Cyrene Sculpture Museum
Cyrene Sculpture Museum lives up to its name: a wonderful
collection of sculptures and statues, including statues
of gods and goddesses, like Isis, Athena, Zeus,
Apollo, Hermes, Demeter, Dionysus, and Cupid,
portraits of Roman emperors and a bust of Alexander
the Great, the
marble group of the Three Graces, and the giant
Sphinx (see below).
In addition to Greek and Roman statues the museum
houses an interesting collection of Libyan sculptures
which differ in style and execution (see below,
left) from the Greek and Roman statues.
Archaeologists agree that these sculptures,
some of which were veiled and faceless, belong
to the local Berber culture, dating from
the 5th century BC to the Roman period. They
were all found near tombs, either in niches
or on bases, and thus were thought to have
been used in funerary ceremonies, probably in relation to the
worship of the Libyan Death-Goddess Persephone.
Libyan sculptures belonging to the local Berber culture (left).
Statue of Satyr from
the Antonine period,
found in the Trajan
Goddess Isis holding
a child (right).
Clio, Cleo, Kleio or Klew (the Goddess of History); and the
Goddess of Agriculture Isis or Izis (right).
Cleo is also a woman's name, short for Cleopatra. Her arms may once held the
sacred scroll, as the goddess was often represented holding
an open scroll. She was a member of the family of the sacred
nine muses, including
Kalliope (epic poetry), Ourania (astronomy),
and Erato (erotic poetry).
A Small Statue of The Goddess Aphrodite (left), and the Goddess Leda (right).
In Greek mythology the heroine Leda appeared in the myth of Leda and the Swan as the daughter of King Thestius,
the wife of Spartan king Tyndareus (a king of Sparta), and the mother of several noble children, including the astrological Gemini twins Castor and Polydeuces. One day she was approached by promiscuous
Zeus in the form of a swan and subsequently mated with her and as a result Helen was born.
The Gorgon's Head (left);
Zeus' head (right)
A bust from the Apollo temple.
The Naxian Sphinx Goddess.
A similar copy of the above statue is also found
in Delphi Museum.
sphinx is a
fabulous creature with bird wings,
a woman's head, and a lion's body and legs. Despite the
nature of its legend, the statue
conveys gentleness and compassion. The legend states that the goddess Hera placed
the beast before the city of Thebes as a curse. To escape punishment,
would-be victims must answer
the famous riddle of the creature that starts walking
on four, then on two before
ends up on three. When Cedipus replied: Man, who starts
crawling on four as a baby, walks
on two as an adult, and ends up using a walking stick at an
old age, the sphinx extinguished
herself and Cedipus became the king of Thebes. Subsequently the
people of Naxos gave the sphinx to
the Oracle of Delphi (the Apollo sanctuary).
The Discus Bearer of Cyrene
The Discus Bearer
Statues of two children from Cyrene Sculpture Museum.
Dionysus statue, from Cyrene Sculpture Museum, from the Roman period, and belonging to the type known as "Dionysus of Madrid".