Top 10 Ancient Greek Artifacts All History Buffs Should Know About

Ancient Greece was one of the civilizations that have left the biggest cultural impact on history. Whether we’re talking about their extensive mythology, the art forms, or the political innovations, there’s no denying the greatness of the Greeks. Fortunately, the physical evidence of their genius has resisted the trials of time and there are many incredible ancient Greek artifacts that are now exhibited on the shelves of many important museums around the world.

1. Antikythera Mechanism

Antikythera Mechanism, one of the most well known ancient Greek artifacts

Perhaps the most fascinating of all ancient Greek artifacts on this list, this mechanism is essentially an ancient analog computer, constructed by Greek scientists for calendric and astronomic purposes. It was discovered sometime around 1901. Upon recent studies, it’s been unveiled that it was built in the 2nd century BC. The analog computer is located at the National Archeological Museum in Athens.

2. Greek Sphinx

Greek (Attic) marble capital and finial in the form of a sphinx

Surely you’re familiar with the famed Egyptian sphinx, but how much do you know about the Greek one? The statuettes were reflections of the opulence of the wealthy and their imagine consisted of the head of a woman, the body of a lion, the tail of a snake, and the wings of an eagle. The Greek sphinx originates from the civilization’s mythology, having been a fantastic creature sent by Hera to punish Thebes. It’s located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

3. Parthenon Horse

Parthenon Horse marble statue from the East pediment of the Parthenon

 

Ancient Greece really valued its horses, as shown by the many works of art depicting them. One particularly well-executed display of this appreciation is the Parthenon friezes. This is one of the most renowned ancient Greek artifacts to showcase a beautifully sculpted horse head.

4. Head of Hygeia

Head of Hygeia, aughter of the god of medicine

The mastery of Ancient Greek sculptors is properly displayed through this fantastic and skillfully crafted marble sculpture. It depicts Hygeia, the daughter of God of Medicine Asclepius and the soon-would-be Goddess of Health. This ancient Greek artifact is believed to be crafted sometime in the 4th century, when Hygeia worshipping really started to take off. You can find the Head of Hygeia at the National Archeological Museum of Athens.

5. Aphrodite of Melos (Venus of Milo)

Aphrodite of Melos, of the ancient Greek artifacts

 

One of the most famous of all ancient Greek artifacts, the famed Venus of Milo sculpture received its name from the French, who retrieved the broken statue from a cavern on the island of Melos. Aphrodite was the Goddess of Love whose Roman equivalent was Venus. The statue can be admired at the Louvre Museum from Paris.

6. Head of Zeus

Head of Zeus Greek artifact

The person whose image was sculpted was up for debate for a while, with its original name referring to the possibility of it being Poseidon. However, upon further archeological investigations, a consensus concluded that it was the figure of the almighty Greek deity.

7. Hecate

Marble statuette of triple-bodied Hekate and the three Graces

The name was given to the Greek goddess trinity that was said to rule over Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld. She is heavily based off another deity, this time, an Egyptian one, going by the name Hekat. Most often, the trinity is said to have consisted of Hecate Selene, the Moon in Heaven, Persephone the Destroyer of the Underworld, and Artemis the Goddess of Hunting. The statuette can be admired at Metropolitan Museum of Art from New York.

8. Bust of Apollo

Marble Bust of Apollo

Apollo was another important deity in Greek mythology. Son of Zeus and Leto, as well as a brother of the previously mentioned Artemis, Apollo’s most important contribution was his role as an oracle. At times, he would grant the gift of sightseeing to others as well, a worthy example being Cassandra from Troy.

9. Pan Statue

Pan and Daphnis statue

Pan (left) and Daphnis

Pan was essentially the underdog of the Greek deities, majorly because of his distorted appearance and his half-man, half-goat physical traits. Much like Dionysus, Pan was associated with hedonism of all kinds. Because of it, he was named Pan, a Greek word that means “all.”

10. Head of Hermes

Head of Hermes

After the sculpture was discovered in 1926, it was taken to the National Museum of Athens. Archeologists have all agreed that the harmonic lines in the statue stand as testimony that it may have been the work of Praxiteles, one of the greatest sculptors of the 4th century BC.

Final Thoughts

From the ancient analog computer and mythological figures, these beautifully crafted ancient Greek artifacts gives us a glimpse into the history and culture of Greece. We hope you have enjoyed learning about these fascinating works of art. If you have your own personal favorites, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below.

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