Dr. Seth D. Pevnick, Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art, the Tampa Museum of Art
The realms of Poseidon encompassed virtually every aspect of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, from mythology and religious cult to daily activities. Each of these fields is explored in this lecture, which surveys the major themes of a traveling exhibition of the same name, organized by the Tampa Museum of Art and shown in Tampa, FL, Omaha, NE, and Hanover, NH, in 2014 and 2015. Inspired by a nearly life-sized marble statue of Poseidon/Neptune in the Tampa collection, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue explore the diverse realms of a multifaceted deity. Often easily identifiable by his trident and accompanying sea creature(s), Poseidon—like his Etruscan and Roman counterparts, Nethuns and Neptune—features prominently in depictions of familiar myths across many centuries of ancient art.
While these deities all share an enduring connection to water (fresh and salty alike), Poseidon was, in addition, a shaker of the earth and tamer of horses, a god whose import in the ancient Mediterranean world can hardly be overstated. For this reason, Poseidon was a major recipient of cult offerings and votive dedications at sanctuaries across the ancient Greek world. The lecture will conclude by moving from Poseidon himself to his most well-known realm—the sea, a pervasive element of ancient life. Vital as a source of food and facilitator of trade, the ancient sea was also a place of beauty and wonder, an inspiration for timeless artwork that resonates even with those who no longer worship its Olympian lord.
A book signing will follow the lecture. Copies of Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life will be available for purchase.