Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece

Heroes have played an integral part in all cultures since ancient times. Whether heroes  are superhuman protagonists of Greek myths or average individuals who rise above the ordinary, they are admired, emulated, and sometimes even worshipped. This exhibition, organized by the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, features more than 100 objects from European and North American collections and explores the inherent human need for heroes, using the arts and culture of ancient Greece as a point of origin.

Which mythological figure are you most like? Take the quiz to find out! 

Hellenic history and mythology are especially rich in heroes, who were both represented in the arts and made the object of sacrificial cults in the hope that they would intercede on behalf of the living. Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece explores such mythological figures as Achilles, Herakles, Odysseus, and Helen of Troy through their attributes and adversaries, triumphs, and failures.

While heroes revealed themselves through their own remarkable feats, ancient artists played a crucial role in disseminating their deeds. This exhibition presents sculptures, reliefs, vases, bronzes, and jewelry alongside literary quotes to illustrate the lives of these heroes and heroines, as well as their loves, labors, and enduring legacies.


Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greecehas been organized by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, in cooperation with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Onassis Foundation, New York. The planning and implementation of this exhibition have been generously supported by grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The exhibition catalogue received a leadership grant from the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA).
The presentation of this exhibition in San Diego is generously funded by The Michael and Karen Stone Family Foundation, Tom Gildred, G.S. Levine Insurance Services, Inc., Chartis Private Client Group, the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program, and Members of The San Diego Museum of Art. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Corinthian Helmet, c. 700-500 BCE, bronze. The Walter’s Art Museum.