Ancient Greek world
Homer describes a more-than-natural light around the heads of
heroes in battle.
 Depictions of
Perseus in the act of slaying
Medusa, with lines radiating from his head, appear on a white-ground toiletry box in the
Louvre and on a slightly later
red-figured vase in the style of
Polygnotos, ca. 450-30 BC, in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
 On painted wares from
south Italy, radiant lines or simple haloes appear on a range of mythic figures: Lyssa, a personification of madness; a
sphinx; a sea demon; and
Thetis, the sea-nymph who was mother to
Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the sun-god
Helios and had his usual
radiate crown (copied for the
Statue of Liberty).
Hellenistic rulers are often shown wearing radiate crowns that seem clearly to imitate this effect.
Sumerian religious literature frequently speaks of melam (loaned into
Akkadian as melammu), a "brilliant, visible glamour which is exuded by gods, heroes, sometimes by kings, and also by temples of great holiness and by gods' symbols and emblems."