History Today subscription

Foundations

Oedipus and Antigone, or the Plague of Thebes, by Charles Jalabert, 1843, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille © Bridgeman Images

A pitiless, profound and influential Greek myth.

Orpheus, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1636-38. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid © akg-images

A Classical myth of enduring love that has inspired artists, writers and composers for centuries.

The Death of Caesar, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1867 © akg-images

A vivid portrait of one of history’s most momentous conspiracies.

The Origin of the Milky Way,  by Jacopo Tintoretto, 1577-79 © akg-images

A deceived god has a creative outburst.

The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo, 1872, National Gallery, Oslo.

A chaotic, menacing assembly of gods and trolls and restless souls.

‘Constantine’s Dream’ by Piero della Francesca, from the fresco cycle, the History of the True  Cross, 1459-66, Basilica di San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy.

A mythical turning point in the history of Europe.

He Xian Gu on a celestial crane, from the album of 18 Taoist paintings by Zhang Lu (1464-1538), displayed in the Shanghai Museum.

The Taoist Immortal.

The Virgin and the Unicorn, by Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino), fresco, 1604-5.

A mythological creature of extraordinary resilience.

Paradise, by Lucas Cranach  the Elder, 1530, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

The fall of man and the concept of Original Sin.

A papyrus leaf from the Book of the Dead of Imenemsauf.

The ancient Egyptian gods of creation and knowledge vanquish the ‘Lord of Chaos’.