Nereus, The Greek Noah

Some Images of Noah in Greek Art

On the Altar of Zeus at Pergamon (ca. 190 BC), Nereus, the Greek Noah, is the only one of scores of figures not actively engaged in the battle. The sculptors have placed him as a mute witness to the Greek gods’ defeat of the Giants (his Yahweh-believing sons) signifying the end of Greek faith in his God.

Sculpture of Nereus bearing witness to the Greek gods defeat of the Giants.

Vase-painting of Nereus and the Nereids.

On this red-figure vase depiction from ca. 490 BC, Nereus/Noah appears as a seated spiritual figure enjoying the devotion and affection of his daughters, the Nereids.

Shield-band panel showing Herakles and Nereus.

The inscription on this shield-band panel from 550 BC identifies the figures as Herakles and Halios Geron, the “Salt Sea Old Man,” an obvious allusion to Nereus/Noah. His bottom half is a fish, signifying that he came through the great Flood. Herakles, the Nimrod of Genesis, demands to know something that only the Salt Sea Old Man can tell him. A flame and a snake come out of Nereus’ head. Herakles demands to know from Nereus, a living connection to the pre-Flood world, where he can find the enlightenment of the serpent.

Read more about Nereus here.

Read the Preface from Athena and Kain.