In Greek mythology, the Charites were the three graces. They were the daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite.
The Charites were the goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility. They were great lovers of beauty and gave humans talents in the arts, closely associated with the Muses. The Charites were associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Artists throughout the ages have found The Three Graces an appealing subject. In art, they are frequently represented as naked girls with their hands on each other's shoulders, the two outer figures looking one way and the middle one looking the other.
From the Hadrian period.
The patron of travellers, Hermes was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia, daughter of Atlas and one of the Pleiades. Hermes was the messenger and herald to the gods, god of shepherds, land travel, merchants, weights and measures, a robber and cattle driver, god of oratory, literature, athletics and thieves, the prince of tricksters, bringer of dreams and known for his cunning and shrewdness.
The statue, from the Roman period, was found in the Trajan baths.
In Greek mythology, one of the gods, Pan, was a Satyr, half man, half goat, usually shown with a beard, horns and goats ears.
He was prone to drinking, partying an lusting after women. Much like any other male then.
An important part of Dionysus' entourage, and here he is shown with a young Dionysus.
The Antonine period statue was found inthe Trajan baths.
Medusa was once a beautiful maiden with glorious hair, but Athena turns her into a monster in a rage of jealousy, turning her beautiful locks into hissing serpents. She became such a cruel monster that everyone who looked at her where immideately turned to stone in sheer fear. Athena leant her shield to Perseus, who also wore Hermes' winged shoes, and he approached Medusa while she slept, making sure he did not to look directly at her, but using her image reflected in the bright shield, he cut off her head and gave it to Athena, who fixed it in the middle of her Aegis.
Although best known as a Greek goddess, Medusa was actually imported into Greece from Libya where she was worshipped by the Libyan Amazons as their Serpent-Goddess. In her images, her hair sometimes resembles dread locks, showing her origins in Africa.
Cyrene, also known as Kurana, was a Thessalian princess who was more interested in hunting than domestic chores. When Apollo witnessed her struggle and defeat over a lion which was attacking her father’s sheep, he feel head over heals in love with her and had her taken to this place by a golden chariot. Here god made her the ruler of the city and a temple was built to commemorate her heroic deed of freeing the settlers from fear of attack by lions.
Apollo and Cyrene had a son – Aristaeus – whose seduction of Eurydice went disastrously wrong when she was killed by a snake. In retribution, Aristaeus’ whole swarm of bees died in a plague. Following atonement ceremonies, the bees were born again from the sacrificed animals, and Cyrene was freed from the tragic struggles of the gods.
Cyrene also gave birth to another son, Idmon, who took after his father and excelled in healing and prophesy. He was one of the Argonauts.
Visiting this museum is a must. Many Greek (right side) and Roman (left side) statues and mosaics are shown here in a professional but private atmosphere - the guide is top an speaks fluent english.
Above the springs is an inscription in the rock by a priest giving thanks to Aplollo for not contaminating the holy water in the fountain.
The Greek Propylea (Monumental Gateway) with its four Doric columns dates from the 3rd century BC and has been beautifully reconstructed.
The sacred way would lead from the Arch of Marcus Eurelues one end to the Sanctuary of Apollo the other end and would sepearte the city and the Necropolis.
The Capitoleum was a traditional Greek temple dedicated to the three gods - Zeus, Hera and Athena.
The equivalent three gods in Roman mythology would be Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.
A much larger theatre from the Greek period, probably used for music performances. The granite columns were brought from Aswan.
This Ionic column from the Archaic period topped with the figure of the sphinx is one of the most important finds here at Cyrene. It stands 6.2 metres high and is certainly impressive.
This 2nd century Attic Sarcophagus just inside the door of the museum, was found in the Southern Necropolis and shows Styr, Maenads and Cantaurs.