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The north frieze of the Altar: Gorgon (or “lion goddess”) and Poseidon’s opponent

Unknown2nd Quarter 2nd century BCE

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Uniformly dressed in heavy garments with deep folds, they probably represent the Gorgons Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale – the diabolical daughters of the ancient sea gods Phorkys and Keto. Following the Gorgons are Poseidon and his retinue, occupying the adjoining reliefs on the northern projecting wing of the Altar. The first Gorgon grips a fleeing snakelegged Giant by the hair and raises her sword for the fatal blow, while the second Gorgon drives her spear into the chest of an opponent lying on the ground. The third Gorgon, an impressive figure brandishing a spear and joined by a lion, rushes toward the other two. This “lion goddess” attacks a powerful Giant with scaly wings and snake legs. He tries to deflect the sharp spear aimed at him while the lion attacks his comrade, biting him in the left arm […]. An enormous Giant rises behind the lion goddess, pitching forward as his left leg brushes a surfacing fish. The hippocamps (hybrid horse sea creatures) drawing Poseidon’s chariot stampede in from the right. The god of the sea himself survives only in scattered remains of an arm with a dolphin leaping over it and traces of his raised trident. Two scaly sea snakes join him. The crocodile head of one bites the left snake leg of the winged Giant who fights the Gorgon. A fragment of Poseidon’s inscribed name is preserved from this section of the north frieze, which ends with the sea god.

Details

  • Title: The north frieze of the Altar: Gorgon (or “lion goddess”) and Poseidon’s opponent
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd Quarter 2nd century BCE
  • Location: Pergamon / Turkey
  • Type: Frieze
  • Medium: Marble
  • Inv. no.: Pe. 1 L
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Johannes Laurentius || Text © Verlag Philipp von Zabern / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Volker Kästner
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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