Philoctetes, Nasty Snake Bites and Traitorous Comrades (plus other hot, fallen, half -naked guys)

The better half is writing an article on Philoctetes, the Greek warrior favored by Herakles,  who suffered a snake wound, abandonment by his comrades and psychological agony.

My task of course was to find suitable images.

So here they are.

Nicolai AbrahamAbildgaard

The Wounded Philoctetes


Upon entering his own funeral pyre, Hercules entrusted Philoctetes with his bow and poisoned arrows, with which Philoctetes shot Paris. A final victory for the Greeks in the Trojan War.

His comrades proved to be far less valiant.

Guido Reni

Heracles and the Hydra (snake theme)


Philoctetes and his mates were advised by an oracle to make a sacrifice to the  god Chryse. As Philoctetes had made a  similar sacrifice with Hercules in his youth, (the two seemed to be un-naturally close) Philoctetes was chosen to lead the way. As first man in line, he encounters a snake and suffers a vicious bite.

Nicolas Poussin

Landscape with a Man Frightened by a Snake


Montreal Museum of Fine Art

(interesting note, this painting was purchased by the Bloomsbury artist duncan Grant in 1920)

So painful the bite, his howling made the sacrifice impossible to perform. Irritated by his incessant agony and quite stinky festering wound, his loyal comrades abandon him to the nearby island of Lemnos. As Hephaestus had his own foul smelling shop there no one would be bothered by his wails and stench.

Nice fellows.

Jean Germain Drovais 1763-1788

Philoctetes on the Island of Lemnos


Andrea Mantegna



Frankly, not sure how the story ends, seems to be a bunch of angst, will need to read the Beloved’s paper.

Until then, beefcake with wounds.

Jean-Simon Berthélemy 1743-1811

Death of a Gladiator

(I know not Greek, but hot, and a local favorite)



It has been quite some time since I posted but early in September, the very handsome Andy Whitfield died, without being glib, he was known for having played a particularly striking gladiator. I confess I have never seen the show, but this Welshman, of quite striking looks was difficult not to notice. To die so young, 39, adds to the pathos. 

Recquiscat in Pace

I appreciate the patience of my readers, my classes have been quite difficult, even this abbreviated post has taken me away from tasks that need attending to. Until next time, take care, Babylon Baroque


12 Responses to “Philoctetes, Nasty Snake Bites and Traitorous Comrades (plus other hot, fallen, half -naked guys)”

  1. I always come away from your posts a little more learned and oftentimes in spite of the subject of the imagery, happier. Thanks for sharing your passion!

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Thank you, I don’t go out of my way to select gruesome imagery, but I do seem drawn.
      Perhaps I ought to look into that.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, take care,

  2. Any post from you is worth waiting for!

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Thank you, I appreciate that. I feel so under the gun, so eager for this course to end, no matter how much i may enjoy it.
      I am immersed quite deeply in the world of Machiavelli and Castiglione that I have little time to tend to the most basic of tasks. Alas my poor pups, spouse and sadly this blog, suffer the consequence.
      It all wraps up on the 22nd.
      Until then, take care my friend,

  3. Happy to wait until you’re back in the land of blogging. You shouldn’t feel pressurised about not having time to post here. You’ll be even more appreciated when you return! (-;

  4. babylonbaroque Says:

    thank you, I miss chatting with my friends.

  5. David Fratkin Says:

    There is a wonderful novel about Philoctetes, “An Arrow’s Flight”, by Mark Merlis. It’s reset in modern times, quite effectively.

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Thank you, I will look into it. As i mentioned, the Better Half is writing a paper upon the theme, he might find it useful.
      Have a great weekend.

  6. Great post (and images) as usual. It makes me think about Caravaggios’ 2nd great claim to fame as the “Painter of Feet.”

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