The Snake Goddess is one of the representational by-product of the Minoan culture. The sculpture is considered to be one of the Minoan divinities associated closely with the snake cult. The Snake Goddess is also called the Household Goddess because she held snakes which is connected with the welfare of the Minoan house (Flamee Minoan Snake Goddess). The Snake Goddess is shown wearing a highly decorated skirt with a bare chest which was normal among Minoan women. Also, the dove perched on her head signifies her being divine Crouching on her crown is a lion cub, usually associated with royal houses.
In her crown are poppy pods, indicating the use of opium in her worship (Cline Minoan Snake Goddess) . Many believe that the female figure represents naturalism and grace that personifies a Cretan Earth Mother who is an embodiment of Earth from which all life springs and returns. More so, the presence of snakes symbolizes the Snake Goddess as an underworld deity with chthonic aspects (Flamee Minoan Snake Goddess). Snakes are believed to be incarnations of the dead and symbolize immortality by the fact that they shed their skins and regularly renew themselves (Cline Minoan Snake Goddess).
It is also a symbol of superhuman power of the god (Flamee Minoan Snake Goddess). Meanwhile, the Medusa figure was believed to be placed at the Temple Artemis because her face is considered to be a apotropaic talisman. Medusa’s ability to ward of danger is probably one of the reason why the temple was decorate with her face (Gates 213). Medusa’s image represents a powerful natural force that is worshiped and revered by cultures as a sacred and holy as she was a symbol of the full potency of the Great Triple Goddess.
She is widely known as a refined serpent-goddess-priestess. The snake on her head is seen as a totem of the cycles of life, death and rebirth and the seasons. It shows the connection to the fertile earth to the underworld. While, the two snakes that were tied in a sacred healing knot around her waist which were used for medicinal purposes. She has a large bird wings on her back, though it’s not clearly visible. The wings symbolize her freedom and dynamic movement between the worlds. (Le Van The Gordon Medusa).
The statue of Athena in the Parthenon represents Athena’s warrior identity. The Nike figure in her right hand and her helmet with sphinx and griffins commemorate the Greek victory over the Persians. On the upper-chest of Athena appears an aegis on which appears a the head of Medusa that plays an apotropaic function of warding off evil, but these figures also echo the Greek subjugation of the monstrous. The snake that appears on the inside of Athena’s shield demonstrates the indigenous nature of the original Athenians as being original inhabitants of the land.
It is a reference to mythical origins. (The Parthenon: Religion, Art, and Politics 2008). The three Greek sculptures from different periods manifest the role and image of mythological women in Greek society. In the Snake Goddess, the female figure represents a more domesticated character that is associated with bringing good fortune in a Minoan household. On the other hand, Medusa at the Temple Artemis is perceived as a serpent goddess who possesses immense power that can repel danger.
Meanwhile, the statue of Athena in Parthenon has similar representations with Medusa’s figure, however, Athena appears to be more of a warrior who has beauty as well as strength. These women in sculptures may represent different things but the common element in these figures is the snake. In the three works of art, snakes symbolize immortality and power. They are incorporated in these sculpture to emphasize the sovereignty and omnipotence of these mythological women in Greek culture.
Cline, Austin. “Minoan Snake Goddess. ” 2008. About, Inc. 27 February 2008 <http://atheism. about. com/library/FAQs/religion/blgrk_crete11. htm>. Gates, C. Ancient Cities: The Archaeology of Urban Life in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece and Rome. Routledge, 2003. Le Van, A. “ The Gordon of the Medusa. ” 7 May 1996. Perseus Project. 27 February 2008 <http://www. perseus. tufts. edu/classes/finALp. html> “ Minoan Snake Goddess. ”Encyclopedia Mythica. 1995. “The Parthenon: Religion, Art, and Politics. ” 2008. ARTH200. 27 February 2008 <http://employees. oneonta. edu/farberas/arth/ARTH200/politics/parthenon. html>.