Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571 CE) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, medallist, and goldsmith whose most famous works today include the bronze statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa, which now stands in Florence, and a magnificent...
Perseus was one of the greatest and oldest pan-Hellenic heroes of Greek mythology. He famously slew the dreaded Gorgon Medusa whose gaze could turn men to stone, an exploit he swiftly followed up with the daring rescue of the princess Andromeda...
Perseus & Medusa by Cellini
A bronze statue of the Greek hero Perseus who has just slain the Gorgon Medusa. (By Cellini 1545-54 CE, Florence).
Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini
A detail of the bronze Perseus and Medusa statue by the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571 CE). Made between 1545 and 1554 CE. Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence.
A Visual Who's Who of Greek Mythology
Achilles The hero of the Trojan War, leader of the Myrmidons, slayer of Hector and Greece's greatest warrior, who sadly came unstuck when Paris sent a flying arrow guided by Apollo, which caught him in his only weak...
Portrait Bust of Benvenuto Cellini
A 1901 CE portrait bust of the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571 CE). By Raffaello Romanelli, Ponte Vecchio, Florence.
Greek mythology was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Greek myths were also intricately connected to religion...
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was an Italian Renaissance artist, architect, engineer, and scientist. He is renowned for his ability to observe and capture nature, scientific phenomena, and human emotions in all media. Leonardo’s innovative...
Donatello (c. 1386-1466 CE), full name Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi, was an Italian Renaissance artist best known for his sculptures such as the striking bronze figure of David now in the Bargello museum of his native Florence. Donatello...
Michelangelo (1475-1564 CE) was an Italian artist, architect and poet, who is considered one of the greatest and most influential of all Renaissance figures. His most celebrated works, from a breathtaking portfolio of masterpieces, include...
Raphael (1483-1520 CE) was an Italian painter and architect who is regarded as one of the greatest of Renaissance artists alongside Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Raphael's works are celebrated for their harmonious...
Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455 CE) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor and goldsmith whose most famous work is the gilded bronze doors of the Baptistery of Florence's cathedral. These doors, which took 27 years to complete, were so impressive...
Chitrali mythology developed in the region of Chitral, the tallest portions of the Hindu Kush mountains, where the Chitrali people, at the juncture of South, Central, West, and East Asia, were exposed to many external cultural influences...
Mythology (from the Greek mythos for story-of-the-people, and logos for word or speech, so the spoken story of a people) is the study and interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as myths or the collection...
Gold Salt Cellar by Cellini
A gold salt cellar made by the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571). 1540-43 CE. (Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna)
Ancient Greek Inventions
The ancient Greeks are often credited with building the foundations upon which all western cultures are built, and this impressive accolade stems from their innovative contributions to a wide range of human activities, from sports to medicine...
Life in a Renaissance Artist's Workshop
The majority of great Renaissance works of art were produced in large and busy workshops run by a successful master artist and his team of assistants and apprentices. Here, too, more mundane art was produced in larger quantities to meet the...
Copies & Fakes in Art during the Renaissance
The Renaissance period witnessed a great renewed interest in the art of antiquity. There was an appreciation of the technical skill required to produce such objects as a Roman marble figure of Venus and an admiration for the form and...
Colour & Technique in Renaissance Painting
There were three principal painting techniques during the Renaissance: fresco, tempera, and oils. In all of these techniques, colour was an important part of the painter's armoury, allowing them to create images that would...
The ancient Romans had a rich mythology and, while much of it was derived from their neighbors and predecessors, the Greeks, it still defined the rich history of the Roman people as they eventually grew into an empire. Roman writers such...
Cultural links between India & the Greco-Roman world
Cyrus the Great (558-530 BCE) built the first universal empire, stretching from Greece to the Indus River. This was the famous Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia. An inscription at Naqsh-i-Rustam, the tomb of his able successor Darius I (521-486...
Ancient Greek Literature
Greek literature has influenced not only its Roman neighbors to the west but also countless generations across the European continent. Greek writers are responsible for the introduction of such genres as poetry, tragedy, comedy, and western...
Jason & the Argonauts
The pan-Hellenic mythological hero Jason was famed for his expedition with the Argonauts - as the sailors on their ship the Argo were known - in search of the Golden Fleece in Kolchis on the Black Sea, one of the most popular and enduring...
Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, known in Greek as Hellas or Ellada, and consisting of a mainland and an archipelago of islands. Ancient Greece is the birthplace of Western philosophy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), literature...
Pegasus (or Pegasos) is a winged-horse from Greek mythology which was fathered by Poseidon and was born from the severed neck of the gorgon Medusa, slain by Perseus. At the same time and in the same way, Chryasor was also born. Poseidon gave...
The Nymph of Fontainebleau
The Nymph of Fontainebleau by the Italian Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571 CE). Made for Francis I of France (r. 1515-1547 CE) c. 1543 CE and representing the huntress goddess Diana from classical mythology. (Louvre, Paris)
From around 800 BCE, ancient Greek city-states, most of which were maritime powers, began to look beyond Greece for land and resources. As a consequence, they founded colonies across the Mediterranean. Trade was usually the first step in...
Ancient Greek Dance
In ancient Greece, dance had a significant presence in everyday life. The Greeks not only danced on many different occasions, but they also recognized several non-performative activities such as ball-playing or rhythmic physical exercise...
Ancient Greek Theatre
Greek theatre began in the 6th century BCE in Athens with the performance of tragedy plays at religious festivals. These, in turn, inspired the genre of Greek comedy plays. The two types of Greek drama would be hugely popular and performances...
Ancient Egyptian Mythology
Egyptian mythology was the belief structure and underlying form of ancient Egyptian culture from at least c. 4000 BCE (as evidenced by burial practices and tomb paintings) to 30 BCE with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of the Ptolemaic...
The Greek alphabet is the writing system developed in Greece which first appears in the archaeological record during the 8th century BCE. This was not the first writing system that was used to write Greek: several centuries before the Greek...
Norse mythology refers to the Scandinavian mythological framework that was upheld during and around the time of the Viking Age (c. 790- c. 1100 CE). Complete with a creation myth that has the first gods slaying a giant and turning his body...
The mythology of ancient Armenia is a rich blend of indigenous traditions with imported ideas from neighbouring cultures and migrating peoples added over the centuries. The legends and stories helped to explain natural phenomena, provide...
Ancient Persian Mythology
The mythology of ancient Persia originally developed in the region known as Greater Iran (the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, and West Asia). The Persians were initially part of a migratory people who referred to themselves as Aryan...
Theseus & the Minotaur: More than a Myth?
Until Sir Arthur Evans unearthed the palace of Knossos, the half-man-half bull killed by Theseus was considered just a popular legend; archaeology changed that perception. King Minos, of Crete, fought hard with his brother to ascend the...
Ancient Greek Music
Music (or mousike) was an integral part of life in the ancient Greek world, and the term covered not only music but also dance, lyrics, and the performance of poetry. A wide range of instruments was used to perform music which was played...
The Theogony is an 8th-century BCE didactic and instructional poem, credited to the Greek poet Hesiod. The Theogony was, at first, not actually written down, rather, it was part of a rich oral tradition which only achieved written form decades...
Ancient Greek Tragedy
Greek tragedy was a popular and influential form of drama performed in theatres across ancient Greece from the late 6th century BCE. The most famous playwrights of the genre were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and many of their works...
Ancient Greek Society
Although ancient Greek Society was dominated by the male citizen, with his full legal status, right to vote, hold public office, and own property, the social groups which made up the population of a typical Greek city-state or polis were...
Twelve Menacing & Protective Mythological Figures
The term mythology comes from the Greek words mythos (“story of the people”) and logos (“word”) and so is defined as the spoken (later written) story of a culture. Modern scholars have divided myths into different...
Arts & Culture in Ancient Greece
We have prepared four lesson plans including classroom activities, assignments, homework, and keys as well as: Multiple choice quiz questions in an excel format. Glossary of keywords and concepts in an excel format. Open questions...
The Art & Culture of Ancient Greece
The ancient Greeks were masters at picking up ideas from other cultures, mixing these with their own innovations and producing unique contributions to world culture. Greek sculptors adored the human form, painters loved to tell stories on...
The play Philoctetes was written by one of the greatest of the Greek tragedy playwrights, Sophocles, in 409 BCE. Philoctetes is one of his surviving plays whose exact production date can be determined and is set in the...
Norse Mythology - A Collection
Norse mythology, the stories of gods and heroes from in and around the Viking Age (c. 790 - c. 1100 CE) in northern Europe, has provided us with some of the most famous figures in world mythology. Here, in this collection, we look at such...
The Legacy of the Ancient Greeks
The ancient Greeks left the world such an impressive legacy of ideas that many of them were seen for centuries in the civilizations that followed and, even today, cultures around the world continue to display many of the quintessential...
Poseidon was the Greek god of the sea and rivers, creator of storms and floods, and the bringer of earthquakes and destruction. He was perhaps the most disruptive of all the ancient gods but he was not always a negative force. He was a protector...
Ancient Greece Teaching Resource Bundle
This Ancient Greece Teaching Resource Bundle is a collection of teaching resources that can be downloaded for free – no registration required. Our teaching resources and lesson plans are adapted to students' different levels of...
Hesiod on the Birth of the Gods
The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) is most famous for his works Theogony and Works and Days. In this passage from Theogony, Hesiod relates the birth of the gods from cosmic Chaos and follows the lineage through the great Zeus, King of the...
Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King (429-420 BCE), also known as Oedipus Rex or Oedipus Tyrannos ('Tyrannos' signifies that the throne was not gained through an inheritance) is the most famous surviving play written by the 5th-century...
Asclepius was the ancient Greek god of medicine, and he was also credited with powers of prophecy. The god had several sanctuaries across Greece; the most famous was at Epidaurus which became an important centre of healing in both ancient...
Ancient Greek Sculpture
The sculpture of ancient Greece from 800 to 300 BCE took inspiration from Egyptian and Near Eastern monumental art, and evolved into a uniquely Greek vision of the art form. Greek artists captured the human form in a way never before seen...
Hades was both the name of the ancient Greek god of the underworld (Roman name: Pluto) and the name of the shadowy place below the earth which was considered the final destination for the souls of the dead. Perhaps the most feared of the...
Perseus & Medusa by Canova
A marble statue of the pan-Hellenic hero Perseus wearing the cap of Hades (which rendered the wearer invisible) and holding the head of the Gorgon Medusa. (By Antonio Canova, 1804-6 CE, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
Greek Theatre Architecture
The ancient Greeks built open-air theatres where the public could watch the performances of Greek comedy, tragedy, and satyr plays. They then exported the idea to their colonies throughout the Aegean so that theatres became a typical feature...
In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a race of warlike women noted for their riding skills, courage, and pride, who lived at the outer limits of the known world, sometimes specifically mentioned as the city of Themiskyra on the Black Sea...
Goddess of wisdom, war and the crafts, and favourite daughter of Zeus, Athena was, perhaps, the wisest, most courageous, and certainly the most resourceful of the Olympian gods. Zeus was told that his son would take his throne from him...
Hermes was the ancient Greek god of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves, and travel. One of the cleverest and most mischievous of the Olympian gods, he was the patron of shepherds, invented the lyre...
Perseus and Medusa
Archaic style sculpture depicting Perseus slaying the Gorgon Medusa who holds Pegasus. Mid-6th century BCE metope from Temple C, Selinus, Sicily. (Archaeological Museum of Palermo)
Ancient Greek Religion
In the ancient Greek world, religion was personal, direct, and present in all areas of life. With formal rituals which included animal sacrifices and libations, myths to explain the origins of mankind and give the gods a human face, temples...
A centaur was a creature from Greek mythology which was half-man and half-horse. The head, arms and torso were human and joined at the waist to the body and legs of a horse. These creatures represented barbarism and unbridled chaos and were...