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Polyphemus, the Cyclops, in his cave
Polyphemus (Polyphemos) the Cyclops, the gigantic one-eyed son of Poseidon and Thoosa, seen here in his cave with one of his sheep. In Homer's Odyssey he kills and eats several of Odysseus's men. Odysseus gives him wine which makes him sleepy, and when he passes out Odysseus and his surviving men drive a sharp stake through his one eye, blinding him. They then escape and sail away
© Mary Evans Picture Library
Irene - a play by Samuel Johnson
Irene is a Neoclassical tragedy written between 1726 and 1749 by Samuel Johnson. Johnson's main source for the story of Irene was Richard Knolles's Generall Historie of the Turkes (1603). In Knolles's work, the Sultan Mahomet conquers Constantinople in 1453 and captures a Greek Christian named Irene. He decides to take her as his mistress, and while pursuing her romantically he ignores his duties as a monarch. Soon, the kingdom is falling apart from neglect and the subjects begin to riot, so Mahomet kills Irene to prove his dedication to his people (as depicted here). Date: circa 1730
© Mary Evans / Grenville Collins Postcard Collection