Greek Monsters of Myth

ARH 251 Final Project - Max, Taylor, Chelsea, Lizzie and Blake

Abstract - Greek myths; stories of great heroes and their deeds, mortals' dealings and conflict across the pantheon of gods, and, of course, terrible beasts and creatures of supernatural origins. In every great story, there must be not only a daring champion, but an adversary against which he or she must do battle to prove their worth; for the Greeks, the only thing more fantastic than their idolized heroes were the horrors they endured to achieve their status. Here, we will attempt to draw connections between these wondrous tales, fearsome monsters, and their significance to Greek culture, as well as their lasting influence on civilizations past and present.

he "Volute-Krater Gigantomachy" is from 350 B.C. and was completed by the so-called Underworld Painter. It is made of terracotta and was used as a funerary vase, not for wine or water, since there is no bottom. The krater was uncovered in southern Italy and can now be found in the Altes Museum in Berlin. It depicts the infamous mythological story of the gods fighting the menacing giants, where good overcomes evil.
Storage Jar with Medusa 530-520 BCE The tale of Medusa in Greek Mythology has existed for millennia and has been rewritten and expressed in a variety of ways. One form of artistic expression, The Storage Jar with Medusa, particularly reflects the multifold nature of the myth. I argue that as both myth and artwork, the narrative of Medusa is a paradox, balancing beauty and hideousness and the destructive power of her life and even greater power in death. Primarily, the greatest dichotomy exists within the power of the tale to manifest both ancient knowledge and contemporary imagery.
Depicted on the inside of this terracotta Lakonian wine cup is a classic Greek myth that was extremely popular among the Lakonians. The Chimaera was a fire breathing monster that had three heads all of different animals, a lion, goat and a serpant. This beast was wreaking havoc in Lycia until the hero Bellerophon, accompanied by his winged horse, Pegasus, slayed it. The Boreads Painter, whom the painting is attributed to, uses the black-figure technique to render the scene of lunging Bellerophon stabbing a spear into the Chimaeras mid-section.
The myth of the eponymous hero slaying the Nemean Lion spawned the often repeated representation of Hercules, wielding a club, with a lion skin draped over his arm or worn as a hood. In “Gilded Bronze Statue of Hercules”, this imagery promotes a sense of strength and victory. Cast in bronze in the 4th Century BC, the figure stands in the proportions of the Lysippic style, showing to the Greeks the power and pride which was central to their cultural identity. The statue was moved and later installed in the Forum Boarium, where it stood as a symbol of the erstwhile cult to the hero, connecting the Romans to the classic story of the Greeks.
Commodus as Hercules
My subject happens to be a Harpy. A Harpy is known in Roman Mythology as a half woman, half bird/eagle –like creature. She is often a symbol of evil and terror. The literal meaning for the word in Greek is “that which snatches.” In many Stories Harpies are often shown stealing food by swooping down and snatching it **! Harpies are odd creatures often put in stories as the sly robbers who come and steal wealth or food for their own selfish pleasure. They are represented in stories of punishment and betrayal. Harpies are usually referred to as the “hounds of Zeus “ or the dogs of god and are sent on missions to earth to snatch ** people, food, and other things from earth in an instant(often being described as the wind).
Credits: All media
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