Mythical Beasts of Ancient Greece
For a great many of us, Ancient Greece is our first encounter with the world of mythology. The stories were introduced to us at a young age and contain complex themes and lessons, all neatly packaged with Bulls heads and snakes for hair. It is hard to think of a society that has contributed more to our way of life, the arts, and our collective worldview than the Ancient Greeks. Making the map was a wonderful chance to revisit the myths that started a lifelong love of mythology and folklore and to discover new ones. It presented several challenges - it is a map of city-states who for centuries expanded and contracted based on conquest, exploration, and invasion. The legends spread across the Mediterranean with some of our favourite creatures not being located in the Greek region. It was indeed a bitter pill to swallow not being able to include Typhon, cyclopes, sirens or Geryon. Fortunately, Greek mythology is bountiful and there were plenty of other great creatures that could be included. It looked for a while like there would be even more iconic creatures that we would struggle to place, given they dwelt in the underworld of Hades. The Greeks however believed in physical entrances to the underworld, which was incredibly convenient for our purpose of creating a map. These reputed locations allowed us to include such classics as Cerberus and Gorgons. We shifted the colour palette from our original map, we wanted it to appear warmer with that beautiful turquoise water so synonymous with Greece. We weighed up varying options of how far to push this (do we go full contemporary illustration and have pink landmasses and such?). The decision we made was that all the maps must be able to sit comfortably on a wall next to each other, and still have the feel of an actual map. We moved the palette just enough to convey the heat and crystal water whilst keeping it feeling like a cohesive project. It was a big decision as it will affect how all subsequent maps will be made. Making the details for the map was also a particularly enjoyable part of this project. We clearly needed triemes and temples, but in typical getting carried away fashion, we have littered the landscape with many Greek pots, all with their own unique designs. We hope you enjoy the map, and it makes you want to revisit the classics and possibly discover some new stories. For those wishing to learn more about Greek mythology, you are utterly spoiled for choice in literature and great documentaries. Stephen Fry has written some very accessible and knowledgeable books on the subject, all in that lovely warm tone that he possesses in abundance, I would suggest "Mythos" as a fantastic place to start. The "Mythical beasts of Ancient Greece" map is now available through our Etsy store. We would like to thank everyone who has picked up a map and supported the project, it helps us keep the project alive.
All the best
Neil and Charley at Púca Printhouse