British Museum/Bridgeman Art Library

Homer is about to become a god in this 46-inch-high, second-century B.C.E. marble relief, now in the British Museum. The poet is depicted seated at left in the bottom tier, flanked by two kneeling figures representing the Iliad and the Odyssey. The ancient Greeks believed that these epic poems were the creation of a divinely inspired “super-poet” named Homer. The figure at the top of the relief is likely Zeus, and the enclosure in the second tier from the bottom represents a temple. So this relief may have been commissioned to adorn the temple to Homer built in Alexandria by King Ptolemy IV (221–204 B.C.E.), a ruler of Hellenistic Egypt.