent there to participate in a ritual called the arkteia. The arkteia prepared these girls, between 7 to 10 years of age, for puberty and marriage and the transition into being a woman. Because of this, Artemis was also considered a goddess of rites of passage. In Greek myth, Artemis defended her chastity so thoroughly, that when Actaeon came upon her bathing, she turned him into a stag so that his hunting dogs would tear him to pieces. “Tell, if thou can’st, the wond’rous sight disclos’d, a Goddess naked to thy view expos’d” (Ovid 3.192) she announced, before allowing his former companions to devour him.

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

In the vase pictured here Artemis can be seen on the middle right, identifiable due to the attributes of the sacred deer and the bow in her hand. To her left is her twin brother, Apollo, and to her right is her mother, Leto. The god, Hermes, is standing on the far left next to Apollo. In Artemis’ right hand, we see her holding a crown of laurels, which is an important symbol of her brother. The vase is mostly depicting the family, who played a large role in the Greek religion. Both Apollo and Athena were seen as gods of puberty, though each for their own sexes, due to their association with rites of passage.

They are each represented in numerous myths across the years. Artemis was a friend of Orion, the hunter, the killer of Adonis and of Niobe’s female children, and the protector of both Iphigenia and Atalanta among others. She was heavily involved in the Trojan war, supporting her brother in his efforts to protect Troy. In the Greco-Roman mythos Artemis, Apollo, and Leto are credited for saving Aeneas: The man of legend who later founded Rome (Depicted in Virgil’s The Aenid)

It’s not hard to see why Artemis was an important figure in the Greco-Roman pantheon, after all the accomplishments she had, as well as all of the deaths that she was responsible for.


– Carly Gagstetter

Works Cited

“Brauron.” In Stoa. Last modified February 13, 2015.

http://www.stoa.org/athens/sites/brauron.html

Publius Ovid Naso, Metamorphoses, trans. Garth, S.; Dryden, J.; et al. London. 1717.

http://classics.mit.edu/Ovid/metam.html

“Artemis” Encyclopedia Britannica Online, last modified April 17, 2013

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/36796/Artemis

Homer, Homeric Hymns, trans. West, M. April, 2003.

http://www.loebclassics.com.libdata.lib.ua.edu/view/homeric_hymns_27_artemis/2003/pb_LCL496.209.xml?rskey=tL09fD&result=2