We Could Be Heroes

The gods and heroes of the ancient Greeks and Romans


The gods and heroes of the Greeks and Romans were powerful. Their lord Zeus (or Jupiter in his Roman manifestation) could shake Mount Olympus with the nod of his head, and send thunder and lightning across the heavens. Yet the gods and heroes were also complex, subject to human emotions and relationship troubles. As a result the stories of their adventures, their disputes, their conflicts and love interests have fed the imagination throughout the ages and continue to do so today. This exhibition introduces some of the gods and heroes of the Greco-Roman world, describing the ancient myths and characters, while also reflecting on the lasting influence of Greek and Roman stories and images.

Although in many ways the ancient Greeks and Romans believed and behaved in ways that may seem alien or highly unusual to us, their myths of gods and heroes are timeless. More than just good entertainment, these stories raise questions that give us as much cause for reflection today as they assuredly did for their intended ancient audience. That is because, at their heart, myths of gods and heroes are about the human condition – what we believe, what we think is important, what we fear and how we choose to view and to understand the world.

The inaugural exhibition for the new Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities at the University of Canterbury was also the first opportunity to place a significant number of artefacts from the James Logie Memorial Collection back on display after the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The exhibition included a significant selection of artefacts from the Logie Collection that are unique or extremely rare, making these our ‘heroes’.