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Texas Tech Public Art: Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision

Photo by Campus Live Intern Jacob Lee

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Next to the Texas Tech University library on campus, you’ll find an outstanding sculpture of a Greek God, Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision. Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision is a sculpture at Texas Tech University that stands boldly in its position, representing power. This tall, bronze sculpture directly pays tribute to Greek mythology.

Ronald and Susan Welborn donated the sculpture to Texas Tech University in 2013. The Welborn’s donated in honor of their friends Glenn and Rene Wade because the Wades both graduated from Texas Tech in 1983. The university installed it on August 12, 2015.

The Discovery of Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision

This sculpture is a cast that was created in 1992 in Italy. This cast is of an ancient Greek sculpture that was recovered at the bottom of the sea off Cape Artemision. Greek fishermen discovered the sculpture in 1926, leading to its excavation in 1928. The sculpture is bronze, and features a nude man with his arms outstretched. Whether the sculpture is of Zeus or Poseidon has been argued about by many scholars. The identity of the original sculptor is unknown.

The Story Behind Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision

Most experts have speculated that the sculpture is of Zeus. Zeus is the God of the sky in Greek mythology. While this sculpture doesn’t feature Zeus holding anything, typically Zeus is known to control and weaponize lightning bolts. This could be implied from this statue, since it has its arms extended outwards.

However, some have considered that this sculpture is of Poseidon. Poseidon is the God of the sea in Greek mythology. Poseidon’s main weapon of choice was a trident. Likewise, Poseidon would often throw his trident. In addition to that, some have notably referred to Poseidon as the protector of Artemision.

While most consider this statue to be of Zeus, the possibility of it being Poseidon is present. Nobody has ever confirmed the identity of the object that the sculpture is holding. As a result, nobody knows for certain whether the sculpture is of Zeus or Poseidon.


“Zeus or Poseidon of Artemision” is an outstanding sculpture that can’t be ignored. In addition to its striking appearance, it has a rich backstory. It’s located next to the library of Texas Tech University. So, if you’re ever on the Texas Tech University campus, be sure to check out this sculpture.

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Written by Campus Live Intern Jacob Lee

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