Dreams | Part 2: Dreams in later Greek texts

In part 1, we looked at dreams as represented in Homeric epic. In part 2, we continue our exploration with some passages from other texts.

Starting with tragedy, we learn from Jean Alaux Lectures Tragiques d’Homère that “According to Jacques Jouanna, there are two types of dreams: the vision-dream which offers the sleeper a symbol to decipher … and the visitation–dream where a god or a messenger or a ghost brings a message. In the play Hecuba we have both at the beginning.”[1]

Hecuba dreaming

The ghost of Polydorus appears at the beginning of the play, then Hecuba comes and speaks about the dream she just had, and she does not know how to interpret it. She seeks the guidance of her children Helenus and Cassandra, who are readers of dreams:

O dazzling light of Zeus! O gloom of night [nux]! why am I thus scared by [70] fearful visions [phasma, plural] of the night [ennukhos]? O lady Earth, mother of dreams [oneiros, plural] that fly on sable wings! I am seeking to avert the vision [opsis] of the night, the sight [opsis] of horror which I learned from my dreams [oneiros, plural] [75] about my son, who is safe in Thrace, and Polyxena, my dear daughter. You gods of this land! preserve [sozein] my son, [80] the last and only anchor of my house [oikos], now settled in Thrace, the land of snow, safe in the keeping of his father’s friend [xeinos]. Some fresh disaster is in store, a new strain of sorrow will be added to our woe. [85] Such ceaseless thrills of terror never wrung my heart [phrēn] before. Oh! where, you Trojan maidens, can I find inspired Helenus or Cassandra, that they may read [krinein] me my dream [oneiros]?

Euripides, Hecuba 69–89, adapted from translation by E.P. Coleridge[2]

In the Eumenides, the ghost of Clytemnestra appears near the start of the drama. What is interesting in the passage quoted below is that the Furies—who are goddesses—are dreaming when Clytemnestra summons them. So gods dream too!

Clytemnestra waking the Erinyes

Ghost Of Clytemnestra

You would sleep [hudein]! Aha! Yet what need is there of sleepers [katheudein]? 95 Because of you I am dishonored in this way among the other dead; the reproach of those I killed never leaves me while I am among the dead, and I wander in disgrace. I declare to you that I endure much blame [aitiā] because of them. 100 And yet, while I suffer [paskhein] so cruelly from my most philoi, no daimōn has mantis on my behalf, although I was slaughtered at the hands of a matricide. See these gashes in my heart, and from where they came! For the sleeping [hudein] phrēn is lit up with eyes, 105 but in the daytime it does not see the fate of mortals.

You really have lapped up many of my libations—wineless libations, offerings unmixed with wine for the dead, and I have offered solemn nocturnal banquets upon a hearth of fire at a time [hōrā] not shared with any other god. 110 I see all this trampled under foot. He is gone, escaping like a fawn, lightly like that, from the middle of a place surrounded with snares. He rushed out mocking you. Hear me, since I plead for my psūkhē. 115 Activate your phrenes, goddesses of the underworld! In a dream [onar] I, Clytemnestra, am calling you.

In a dream [onar] you are hunting your prey, and are barking like a dog after a scent, never leaving off the pursuit. What are you doing? Get up; do not let ponos overcome you, and do not ignore my misery because you have given in to sleep [hupnos]. 135 Sting your heart with reproaches that have dikē; for reproach goads those who are sōphrones. Send after him a gust of bloody breath, waste him with the vapor, with the fire from your guts—after him!—waste him with a second chase.

The Ghost of Clytemnestra disappears; the Furies awake.

Aeschylus Eumenides, 94–115, 131–142, adapted from Sourcebook[3]

Dreams occur not only in tragedy, but also in comedy. Here is an exchange between two slaves at the start of Aristophanes Wasps, featuring their accounts of vision-dreams:

Figurine of comic actor

waking Xanthias up
Why, Xanthias! what are you doing, wretched man?

I am teaching myself how to rest; I have been awake and on watch the whole night [nukterinos].

So you want to earn trouble for your ribs, eh? Don’t you know what sort of animal we are guarding here?

[5] Aye indeed! but I want to put my cares to sleep [apomermērisai] for a while.
He falls asleep again.

Beware what you do. I too feel soft sleep [hupnos] spreading over my eyes.

Are you crazy, like a Corybant?

No! It’s sleep [hupnos] from Bacchus that possesses me.

[10] Then you serve the same god as myself. Just now a heavy slumber [nustaktēs hupnos] settled on my eyelids like a hostile Mede; I nodded and, faith! I had a wondrous dream [onar].

Indeed! and so had I, such as I never had before. [15] But first tell me yours.

I saw an eagle, a gigantic bird, descend upon the market-place; it seized a brazen buckler with its talons and bore it away into the highest heavens; then I saw it was Cleonymus had thrown it away.

[20] This Cleonymus is a riddle worth propounding among guests. How can one and the same animal have cast away his buckler both on land, in the sky and at sea?

Alas! what ill does such a [25] dream [enupnion] portend for me?

Rest undisturbed! Please the gods, no evil [deinon] will befall you.

Nevertheless, it’s a fatal [deinon] omen when a man throws away his weapons. But what was yours [= dream]? Let me hear.

Oh! it is one of high import. It has reference to the hull of the State; to nothing less.

[30] Tell it to me quickly; show me its very keel.

In my first slumber [hupnos] I thought I saw sheep, wearing cloaks and carrying staves, met in assembly on the Pnyx; [35] a rapacious whale was haranguing them and screaming like a pig that is being grilled.

Faugh! faugh!

What’s the matter?

Enough, enough, spare me. Your dream [enupnion] stinks vilely of old leather.

[40] Then this scoundrelly whale seized a balance and set to weighing ox-fat.

Alas! it’s our poor Athenian people [dēmos], whom this accursed beast wishes to cut up and despoil of their fat.

Seated on the ground close to it, I saw Theorus, who had the head of a crow. Then Alcibiades said to me in his lisping way, [45] “Do you thee? Theoruth hath a crow’th head.”

Ah! that’s very wll lisped indeed!

Isn’t this mighty strange? Theorus turning into a crow!

No, it is glorious [ariston].


Why? He was a man and now he has suddenly become a crow; [50] does it not foretoken that he will take his flight from here and go to the crows?

Interpreting [hupokrinesthai] dreams [oneiroi] so aptly certainly is worth two obols.

Aristophanes Wasps 1–53, adapted from translation by Eugene O’Neill[4]

Turning to history, there are many examples of dreams and of their interpretation and application. Here is one example from Herodotus of a visitation-dream:


…great nemesis from a god seized Croesus, I guess because he considered himself to be the most olbios of all men. Soon a dream [oneiros] stood over him in his sleep, which revealed to him the truth [alētheia] of the bad things [kaka] that were going to happen concerning his son. Croesus had two sons, one of whom was disabled, being mute, but the other was by far the first among his peers in all respects. This one’s name was Atys. The dream indicated [sēmainein] to Croesus that he would lose this Atys when he was struck by an iron spearpoint. When he awoke and thought this over, he took great fright and had his son marry, and although he had been accustomed to lead the Lydian forces he never sent him out to such an event, and he removed from the men’s quarters the javelins and spears and all such things which people make use of in war, and piled them in the chambers, so that one hanging above his son might not fall on him.

Adapted from Herodotus Histories 1.34, Sourcebook[5]

His son eventually becomes frustrated at all the restrictions on his life, and begs to be allowed to participate in a boar-hunt:

“I forgive you, father, for keeping me under guard, since you saw such a vision [opsis]. But the dream [oneiros] has escaped you, and it is right [dikaion] for me to show you what you do not understand. You say that the dream [oneiros] said I would die [= reach a telos] by an iron spearpoint. What kind of hands does a boar have, what iron spearpoint which you fear? If the dream had said to you that I would die [= reach a telos] by a tusk or by anything else that resembles a boar, you would have to do as you are doing. But it said by a spearpoint. Since our battle is not against men, let me go.”

Adapted from Herodotus Histories 1.39, Sourcebook

However, the visitation-dream proves to be correct: the young man is killed by a badly aimed spear during the hunt.

There are many other accounts of dreams in Herodotus: what examples can you find?

In this example from Xenophon we have an account of a vision-dream:

Now when the time of perplexity came, he [= Xenophon] was distressed as well as everybody else and was unable to sleep [katheudein]; but, getting at length a little sleep [hupnos], he had a dream [onar]. It seemed to him that there was a clap of thunder and a bolt fell on his father’s house, setting the whole house ablaze. [12] He awoke [anegeirein] at once in great fear, and judged [krinein] the dream [onar] in one way an auspicious one, because in the midst of hardships [ponoi] and perils he had seemed to behold a great light from Zeus; but looking at it in another way he was fearful, since the dream [onar] came, as he thought, from Zeus the King and the fire appeared to blaze all about, lest he might not be able to escape out of the King’s country, but might be shut in on all sides by various difficulties. [13] Now what it really means to have such a dream [onar] one may learn from the events which followed the dream [onar] —and they were these: Firstly, on the moment of his awakening [anegeirein] the thought occurred to him: “Why do I lie [katakeisthai] here? The night [nux] is wearing on, and at daybreak it is likely that the enemy will be upon us. And if we fall into the King’s hands, what is there to prevent our living to behold all the most grievous sights and to experience all the most dreadful [deinos] sufferings, and then being put to death with insult [hubris]? [14] As for defending ourselves, however, no one is making preparations or taking thought for that, but we lie here just as if it were possible for us to enjoy our ease [hēsukhiā]. What about myself, then? From what state am I expecting the general to come who is to perform these duties? And what age must I myself wait to attain? For surely I shall never be any older, if this day I give myself up to the enemy.” [15]

Xenophon Anabasis 3.1.11–3.11.14, adapted from translation by Carleton L. Brownson[6]

According to Plato, Socrates tells his friends about a recurrent dream. Although it does not always appear in the same form, the fact that he recounts what the dream said suggests these were visitation-dreams:

Hupnos hovering over the head of a sleeper

“I wanted to see whether I could engage with the holiness of certain dreams [enupnion]. In the course of my life I have often had the same recurrent dream [enupnion], which appeared in different forms in different versions of my envisaging the dream [opsis], but which always said the same thing: “Socrates,” it said, “go and practice the craft of the Muses [mousikē] and keep on working at it.” Previously, I had imagined that this was only intended to urge [61a] and encourage me to keep on doing what has always been the pursuit of my life, in the same way that competitors in a footrace are called on by the spectators to run when they are already running. So, I thought that the dream [enupnion] was calling on me to keep on doing what I was already doing, which is, to practice philosophy as the craft of the Muses [mousikē], since philosophy is the greatest form of this craft and since I practiced philosophy. But now that the trial [dikē] has taken place and the festival of the god [Apollo] has been causing the postponement of my execution, I got the idea that I should do something different, just in case the dream [enupnion] was ordering me to practice the craft of the Muses [mousikē] in the popular [dēmōdēs] sense of the word—so I got the idea that I should not disobey it [= the dream] and that I should go ahead and practice this craft. I was thinking that it would be a safer thing not to depart [this world] before performing a sacred rite by making poetry [poiēmata] and thus [61b] obeying the dream [enupnion]. So, the first thing I did was to make a poem [poieîn] in honor of the god who is the recipient of the current festival, and then, after [meta] having finished with the god, here is what I [= Socrates] did: keeping in mind that a poet must, if he is really going to be a poet, make [poieîn] myths [mūthoi] and not just words [logoi] in general, and that I was no expert in the discourse of myth [mūtho-logikos], I took some myths [mūthoi] of Aesop that I knew and had on hand, and I made poetry [poieîn] out of the first few of these that I happened upon.

Plato Phaedo 60e–61a, adapted from Sourcebook[7]

Pausanias, recording his observations of different locations in Greece, provides evidence about the importance of dreams in various cult locations. In this first example, he describes the process by which visitors to the shrine of Amphiaraos:

Relief: offering to Amphiaraos

{1.34.4} The Oropians have near the temple a spring, which they call the Spring of Amphiaraos; they neither sacrifice into it nor are accustomed to use it for purifications or for lustral water. But when a man has been cured of a disease through a response the custom is to throw silver and coined gold into the spring, for by this way they say that Amphiaraos rose up after he had become a god. Iophon of Knossos, a guide, produced responses in hexameter verse, saying that Amphiaraos gave them to the Argives who were sent against Thebes. These verses unrestrainedly appealed to popular taste. Except those whom they say Apollo inspired of old none of the seers [mantis] uttered oracles, but they were good at explaining dreams [oneiron] and interpreting the flights of birds and the entrails of victims.

{1.34.5} My opinion is that Amphiaraos devoted himself most to the exposition [dia-krisis] of dreams [oneiros]. It is manifest that, when his divinity was established, it was a dream [oneiron] oracle [mantikos] that he set up. One who has come to consult Amphiaraos is accustomed first to purify himself. The mode of purification is to sacrifice to the god, and they sacrifice not only to him but also to all those whose names are on the altar. And when all these things have been first done, they sacrifice a ram, and, spreading the skin under them, go to sleep [katheudein] and await enlightenment in a dream [oneiron].

Pausanias Description of Greece 1.34.4–5, adapted from A Pausanias Reader[8]

Pausanias refers to having dreams himself in other locations, although he does not describe the rituals:

(at Eleusis)

{1.38.7} My dream [oneiron] forbade the description of the things within the wall of the sanctuary, and the uninitiated are of course not permitted to learn that which they are prevented from seeing.

Pausanias Description of Greece 1.38.7, adapted from A Pausanias Reader

(At Carnasian grove)

{4.33.5} I may not reveal the rites of the Great Goddesses, for it is their mysteries which they celebrate in the Carnasian grove, and I regard them as second only to the Eleusinian in sanctity. But my dream [oneiron] did not prevent me from making known to all that the bronze urn, discovered by the Argive general, and the bones of Eurytos the son of Melaneus were kept here.

Pausanias Description of Greece 4.33.5, adapted from A Pausanias Reader

Pausanias also records a statue of the Dream god; here it seems that there is only one, unlike the multiple Dream entities envisaged in Hesiodic and Homeric epic:

Bronze head of Hupnos

{2.10.2} From here is a way to a sanctuary of Asklepios. On passing into the enclosure you see on the left a building with two rooms. In the outer room lies a figure of Sleep, of which nothing remains now except the head. The inner room is given over to the Carnean Apollo; into it none may enter except the priests. In the portico lies a huge bone of a sea-monster, and after it a statue [agalma] of the Dream-god [Oneiros] and [a statue of] Sleep [Hupnos], surnamed Epidotes (Bountiful), lulling to sleep a lion.

Pausanias Description of Greece, 2.10.2, adapted from A Pausanias Reader

Pausanias provides an account of Pindar’s dream and a dream of Pindar, both examples of a visitation-dream:

{9.23.2} Crossing over the right side of the course you come to a race-course for horses, in which is the tomb [mnēma] of Pindar. …

{9.23.3}…. It is also said that on reaching old age a vision [opsis] came to him in a dream [oneiron]. As he slept [katheudein] Persephone stood by him and declared that she alone of the deities had not been honored by Pindar with a hymn, but that Pindar would compose an ode to her also when he had come to her.

{9.23.4} Pindar died at once, before ten days had passed since the dream [oneiron]. But there was in Thebes an old woman related by birth to Pindar who had practiced singing most of his odes. By her side in a dream [enupnion] stood Pindar, and sang a hymn to Persephone. Immediately on waking out of her sleep [hupnos] she wrote down all she had heard him singing in her dream [oneiron]. In this song, among the epithets he applies to Hades is “golden-reined”—a clear reference to the abduction of Persephone.

Pausanias Description of Greece, 9.23.2–4, adapted from A Pausanias Reader

Bust of Pindar

Pindar’s poetry itself makes reference to dreams. One example is of a visitation-dream:

And the Danaans trembled before Glaucus, when he came from Lycia; he boasted to them that in the city of Peirene lay the rule and rich estate and hall of his ancestor, Bellerophon, who once suffered greatly when beside the spring he wanted to harness Pegasus, the son of the snake-entwined Gorgon; [65] until the maiden Pallas brought to him a bridle with golden cheek-pieces. The dream [oneiros] suddenly became waking reality [upar], and she spoke: “Are you sleeping, king, son of Aeolus? Come, take this charm for the horse; and, sacrificing a white bull, show it to your ancestor, Poseidon the Horse-Tamer.” [70] The goddess of the dark aegis seemed to say such words to him as he slumbered [knōssein] in the darkness, and he leapt straight up to his feet.

Pindar Olympian 13.16–72, adapted from translation by Diane Arnson Svarlien[9]

Finally, Pindar ponders the ephemeral nature of human existence:

[95] Creatures of a day. What is a someone, what is a no one? Man is the dream [onar] of a shade. But when the brightness given by Zeus comes, there is at hand the shining light of men, and the life-force [aiōn] gives pleasure.

Pindar Pythian 8.95–97, adapted from translation by Gregory Nagy[10]

Join us in the forum to share other examples of dreams and nocturnal visitations. Who are the gods, messengers or ghosts who appear, and what kinds of messages do they impart? What kinds of symbols or signs manifest in vision-dreams and how do the sleepers manage to interpret them when they wake up? How do people act on their dreams?

Selected vocabulary

Definitions summarized from those given in LSJ11

anegeirein [ἀνεγείρειν] “wake up, rouse, raise”

apomermērisai [ἀπομερμηρίσαι] “sleep off care, forget care in sleep”

eidōlon [εἴδωλον] “phantom; image; likeness”

ennukhos [ἔννυχος] “nightly”

enupnion [ἐνύπνιον] “thing seen in sleep, vision in sleep” The LSJ notes that “Artem. (1.1b) distinguishes ἐνύπνιον a mere dream, and ὄνειρος a significant, prophetic one; but the distn. is not generally observed, exc. by Philo.”

heudein [εὕδειν] “sleep, slumber; rest, be still”

hupar [ὕπαρ] “real appearance seen in a state of waking, waking vision, opp. ὄναρ (a dream)”

hupnos [ὕπνος] “sleep, slumber”

hupokrinesthai [ὑποκρίνεσθαι] “expound, interpret, explain; to answer on the stage, play a part”

katakeisthai [κατακεῖσθαι] “lie down, recline”

katheudein [καθεύδειν] “lie down to sleep, pass the night; lie asleep, lie idle”

knōssein [κνώσσειν] “slumber”

nukterinos [νυκτερινός] “by night, nightly”

nustaktēs [νυστακτής] “drowsy”

nux [νύξ] “night”

onar [ὄναρ] “dream, vision in sleep, opp. a waking vision]

oneiros, oneiron [ὄνειρος, ὄνειρον] “dream”

opsis [ὄψις] “appearance; sight; vision, apparition”

phasma [φάσμα] “apparition, phantom, vision; sign from heaven, portent, omen”


1 Summarized from Jean Alaux Lectures Tragiques d’Homère (Belin, 2007) page 80. “Dans l’étude qu’il a consacré à cet aspect de la pièce, Jacques Jouanna propose de distinguer dans la pensée grecque deux types de rêves, qui peuvent néanmoins se conjuguer: le rêve-visitation, porteur d’un message par la bouche d’un dieu ou d’un défunt..; le rêve-vision qui offre au dormeur un symbole à décgiffrer. Le prologue d’Hecube joue sur les deux registres: le fantôme de Polydore, qui surgit devant les spectateurs visite au même moment sa mère endormie….

2 Euripides. The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O’Neill, Jr. in two volumes. 1. Hecuba, translated by E. P. Coleridge. New York. Random House. 1938.
Online at Perseus
Greek text from Euripides. Euripidis Fabulae, vol. 1. Gilbert Murray. Oxford. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1902.
Online at Perseus

3 Sourcebook: The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours Sourcebook of Original Greek Texts Translated into English, Gregory Nagy, General Editor. 2019.08.13. Available online at the Center for Hellenic Studies:
Aeschylus Eumenides Translated by Herbert Weir Smyth, Revised by Cynthia Bannon, Further Revised by Gregory Nagy.
Greek version from Aeschylus. Aeschylus, with an English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, Ph. D. in two volumes. 2.Eumenides. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1926.
Online at Perseus

4 Aristophanes. Wasps. The Complete Greek Drama, vol. 2. Eugene O’Neill, Jr. New York. Random House. 1938.
Online at Perseus
Greek text: Aristophanes. Aristophanes Comoediae, ed. F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart, vol. 1. F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart. Oxford. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1907.
Online at Perseus

5 Herodotus Histories Selections, Part I. First phase of translation by Lynn Sawlivich. Second phase of translation by Gregory Nagy, Claudia Filos, Sarah Scott, and Keith Stone.
Online at the Center for Hellenic Studies
Greek text: Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920.
Online at Perseus

6 Xenophon. Xenophon in Seven Volumes, 3. Carleton L. Brownson. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA; William Heinemann, Ltd., London. 1922.
Online at Perseus
Greek text: Xenophon. Xenophontis opera omnia, vol. 3. Oxford, Clarendon Press. 1904 (repr. 1961).
Online at Perseus

7 Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Adapted by Gregory Nagy, Miriam Carlisle, and Soo-Young Kim. Online at the Center for Hellenic Studies
Greek text: Plato. Platonis Opera, ed. John Burnet. Oxford University Press. 1903.
Online at Perseus

8 A Pausanias Reader. Translation based on the original rendering by W. H. S. Jones, 1918 (Scroll 2 with H.A. Ormerod), containing some of the footnotes of Jones. The translation is edited, with revisions, by Gregory Nagy. Online at the Center for Hellenic Studies:
Greek text: Pausanias. Pausaniae Graeciae Descriptio, 3 vols. Leipzig, Teubner. 1903.
Online at Perseus

9 Odes. Pindar. Diane Arnson Svarlien. 1990.
Online at Perseus
Greek text: Pindar. The Odes of Pindar including the Principal Fragments with an Introduction and an English Translation by Sir John Sandys, Litt.D., FBA. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1937.
Online at Perseus

10 Pythian 8, translated by Gregory Nagy.
Online at the Center for Hellenic Studies
Greek text: The Odes of Pindar including the Principal Fragments with an Introduction and an English Translation by Sir John Sandys, Litt.D., FBA. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1937.
Online at Perseus

11 LSJ: Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.
Online at Perseus

Image credits

Giulio Romano (1499–1546) Sogno di Ecuba (Dream of Hecuba)
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Eumenides Painter Apulian red-figure krater 380–370 BCE. Clytemnestra trying to awake the Erinyes while her son is being purified by Apollo. Louvre.
Photo: Bibi Saint-Pol. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Actor wearing the mask of a bald-headed slave with a purse (?) in his hand. Terracotta figurine, Hellenistic artwork, 2nd century BC. From Canino, Italy. British Museum.
Photo: Jastrow, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license via Wikimedia Commons

Head of Croesus on a Greek vase. Louvre: Detail from Myson: Red-figure amphora c 500–490 BCE.
Photo: Marco Prins. Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons

Mural painting from Delos: Hypnos (sleep), Archaeological Museum of Delos
Photo: Zde, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license via Wikimedia Commons

Relief in the form of a shrine, offering of Archinos to Amphiaraos (according to the inscription below the figures). On the left Amphiaraos, standing, is treating the r. shoulder of a young man. The latter is represented again, at the back, asleep on a bed, while the snake glides over his shoulder. On the edge a third scene: the dedication of a stele, with relief by Archinos to the shrine of the god. High in the centre of the cornice two apotropaic eyes. Found in the precint of Amphiaraos at Oropos. Wellcome Collection, Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Bronze head of Hypnos (god of sleep), 1st–2nd century CE, copy of a Hellenistic original, found at Civitella d’Arno (near Perugia, Italy), British Museum, London
Photo: Carole Raddato
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia Commons

Bust of Pindar. Roman copy from original of mid-fifth century BCE. Napoli.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. via Wikimedia Commons

Note: Images have been selected from pictures that are freely available with open source or Creative Commons licenses or from photographs supplied by community members for the purpose. The images in this post are intended to suggest the subject, rather than illustrate exactly—as such, they may be from other periods, subjects, or cultures. Attributions are based where possible by those shown by museums, or on Wikimedia Commons, at the time of publication on this website.

Texts and images accessed March 2020.


Hélène Emeriaud, Janet M. Ozsolak, and Sarah Scott are members of Kosmos Society.