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Article

Gordon Campbell

[Gr.: ‘high stone’]

Ancient Greek statue with a wooden body and the head and limbs made of stone (usually marble, sometimes limestone). This technique seems to have come into use in Greece at the end of the 6th century bc or the beginning of the 5th, and was predominantly, but not exclusively, employed for cult statues. The wooden bodies of acrolithic statues were covered in sheets of precious metal or draped with textiles regularly renewed in cult ceremonies. In ancient Greece the term acrolith (usually agalma akrolithos or xoanon akrolithos) was used relatively rarely, and is first attested in temple inventories of the 2nd century bc; Vitruvius uses it in Latin as a synonym for colossal statues. It was then reintroduced as a technical term by 18th-century antiquarians.

While the wooden bodies of ancient acroliths are not preserved, their stone extremities have occasionally survived and can be identified through specific characteristics of their technical manufacture (acrolithic heads, for example, have flat undersides, whereas heads fashioned for insertion into stone bodies were made with convex tenons). In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the extent of stone elements can increase, so that for example the head and naked parts of the chest are made of one marble segment. The appearance of acroliths could be similar to chryselephantine (gold-ivory) statues, to which they may have offered a more cost-effective alternative, although it seems that other considerations, such as their role within the cult ritual, may have been of greater significance. Examples of surviving stone fragments from acroliths are a colossal head in the Ludovisi collection in Rome and an ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Elaborate monument erected by Octavian (later Augustus) in 29–27 bc on the Preveza Peninsula in Western Greece, north of the present-day town of Preveza, overlooking Cape Actium, to commemorate his naval victory over Mark Antony at Actium in 31 bc. The nearby city of Nikopolis (Gr.: ‘city of victory’) was founded for the same purpose at about the same time.

According to the historian Dio Cassius (Roman History LI.i.3), after his victory Octavian laid a foundation of square stones on the spot where he had pitched his tent, which he then adorned with the captured ships’ rams. On this foundation, according to Dio, Octavian established an open-air shrine dedicated to Apollo. Suetonius (Augustus xviii.2) and Strabo (Geography VII.vii.6) corroborate this evidence, although the trophy itself (with the ships’ rams) was, according to Suetonius, dedicated to Poseidon and Mars, presumably for their help during the battle. The hill itself was, according to Strabo, sacred to Apollo, and therefore the shrine was dedicated to him....

Article

Charles M. Edwards

[Hageladas]

(fl c. 520–c. 450 bc).

Greek sculptor. Said to be the teacher of Polykleitos, Myron and Pheidias, he was a bronze sculptor from Argos, active in the Late Archaic and Early Classical periods. His early works were statues at Olympia for victors of 520 bc, 516 bc and 507 bc. His monument at Delphi depicting captive Massapian women and horses may belong to the second quarter of the 5th century bc. The Zeus Ithomatas for the Messenians at Naupaktos was probably made in the 450s bc. A problem is posed by the date of his Herakles Alexikakos in Athens, said to be a dedication after the plague in the 420s bc. That has led to speculation on the existence of a second Ageladas. The dates of his Zeus Pais and Youthful Herakles at Aigion are unknown. The statues for the Messenians and at Aigion seem to have been under life-size since they were easily transportable. A sense of their appearance is given by coins that show statues with stances like that of the ...

Article

A. Delivorrias

(b Paros, fl c. 450–c. 420 bc).

Greek sculptor. He was a prominent member of the group of artists led by Pheidias that executed the Periclean building programme on the Athenian Acropolis. Ancient literary sources provide little information on his career, and even this takes the form of later anecdotes, such as the story of his rivalry with Alkamenes in a competition to produce a statue of Aphrodite (Pliny: Natural History, XXXVI.iv.17), or has been distorted by the legends surrounding Pheidias, to whom two of his works were wrongly attributed: his statue of the Enthroned Mother of the Gods in the metroon in the Athenian Agora (Pausanias: Guide to Greece, I.iii.5) and his cult statue of Nemesis (c. 420 bc; Pausanias: I.xxxiii.3) for the temple at Rhamnous. The Nemesis was allegedly carved out of a colossal block of Parian marble brought to Marathon in 490 bc by the Persians, who intended to use it for a trophy after defeating the Athenians (Pausanias: I.xxxiii.2). Agorakritos was also credited with bronze statues of ...

Article

A. Delivorrias

(fl second half of the 5th century bc).

Greek sculptor. His date of birth and origins are uncertain; later sources mention both Athens and Lemnos as his birthplace. After the departure of Pheidias to Olympia, Alkamenes became the most eminent exponent of Athenian art. Sources that regard him as a student of Pheidias are not reliable, and the workshop in which he trained and developed his stylistic idiom is unknown. The number of his works in Athenian public buildings and the fact that Thrasybulus entrusted him with the production of a commemorative monument for his Theban allies after the fall of the Tyranny in 403 bc implies that Alkamenes was a supporter of the democratic party.

This monument, the form of which is difficult to visualize, is Alkamenes’ last attested work. His earliest work remains unknown, despite increasing acceptance of the assertion by Pausanias (V.x.8) that Alkamenes helped to execute the architectural sculptures of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. Two ‘archaistic’ works for the Athenian Acropolis indicate that he must already have been active before the mid-...

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl first quarter of the 5th century bc).

Greek sculptor. The Greek city states that defeated the Persians at Plataia in 479 bc set aside a tithe for Zeus at Olympia from which was made a bronze statue of the god, 10 cubits tall. When Pausanias visited Olympia he saw the statue standing near the Bouleuterion and assigned it to Anaxagoras (...

Article

Antenor  

Kim Richardson

(fl Athens, c. 530-c. 0510 bc).

Greek sculptor. A statue base signed by Antenor, son of Eumares, and indicating a dedication by Nearchos (perhaps the potter of that name who was working in the 560s bc) has been matched almost certainly with an outstanding kore found on the Acropolis of Athens in 1886 and hence called the Antenor Kore (h. incl. plinth 2.15 m; Athens, Acropolis Mus., 681). The kore is a conservative work of c.520 bc. Both arms are held unusually far from the body, which is powerfully modelled, the strong vertical folds of its himation (cloak) giving a columnar effect. Such features as the inlaid eyes and thin ankles betray a bronze worker: Pausanias (Guide to Greece I.viii.5) recorded that Antenor produced bronze statues of the tyrannicides Harmodios and Aristogeiton, which were carried off by Xerxes in 480/479 bc and replaced by Kritios Nesiotes’ famous group. The Antenor statues remained at Persepolis until Alexander the Great or one of his successors returned them to Athens, where they were placed in the Agora alongside the second group. A Roman head (London, BM) is perhaps a copy of Antenor’s ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Source of a group of Roman and Greek works of art, in particular a group of Greek bronze sculptures and statuettes. In 1900 sponge-divers discovered the remains of an ancient shipwreck in the sea off the Greek island of Antikythera. In one of the first operations of this kind, they salvaged some its cargo. A new investigation of the wreck site took place in 1976 and succeeded in recovering many further objects, as well as (still unpublished) remains of the hull. All the finds are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The ship, which must have foundered in the second quarter of the 1st century bc, carried a mixed cargo of ‘antique’ and contemporary bronze and marble statuary, as well as luxury products such as bronze furniture attachments, rare and expensive types of glass, gold ingots etc. It also contained the so-called Antikythera Mechanism, an elaborate type of astrolabe....

Article

Thorsten Opper

(b Claudiopolis [Bithynion] c. ad 110; d Egypt, October ad 130).

Greek youth from north-western Asia Minor who became the companion and lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–138) until his mysterious death in the Nile in October ad 130. The bereaved emperor gave orders for Antinous to be deified as Antinous-Osiris and founded a new city, Antinoöpolis, close to the spot where Antinous had died. From there, his cult spread rapidly over the empire, especially the Greek-speaking areas, where festivals in his honour were established and an astounding number of images dedicated. Most remarkable (apart from preserved representations on coins, gems etc, and paintings attested in literary sources) were his sculptured portraits, frequently likened to gods of the Classical Pantheon, of which nearly 100 have survived—a number surpassed only by the portraits of the emperors Augustus and Hadrian. Their ubiquity and often high quality made them icons of ancient art, highly influential and frequently copied from the Renaissance onwards....

Article

Gail L. Hoffman

(fl c. 414–c. 369 bc).

Greek sculptor of the Argive school, student of Periklytos (who was himself a pupil of Polykleitos), teacher of Kleon of Sikyon, and thus in the circle of the elder Polykleitos (Pausanias: V.xvii.3). With no preserved sculpture, knowledge of Antiphanes derives entirely from Pausanias’ description (X.ix) of three Delphic monuments and three signatures: first, a bronze Trojan Horse dedicated by the Argives for a battle over Thyrea, probably the battle of 414 bc referred to by Thucydides (VI.xcv); also a Dioskouroi dedicated by Sparta as spoils from the battle of Aigospotamoi (405 bc; Dittenberger, no. 115); and finally, statues of Elatos, Apheidas and Erasos, which Pausanias claimed were part of the Tegean spoils from a battle with Sparta. A 4th-century bc inscription on a black limestone base may indicate that the dedicants were Arcadians, not just Tegeans, and thus that the battle was the devastation of Lakonia in 369 bc...

Article

Jeffrey M. Hurwit

(fl 550 bc or later).

Greek sculptor. The son of Mikkiades and father of the sculptors Bupalos and Athenis, Archermos was credited with creating the first winged figure of Nike (Victory) in Greek art; his works were apparently to be seen on Delos and Lesbos. A column signed by Archermos, that may have supported a Nike, was dedicated on the Athenian Acropolis in the late 6th century bc, and a badly damaged statue base from Delos has a much-restored inscription (written in the script of the island of Paros) suggesting that Mikkiades and his son Archermos dedicated the statue to Artemis after they had left their homeland of Chios. A statue found in the same general area as the base, and like it datable to c. 550 bc, is the so-called (and originally winged) Nike of Delos (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus.. It is, however, not absolutely certain that the Nike belongs to the base, or, if it does, that it stood there alone. Assuming the ...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Thorsten Opper

In 1954 a large number of fragments of ancient plaster casts came to light in the Roman city of Baiae on the gulf of Naples. Of a total of 430 fragments, 293 were in a condition that allowed further analysis. This revealed that they originally belonged to a group of 24–35 full-length statues that formed a representative collection of plaster copies of Greek bronze originals (gods, heroes, mythological figures) mainly of the 5th and 4th centuries bc. Twelve of these statues could be identified through comparison with Roman marble copies (e.g. Tyrant Slayers, Ephesian Amazons, Athena Velletri, Westmacott Ephebe, Hera Borghese, Eirene and Ploutos). For others likely identifications have been suggested, but cannot be proven (e.g. Doryphoros). The Baiae plaster statues were technically highly accomplished (hollow-cast figures with internal armatures, probably the first casts produced from high-quality moulds), and are likely to have been imported, perhaps from a place such as Athens, where at least three of the originals were located....

Article

Luca Leoncini

revised by Gordon Campbell

Ancient Greek sculpture. The Torso (h. 1.59 m; Rome, Vatican, Mus. Pio-Clementino) is a famous work of ancient sculpture, signed by the otherwise unknown Athenian artist Apollonios, son of Nestor, who may have been active in the 1st century bc. This can be read in the inscription on the base between the fragmentary legs. It belonged to a figure of extraordinary muscular development, often identified with Hercules, seated on the skin of an animal (possibly a lion) spread on a rock. Other interpretations have identified the Torso as Marsyas, Skiron, Polyphemos Philoktetes on the island of Lemnos, and more recently as the Greek hero Aias contemplating his imminent suicide. It is first documented between 1432 and 1435 in the collection of Cardinal Prospero Colonna in Rome. Later it was probably given to the sculptor and antique collector Andrea Bregno, in whose home it remained at least until his death in ...

Article

Bryaxis  

I. Leventi

(fl second half of 4th century bc).

Greek sculptor. Though his name shows him to have been a native of Caria in Asia Minor, he was trained in Athens. There his name first occurs c. 350 bc on a signed marble base (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 1733), which carries a dedication relating to the victories of an Athenian family in the anthippasia (a horsemanship contest). On the three subsidiary sides of the base are inferior quality low-relief carvings of horsemen and tripods. Indeed, the base may have supported a bronze tripod. Bryaxis was described as a ‘bronzeworker’ by Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.lxxiii), who recorded two of his works, an Asklepios and a portrait of Seleukos I Nikator (reg 305–281 bc; both untraced). It is not certain if the former was the statue of Asklepios by Bryaxis that Pausanias (Guide to Greece I.xl.6) saw, together with a statue of Hygieia by him in Megara (both untraced)....

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl c. 540–537 bc).

Greek sculptors of the Archaic period from Chios. Pliny’s date for their activity in the 60th Olympiad (540–537 bc) is corroborated by the epigraphically established date (mid-6th century bc) of their father Archermos of Chios, the probable sculptor of the Nike of Delos (Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 21). Knowledge of their work is derived entirely from literary sources. Most famous was their image of the Ephesian poet Hipponax, who was apparently incensed by its unflattering realism and responded with verses so bitter that the artists were driven to suicide (Pliny: Natural History XXXVI.xi–xiii). This anecdote was known to late commentators but was already questioned by Pliny, who knew of later works by the two at Iasos, Chios and Delos. Since brutally realistic portraits seem alien to 6th-century sculpture, the reference may be to some informal caricature. Pliny also mentioned sculptures by Bupalos and Athenis in fastigio...

Article

(fl c. 300 bc).

Greek sculptor. A pupil of Lysippos, he was best known for the bronze Colossus that stood by the harbour in the main town on Rhodes (it probably did not straddle the harbour, as was believed in the Middle Ages). The statue was paid for by the sale of siege machinery left behind by Demetrios Poliorcetes when he unsuccessfully besieged the town in 305–304 bc. Little is known about the Colossus, though it is briefly described by Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.xviii.41) and Philo (On the Seven Wonders of the World IV). It stood over 100 feet high and represented Helios, the sun god, with a radiate crown. Having taken more than 12 years to complete, the statue appears to have stood for less than a century; an earthquake overturned it in 227–226 bc, and the remains were plundered in the Middle Ages, carried away to Edessa in Turkey. The head of the statue may be reproduced on Rhodian Helios coins of the 4th and 3rd centuries ...

Article

Sarah P. Morris

[Gr.: ‘cunning worker’; Lat. Daedalus]

(?fl c. 600 bc).

Legendary Greek craftsman. He is conventionally associated with Bronze Age Crete and was credited in antiquity with a variety of technical and artistic achievements.

The earliest reference to Daidalos is in the Iliad, where he is named as maker of a choros for Ariadne at Knossos. In the 2nd century ad Pausanias recorded seeing this choros as a white marble relief at Knossos (IX.xl.2), but the term used in the Iliad could mean equally a painting, dancing-floor or dance. In the Classical period (c. 480–323 bc) Daidalos was mentioned primarily as a sculptor of ‘magic’ statues, both in drama (e.g. Euripides: Hecuba 838; Aristophanes: Daidalos frag. 194) and in philosophy (Plato: Menon 97d and Euthyphro 11c). In Athens he was given an Athenian pedigree as the son of Palamaon or Eupalamos, son of Metion, of the line of Erechtheos, and thus related to Hephaistos (e.g. Plato: Alcibiades I.121). He was also reputedly the teacher or father of the early ...

Article

Andrew F. Stewart

(fl earlier 2nd century bc).

Greek sculptor from Messene. The only ancient author to mention him is Pausanias, who was impressed by his statues for the Peloponnesian towns of Messene, Aigion, Megalopolis and Lykosoura. Yet since Pausanias gave no dates, and the numerous inscriptions mentioning the sculptor and his family are also undated, Damophon’s chronology must be inferred from the neo-classical style of his surviving works. This points to the period when the Achaian League (to which all the cities above belonged) was at the height of its prosperity and engaged in an extensive building programme.

Damophon specialized in marble cult statues, though he also produced acrolithic works, in which stone was used for heads, hands and feet, and wood for the rest. He was also chosen to restore the ivory on Pheidias’ Zeus at Olympia. His surviving works, all in marble, include the head of Apollo and some other fragments from Messene (Messene Mus.) and numerous pieces from his colossal cult group of ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Greek bronze statue of the early 5th century bc from the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi (h. 1.8 m; Delphi, Archaeol. Mus.; see fig.). The Charioteer was discovered in 1896 together with bronze fragments of a horse team and chariot, the arm of a further, smaller figure (an outrider or groom) and an inscribed base block of Pentelic marble, all of which seem to have belonged to the same monument. A young man, the charioteer is clad in a xystis, the long, short-sleeved tunic typical of his profession, the long vertical folds of which highlight the statue's plain, column-like character. While the Charioteer stands erect, with his feet close together and his weight evenly distributed, his entire body turns to the right in an unusual, gradual spiral movement, perhaps an indication that the figure was meant to be seen in a three-quarter profile from the right. The statue was cast in seven main pieces, possibly in the direct lost-wax technique; only the left arm is now missing. Finer details were added in different materials (glass paste, black stone and brown onyx for the eyes, copper for eyelashes and lips, silver for the teeth, copper and silver for the inlaid meander pattern of the hair band). The remains of the dedicatory inscription (‘Polyzalos erected me… Make him prosper, glorious Apollo’) are essential for narrowing down the date and historical context of the monument. It seems likely that the ...