Marine Transports

The ancients believed that ships and creatures of the sea (dolphins, hippocamps, hippogriffs) carried the deceased across perilous waters to the Elysian fields. The dolphin, part of Poseidon's retinue and often associated with the marine Venus, who was born of the sea foam, became a favored symbol of salvation. In early Christian iconographic art, the story of Jonah and the "great fish" was one of the most popular Old Testament allegories of deliverance and redemption.

A Dolphin Skimming over a Sea of Chalcedony
122. From the period of the Middle Bronze Age (the second millennium B.C.E.), the swift, intelligent dolphin was represented figuratively. Greek intaglio, mottled jasper scaraboid with streaks of chalcedony. Second half of the fifth century B.C.E. Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.
close menu back next