Dirce, the wife of King Lycus of Thebes, had been bad. She hated her niece Antiope who had succumbed to the charms of Zeus, ran away in embarrassment, and gave birth to the twins Amphion and Zethus. (When you couldn’t explain who the father was in early Greek mythology, you always blamed a god.)
Lycus went after Antiope and brought her back to Thebes, abandoning the twin boys along the way. Lycus then gave Antiope to his wife who treated the young woman cruelly. Meanwhile the twins were raised by shepherds, grew up, discovered who their mom was, and found out about Dirce’s bad behavior. This brings us to the Farnese Bull sculpture above where Amphion and Zethus are tying Dirce to the bull’s horns for punishment.
And here you thought soap operas have twisted plot lines. Believe me when I say there is much more to the story.
Several other sculptures found in the Archeological Museum of Naples also reflect early Greek myths and Roman interpretations. Atlas holds up the sky, a brooding Hercules shows off the skin of the Nemean Lion he was required to kill as the first of his 12 Labors, and Achilles carries the body of the young Troilus, a Prince of Troy he killed.
Beyond these mythological sculptures, several others caught my attention including the bronzes found in Herculaneum, a humorous dog, a rather infamous satyr and goat, a powerful bas-relief and the River God Tiberinus.