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“Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece”

Through Jan. 3, 2010 Walters Art Museum

600 N. Charles St. Baltimore, Md., (410) 547-9000,

Heroes—mortal and mythological— garnered godlike reverence in ancient Greece. The Greeks erected a shrine called a heroon to each idol, and a cult of worshippers offered whatever sacrifices they could spare. Greeks did not require perfection of their heroes; many possessed tragic flaws. For example, Achilles was brave in battle but flawed by an equally intense selfishness.

“Heroes: Mortals and Myths” highlights the stories of several heroes and explains the Greeks’ inherent cultural need for them. The exhibit showcases more than 100 pieces of artwork, including statues, reliefs, vases, bronzes and jewelry. Visitors can walk through a life-sized heroon, complete with such sample offerings as a Corinthian-style bronze helmet. Another interactive display prompts museumgoers to take a quiz to determine which hero (Achilles, Odysseus, Herakles or Helen) best fits their personality. The Walters’ permanent collection includes ancient objects from Greece, Rome, Egypt and Assyria.


Originally published in the January 2010 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here