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by Archaeology Newsroom

Death and sleep

The twin brothers Hypnos and Thanatos (Sleep and Death), are depicted on the Kypselos urn in Olympia (570 BC), lying in the arms of their mother Night.One is dark and the other weightless and light. Homer describes them carrying the body of Sarpedon to Lycia and the scene with the winged brothers is actually depicted in art belonging to the end of the 6th century BC.Euripides made Hercules defeat Death taking Alcestis away from his influence. The two brothers are depicted on an Attic lekythos of the 5th century BC where Death is shown as a coarse, uncouth warrior, as “Andreiovlachos” (a fearless peasant) as the funeral dirge calls him.