Gallery: Inspiration from Greek Mythology

Zeus (200 CE) British Museum

Greek Mythology has influenced both literature and arts. The Minotaur, Μῑνώταυρος, and Ariadne have inspired artists. The Minotaur was killed by Theseus who was helped by Ariadne. This description from a glossary to Philostratus on Heroes tells us more about him.

Athenian hero, son of Aigeus or Poseidon and eventually a king of Athens. The legends surrounding Theseus include numerous labors in Attica, partly influenced by the myths of Herakles, and the slaying of the Minotaur in Crete. The story alluded to in this text seems to connect the death of Theseus’s son Hippolytos with Theseus’s flight from Athens. Hippolytos had been falsely accused by his stepmother Phaedra of adulterous advances toward her, whereupon Theseus cursed him. Upon hearing the curse, Poseidon sent a bull from the sea, which frightened Hippolytos’s horses and resulted in his being fatally thrown from his chariot.

Glossary to Flavius Philostratus On Heroes [1]

At the Picasso Museum, a small and surprising painting by Renoir shows different mythological heroes. Maybe you can find who they are.

The adventures of Herakles and the story of his bow are a great source of inspiration for many artists. Here are two quotes about Herakles and the Centaur and about Herakles and his bow.

Vinedr.: [§55.5] It has been practiced thus from of old, my guest, for they say that after Herakles impaled the body of Asbolos the centaur, he inscribed the following epigram for him:

I, Asbolos, trembling at the vengeance of neither gods nor mortals,
as I hang from a prickly, resin-filled pine tree,
I am offered as a great feast for the immensely long-lived ravens.

Flavius Philostratus On Heroes [2]

Although Philoktêtês, the son of Poias, served as a soldier late in the Trojan War, he shot the arrow best among mortals, since, they say, he learned how from Herakles, the son of Alkmênê. He is said to have inherited Herakles’ bow and arrows when Herakles on Mount Oitê. They say that Philoktêtês was abandoned on Lemnos, dishonored in the sight of the Achaeans, after a water snake darted at his foot. He became ill from this bite and lay on the rocky ledge of a high peak. It was foretold to the Achaeans by an oracle that he would later come against Paris and, after he had killed him, he would thereafter capture Troy with the bow and arrows of Herakles, and he himself would be healed by the Asclepiades. Protesilaos says that these statements were not far from the truth: the bow and arrows of Herakles are just as they are told in song.

Glossary to Flavius Philostratus On Heroes [3]

The Bourdelle Museum in Paris houses major works, among them, The Herakles Archer, the Dying Centaur, Sappho, Penelope.

In this Gallery you will see works from different museums in Europe.


[1] Aitken, Ellen Bradshaw and Maclean, Jennifer K. Berenson Philostratus: On Heroes

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.


Helene Emeriaud is a retired teacher. A Community TA for HeroesX in v3, she enjoys being a participant in Hour 25. 

Photos: H.Emeriaud