The Many Lives of a Snake Goddess

In-house poetry reading with Ruth Padel and panel discussion.

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3 March, 2023, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

£20 – £25

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This event is held in the Museum only. Please note the talk will be held upstairs. Tickets must be pre-booked.

Join us for an evening of poetry, wine, and archaeological insights and treasures at the Freud Museum as we celebrate the opening of our latest temporary exhibition, Freud’s Antiquity: Object, Idea, Desire.

Poet Ruth Padel will read poems on two Snake Goddess figurines of c.1600 BCE, found at Knossos in 1903 by Sir Arthur Evans, whose work Sigmund Freud followed closely. Evans’s six-volume work The Palace of Minos is in Freud’s library. Padel’s poems were commissioned by ‘The Many Lives of a Snake Goddess’ Project, exploring the changing significance of these controversial figurines from Minoan Crete, hailed as the cradle of European civilization and bastion of female power.

The ‘Many Lives of the Snake Goddess’ Project was organised by Nicoletta Momigliano (Professor of Aegean Studies, University of Bristol) Ellen Adams (Reader in Classical Archaeology, King’s College London) and Christine Morris (Professor of Greek Archaeology & History, Trinity College Dublin) in association with Andrew Shapland (Curator of the Ashmolean Museum’s exhibition Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth and Reality), and the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, Crete.

Nicoletta Momigliano will introduce the evening, with a short talk on the Snake Goddesses and their discovery. After the poems, she will join Ruth Padel, Ellen Adams, Christine Morris and Andrew Shapland to discuss archaeological and psychological themes beneath Padel’s poems, and the life of the Snake Goddess in modern culture today.



Ellen Adams is Reader in Classical Archaeology at King’s College London.

Nicoletta Momigliano is currently Professor of Aegean Studies in the department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Bristol. She specialises in the archaeology of Bronze Age or Minoan Crete, and she has co-directed several archaeological projects in Crete and Southwest Turkey. She has published numerous articles and books on Minoan archaeology and on modern receptions of the Minoans. Her latest volume In Search of the Labyrinth: the Cultural Legacy of Minoan Crete, published in 2020, was longlisted for the Runciman Prize.

Christine Morris is Andrew A David Professor of Greek Archaeology & History at Trinity College Dublin.

Ruth Padel is a poet, novelist and non-fiction author. Padel’s twelve poetry collections include Beethoven Variations (2020) and  We Are All from Somewhere Else (2020), prose and poetry on migration. She began as a classicist at Oxford, her father was a psychoanalyst, and her novel Daughters of the Labyrinth (2021) explores the little-known story of the Holocaust on Crete where she has life-long connections.

Andrew Shapland is curator of the Ashmolean Museum’s Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth and Reality, opening 10 February 2023.

This event is part of a special exhibition programme for Freud’s Antiquity: Object, Idea, Desire, opening February 2023.


3 March, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
£20 – £25
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Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
London, NW3 5SX United Kingdom
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020 7435 2002

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