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‘Contemplative Athena’ Relief Travels to Moscow

State-Historical-Museum-of-MoscowRussian President Vladimir Putin and his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos declared 2016 the bilateral year of Russia and Greece. The bilateral year includes dozens of events, such as exhibitions, concerts, theater tours and business negotiations. There are also plans for cooperation between Russian and Greek Universities.

Within this framework, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports is organizing an exhibition with 136 ancient works, which will be hosted by the State Historical Museum of Moscow. The exhibition will run from November 15, 2016 until February 15, 2017. The exhibits are selected items of the Hellenic antiquity, depicting divine beings, symbols, worshipping practices and beliefs. The exhibits reveal the relationship between human beings of antiquity towards gods and the divine element.

The Contemplative Athena Relief will be among the exhibits. The marble relief — dated circa 560 BCE — depicts a pensive Athena resting her head on her lance. Athena, according to Greek mythology, was the Goddess of wisdom and women’s crafts. She was also a defender against evil and, therefore, a warrior goddess par excellence. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. When Metis became pregnant, Gaia and Uranus told Zeus that after giving birth to a daughter, she would then have a son by Zeus who would later dethrone him. Zeus then decided to swallow Metis. When the time came for the child to be born, Zeus was afflicted with a dreadful headache and sought the help of Hephaestus who split his skull with an axe with the aim of relieving the pain. A girl in full armor sprang forth from his head: It was Athena.

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