University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Beasts in the Night Sky: The Constellation Myths of Greece and Rome

Wednesday 05 April 2017
6:00PM - 8:00PM
Penn Museum

Great Beasts of Legend

Dr. Patrick Glauthier, Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Cetus the Sea-monster - there's no shortage of mythical animals among the constellations of ancient Greece and Rome. But why do such creatures populate the heavens in the first place? And what did they mean to the societies that first identified and named them? Although it can be hard for us to clearly identify two Bears circling up above, the ancient imagination saw animalistic drama and intrigue all over the night sky, and the particulars of these narratives were often felt to impact life on earth. This talk will explore the history of some of these constellations, their representations in ancient art and literature, and their role in ancient Greco-Roman society more broadly.

For visitors who are blind or visually impaired, live audio description of the lecture slides is available. To reserve a headset, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Admission: $5 single lecture advance ticket ($2 Penn Museum members); $10 at the door.

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