As in the first picture here, many elements can be seen twice, as pieced-together originals, and as reconstructions using plaster casts of original pieces, filled out with educated guesswork. At the rear of the cave and to the right was a showing the Blinding of Polyphemus the cyclops by Odysseus and his men. Forward of this, on an island in the middle of the pool, was a group showing Odysseus ship attacked by the monster Scylla. On a niche in the face above the entrance to the grotto was Ganymede carried up by the Eagle. Some other statues around the grotto appear to both to earlier and later periods, and are excluded from the general comments here. They would presumably have been lit, especially at night. The execution of the sculptures varies considerably in quality, and must have required a team as well as the three masters named in the inscription. But the variation is within as well as between the groups and figures, and scholars accept that the ensemble was made as a single project. They are marked by an extensive use of plain marble struts between sculpted elements, left to strengthen the figures, even the toes of Polyphemus are connected by them. This has been used to argue for off-site production, perhaps in Rhodes, many elements are only finished to be viewed from particular angles, with their back left roughly worked. This is a subject, not in Homer, but one that is mentioned by Ovid. Here Odysseus is shown at his most conventionally virtuous, demonstrating pietas, the four legs, two trailing on the ground, and the head of the living warrior are the main elements reconstructed so far. This group also shows an unusual subject, Diomedes senses Odysseus drawn sword behind him, and stalls the attempt. This episode, also not in Homer, shows Odysseus at his least creditable, in Metamorphoses 13, 337ff Odysseus boasts of his capture of the Palladium, just as some lines earlier he claims the credit for rescuing the body of Achilles. The episode took place at night, and may be imagined as dimly lit to heighten the effect, the identification remains somewhat speculative, with the key reassembled piece being the top half of a roughly half-size figure of a helmeted Athena clutched by a roughly life-size hand. With this are associated a headless life-size figure who is not the owner of the clutching hand, Odysseus may be the figure, with the head and clutching hand belonging to Diomedes. Some believe that the head and side of the torso of Odysseus in a Phyrigian cap with his nose missing belongs here rather than with the Polyphemus group, as it is placed in the group reconstruction. As recounted by Homer, the cyclops Polyphemus, who has trapped Odysseus and his crew in his home with a huge stone and begun to eat them, has been made drunk
The central group at Sperlonga, with the Blinding of Polyphemus; cast reconstruction of the group, with at the right the original figure of the "wineskin-bearer" seen in front of the cast version.
The grotto and pool today, the triclinium with grass. The "Scylla" island can be seen in the grotto.