In a reconstruction in the court of the museum one can see how this group once figured on the front of a temple. It is a scene from the Oddysey, where the one-eyed giant Cyclops is blinded by an oar.
Group of Ulysus [Odysseus ] and Polyphemus. From the Enc. Britt.: in Greek mythology, the most famous of the Cyclopes (one-eyed giants), son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and the nymph Thoösa. According to Ovid in Metamorphoses, Polyphemus loved Galatea, a Sicilian Nereid, and killed her lover Acis. When the Greek hero Odysseus was cast ashore on the coast of Sicily, he fell into the hands of Polyphemus, who shut him up with 12 of his companions in his cave and blocked the entrance with an enormous rock. Odysseus at length succeeded in making Polyphemus drunk, blinded him by plunging a burning stake into his eye while he lay asleep, and, with six of his friends (the others having been devoured by Polyphemus), made his escape by clinging to the bellies of the sheep let out to pasture.
Represented is Odysseus handing him a filled cup, others bring a pointed stake in readiness. Two dead companions lie at the giants feet. 1st century AD
Fragmenten van een “Groep van Odysseus en Polyphemos”. Hellenistisch, 1e eeuw v.K.
Originally a temple fronton of the Isis temple at the State Agora; in 97 AD re-used in the nearby Pollio-fontain, after Emperor Augustus had the Isis temple torn down.
Source: ‘Catalogue du Musée d’Ephèse’ 1989.