VI-A. Expressions of Mood

Above: Roman terracotta relief: Penelope, center figure. Compare pose.

VI-1 Penelope and Telemachus

Painting on a vase made in Athens in the middle of the fifth Century. A loom forms the background. On it is a partially woven cloth with a border of winged figures. At the right a woman sits resting her head on her right hand. At the left a young (beardless) man stands and addresses her.

VI-2 Death of the Niobids (Athens, ca. 470-450 BC)

Detail of painting on pot made in Athens by painting glossy black paint around figures left the color the clay. Artemis draws an arrow from her quiver while Apollo shoots at a figure whose elbow and foot can be seen at the right. Two children pierced by arrows lie dead or dying in the foreground. Another child runs off to the left.

VI-3 Niobid, end 5th century BC

Roman copy of Greek original.

VI-4 Niobe and her daughter

Statue in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Roman copy of statue of Niobe holding her youngest daughter, from a group showing the slaughter of the Niobids.

VI-5 Death of Dirke

Roman fresco from Pompeii, House of the Vettii (1st century AD).

Roman copy of a Hellenistic original sculpture group.

Original probably 2nd century BC

VI-6 Flaying of Marsyas

Hellenistic marble sculpture, likely around 200 BC. Currently in the Louvre.

VI-7 Gods and Giants, Pergamon

Four slabs from the east frieze of the Great Altar. They show Athena (identified by her aegis and an inscription) grasping the head of a giant. The earth goddess Ge (identified by an inscription) rises out of the ground and looks on in distress. The winged figure of Nike flies forward to crown Athena. Much battered. Now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin: ht. of frieze, 5.6 m.

Present reconstruction of the Great Altar of Pergamon in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

VI-8 Polyphemus Group, Cave at Sperlonga

Reconstruction of Polyphemos group. The cyclops Polyphemos sprawls on the rock. Odysseus bounds upward, guiding the stake toward the eye in the middle of the cyclops' forehead. Two of his companions help to lift the stake, and a third reacts anxiously. The humans are about 2 m tall. Polyphemos is about 3.5 m tall. Found in pieces in the cave at Sperlonga, and reassembled in the local museum.

Onlooker at scene of Blinding of Plyphemus

Grotto with sculptural groups at the seacoast villa of Emperor Tiberius at Sperlonga on the west coast of Italy, first half 1st century AD

VI-9 Scylla Group, Cave at Sperlonga

Steersman clinging to stern of boat. Top of head broken away, but surviving fragment shows that Scylla has grabbed him by the hair. In this reconstruction, Odysseus stands quietly behind the struggling figure.

VI-10 Laocoön

Marble statue group found in Rome, in or near the Baths of Trajan. Once thought to be a Greek original, then a Roman copy of a Greek original. May be an original Roman work. Found in fragments, reassembled, several pieces missing. Ht. 1.84 m. Vatican Museum 1059, 1064, 1067.

A young boy, an older boy, and a bearded man struggle with snakes. The young boy has his hand on the head of a snake that bites him. the man tries to grasp the snake that is about to sink its fangs into his thing. Both of them stand on the steps of an altar. The third figure seems about to free himself from the coil of a snake.

Persons and Events:

  • Athena

  • Apollo

  • Artemis

  • Cyclops (Polyphemos)

  • Giants

  • Laocoon

  • Niobe

  • Scylla

  • Odysseus

  • Penelope

  • Polyphemos

  • Battle

  • Escape

  • Monster killing

  • Punishment

Objects and Places:

  • Great Altar, Pergamon

  • Public religious space

  • Villa, Sperlonga

  • Private space

  • Pottery

Texts and Authors:

  • Homer

  • Odyssey

  • Vergil

  • Aeneid

  • Hesiod