Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece

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Overview

This handsome volume explores the integral role of heroes in ancient Greek art and culture. More than a hundred stunning statues, reliefs, vases, bronzes, coins, and gems drawn from major American and European collections highlight how heroes were represented, why they were important, and what encouraged individuals to seek them out.

To contemporary eyes, Greek heroes embody contradiction: they might have superhuman powers, but their mortality was what made them heroic. Many were regarded as benevolent ancestors with powers to protect and heal, but others were dangerous and haunted spirits of the dead, who had to be appeased. Although epic, drama, and the visual arts abound in representations of heroes whose fame has carried over into modern times, cult and funerary architecture commemorate many more individuals whose names and deeds are entirely lost to us. 

Featuring essays by leading authorities in the field, this book draws on recent archaeological, literary, and art historical research to explore such issues as gender, cult, and iconography, as well as overlooked aspects of familiar (Herakles, Achilles, and Odysseus) and unfamiliar heroes (Helen of Troy).

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This exhibition catalog for a show traveling now through January 2011 showcases color photographs of intricate and lively mythological scenes on vase paintings dating from over 2000 years ago. Also included are bronze and marble statues and reliefs that portray individual heroes, who are illustrated in a smaller format on coins and gems. These beautiful objects were culled from various collections in America and Europe, including the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Editor Albersmeier (associate curator, ancient art, Walters Art Museum) and eight other university and museum specialists contributed to the 106 catalog entries, and another ten experts wrote supplemental essays that make up over half the book. While all kinds of "heroes" in ancient Greek culture are discussed (including children who died young), an emphasis is placed on Herakles, Achilles, Odysseus, and Helen (who, though most known for her role in the Trojan War, was also a daughter of Zeus). VERDICT While a two-page glossary of terms is included, one for the multitude of people's names really would have helped readers unfamiliar with the complex events and personages mentioned in these very scholarly essays. Best for those desiring to immerse themselves in the classical world.—Anne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300154726
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sabine Albersmeier is associate curator of ancient art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!

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