Ancient Greek Vase Artists Painted Images of Biblical Figures Noah and Nimrod Over 2,000 Years Ago
The Book of Genesis describes human history. Ancient Greek religious art depicts human history. While their viewpoints are opposite, the recounted events and characters match each other in convincing detail. This brief article focuses on how Greek religious art portrayed Noah, and how it portrayed Nimrod in his successful rebellion against Noah’s authority.
As I point out in my new full-color book, Genesis Characters and Events in Ancient Greek Art , and here, neither Noah nor Nimrod is depicted incidentally or casually. Both characters are crucial to the expressed boast of Zeus-religion: The way of Cain—the exaltation of mankind as the measure of all things—has triumphed over Noah and his God-fearing offspring in the post-Flood world; God’s way is forgotten and the ancient serpent’s “enlightenment” from the ancient garden paradise is welcomed. See: Garden of Eden Depicted in Ancient Greek Religious Art
Unless otherwise noted, the paintings and sculptures date from about 440 to 460 BC. Astounding is not a strong enough word for what is presented here: Painted and sculpted images of Noah and Nimrod from two and a half millennia ago!
It should be front page news, but as it does not fit within the ruling evolutionist paradigm, it will most likely be ignored. Let’s see what happens.
- Garden of Eden Depicted in Ancient Greek Religious Art
- Startling Similarity between Hindu Flood Legend of Manu and the Biblical Account of Noah
Ancient vase images of Noah/Nereus. (Author provided)
Nereus—The Greek Noah
The Greeks knew exactly who Noah was. They called him Nereus, the “Wet One,” and Halios Geron , the “Salt-Sea Old Man.” Above, we see three different depictions of Nereus from ancient Greek vases. On all three he looks very old, he is seated as if on a throne, and he holds a scepter, a symbol of rule. The simple artistic communication: Here is the old man who ruled.
Genesis 6:9 speaks highly of Noah’s character: “Noah is a just man. Flawless became he in his generations. With God walks Noah.”
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod says essentially the same thing about Nereus: “But Pontos, the great sea, was father of truthful Nereus who tells no lies, eldest of his sons. They call him the Old Gentleman because he is trustworthy, and gentle, and never forgetful of what is right, but the thoughts of his mind are mild and righteous”
Note that Hesiod describes Nereus as the great sea’s eldest son; that is, the eldest of those who came through the Flood.
The Book of Genesis does not name Noah’s wife, but the Greeks said that the wife of Nereus was the Oceanid Doris. What made her an Oceanid was the fact that she rode the ocean in the ark with Noah/Nereus and their family for nearly a year.
Greek artists chronicled the rise of their God-rejecting and serpent-exalting religion from Noah’s lifetime, and often depicted Noah/Nereus with the bottom half of a fish and/or holding a fish, signifying that this is the fish-man who brought humanity through the Flood.
Herakles—The Greek Nimrod
The Greeks knew exactly who Nimrod was as well. Many of us have read of Nimrod as “a mighty warrior on the earth” and a “mighty hunter” (Genesis 10:8-9). Herakles is a title or epithet. His real name in Greek was Alcaeus meaning “mighty one.”
Just as Nimrod is the greatest hunter and warrior of the post-Flood world in Genesis, so Herakles is the greatest hunter and warrior in Greek religious art. Herakles is the Nimrod of Genesis, exalted as a great hero and transported to Greek soil.
After the Flood, God instructed mankind to be “fruitful and increase and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 9:1). That included subjecting every living animal of the earth, all the fishes of the sea, and every flyer of the heavens (Genesis 9:2-3). Greek art portrayed Herakles as the “master hunter” doing exactly that in the post-Flood world.
First three labors of Herakles from the Temple of Zeus at Olympia as they originally appeared in color. They correspond to God’s instructions in Genesis for mankind to subject every land animal, water creature, and flyer of the heavens. (Author provided)
The first three labors of Nimrod/Herakles, reconstructed above by Holmes Bryant as they appeared on the temple of Zeus at Olympia, boast of his conquest of the most powerful animals of the land, water, and air: the lion of Nemea, the fearsome Hydra of Lerna, and the vicious man-attacking birds of Lake Stymphalos.