This collection references the ancient Greek myths in all their wonderful forms. From Chaos and the origin myths, Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (the Underworld), Eros (Desire), Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night), and their varied offspring, to the succession myth, where we see Kronos overthrow his father, Ouranos, on through the Titanomachy to the Olympian Gods, and Zeus’ eternal rule over the cosmos. The diversity and narrative plurality of the Greek myths is astounding; these stories have been told, retold, subverted, depicted and performed throughout millennia, and still are known and loved to this day. There are innumerable variations: between authors, between genres, between historical periods, between localities, yet still they hold a firm grip on our imaginations, culture and language.

Texts by notable ancient Greek writers have contributed greatly to these works, notably Hesoid’s Theogony (approx. 700 BC); a 1022-line poem describing the genealogy of the Greek gods and goddesses, as very briefly outlined above. The Nine Lyric Poets of ancient Greece were also considered, alongside the Homeric Hymns celebrating the virtues of thirty- three individual gods. The most notable writer recalled in this collection, however, is Homer. His epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey (also penned in approx. 700 BC), are considered to be the foundational works of Greek literature, and fittingly, I found the images evoked by these poems to be the foundation stones for this collection. Homer’s epics both have a strong narrative core, but each is also an exploration; the tales have many tributaries. Those familiar with Homer’s work may see his influence in my collection texts.

Besides the stories themselves, this collection is established upon a great well-spring of inspiration from artists who precede me. The richness and power of the visual images through which ancient Greek artists depicted the myths is astounding. First, and most notably foremost, must be ancient Greek pottery and the scenes depicted by the painters. With vase-painting, our evidence of the ancient Greek world increases a thousandfold; from black-figure to red-figure, archaic to Hellenistic, the painted pottery provides us a rich harvest of mythological evidence.

Of the other artforms, sculpture is referenced, both in its free standing and architectural forms, most of which is in marble. It should be noted that these sculptures and buildings were once painted in bold and vibrant hues, bright oranges, blues and golds. Another influence was Greek wall painting, of which we have pitifully few extant examples. Knossos Palace, however, still retains some wonderfully vivid wall art from Minoan times; The Minoans were a peaceful civilisation, depicting mostly colourful naturalistic forms, plants, flowers, marine life and animals. A few notable examples of ancient Greek mosaic flooring can still be appreciated. Olynthos in northern Greece has a floor mosaic of Bellephoron, mounted on the winged horse Pegasus, ready to slay the monstrous Chimera. Ancient Greek coins are also included in the collection; they typically portray an image which somehow encapsulates the identity of the community who struck the coin (i.e., a foundation myth, or the God or Goddess associated with the community). The ancient Greeks were masters at the observation of nature and it’s laws, symmetry and rhythm. They were a society that communicated through literary and artistic narratives, with no separation between ‘art’ and ‘craft’.

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