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mythology

Art - The Sarpedon Vase

by Erin on May 20, 2012

The ancient Greek artist Euphronios painted this magnificent image of the death of the hero Sarpedon in the red figure style. And it is easy to see why the work, which is referred to as the Sarpedon Vase, is one of the masterpieces in the history of art.
The vase painting is dominated by a scene [...]

Today I want to share a story about an encounter between a hero and a Centaur. The hero in this tale is Herakles - or Hercules - who is famous in Greek mythology for his strength and his twelve legendary labors. The Centaur is named Nessus. He is perhaps not quite as well known as [...]

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Mything Words - Procrustean

by Erin on May 16, 2012

Have you ever heard the phrase “a Procrustean bed”? According to the definition in my trusty Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, it is “a scheme or pattern into which someone or something is arbitrarily forced.” This phrase was inspired by the legend of Procrustes.
Procrustes is a character from Greek mythology. The story goes that the old [...]

Art - Birth of Venus by Bouguereau

by Erin on May 15, 2012

Artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s painting The Birth of Venus is part of a long and venerable tradition of images that depict the Classical goddess Venus. And perhaps the most famous paradigm for the birth of Venus was created during the Renaissance, by the artist Sandro Botticelli. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus set the standard for artists for [...]

A Primer on Japanese Mythology

by Erin on May 14, 2012

And now for something completely different at Mythography…
I typically focus on Classical - that is, Greek and Roman - and Celtic mythology, with an emphasis on the former, on this site. Today, I am going to diverge from that path a bit and explore Japanese mythology. I should also emphasize that when I say Japanese [...]

Mothers in Mythology

by Erin on May 13, 2012

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few famous mothers from mythology.
In the Beginning…
Gaia (or Gaea) was the original Earth Mother - or should I say, Mother Earth - in Greek mythology. Her fertility was quite literally legendary. Indeed, Gaia gave birth to [...]

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Mythology - Iynx

by Erin on May 12, 2012

Iynx was a legendary nymph who played a small but nonetheless intriguing role in Greek mythology. According to ancient sources, she was the daughter of either Peitho or Echo.
There are two main versions of her story. The first is that she tried to make Zeus (the notoriously amorous ruler of the Greek gods) fall in [...]

Art - Man and Centaur

by Erin on May 11, 2012

The elegant simplicity and economy of Geometric art is evident in this small bronze statue that represents a man confronting a centaur. The ancient artist who created this work depicted the pair of figures as basic geometric forms. Indeed, the man is little more than a slightly embellished vertical line, while the centaur is essentially [...]

I like to refer to Centaurs as a type of hybrid creature, in that they are half man, half horse. Indeed, typically Centaurs are depicted in both myth and art as having the torso of a man combined with the hindquarters of a horse.
Stories from Greek mythology reveal that Centaurs were not terribly civilized. For [...]

Art - Pandora by Rossetti

by Erin on May 9, 2012

Today, let’s take a look at the painting Pandora by Nineteenth century artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Before I begin with the work of art, I’d like to offer some background about the intriguing mythological character who is the subject of Rossetti’s image. Read on to learn a bit more about Pandora.
Pandora plays an intriguing role [...]

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