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Aristokles (Ἀριστοκλῆς), a Greek sculptor, working in Attica at the end of the 6th century BC.
A grave stele of Pentelic marble, dated to around 510 BC, and found in 1838 in the ancient cemetery of Velanideza, eastern Attica, is signed at the bottom "work of Aristokles" (ἔργον Ἀριστοκλέος, ergon Aristokleos). The rectangular base of the stele is also inscribed with the name of the deceased man Aristion (Ἀριστίονος, Aristionos). 
The stele itself has a finely sculpted and painted low relief showing the full-length figure of a bearded, barefooted hoplite wearing a helmet, a cuirass over a chitoniskos and greaves (shin armour), and holding a spear in his left hand. The background was painted red, and some of the colour can still be seen, as well as traces of red, blue and yellow on the figure. The tip of the beard as well as the top of stele, including the top of the helmet and the finial, are missing.
Stele height 202 cm, width 14 cm.
Base height 24 cm, width 72 cm, depth 43 cm.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Inv. No. 29.
A plaster cast of the stele, without the base, is on display in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Inv. No. D4.
The lower part of a similar Attic grave stele, made of Hymettian marble and dated to 525–515 BC, shows the legs and feet of a hoplite and the lower part of spear. In the panel below the figure is a painted relief of an armoured warrior mounting a four-horse chariot, probably a competitor in an apobates race
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Inv. No. 38.11.13.
The grave stele of Aristion,
signed on the base by Aristokles.
See larger photos below.
Detail of the relief of Aristion. The carving of the hair, beard and folds of the
sleeve are particularly fine and detailed. There is a lightly sculpted star on the
shoulder, and the figure is also decorated with Meander and zig-zag patterns.
The museum labelling describes the stele as
"one of the most beautiful Attic grave steles".
The signature of Aristokles beneath of the feet of the relief figure,
and the name of the deceased man Aristion inscribed on the base.
ἔργον Ἀριστοκλέος (ergon Aristokleos, work of Aristokles)
Ἀριστίονος (Aristionos, Aristion's)
Inscription IG I³ 1255.
A warrior with a spear on an
Archaic marble grave stele from
the Greek island of Syme. In the
lower register is a wild boar.
1st half of the 6th century BC.
Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Inv. No. 507 T. Cat. Mendel 14.
Fragment of an Archaic Attic gravestone with
a painted relief of young doryphoros (spear
carrier), facing right, on a red background.
550-540 BC. Parian marble. Found built into
the Themistokleian Wall, Athens.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Inv. No. 7901.
||Notes, references and links
1. The discovery of the stele of Aristion at Velanideza
The American archaeologist Carl Darling Buck (1866-1955) discussed the "The stele of Aristion" in relation to a similar stele he discovered in 1888 at Ikaria, Mount Penteli, Attica (see photo, right):
"The stele of Aristion was found in 1838 in the ruined village of Velanideza, which lies about two-thirds the distance between Spata and the eastern coast of Attika, not, as is frequently stated, on the plain of Marathon, between which and Velanideza intervenes the eastern range of Pentelikon."
Carl D. Buck, Discoveries in the Attic Deme of Ikaria, 1888. Sculpture. Stele of a warrior (Plate IX). Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Volume V, 1886-1890, pages 126-134. Archaeological Institute of America. Damrell and Upham, Boston MA, 1892. At Heidelberg University Library.
Other, more recent sources date the discovery of the stele of Aristion to 1839. However, I have yet to find confirmation of the find date or first-hand details of its excavation.
See the fragments of a colossal marble statue of Dionysus which Buck discovered at Ikaria.
The fragmented Archaic warrior
stele found by Carl D. Buck at
Ikaria, Attica in 1888 (the head
of the figure was found later).
Pentelic marble. Circa 530 BC.
Height 172 cm, width 41-48.5 cm,
depth 12 cm.
National Archaeological Museum,
Athens. Inv. No. 3071.
Source: Carl D. Buck,
Discoveries in the Attic Deme
of Ikaria, 1888, Plate IX.
|Photos and articles © David John|
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