Decorative plaques with Mythological scenes

 Bronze plaque with mythological scene: The king of Tiryns Eurystheus hides, terrified, in a jar
 © Ephorate of Antiquities of Phocis, Ministry of Culture and Sports 

Furniture and wooden objects were often decorated in antiquity with inlay plaques either purely decorative or of a narrative character. These plaques were made of metal (copper, bronze as well as gold and silver) or of ivory. In the Archaeological Museum of Delphi are exhibited ivory plaques (in the hall of the chryselephantine statues) depicting mythical creatures as well as bronze plaques representing known mythological scenes.  

A distinctive bronze plaque depicts a scene from a well-known Labour of Hercules, namely the Boar of Erymanthos. Eurystheus, king of Tiryns, had asked Hercules to capture alive the boar that Artemis had offered as present to Erymanthos, because the wild beast destroyed the crops and killed other animals with his tusks. Even the Centaurs of the forest of Pholoe, in eastern Elis, were annoyed by his activity. Hercules managed to capture the boar using a decoy. After tying it up, he transported the beast to Eurystheus, who was so terrified that he hid in a jar. The event was probably considered interesting or amusing by the Archaic artists, who have depicted it on red-figured and black-figured vases. The feat was also depicted on the metopes of the temple of Zeus of Olympia, in ca. mid-5th century B.C. This particular example from the Museum at Delphi is the only one known in bronze and dates to the second half of the 6th century B.C. 
Equally interesting or amusing was apparently the incident of the escape of Ulysses and his companions from the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, which constitutes the theme of the second bronze plaque dated to the same period. Ulysses or one of his companions is depicted hanging from the belly of a ram in his effort to escape.

Text:Dr. Athanasios Sideris, Archaeologist, , Dr. Aphrodite Kamara, Historian
Translation: Dr. Aphrodite Kamara, Historian