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||Demeter and Persephone - Part 2
||Part 2 of 2
||Depictions of Demeter / Ceres
Terracotta statue of an enthroned deity, perhaps Demeter.
From Sicily. Late 6th - early 5th century BC.
Holes in the head and earlobes indicate
that jewellery was attached to the figure.
Civic Archaeological Museum, Milan. Inv. No. A 1986.02.1.
|Life-size marble statue of enthroned Demeter, known as "Demeter of Knidos". 350-330 BC.
Excavated in 1858 by the British archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton,
in the sanctuary of Demeter at Triopion (Τριόπιον), Knidos, Caria
(Yazıköy, Muğla Province, Turkey).  Height 152 cm.
British Museum. Inv. No. GR 1859.11-26.26 (Sculpture 1300).
|The head, veiled at the back, was sculpted separately from the body using finer marble. Her face appears elongated, with a long nose and cheeks, as well as a high forehead and hairline. The folds of the garments are exceptionally deep around her breast and left shoulder. The lower arms and hands are missing, but she probably held a libation bowl or torch. The goddess is depicted as the epitome of Greek womanhood, serene, mature, motherly and modestly veiled. It is thought that a statue of her daughter Persephone may have stood next to her.
Marble statue, perhaps
a priestess of Demeter.
2nd century BC. Excavated in 1858 by
Charles Thomas Newton, in the
sanctuary of Demeter, Knidos. 
A mature woman wearing a himation
over a chiton. The head was sculpted separately and inserted into the body.
Inv. No. GR 1859.11-26.25
Terracotta head of an old woman, perhaps
Demeter, made at Knidos around 300 BC.
Excavated in 1858 by Charles Thomas Newton,
in the sanctuary of Demeter, Knidos, Caria. 
While Demeter was searching for Persephone
she took on the form of an old woman called
Doso (Δώσω, Giver) and was offered hospitality
in Eleusis by King Keleos and Queen Metaneira.
The object she carries on her head may be the
sacred kiste (cista mystica), which contained
the sacred objects of the Mysteries.
British Museum. Inv. No. GR 1859.12-26.174.
See also a statuette of Persephone
from Knidos below.
Part of a bronze statue thought to depict Demeter,
found in 1953 by sponge fishermen in the sea near
Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus), Turkey. 
Hellenistic period, 4th century BC. Height 81 cm.
Izmir Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 3544.
|Plaster cast of a "Demeter Cherchel" type statue. Height without base 233 cm.
Antikensammlung, Berlin State Museums (SMB).
|The marble original in the Altes Museum, Berlin (see photo below) is thought to be a Roman period copy, made around 150 AD, of a lost work of circa 450 BC. It is one of a number of similar, over-lifesized statues of the type named after the two examples discovered in Cherchel (Caesarea Mauretaniae), now in the Archaeological Museum of Cherchell, Algeria.
The cast does not include the modern lower arms and attributes which were added to the statue during restorations in the 18th and 19th centuries. The original was recorded by Ulisse Aldrovandi in the mid 16th century (Delle statue antiche ..., in Le antichita de la citta di Roma, 1556, 1558, 1562) as standing in the garden of the Palazzo Soderini, Rome. It was purchased in Rome by the art dealer Giovanni Ludovico Bianconi in 1766 for King Friedrich II of Prussia (Frederick the Great, 1712-1786) who placed it outside the Neue Palais, Sanssouci, Potsdam (see photo below).
The "Demeter Cherchel", with the restored arms and hands, in
the dimly-lit rotunda of the Altes Museum, Berlin. The figure holds
a torch in the left hand and poppies and ears of grain in the right.
White, fine crystalline marble with grey discolouring.
Height with base 361 cm, without base 233 cm, width 120 cm,
depth 74 cm. Height of face (hairline to chin) 20 cm.
Altes Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. Sk 83.
A copy of the restored Berlin "Demeter Cherchel" in Sanssouci.
Made 1848-1859 by Alessandro and Francesco Sanguinetti .
Exhibited in the Half Rondel, in the gardens of
the Neues Palais, Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany.
|Colossal marble statue of Demeter.
Pentelic marble. Roman period copy after a Greek original of the 5th century BC.
Found in 1876 in the area of the Auditorium, in the Horti Maecenatiani (Gardens
of Maecenas), Rome. The statue probably stood in a devotional site in the gardens.
Several ancient artefacts have been discovered at this location, including a number
associated with the worship of Dionysus (see the Dionysus page).
Palazzo dei Conservatori, Capitoline Museums, Rome. Inv. No. 905.
Over lifesize marble statue of Demeter.
Early Roman period. From the Peribolos
of Apollo in the Forum of Ancient Corinth.
Corinth Archaeological Museum.
Inv. No. S-67.
Over lifesize marble statue
of Demeter or Persephone.
Roman copy of a 5th century BC original.
From the Peribolos of Apollo, Corinth.
Corinth Archaeological Museum.
Inv. No. S-68.
Marble bust of Demeter wearing a veil and high diadem.
Provenance unknown. Coarse marble. A 2nd century AD Roman copy after
5th and 4th century Greek prototypes. It may be an idealized portrait of a
member of the Roman imperial family. The diadem was originally decorated
with small pearls, now lost. The tip of the nose has been restored.
Palazzo Altemps, National Museum of Rome, Italy. Inv. No. 8596.
Boncompagni Ludovisi Collection, from the Cesi Collection.
|Marble statue of Demeter.
Coarse-grained marble. Roman Imperial period.
The figure wears an elegant, tightly clinging garment, slipping at the right shoulder, typical
of statues of Aphrodite and also of portraits of women of imperial rank. The statue was
restored with arms and a head resembling images of Faustina the Younger, and later the
head was replaced with the present one. The modern identification of the figure as Demeter
is based on the gesture of the outstretched hand, indicating a product of the earth.
Palazzo Altemps, National Museum of Rome. Inv. No. 8546. Ludovisi Collection.
|Marble statue of Demeter holding poppies and ears of corn in her raised right hand.
Courtyard of Palazzo Altemps, National Museum of Rome. Not labelled, Inv. No. 49 (?).
Marble statuette of Demeter sitting on the sacred kiste (cista mystica),
from the Sanctuary of Isis, Dion. Late 4th century BC.
Dion Archaeological Museum.
The so-called Ceres, a marble statue of an
enthroned goddess. End of the 1st century AD.
National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
Inv. No. 6263. Farnese Collection.
Marble relief of Demeter. From Kozçeşme village (Biga/Çanakkale),
northwestern Anatolia, Turkey. Late Classical period, 4th century BC.
The enthroned figure turns her head and torso to her left. With
her right hand she pulls at the edge of her himation (cloak),
part of which covers the top of her head and is usually
referred to as a veil. Her left arm rests on the back of the
throne. Behind her stand two long torches in lower relief.
Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 4942 T.
A relief of Demeter sitting on the sacred kiste on the side of a cylindrical
marble altar depicting the Dodekatheon, the twelve Olympian gods
(see the note on the twelve gods on the Dionysus page).
1st century BC - 1st century AD. Discovered in May 1940 during excavations
by Guido Calza (1888-1946) at the temple of Attis in the sanctuary of the
Magna Mater (Campo della Magna Mater, Regio IV, Insula I), Ostia,
near Rome. Pentelic marble. Height 44 cm, diameter 50 cm.
Ostia Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 120.
|One of the fragments, previously kept in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme of the National Museum of Rome, had probably been discovered in 1867, during excavations at the sanctuary of the Magna Mater by Carlo Lodovico Visconti (1818-1894).
The altar is thought to be a Neo-Attic work, made in Athens between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD. On the front of the altar Zeus sits on a throne facing right, and above him is the inscription Δωδεκάθεον (Dodekatheon, "of the twelve gods").
The work may be eclectic, with the figures sculpted in imitation of a number of Greek sculptors of various periods. It has been suggested that as many as five of the figures, including Zeus, may be copies of those on the frieze on the east pediment of the Parthenon (see below). There has been little debate about the iconography of the relief or the identity of the deities.
The figures in the photo above are to the left and behind Zeus. The seated goddess has also been interpreted as Hestia (῾Εστία, goddess of the hearth), but the objects in her right hand appear to be ears of corn, with her left hand she holds her veil as in other depictions of Demeter (see above and below), and sits on a cylindrical object which may be the sacred kiste (see above).
Left of her is Hermes, naked except for a chlamys cloak, and with a petasos hat behind his head. On the right stands Apollo, holding a kithara (lyre). and to the right of him is his sister Artemis.
The first examination of the relief was written by the Italian archaeologist and art historian Giovanni Becatti (1912-1973), published in 1942 . It had been compared to that on a marble puteal (well head) in the Madrid Archaeological Museum, depicting gods around enthroned Zeus at the birth of Athena (see Athens Acropolis gallery page 13), which in turn had been connected with the scene as depicted on the east pediment of the Parthenon. However, rejecting this connection, Becatti believed that eleven of the twelve figures on the altar were copied from statues of the Olympian gods by Praxiteles which stood in the sanctuary Artemis Soteira (Artemis Saviour) in Megara. No traces of these works have yet been discovered by archaeologists, and the only ancient source concerning the group is a brief mention by Pausanias, who did not describe the statues, merely reporting the claim of his local informants that they were "said to be" by Praxiteles:
"... For this reason they had an image made of Artemis Saviour. Here are also images of the gods named the Twelve, said to be the work of Praxiteles. But the image of Artemis herself was made by Strongylion."
Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book 1, chapter 40, section 3. At Perseus Digital Library.
In an article published in 1949, the American classical art historian Rhys Carpenter (1889-1980) examined Becatti's claim that eleven of the figures were Praxitelean, and concluded: "Unfortunately, it seems to me to be entirely certain that they are not."  Instead, he saw characteristics of works by sculptors such as Lysippos and Polykleitos in some of the figures, and preferred to look to the Parthenon relief as a model.
The gods on the altar were identified by Becatti as:
1. Athena, 2. Zeus, 3. Hera, 4. Demeter or Amphitrite,
5. Poseidon, 6. Aphrodite, 7. Ares, 8. Hephaistos,
9. Hermes, 10. Hestia, 11. Apollo, 12. Artemis.
However, some of the identifications have been made on thin grounds. Becatti thought that the faceless figure 4 (see photo, above right) may be either Demeter or the Nereid Amphitrite (Ἀμφιτρίτη), the consort of Poseidon, because she stands next to the sea god, although she is not counted among the twelve Olympian gods. Although Demeter stands next to Poseidon in a relief from Smyrna (see below), it is a very different type of work; Poseidon is seated, and Artemis stands to his right. Figure 4 can not definitely be identified as Demeter on the basis of iconography or attributes: whatever she may have been holding in her raised right hand is now missing; her clothing and pose can be ascribed to depictions of other goddesses; and there is no standard relative positioning of the gods in other comparable groups .
Figure 10 has been identified as Hestia, in part by comparison with the female sitting on a rock on the Madrid puteal, who is thought to be Klotho (Κλωθώ, one of the three Moirai or Fates). It has also been suggested that the fact that Hermes stands next to the figure indicates she is Hestia, with whom he was sometimes associated, although the same can be said for Demeter (see below: here, here, here, here and here).
Very few Greek statues of Hestia are mentioned by ancient authors or inscriptions, and even fewer surviving sculptures are known with certainty to depict her. Even the famous "Giustiniani Hestia" (Torlonia Museum, Rome, Inv. No. MT 490) may actually be Demeter or Hera. There are none that can be directly compared with this figure.
Still, one would expect to see Hestia among the twelve, although she was later replaced by Dionysus (who does not appear on the altar), particularly if the relief was made for a customer in Rome, where, as Vesta, she remained an important deity. However, given the scarcity of other sculptural depictions of her, there is no definitive type which would assist positive identification.
Deity No. 4 on the Ostia
as Demeter or Amphitrite.
Detail of a marble cinerary urn with a relief depicting the
initiation of Herakles into the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Fine-grained white marble. Early Imperial period, inspired by a late
Hellenistic model from Alexandria. Found near the Porta Maggiore, Rome.
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, National Museum of Rome. Inv. No. 11301.
|The side of the finely sculpted urn is decorated all around with narrative scenes concerning the initiation of Herakles into the Eleusinian Mysteries. To the left of the main scene Demeter is shown seated and holding a long torch, with ears of corn in her hand and hair. The god Iakchos stands in front of her, touching the head (or feeding) a snake in her lap. Demeter turns her head to see Persephone (Kore) approaching from behind.
In the main scene the initiate Herakles sits with a lionskin covering his head and shoulders, while a priestess holds a wicker screen (liknon) above his head. To the right a priest holding a bowl and a jug accepts the offering of a piglet, placed on a low altar by a male figure (also Herakles?).
Unfortunately, the urn is displayed near a wall and it is difficult to view the side scenes which are unlit.
Terracotta statuette of Demeter
veiled and holding a long torch.
Roman period, 1st - 2nd century AD.
From Egypt. Provenance unknown.
Egyptian Section, Civic Archaeological
Museum, Milan. Inv. No. E 1998.03.451.
Fragmentary marble stele with high reliefs of Artemis, Poseidon and Demeter.
Discovered in the agora of Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) during excavations
by German and Turkish archaeologists 1932-1941. Believed to have
been part of a group of deities on an altar to Zeus in the centre of the
agora. Antonine period (138–193 AD). Height 220 cm, width 270 cm.
Izmir Museum of History and Art.
The Demeter relief from the Smyrna agora.
Izmir Museum of History and Art.
Ceramic bust of Demeter wearing a polos. 5th century BC.
Museo Civico, Castello Ursino, Catania, Sicily.
Inv. No. 5685. From the Biscari Collection.
Terracotta votive bust of Demeter or Persephone wearing a polos.
5th - 4th century BC. From Agrigento (ancient Akragas), Sicily.
Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum, Palermo, Sicily.
|One of several similar busts (see photo below) of various sizes and other terracotta votive offerings from the cave sanctuary known as "Demeter's Holy Cave" or San Biagio's cave sanctuary, on the cliff-face outside the city wall at the east of Agrigento. The sanctuary may have been founded by native Sicilians before the arrival of the Greek colonizers, and was in use until the sack of the city by the Carthaginians in 406 BC.
Above this sanctuary, on the top of the cliff, stood the Temple of Demeter, built 489-472 BC by Theron, the tyrant of Akragas, as part of a building programme following the Greek defeat of the Carthaginian invasion at Himera in 480 BC. The scant remains of the temple now lie beneath the church of San Biagio.
The cave sanctuary, discovered by chance in the late 19th century, consists of a monumental fountain-reservoir in front of a rock face into which three tunnels had been dug. Two of the tunnels carried water to the city's water supply network, known as "dei Feaci" (of the Phaeacians), dated to the 5th century BC. It is thought that the local water deity Persephone-Nestis, mentioned by the philosopher Empedocles who lived in Akragas, was worshipped here.
Among the many objects found, dated to the 8th or 7th - 4th centuries BC, were Geometric and Proto-Corinthian pottery, oil lamps, libation bowls, jugs and wine cups (skyphoi), "piglet offering figures" connected with propitiatory fertility rituals (see photo right) and ceramic sculptures, mostly depicting females, perhaps Demeter and Kore.
The sanctuary was first investigated by Pirro Marconi in 1926, by which time a great number of artefacts had already been looted and sold on the black market, and many smuggled out of Sicily. Some found their way to museums of Agrigento, Palermo and Siracusa. The objects in this group had been dug up by "grave robbers" and sold to antiquities smugglers, but were for some reason delivered in boxes to the Palermo museum on Christmas 1888.
Demeter is also thought to have been one of the deities worshipped in the Sanctuary of the Chthonic Divinities in the Valley of the Temples, below and to the southwest of the city. Although it it not known which deities were worshipped there (perhaps the Dioskouroi), the site contained bothroi (sacrificial pits), and terracotta figurines discovered there are almost identical to those found at other sanctuaries of Demeter in Sicily.
One of the piglet offering figures
from "Demeter's Holy Cave" in
Agrigento. A terracotta figurine of
a female holding a sacrificial piglet.
Antonino Salinas Regional
One of the larger and finer terracotta votive busts of Demeter or
Persephone from "Demeter's Holy Cave", Agrigento (see above).
Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum, Palermo, Sicily.
Terracotta bust of Demeter or Persephone holding a torch and a pig.
Made in Taranto, Italy around 420-400 BC. From Rubi.
British Museum. Gr 1856.12-26.325 (Terracotta 1276).
Bequeathed by Sir William Temple.
Painted ceramic bust of the type belonging to the cult
of Demeter and Kore. Early 4th century BC.
Found in the Well of Artemis, Piazza della Vittoria, Syracuse, Sicily.
Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum, Syracuse.
Terracotta head of a bust as a votive offering to Demeter and Kore.
3rd century BC. From Syracuse, Sicily.
Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum, Syracuse.
A painting of a Roman fertility goddess, either Tellus (Terra) or Ceres on the side of
a plaster-covered stone altar. Below is a black marble head of Dionysus/Bacchus.
From the Roman city Mediolanum (Milan), late 1st - early 2nd century AD.
Found in 1825 in the Via Circo, Milan.
Probably from a domus extra moenia, outside the city walls, perhaps from a collegium
(corporation of craftsmen or merchants). Each of the four sides has a painting of a deity.
The other three sides show Fortuna-Abundantia, Hercules and Nike/Victoria.
Civic Archaeological Museum, Milan. Inv. No. E 0.9.1070.
|Marble funerary stele with a relief of a woman, perhaps a priestess of Demeter.
Found at the caravan bridge at Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey). Hellenistic period,
around 150-100 BC. Coarse-grained, blue-greyish white marble.
Height 155 cm, width 65 cm, depth 14 cm.
Altes Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. Sk 767. Acquired in 1878.
|The woman holds poppy capsules in her left hand, and one of her diminuative female servants (slaves) holds a long torch. To the right, a cornucopia stands on top of a pilaster in lower relief. All three symbols are associated with the cult of Demeter and Persephone. However, this does not necessarily indicate that she was a priestess: the iconography, perhaps based on a statue of a prietess of Demeter, was common in Smyrna to depict respected women. The elaborate carving of the main figure and the architectural setting, complete with Corinthian columns and rosettes, suggest that she was from a wealthy family.
||Demeter on coins
A silver tetradrachm coin of Kyzikos (Cyzicus, Κύζικος) Mysia,
northwestern Anatolia (today Erdek, Balikesir Province, Turkey),
with the head of Demeter facing left, her hair held up by a sakkos
(headscarf), and wearing an earring in the form of an ear of wheat.
Above right is the inscription "ΣΩΤΕΙΡΑ" (Soteira, Saviour).
Circa 400 BC. Diameter 23 mm, weight 15.15 grams.
Numismatic Collection, Bode Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. 18200339.
A silver stater coin of Metapontion, Magna Graecia, with an
ear of corn representing the cult of Demeter. Circa 375 BC.
Metapontium (Μεταπόντιον; Latin, Metapontium), on the
gulf of Tarentum, southern Italy, was a colony of Achaea
in the Peloponnese, founded around 700-690 BC.
The obverse shows the head of Demeter wearing a wreath,
an earring and necklace, and the signature "APIΣTOΞE" of
the die-cutter Aristoxenos, who also made dies for nearby
Herakleia. Diameter 22 mm, weight 7.88 grams.
Numismatic Collection, Bode Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. 18200338.
A silver stater from Pheneos (Φενεός, Feneos), Arcadia, with the
head of Demeter in profile, facing right, wearing a grain wreath,
a disc and crescent earring with pendants, and a pearl necklace.
Circa 360-340 BC. Diameter 24 mm, weight 11.85 g.
Altes Museum, Berlin. From the collection of Dr. Alfred von Sallet.
Numismatic Collection, Berlin State Museums (SMB). Inv. No. 18214906.
|Pheneos (Φενεός) was a city in Arcadia, northeastern Peloponnese, Greece. Today it is in the Prefecture of Corinthia. It stood at the foot of Mount Kyllene, the mythical birthplace of Hermes, was an important cult centre for the god, and the location of an annual festival of the Hermaea. It also had sanctuaries for Demeter and Asklepios.
The reverse side of the coin shows Hermes carrying the infant Arkas, and the inscription ΦΕΝΕΩΝ (see the photo of another coin of this type on the Hermes page).
See also a Sicilo-Punic coin with a similar head, identified as Tanit-Persephone, below.
A silver tetradrachm coin of the Cycladic island Syros (Σύρος), with
the head of Demeter facing right, wearing a wreath with ears of corn
and an earring. Circa 150 BC. Diameter 31 mm, weight 15.88 grams.
The reverse side shows a laurel wreath surrounding two Kabeiroi
(or Dioskouroi) standing facing, each nude except for a cloak,
holding a sceptre or spear, and surmounted by a star, and the
inscription "ΘEΩN KABEIΡΩN ΣΥΡIΩN" (divine Syrian Kabeiroi).
Numismatic Collection, Bode Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. 18200337.
Roman bronze sestertius coin showing Ceres (Demeter) sitting on the
sacred kiste (cista mystica), holding a torch in her left hand and three grain
stalks in the right. Circa 128-135 BC. Diameter 34 mm, weight 25.16 grams.
One of many coin types issued by Empress Vibia Sabina (83 - 136/137 AD),
wife of Emperor Hadrian. In 128 AD she was awarded the title of Augusta
which allowed her to issue her own coinage.
Numismatic Collection, Bode Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. 18200340.
See also a statue of Vibia Sabina as Ceres in Part 1.
Read more about the Bode Museum Numismatic Collection
in Big Money at the Cheshire Cat blog.
||Depictions of Isis-Demeter
Marble relief of Isis-Demeter from the facade of the main temple
of the sanctuary of Isis, Dion, Macedonia, Greece. 2nd century BC.
Dion Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 410.
|For further information about the relief and the sanctuaries of Demeter and Isis at Dion, see:
Dion: the garden of the gods at The Cheshire Cat Blog.
|Marble statue of Isis-Demeter wearing a crescent moon topped by two ears of corn.
The frontal pose and garments resemble those of types of statues of Isis.
First half of the 2nd century AD. Proconnesian marble. Provenance unknown.
Palazzo Altemps, National Museum of Rome. Inv. No. 126074.
Until 1951 in the Barberini Collection.
Fragmentary marble head of Isis-Demeter wearing
a tall diadem, decorated with the uraeus, the snake
symbolizing Egyptian royalty, and ears of corn and
poppies, agricultural attributes of Demeter.
Late 2nd century AD. Provenance unknown.
Palazzo Altemps, National Museum of Rome. Inv. No. 75065.
Donated by the marquise Céline Cappelli in 1917.
||Depictions of Demeter and Persephone
Corinthian terracotta figurines of two females,
perhaps Demeter and Persephone, sitting in a cart.
Around 600 BC. Said to be from Thebes.
British Museum. Inv. No. GR 1895.10-29.5 (Terracotta 897).
Terracotta figurines dedicated to Demeter and Persephone and clay lamps.
Made in Sicily around 500-450 BC. From Gela, Sicily.
Terracottas: GR 1863,0728.273, 274, 266, 268 and 269.
Lamps: GR 1863,2728.117 and 121.
|The worship of Demeter and Persephone (Kore) was particularly popular in Sicily. In and around Gela, on the south coast, there were several major sanctuaries dedicated to the goddesses at which a large number of terracotta votive offerings and lamps have been found. The lamps suggest that rituals took place in semi-darkness.
Southeast of the city's acropolis (Lindioi) there was a sanctuary of Demetra Thesmophoros, founded in the 7th century BC on a low hill now known as Bitalemi, on the coast east of the mouth of the Gelas river. Excavations at the thesmophorion, led by Piero Orlandini 1964-1967, revealed disctinct phases of development from around 640 BC, including a major restoration about 480 BC, until the destruction of the city and the sanctuary by the Carthaginians around 405 BC. Another sanctuary at Predio Sola may have been dedicated to Demeter, Kore or Aphrodite.
Ceramic arula (portable altar) with a high relief depicting a triad of goddesses,
probably Demeter (centre) and Persephone with Hekate, Aphrodite or Artemis.
In the register above is a zoomachy: a lioness or panther attacking a bull.
Pink clay. 500-480 BC. From the emporion (ἐμπόριον, trading centre)
at the Bosco Littorio, Gela, Sicily. Height 113 cm.
Gela Regional Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. Sop. BL 30.
|One of three similar, well-preserved portable altars with reliefs of extraordinarily fine quality, discovered with fragments of others at the Bosco Littorio archaeological site in December 1999, during excavations by Lavinia Sole under the direction of Sopraintendente Rosalbe Panvini. The other two altars have reliefs depicting Medusa carrying Pegasus and Chrysaor, and Eos abducting Kephalos. All three are exhibited in the excellent Gela museum.
These light-weight altars, probably made in the same workshop, had apparently never been used, and may have been made for sale or export to customers who for some reason never received them. The site at the Bosco Littorio, on the coast of Gela, south of the acropolis (Lindioi) and west of the mouth of the Gelas river, is thought to have been an emporium due to finds of objects related to trade, including transport amphorae and imported vessels from Attica and Chalcis (Euboea) in Greece. The buildings at the site have been dated to the early 6th to early 5th centuries BC, and the altars appear to have been abandoned there around 480 BC, when the buildings of the area were violently burnt and destroyed.
The bodies of the altars, made of clay slabs, are hollow and perforated by large holes (see the photo on the Medusa page), making them lighter and easier to transport. These are among several portable altars found in Sicily (see, for example, a portable altar from Selinunte on the Medusa page). The reliefs, which were made separately then attached to the bodies before firing, were originally highly coloured, with red used as a background colour, and a yellow pigment which became almost vitrified (glass-like) during firing.
On this altar, three standing female figures are shown in stiff, frontal poses, typical of the Archaic period, and the braided locks of the figure in the centre are reminiscent of Daedalic style of the 6th century BC. Each wears a polos and a long-sleeved peplos. The central figure also wears a cloak, her hands resting on the braids which hang over the front of each shoulder. The other two, both probably made from the same mould, have formally styled hair with locks tied behind the ears with bands, then spiral down behind the shoulders. Their arms are at their sides and they each hold a wreath or garland in one hand. If the figures were made in the same mould, then the wreaths must have been modelled by hand after moulding.
Described as "triade divinità" (triad of female divinities), the figures have been interpreted as a triad of chthonic (underworld) goddesses. The central figure is thought to be Demeter, one of the other two Persephone, and the third possibly Hekate, Aphrodite or Artemis. The figures have been compared to those on a metope from Selinunte (see Part 1), whose identity is also uncertain.
The relief of a lean lioness attacking a bull in the upper register may further inform the debate over whether such depictions where influenced by Persian Achaemenid iconography, known from the monumental reliefs at Persepolis. It has been argued that the motif belongs to a Greek tradition which predates the arrival of the Persians in the Greek world by several centuries (see, for example, illustrations on Stageira gallery page 30). It has been suggested that the lioness killing the bull to feed her young is a symbolic echo of a priest sacrificing a bull to a deity to ensure the spiritual and physical welfare of the community.
On the sides of the altars are lotus blossoms painted in brown and black, now barely visible. The lotus flower was associated with female sexuality and fertility, birth and rebirth, and, like the poppy, with Demeter and Persephone (see Part 1). The flowers are also thought to have been used as ingredients in narcotic preparations consumed during ritual worship of the goddesses.
During my recent visit to the Gela museum the altar was in London, so I was unable to photograph it. This is a press photo for the fascinating exhibition, Sicily: Culture and Conquest, at the British Museum, 21 April - 14 August 2016. Photo © Regione Siciliana.
See: Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs, Sicily: Culture and Conquest, exhibition catalogue, pages 58-62. The British Museum, London, 2016.
The archaeological site at the Bosco Littorio is not usually open to the public, but is sporadically opened on special occasions.
Marble statues of two goddesses seated on chests, from the east pediment of the Parthenon,
thought to depict Persephone (left) and Demeter. 438-432 BC.
British Museum. East pediment E and F. Part of the "Elgin Marbles".
|The pedimental sculptures of the Parthenon were made of Pentelic marble by Pheidias and his pupils 438-432 BC. According to Pausanias (Description of Greece, Book 1, chapter 24, section 5), the theme of the east pediment was the birth of Athena, and that of the west pediment the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the patronage of Athens.
Each of the sculptures is actually a free-standing statue, executed in the round, rather than the type of reliefs known from the pediments of other temples (see for example the high relief of Dionysus from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi). They are remarkably detailed and finished, particularly considering that they stood so high on the Parthenon that many parts would not be visible to the viewer on the ground. An entire pediment can be seen only when standing some distance from the building; the view of the figures from the angle shown in the photo above was not possible when they were in place. Even the details such as drapery of the backs of the figures, although not of the same quality as the fronts, are finished to a surprisingly high degree.
The figure on the left rests her left forearm on the right shoulder of her companion, whose arms are raised. It has been suggested that she may surprised or disturbed by the swiftly moving figure to the right, who may be Hebe, the cup-bearer of Zeus. The reclining nude male figure to the left of the pair has been identified as Dionysus.
The composition of this pair may have been copied by Damophon for the statue group he made for the temple of Despoina in Lykosoura (see below).
Part of the display of statues and votive objects in the Baths of Diocletian, Rome,
found at the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore (Persephone) at Casaletto, in the
territory of Ariccia, Lazio (ancient Latium), Italy.
End of the 4th - first half of the 3rd century BC. The sanctuary
was discovered by chance in 1927 by farm workers.
Epigraphic Museum, Baths of Diocletian, National Museum of Rome.
|Ariccia (or Aricia), in the Alban Hills, 25 km southeast of Rome, was founded around 9th - 8th century BC, according to legend by Archilochos, a Siculian (Sicilian) chief. From the late 6th century BC until 338 BC it became one of the most important members of the confederation of 30 settlements and tribes of Latium, known today as the Latin League. In the first century BC Cicero (106-43 BC) described the municipium of Ariccia as "very old" and "federated", that is semi-independent and allied to Rome.
The large number of terracotta votive objects discovered at the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, including many depictions of deities and worshippers, indicate the strong influence of the art and culture of Magna Graecia and Sicily.
The centre of the museum display is a triangular dais on which stand three ceramic statues of enthroned goddesses: the godddess on the left has not been identified, in the centre is Demeter, and on the right Kore holding a piglet. Behind this triad are a headless female statuette, a bust of Kore and a bust of Demeter (not in photo, see photos below). To the right of the dais, a glass case displays votive ceramic heads from the sanctuary.
At the time the following photos were taken the room was being renovated and some of objects were not on display. The bust of Demeter below, for example, is not the one described in the labelling and illustrated in the museum guide book .
|Ceramic statue of Demeter sitting on a richly decorated throne.
She wears a long chiton (tunic), a cloak, a diadem with ears
of corn and jewellery, and holds ears of corn in her right hand.
From the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, Ariccia, Lazio, Italy.
Rosy-beige clay. End of the 4th - first half of the 3rd century BC.
Baths of Diocletian, National Museum of Rome.
Partly restored ceramic bust of Demeter wearing a headband decorated
with ears of corn, a chiton, a cloak and rosette earrings with triangular
pendants. Her thick wavy hair is tied back and falls over her shoulders
(some of the hair and the back of the head are missing).
From the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, Ariccia, Lazio, Italy.
Beige clay. End of the 4th - first half of the 3rd century BC.
Baths of Diocletian, National Museum of Rome.
|Ceramic statue of Kore, enthroned and holding a votive piglet in her left hand.
She wears a chiton, a cloak and jewellery similar in style to that of Magna Graecia.
From the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, Ariccia, Lazio, Italy.
Reddish clay. End of the 4th - first half of the 3rd century BC.
Baths of Diocletian, National Museum of Rome.
Ceramic bust of Kore wearing a headdress decorated by
two upright ears of corn and radiating forms which appear
to be snakes, and a high-belted chiton. Her plaits, which fall
over her shoulders, are also decorated with ears of corn.
From the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, Ariccia, Lazio, Italy.
Beige terracotta. End of the 4th - first half of the 3rd century BC.
Baths of Diocletian, National Museum of Rome.
Limestone relief of two female figures, possibly Demeter and Persephone.
A metope from a Doric tomb. Made in Taranto, southern Italy around 300 BC.
British Museum. Inv. No. Gr 1873.8-20.746 (Sculpture 793).
Reconstruction drawing of the Lykosoura statue group by Damophon of Messene, 190-180 BC.
Left - right: Artemis, Demeter, Despoina (Persephone), the Titan Anytos.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Reconstruction by Guy Dickins of the British School at Athens, 1906.
Based on several fragments discovered during excavations and a
description of the statue group by Pausanias .
|The Lykosoura statue group
The Arcadian city Lykosoura (Λυκόσουρα) on Mount Lykaion and its sanctuary of Demeter and Despoina (Δέσποινα, usually translated as the Mistress, see note in Part 1) are considered to have been very ancient. Pausanias, the only ancient source on the location, reported the claim that it was the oldest city in the world.
"A little farther up is the circuit of the wall of Lycosura, in which there are a few inhabitants. Of all the cities that earth has ever shown, whether on mainland or on islands, Lycosura is the oldest, and was the first that the sun beheld; from it the rest of mankind have learned how to make them cities.
On the left of the sanctuary of the Mistress is Mount Lycaeus. Some Arcadians call it Olympus, and others Sacred Peak. On it, they say, Zeus was reared."
Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book 8, chapter 38, sections 1-2. At Perseus Digital Library.
Demeter and Despoina were worshipped there according to the archaic Arcadian chthonic rites, thought to be quite different from those of the Eleusinian cult, and perhaps closer to the oriental Kybele or Magna Mater.
Pausanias wrote that when the Arcadians united (forming a synoikism) to found the city of Megalopolis (Μεγαλόπολις) around 370 BC because of the fear of Spartan expansion, the inhabitants of several Arcadian settlements were forced to move there. Those who dissented were either massacred or fled the Peloponnese. The Lykosourians refused to give up their city but were spared because they took refuge in the sanctuary of Demeter and Despoina (Description of Greece, Book 8, chapter 27, sections 1-6). Later the Eleusinian cult spread through Arcadia, probably after being introduced to Megalopolis.
Although the location of Lykosoura was identified by the British traveller Edward Dodwell in 1806, the first excavations there were undertaken by the Greek Archaeological Society in 1889, 1890 and 1895, directed by Panagiotis Kavvadias (Παναγιώτης Καββαδίας, 1850-1928) and Konstantinos Kourouniotis (Κωνσταντίνος Κουρουνιώτης, 1872-1945), who also founded the small museum at the site. During the excavation of the Doric temple of Despoina (see plan below) over a hundred fragments of a group of four larger than lifesize statues were discovered .
Guy Dickins of the British School at Athens reconstructed the composition of the statues with the aid of the description of the group by Pausanias (see below). His reconstruction appeared to be largely confirmed a few years later by the publication by the Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais (Βαλέριος Στάης) of a Roman Imperial period coin minted by nearby Megalopolis (7 km to the east), which had been locked away in the Athens museum (see photo, below right). On the obverse side of the coin is the head of Julia Domna (170-217 AD), second wife of Emperor Septimius Severus (reigned 193–211 AD), and on the reverse what is thought to be a representation of the Lykosoura statue group.
The group was around 5.6 metres high, including the 8.4 metre long, T-shaped limestone pedestal. Although Pausanias described the statues he saw as "made from a single piece of stone", this group was constructed of several separately worked pieces joined by iron and lead dowels and cement. Modern scholars have concluded that he may have been misinformed by his local informants, which has led to the question of whether he was also misled into believing the group was by Damophon. Konstantinos Kourouniotis commented:
"One imagines that Pausanias derived the story about the single block of marble, from which the group of Demeter and Despoina was constructed, from servants of the temple who were in the habit of playing on the credulity of tourists in order to enhance the miraculous nature of their sanctuary." [see note 8]
The statues were orginally brightly coloured (polychrome). In the centre Demeter and Despoina were seated together on a wide throne, covered with a cloth and decorated with figures of female Tritons on the backrest and arms. The Korybantes were depicted on the base of the throne, and the Kouretes on the footstool (not shown in Dickins' reconstruction). Demeter sat on the viewer's left, holding a long torch in her right hand, and with her left arm resting on the right shoulder of Despoina, who held a sceptre in her left hand, and in the right hand, which rested on her lap, the cista mystica. The height of the Demeter figure is estimated to have been around 4 metres. Guy Dickins (Damophon of Messene II, pages 396-397, see note 8) remarked on the similarities of the seated pair with that of the figures on the East Pediment of the Parthenon (see above).
The other two statues were at a slightly smaller scale, around 3.3 - 3.8 metres tall. Left of the throne stood Artemis, wearing a nebris (deerskin) and a quiver, holding a torch in her right hand and two snakes in the left. At her side was a female hunting dog. To the right stood the Titan Anytos (Ἄνυτος), wearing armour and holding a spear. According to the Arcadian myth related by Pausanias, Artemis was the daughter of Demeter, and Depoina was raised by Anytos.
Since Dickins' reconstruction, further fragments of the group have been discovered, and a number of scholars have attempted to reappraise and reconstruct the composition anew. Among the surviving fragments are also parts of Despoina's folded veil, finely decorated with horizonzal bands of reliefs imitating embroidery, depicting eagles with winged thunderbolts (symbols of Zeus), Tritons and Nereids with sea horses and dolphins (associated with Poseidon), Nikes (or Nikai) carrying censers, and dancing figures with animal heads or masks. The iconography of this decoration has led to further speculation over the nature of the cult practiced at the sanctuary.
The heads of Demeter, Artemis and Anytos, as well as part of Despoina's himation (Inv. No. 1737) and four statues of Tritonesses (Inv. Nos. 2171, 2172, 2174, 2175) are kept in the Athens museum. Fragments of the throne and torsos of the figures are in the Lykosoura Archaeological Museum. These fragments were also originally planned for removal to Athens, but fortunately for the Lykosoura museum, at the time the bad state of the roads prevented the transportation of the fragile torsos.
Head of Artemis from the Lykosoura
statue group by Damophon.
190-180 BC. Doliana marble. Height 48 cm.
The goddess wears a wreath. The eyes
were inlaid, and there are holes for
attaching metal jewellery. The torso
and parts of the limbs are kept in the
Lykosoura Archaeological Museum.
National Archaeological Museum,
Athens. Inv. No. 1735.
Head of the Titan Anytos from the
Lykosoura statue group by Damophon.
190-180 BC. Doliana marble. Height 74 cm.
The eyes were inlaid.
National Archaeological Museum,
Athens. Inv. No. 1736.
The Roman period coin of Megalopolis
thought to depict the Lykosoura
statue group by Damophon.
Early 3rd century AD.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
First published by the Greek archaeologist
Valerios Stais (Βαλέριος Στάης, 1857-1923,
Director of the National Archaeological
Museum, Athens 1887-1923) in the Journal
International d'Archéologie Numismatique.
"The actual images of the goddesses, Mistress and Demeter, the throne on which they sit, along with the footstool under their feet, are all made out of one piece of stone. No part of the drapery, and no part of the carvings about the throne, is fastened to another stone by iron or cement, but the whole is from one block. This stone was not brought in by them, but they say that in obedience to a dream they dug up the earth within the enclosure and so found it. The size of both images just about corresponds to the image of the Mother at Athens.
These too are works of Damophon. Demeter carries a torch in her right hand; her other hand she has laid upon the Mistress. The Mistress has on her knees a staff and what is called the box, which she holds in her right hand. On both sides of the throne are images. By the side of Demeter stands Artemis wrapped in the skin of a deer, and carrying a quiver on her shoulders, while in one hand she holds a torch, in the other two serpents; by her side a bitch, of a breed suitable for hunting, is lying down.
By the image of the Mistress stands Anytus, represented as a man in armour. Those about the sanctuary say that the Mistress was brought up by Anytus, who was one of the Titans, as they are called. The first to introduce Titans into poetry was Homer *, representing them as gods down in what is called Tartarus; the lines are in the passage about Hera's oath. From Homer the name of the Titans was taken by Onomacritus, who in the orgies he composed for Dionysus made the Titans the authors of the god's sufferings.
This is the story of Anytus told by the Arcadians. That Artemis was the daughter, not of Leto but of Demeter, which is the Egyptian account, the Greeks learned from Aeschylus the son of Euphorion. The story of the Curetes, who are represented under the images, and that of the Corybantes (a different race from the Curetes), carved in relief upon the base, I know, but pass them by.
The Arcadians bring into the sanctuary the fruit of all cultivated trees except the pomegranate. On the right as you go out of the temple there is a mirror fitted into the wall. If anyone looks into this mirror, he will see himself very dimly indeed or not at all, but the actual images of the gods and the throne can be seen quite clearly."
* Homer, The Iliad, 14.279.
Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book 8, chapter 37, sections 3-7. At Perseus Digital Library.
A plan of the temple of Despoina at of the Lykosoura, showing the location of the T-shaped
pedestal (bathron) of the statue group at the west end of the 10 metre wide cella (left).
Source: Charles Nicolas Normand, Corpus des monuments grecs: Lycosoura,
Planche 8. l'Ami des Monuments et des Arts, Paris, 1892. At the Internet Archive.
|The temple was discovered during excavations by Panagiotis Kavvadias July-November 1889, around 100 metres west of the ruins of a chapel of Agios Athanasios. It is prostyle-hexastyle, that is with a row of six Doric columns across the front only. The stylobate (platform), oriented east-west, is 11.15 metres wide and 21.35 metres long. The pronaos (front porch) at the east end lead to the cella (inner chamber) in which the cult statues stood, and which had a mosaic floor. Thought to have been built in the 4th century BC, the temple was repaired several times during the Roman period.
"The ground-plan of the temple has been clearly made out, and it is seen to be a Doric hexastyle-prostyle, twenty metres long by ten broad, the cella being thirteen metres long. In the walls of the cella, the lower courses are of masonry of local stone, the upper courses are of unburnt brick. The temple was oriented from east to west, and had a marble portico at the entrance, which seems to have been filled with votive offerings, the bases of which are extant."
Charles Waldstein, Lykosoura - Temple of Depoina = Persephone, The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, Volume 6, No. 1/2 (Mar. - Jun. 1890), pages 209-211. At jstor.org.
Terracotta group of two seated female figures,
possibly Demeter and Persephone.
Made in Myrina, northwest Anatolia (Asia Minor),
around 100 BC. Said to be from Asia Minor.
British Museum. Inv. No. Gr 1885.3-16.1 (Terracotta C 529).
||Depictions of Persephone
Small bronze figure holding
a torch and a pomegranate,
Greek, around 560 BC.
Probably from Athens.
Inv. No. GR 1900.7-27.2.
Fragment of a terracotta plaque showing Persephone
seated (beside Hades, now missing).
Made in Medma, southern Italy, around 470 BC.
Height 14 cm.
British Museum. GR 1889.5-21.5 (Terracotta 1220).
Purchased in 1889 from Rev. Greville John Chester.
Bronze mirror support in the form of a
female figure holding a pomegranate, and
with a lioness standing on each shoulder.
Made in Magna Graecia (southern Italy)
around 500 BC, perhaps in Croton.
Inv. No. GR 1824.4-72.4 (Bronze 549).
Bequeathed by R. Payne Knight.
Bronze mirror support in the form of a
female figure holding a pomegranate.
Made in Campania, Magna Graecia
(southern Italy) around 480 BC.
Inv. No. GR 1824.4-72.2 (Bronze 198).
Bequeathed by R. Payne Knight.
|"The Goddess of Tarentum", a marble statue of an enthroned goddess,
perhaps a cult statue of Persephone as the queen of the Underworld.
Hera and Aphrodite have also been suggested.
475-450 BC. From Tarentum or Locri, southern Italy.
Antikensammlung, Berlin State Museums (SMB). Inv. No. Sk 1761.
Acquired in 1915.
|Marble statue of Persephone.
Pentelic marble. Work of the school of Agorakritos of Paros, circa 420-410 BC.
Found on the hill of Mounychia, Piraeus. Height 77 cm.
The goddess would have originally held a torch in each hand.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Inv. No. 176.
See also a statue of Demeter attributed to Agorakritos in Part 1.
Marble statuette of Persephone
wearing a high polos and holding
a pomegranate flower.
Around 350-300 BC. Excavated in
1858 by Charles Thomas Newton,
in the sanctuary of Demeter,
Knidos, Caria. 
The pomegranate played an important
role in the cult of Persephone, since she
had eaten its seeds in the Underworld.
GR 1859.12-26.43 (Sculpture 1302).
|Marble statue of the "Small Herculaneum Woman" type,
perhaps depicting Persephone.
Late 2nd - early 1st century BC. Possibly from the sanctuary
of Demeter at Derveni, the site of the ancient Mygdonian city
of Lete (Λητή), near Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece.
Copy of a statue made in the workshop of the Athenian sculptor
Praxiteles in the late 4th century BC. The type is named after
the many copies found in Herculaneum, Italy.
Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.
See also a statue of Persephone and Demeter and
an offering table dedicated to Demeter from Derveni, in Part 1.
Other finds from Derveni in the Thessaloniki museum include
the Derveni Krater and a relief signed by Evandros of Veroea.
Sicilo-Punic dekadrachm with the head of Tanit-Persephone, facing left,
wearing a corona spicea (a crown of ears of grain) and pendant earring.
4th century BC. Diameter 38 mm, weight 29.41 grams.
Civic Archaeological Museum, Milan. Inv. No. Brera, n. 4290.
|From 600 to 265 BC the Carthaginians (known to the Romans as Punici, Punics) and Greek colonists fought bitterly for dominance in Sicily, after which the Romans continued fighting Carthage for the control of the western Mediterannean. In some cases Sicilian Greek colonies sided with the Carthaginians against rival Greek cities and tyrants. The Carthaginians only began minting coins around the time of the Second Sicilian War (or Greco-Punic War, 410-340 BC) in order to pay for mercenary armies. From around 410 to 307 BC they gained control of several areas in the west of the island and part of the north coast, and established mints, including one at Panormos (Greek, Πάνορμος; Punic, Ziz; today Palermo).
Sicilian Greek die engravers, perhaps those whose home cities had been destroyed or taken over during the wars, designed coins for the Carthaginans, adapting motifs used in Greek cities such as Syracuse (see examples on the Nike page) as well as elements of Punic iconography. Tanit, the chief goddess of Carthage, was portrayed in the same way as the Greek nymph Arethousa or as Persephone. Notably, these Sicilo-Punic coins are usually referred to as multiples of the Greek drachma, based on the weight of around 4.3 grams. The Carthaginian or Punic shekel typically weighed around 7.2 grams in silver and 7.5 grams in gold, and probably preceded the Tyrian shekel of Phoenicia (see Big Money at The Cheshire Cat Blog), which developed around 300 BC.
Although the heads on the coins have been identified as being based on depictions of Persephone, they are almost identical to those on Greek coins thought to show Demeter (see photo above).
The reverse side of these types of coins usually showed Pegasus (see Medusa), a horse or a horse's head, often with Punic inscriptions. The reverse of this coin shows Pegasus flying to the right and the Punic legend B'RST ("in the territories"). Some scholars have dated coins of this type to the period of the First Punic War with the Roman Republic (264-241 BC). See, for example:
Ancient Coinage of Sicily, Punic. At wildwinds.com.
The use of Greek iconography on Sicilo-Punic coinage is an indicator the complex relations of the ethnic groups on the island, a subject which has only recently been examined in depth. See, for example:
Jonathan R. W. Prag, Siculo-Punic Coinage and Siculo-Punic Interactions.
In M. Dalla Riva (editor), Meetings between Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean. Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Rome, 22-26 September 2008. Published online in Bollettino di Archeologia online, I, 2010, Volume speciale.
Archaistic marble head of a kore.
Found in the Domus of Fortuna
Annonaria (V,II,8), Ostia.
Ostia Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 102.
Archaistic marble head of a kore.
Late 1st century BC or early 1st century AD.
Found in the Tomb of Julia Procula (Tomb 97),
necropolis of Portus on the Isola Sacra, Ostia.
Ostia Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 104.
|The two heads are exhibited next to each other in the Ostia museum without explanation other than "Testa di Kore" and the findspot of each. Little has been written about these sculptures, although the head on the right has been described as depicting Minerva-Athena. Identification of many ancient buildings and objects at Ostia has proved difficult, often due to the lack of inscriptions, literary evidence and other archaeological clues. Both females wear diadems decorated with flowers, and those of the head on the right appear similar to the stylized poppies and lotus blossoms associated with the cult of Demeter and Persephone.
||Persephone and Plouton (Hades)
The "Ploutonion" (also known as "the sacred precinct of the Mirthless Rock") in the
Sanctuary at Eleusis (see Part 1), at the foot of the northeast slope of the acropolis
hill. In front of the cave, which perhaps represented the gates of Hades, the
small 4th century BC Temple of Plouton replaced the 6th century BC Peisistratid
temple which may have been destroyed during the Persian invasion of 480-479 BC.
Although Plouton was a central figure in the myth of Demeter and Persephone,
his role in the Mysteries themselves is considered to have been relatively minor.
Detail of an Attic red-figure column krater with a god chasing a female,
possibly Plouton (Hades) and Persephone, or Zeus and a maiden.
The other side of the krater shows a female figure with a torch.
Attributed to the Boreas Painter. 470-460 BC. One of five Attic kraters
found in 1841 in the necropolis of Akragas (Agrigento), Sicily (see below).
Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum, Palermo. Inv. No. 2555 (V795).
Beazley Archive Database No. 206127.
A marble votive stele from Rhodes with a relief depicting a male
and female in a quadriga (four-horse chariot). The scene is
thought to represent the mythological abduction of the female.
430-420 BC. From Afantou (ancient Brygindara), northeast Rhodes.
Height 51.5 cm, width 79 cm, depth 7 cm. Height of relief 43 cm.
Antikensammlung, Berlin State Museums (SMB). Inv. No. Sk 1545.
|The theme of a god or mortal abducting a female was a recurring subject of Greek and Roman literature and art, the culprits include Hades, Zeus, the Dioskouroi, Pelops, Theseus and Paris. Abductors were often depicted using a chariot as a getaway vehicle, particularly in the case of Hades abducting Persephone (see photos below). The identity of the pair in this relief is unknown, but Echelos and Basile, and the local eponymous goddess or heroine Brygindis (Βρυγίνδις) of the Rhodian deme Brygindara, have been suggested. On the left stands the dedicator of the relief.
The upper, larger fragment of the relief purchased on the art market in early 1903. Shortly after Friedrich Freiherr Hiller von Gaertringen (1864-1947) went to the village Afantou (Αφάντου), on the northeast coast of Rhodes, the location of ancient Brygindara, and purchased the other three fragments from the owners. The stele had been used as a doorstep for many years.
The composition is similar to that of a relief on an amphiglyphon (stele with reliefs on both sides), excavated at Neo Phaleron, Attica, in June 1893, depicting a couple on a quadriga, inscribed with the names of the hero Echelos and the nymph Basile, although some scholars believe that the name is actually Iasile, perhaps a local heroine. National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Inv. No. 1783. The style of both reliefs has been compared to that of the Parthenon frieze.
Echelos (Ἔχελος) was the eponymous hero of Echelidai (Ἐχελίδαι), a district in the Attic deme of Xypete (Ξυπέτη), northeast of Piraeus. He is known from a decree found on the north slope of Areopagos, Athens (inscription IG(2) 4545 48). He was honoured at a hieron near Piraeus, and a statue of him stood near the hippodrome in Phaleron. The name Basile (Queen, Mistress) was also an epiphet of Persephone.
Reinhard Kekulé, who published the relief from Afantou in 1905, stated that the stele was made of Pentelic marble and the work of an artist from Attica, and that it depicted, like the Phaleron relief, Echelos and Basile. Later authors, including Carl Blümel (Die klassisch-griechischen Skulpturen der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Berlin 1966, pages 59-60), concluded that the marble was not from Attica and that the relief was more likely to have depicted Brygindis. However, only the name of this local goddess or heroine is known from short dedicatory inscriptions, and nothing is known of myths or legends concerning her, or whether she was abducted.
See: Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz (1839-1911), Echelos und Basile: attisches Relief aus Rhodos in den Königlichen Museen. 65. Winckelmannsprogramme der Archäologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin. Georg Reimer, Berlin, 1905. At the internet Archive. Includes plates of both reliefs and a contribution by Hiller von Gaertringen on ancient Brygindara. Confusingly, the first page has a plate of another relief with a similar subject, without a subtitle.
See also a vase painting of Plouton and Persephone in a quadriga below.
A Roman marble relief depicting the abduction of Proserpina (Persephone)
by Pluto (Plouton) on a cinerary altar with a tabula without an inscription.
Eros drives the charging horses of the quadriga (four-horse chariot).
2nd century AD.
Baths of Diocletian, National Museum of Rome.
Inv. No. 65197. Formerly in the Kircherian Museum.
|Pausanias related a local belief that Plouton descended to the Underworld with Persephone near Lerna in Argolis, northeast Peloponnese:
"On returning to the straight road, you will cross the Erasinus and reach the river Cheimarrus [Winter-torrent]. Near it is a circuit of stones, and they say that Pluto, after carrying off, according to the story, Core, the daughter of Demeter, descended here to his fabled kingdom underground. Lerna is, I have already stated, by the sea, and here they celebrate mysteries in honour of Lernaean Demeter."
Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book 2, chapter 36, section 7. At Perseus Digital Library.
See a sarcophagus relief and a Roman fresco depicting Pluto abducting Proserpina below.
Fresco panel of the abduction of Persephone by Hades on the ceiling of the Room of
the Marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxane, Villa Farnesina, Trastevere, Rome.
|The villa and this ceiling were designed by the Sienese architect and painter Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536) and built 1506-1511 for the Sienese merchant, banker and mine owner Agostino Chigi (1466-1520). The small ceiling panels depicting mythological scenes were painted by artists from Peruzzi's workshop. The walls of the room, which was Chigi's bedroom, were decorated with frescoes depicting episodes from the life of Alexander the Great, including The Wedding of Alexander and Roxana by Sodoma.
Marble votive relief depicting Hades (Plouton), Persephone and suppliants.
From the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, Greece. 4th century BC.
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5122.
|A bearded man with long hair, wearing a polos and a himation around the lower part of his body, reclines on a kline (couch), resting on his left elbow. In his right hand he holds a rhyton (drinking horn), and in his left a phiale (libation bowl). A woman sits to his left at the foot of the kline, facing him and holding a small container (perhaps a basket of sweets) in her left hand. One of her feet can be seen resting on a wide step. A table laden with food offerings stands before the couch. They are approached from the left by five worshippers, a woman and four men, shown at a smaller scale. The scene is framed by two pillars supporting a roof, an architectural setting usually referred to as a naiskos (small temple).
Although the main figures in this relief and the one immediately below have been identified as Hades (Plouton) and Persephone in the context of the Eleusis sanctuary, several other similar reliefs discovered elsewhere (e.g. the reliefs from Corinth below) have been interpreted as representing a deceased hero in a banqueting scene (symposium, named Totenmahlreliefs by German archaeologists). A similar 4th century BC relief in the Museo Gregoriano Profano, Vatican Museums, Inv. No. 1348, is also described as depicting Hades, Persephone and worshippers. See: arachne.uni-koeln.de/item/objekt/22114.
The scene of Persephone and Hades on a kline is also known from the tondo of an Attic red-figured kylix, circa 440-430 BC, said to be from Vulci. Now in the British Museum, Inv. No. GR 1847.9-9.6 (Vase E82).
The 17th century English traveller George Wheler recorded three such reliefs in Athens in 1676, which he called "basso-relievos, depicting Isis and Serapis sitting on a couch". He included a drawing of one in his account of his travels. See: George Wheler, A journey into Greece, page 406. London, 1682.
See more about hero reliefs on Pergamon gallery 2, page 10. For other votive reliefs with gods, see Hermes and Pan.
Marble votive relief depicting Hades (Plouton), Persephone,
a suppliant with a theatre mask, and a wine pourer (oinochoos).
From Eleusis, Greece. Early 4th century BC.
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5172.
Persephone and Plouton?
A marble votive relief described by the museum labelling as
"A banqueting hero reclining on a couch and raising a drinking
horn is approached by a family of worshippers. 400-201 BC."
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Inv. No. ANMichaelis. 145.
A marble votive relief from Corinth, described by the museum as a hero relief. 4th century BC.
The profile horse's head in lower relief on the left side of the scene is a typical feature of
hero reliefs (see, for example, two funerary reliefs from Derveni), although the usual
snake is missing here and on the other reliefs above. On the left, a naked young man,
standing beside a large amphora, holds a tambourine (?) and an oinochoe (wine jug).
Corinth Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. S 2632.
Another "hero relief" from Corinth.
Corinth Archaeological Museum.
|The scene in this fragmented relief is slightly different to that in the other reliefs above, and more typical of banqueting reliefs. Both the horse and the snake (thought to represent the soul of the deceased hero) are present, as well as a family offering a pig and a naked boy as a wine pourer (oinochoos) with a large krater. A reconstruction drawing of the scene made in the 1930s conjectured that the missing top right corner showed the male "hero" figure wearing a polos and holding a rhyton and phiale. 
See also reliefs of Demeter, Persephone and Zeus Chthonios from Corinth below.
Yet another relief with a banqueting "hero", this one from Thebes, Boeotia. 350-300 BC.
Antikensammlung, Berlin State Museums (SMB).
Inv. No. Sk 825. Acquired in 1884.
Marble votive relief with Zeus and a gathering of the gods in a grotto sanctuary.
From Megara, Greece, 380-370 BC. Height 50 cm, width 50 cm, depth 10.5 cm.
Altes Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. Sk 679.
Acquired in 1884 from the Sabouroff Collection.
|Seven deities are arranged in a semi-circle around a mask of the river god Acheloos on an altar. Most have not been definitely identified because of the lack of attributes, and one or more may be local deities. The supreme Olympian god Zeus sits in the centre, above the others. Left of him is Pan with his horns and lagobolon (hunting stick), then perhaps Persephone (Kore) and Hermes on the far left. To the right stands Persephone or Hekate holding two torches, then Hades (Plouton) with a phiale (libation bowl) and cornucopia, and perhaps Demeter.
||Triptolemos and other Eleusinian deities
Detail of a small Attic black-figure amphora showing
the "apostole", the mission of Triptolemos.
By a painter of the Leagros Group. Excavated from
Tomb L, Osteria necropolis, Rome. 530-510 BC.
Demeter bids farewell to a bearded Triptolemos, seated in his
chariot with a sceptre and sheaf of corn, who is about to set
off on his mission to teach humans the art of cultivation.
National Etruscan Museum, Villa Giulia, Rome.
Detail of an Attic red-figure amphora showing Persephone (Kore), Triptolemos and Demeter.
By a painter of the Polygnotan Group. Third quarter of the 5th century BC. Provenance unknown.
A youthful Triptolemos, seated in his winged chariot with a sceptre and phiale (libation bowl),
about to set off on his mission to teach humans the cultivation of corn. Persephone, left, holds
a torch and an oinochoe (wine jar) for the departure libation. Demeter, right, holds a sceptre.
National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Inv. No. 1166.
Detail of an Attic red-figure bell krater showing Persephone (Kore), Triptolemos and Demeter,
with King Keleus of Eleusis (Triptolemos' father) and Hippothoon standing at the sides.
Attributed to the Orithyia Painter. 470-460 BC. Height 40.5 cm, diameter 46 cm.
Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum, Palermo, Sicily. Inv. No. 2557.
|The largest of five kraters, which had been used as cinerary urns, discovered in a field, the site of a burial complex at Agrigento (ancient Akragas), Sicily in 1841 by Domenico Cardillo (the owner of the field), Gerlando Alletto and Giovanni Gentile. The kraters were given as a gift to King Ferdinand II of Bourbon who donated them to the Museum of the Royal University of Palermo.
The other side of the krater shows Zeus arbitrating in a dispute between Achilles and Memnon.
See: J. Bovio Marconi, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Italia, Museo Nazionale di Palermo (Rome, 1938), page 18 and Plate 35.
Detail of an Attic red-figure lekythos (oil jar) showing
Triptolemos standing by his winged chariot.
Attributed to the Eucharides Painter.
500-450 BC. Found in Gela, Sicily.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Inv. No. AN1891.683.
Votive relief depicting Triptolemos being sent on his mission.
From Eleusis. Early 4th century BC. Found in two pieces
by Demetrios Philios in 1885. Height 75 cm, width 123 cm.
Triptolemos sits on a throne, at the side of which is a coiled, winged serpent,
"a car with drakones (dragon-serpents) yoked" (Orphic Hymn 40 to Demeter).
Persephone (Kore) stands behind him with two torches, and Demeter stands
in front of him. To the right stand four adult worshippers and two children.
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5061.
Fragment of a votive relief depicting
Triptolemos and Demeter.
From Eleusis. Early 4th century BC.
As in the relief above, Triptolemos is seated with his
left arm raised. In front of him is a wheel with a serpent
coiled around the hub. Demeter stands behind him and
with her left hand pulls the edge of her peplos over her
left shoulder. Demeter is also shown in this pose on
the Rhetoi Decree relief from Eleusis (see Part 1).
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5060.
A multicoloured ceramic figurine of a
female figure lifing the edge of her
peplos with her right hand. Other
goddesses, including Aphrodite and
Hera, are also shown in this pose.
From Derveni (ancient Lete),
Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.
Fragment of a votive relief with traces of paint, depicting
two figures (Triptolemos and Demeter) facing right,
and a torch held by a third figure (Persephone).
Late 5th - early 4th century BC.
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5059.
Fragment of a stele with a votive relief depicting
a female figure (Persephone) holding torches.
Late 5th century BC.
Another fragment shows the left arm of a figure holding
a sceptre (Triptolemos). The inscription on the top of the
stele names the dedicator as Plathis, son of Dionysios.
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5233.
Fragmentary votive relief, by far the largest relief from Eleusis, depicting
Triptolemos being sent on his mission. Dedicated by the priest Lakrateides
and his family (who are represented on the relief) to the Eleusinian deities.
From Eleusis. 100-90 BC. Most of the more than 60 fragments were found in
the "Ploutonion" (see above). Height 180 cm, original width circa 3 metres.
Eleusis Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. 5079. Inscription IG II(2) 4701.
Unfortunately, the relief is exhibited in a very confined space, behind a large display
panel, so that it is impossible to stand directly in front of it and view the entire work.
Detail of the Lakrateides relief in Eleusis. According to the inscriptions next to the heads
of the two standing figures, they are "Plouton" and "Thea" (Persephone) standing with
sceptres. Both deities appear twice on the relief. In his other appearance, seated to the
right of this depiction of Persephone, Pluto is labelled as "Theos". The pair are thus
described as the god and goddess of the Underworld.
The so-called "Triptolemos" marble head of
a young man, identified as Triptolemos; the
only known head of this type. The features
resemble those of portraits of Antinous,
Emperor Hadrian's deified favourite.
Roman period, 120-140 AD, perhaps a
copy of a Greek Classical type. Allegedly
found near Herculaneum, Italy, in 1750.
Height 34.7 cm, width 22.5 cm, depth 26 cm.
Purchased in Italy in 1755 by Markgräfin
Wilhelmine von Bayreuth, who left it in her
will to Frederick the Great in 1758/1759.
Separated from its Baroque bust, it entered
the Königliche Museum, Berlin in 1830.
Altes Museum, Berlin. Inv. No. Sk 479.
Bust of Alexander the Great or Eubouleus
(Εὐβουλεύς, Good Counseller), a god
connected with the Eleusian Mysteries.
Unfinished 2nd century AD copy of a work of
the 4th century BC. Discovered in 1959 by
Dorothy Burr Thompson in the Athens Agora.
The identity of Euboleus is unknown, and was
a matter of conjecture even by the time of
Pausanias, who mentioned an Argive legend
and an Orphic poem which named him as the
brother of Triptolemos (see note in Part 1).
Other ancient sources refer to him variously
as the son of Demeter or Zeus, or as Pluto.
George E. Mylonas suggested he may have
been "the Chthonian (or underworld) Zeus,
an aspect of the Father of Gods and Men
that is somewhat rare". 
Agora Museum, Athens. Inv. No. S 2089.
Detail of an Attic red-figure bell krater showing a bearded man
and Triptolemos (?) in the presence of Demeter and Persephone.
Attributed to the Odeon Painter, 425-400 BC.
From a grave at Selinous (Selinunte), Sicily.
Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum, Palermo, Sicily.
|A marble base or pier with Archaistic reliefs on three sides, left to right:
Persephone carrying a torch; a male deity identified as Zeus Chthonios
(or Plouton?) holding a phiale (libation bowl) and a rhyton (drinking horn);
and Demeter holding poppies and ears of corn.
From the Forum of Ancient Corinth. Roman period, 1st century AD.
Corinth Archaeological Museum. Inv. No. S-74-27.
A similar base in the museum has reliefs of Athena, Hera and Dionysus.
A marble relief with figures of deities (left to right): Zeus (Jupiter), Plouton, Persephone,
Poseidon (Neptunus) and Amphitrite. The deities, identifiable from their attributes, are
modelled on sculptures from various periods of Greek art, from Classical to Hellenistic.
Pentelic marble. Made during the Hadrianic period, first half of the 2nd century AD,
when iconographical eclecticism reached its peak. The inscription below is modern.
Palazzo Altemps, National Museum of Rome. Inv. No. 381002. del Drago Albani Collection.
The front panel of a marble sarcophagus with a relief depicting three scenes from the
myth of the abduction of Proserpina (the Roman equivalent of Persephone) by Pluto.
3rd century AD. Height 83.5 cm, width 216 cm, depth 9 cm.
Antikensammlung, Berlin State Museums (SMB). Inv. No. Sk 847 a–c.
Formerly in the Palazzo Caraffa-Colobrano, Naples.
Purchased in Rome in 1864 by Wolfgang Helbig (1839-1915).
|In the centre, Proserpina, accompanied by Venus (Aphrodite), kneels to gather flowers in a basket when she is surprised by Pluto. On the right, he takes her down to the Underworld in his chariot, chased (or assisted?) by Diana (Artemis). Two baskets of flowers are shown overturned on the ground. Hermes, with his caduceus, stands at the far right to show the way, and part of a rock face indicates the entrance to Hades.
On the left, Ceres (Demeter), holding a torch, searches for her missing daughter, riding in a chariot drawn by two large, winged serpents, led by helmeted Minerva (Athena) who points to the place where Proserpina disappeared. The serpent-drawn chariot is presumably the one in which Triptolemos was sent on his mission (see above).
A number of ancient reliefs depicting these scenes have survived, including one on a sarcophagus of white Carrara marble, made in Rome in the first quarter of the 3rd century AD, and now in the treasury of Aachen Cathedral, Germany. It is thought that it may have been used as the tomb of Emperor Charlemagne (742-814 AD), either immediately following his death or possibly after Frederick Barbarossa had exhumed his remains in 1165. Although there appears to be no documentary evidence for this, it is known that ancient sarcophagi with reliefs of pagan imagery were reused as tombs for prominent Christians. See, for example, a sarcophagus with a relief depicting the hunt of the Kalydonian Boar, used as the tomb of Archbishop Cesare Marullo, in Palermo Cathedral, Sicily.
A Roman fresco depicting the abduction of Proserpina by Pluto in
an outdoor setting with trees. On the left are two pomegranates.
Late 2nd century AD. From the Porta Laurentina necropolis, Ostia.
Discovered in 1865-1866 in the "Columbarium of the Caecilii"
(perhaps tomb 34), during excavations by Pietro Ercole Visconti.
Height 60cm, width 132 cm.
Museo Gregoriano Profano, Vatican Museums, Rome, Inv. No. 59.
Drawing of a painting on a red-figure Apulian amphora showing
Plouton and Persephone in a quadriga (four-hourse chariot).
4th century BC.
Source: Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz (1839-1911), Echelos und Basile: attisches
Relief aus Rhodos in den Königlichen Museen, page 9. Georg Reimer, Berlin, 1905.
|This scene probably depicts the annual return of Persephone from Hades, often referred to as the anodos (ἄνοδος, the way upwards), rather than her abduction by Plouton (κάθοδος, kathodos, the way down). There is no sign of resistance on Persephone's part, and the pair in the chariot appear to look at each other tenderly. Demeter, holding a four-armed Eleusinian torch, runs to the chariot, eager to greet her daughter. She is followed by a flying Eros or Hymenaios (Ὑμεναιος), the god of marriage ceremonies, holding a wreath and a bowl. Left of the chariot Hekate runs with two long torches. On the far left, a wreathed young male sits on a rock holding out a bowl and a branch of laurel of myrtle. He is shown in a way similar to depictions of Apollo and Dionysus, but may be an Eleusinian deity, perhaps Triptolemos.
At the time this drawing was made, in the mid 19th century, the amphora was in the Fittipaldi Collection in Anzi, southern Italy. Although it was discussed in a number of publications, I have so far found no recent mentions of it. The Fittipaldi Collection was later sold off and is now dispersed among several collections and museums.
As the source of the illustration, Kekulé cited: Monumenti dall' Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica, Volume VI, Plate XLII; Annali, Rome, 1860, pages 309 onwards (Stephani).
Richard Foerster (1843-1922), Der Raub und die Rückkehr der Persephone (Philologus supplement, Band IV), No. 8, pages 243-245. Albert Heitz, Stuttgart, 1874. At the Internet Archive.
Johannes Adolf Overbeck (1826-1895), Griechische Kunstmythologie II, Zweiter Band, dritter Theil, viertes Buch: Demeter and Kora (1878), No. 7, page 597. Illustration in Overbeck's Atlas, Tafel XVII, 27. Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig, 1873-1978. At the Internet Archive.
Both Foerster and Overbeck discussed similar scenes on a number of ancient vases. Plouton and Persephone are depicted in a quadriga in a similar way, but accompanied by Hekate and Hermes, on a 4th century BC Apulian red-figure volute krater attributed to the Iliupersis Painter, now in the British Museum. Inv. No. 1885,0314.1.
|Notes, references and links
1. The discovery of the Demeter of Knidos statue
The site of the ancient Carian city of Knidos (Κνίδος; Latin, Cnidus) is on the Datça peninsula at Yazıköy, in the Datça district, Muğla Province, Turkey, south of Bodrum. The sanctuary of Demeter was on an elevated area 74 metres long and 40 metres wide at the east of the city. Newton referred to the sanctuary as the Temenos of Demeter, Persephone, and Pluto Epimachos (Πλούτων Ἐπίμαχος, open to attack), after his discovery of an inscribed base of Parian marble dedicated to Demeter, Persephone, Pluto Epimachos and Hermes, by Sostratos, son of Lachartos (British Museum, Inv. No. 1859,1226.45, Inscription 811).
See: Sir Charles Thomas Newton (1816-1894) and Richard Popplewell Pullan (1825-1888), A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus and Branchidae.
Volume II, Part 2, Chapter XV: Temenos of Demeter, Persephone, and Pluto Epimachos. Day and Son, London, 1863. At the Internet Archive.
Volume I, Plates. Day and Son, London, 1862. At University of Heidelberg Digital Library.
Plate LV, seated Demeter statue; Plate LVI, marble statue, perhaps a priestess of Demeter; Plate LVII, marble statuette of Persephone wearing a high polos; Plate LVIII, fig. 3, marble statuette of a pig (image below); Plate LX, Fig. 7, terracotta head of an old woman; Plate LXXXIX, No. 14, dedication to Demeter, Persephone, Pluto Epimachos and Hermes.
Marble votive figure of a pig on an inscribed base (now broken), dedicated to
Persephone by Plathainis, the wife of Plato. From the sanctuary of Demeter, Knidos.
Hellenistic, circa 350-300BC. Newton described the figure as a small boar, but according
to the British Museum description it is a pregnant sow; a row of teats can be seen in the
lithograph. Height 39.37 cm. Length of figure 58.4 cm. Present length of base 45.7 cm.
British Museum. Inv. No. 1859,1226.28 (Sculpture 1305). Inscription 808. Acquired in 1859.
Source: Sir Charles Thomas Newton and Richard Popplewell Pullan,
A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus and Branchidae, Volume I, Plates,
Plate LVIII, fig. 3; inscription, Plate LXXXIX, No. 19. Day and Sons, London, 1862.
At University of Heidelberg Digital Library.
Arthur Hamilton Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities,
British Museum, Volume II, No. 1305, page 206. British Museum, London, 1900. At the Internet Archive.
C. T. Newton (editor), The collection of ancient Greek inscriptions in the British Museum,
Part IV, Section I, Gustav Hirschfeld, Knidos, Halikarnassos and Branchidae, No. DCCCVIII (805),
page 21. Two other dedications by Plathainis, DCCLXXXVIII (788) and DCCCIII (803).
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1893. At the Internet Archive.
2. The discovery of a bronze sculpture near Bodrum
On 9 August 1953 the statue became caught up in the net of a sponge fisherman (variously named as Achmet Erbil or Ahmet Erbin) from Bodrum, at a depth of 75 metres, off the coast of Arap Adasi, near the Knidian peninsula, south of Bodrum. He left it on the beach of the village of Bitez, just to the west of Bodrum.
It was brought to the attention of Geore Ewart Bean (1903-1977), a British professor of Classics at Istanbul University, who happened to be in Bodrum at the time on one of his many tours of archaeological sites in Turkey. Having examined the sculpture, he arranged to have it transported to the museum in Izmir. His account of the find appeared in The Illustrated London News on 7 November 1953, and his sister Margaret Bean gave a talk about it on BBC radio in 1954.
"Last August some Turkish sponge-fishers brought up in their nets the head of a Greek bronze statue, probably a statue of Demeter of the fourth century BC. It is agreed by all to be among the most important artistic finds of recent years. Miss Bean and her brother, an archaeologist, were the first people, besides the villagers of Bitez, to see the fishermen's catch."
Head of a goddess, a radio talk by Margaret Bean, BBC Home Service, 25 February 1954.
George E. Bean, "A masterpiece from the sea", The Illustrated London News, 7 November 1953, pages 747-749.
Brunilde Sismonodo Ridgway, The Bronze Lady From the Sea. Expedition magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1, pages 2-9. Penn Museum, September 1967.
Jeremy Green, Report on the Demeter Side Scan Sonar Search and the Aslan Burnu Site Survey, Turkey, 2004. Report Number 188, Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western Australian Maritime Museum, 2004.
"Underwater archaeology spreads in Turkey", Hurriyet Daily News, 4 April 1999.
3. Alessandro and Francesco Sanguinetti
The brothers Alessandro (1816-?) and Francesco (1800/1804-1870) Sanguinetti, from Carrara, Italy, were pupils of their father Gaetano Sanguinetti (1781–1842), and then of Christian Daniel Rauch (1777-1857) in Berlin. They made several copies of ancient sculptures to replace originals set up in Sanssouci by Frederick the Great and later moved to the Berlin State Museums.
See also a statue of Asklepios by the Sanguinetti brothers at Sanssouci.
Other replicas at Sanssouci include a copy of the Antinous/Agathos Daimon statue, made in 1852 by August Julius Streichenberg (1814-1878).
Rauch made the statue of Victoria for the Friedensäule monument in Berlin, and another of his pupils, Friedrich Drake designed the colossal Victoria statue for the Siegessäule, also in Berlin.
4. Becatti on the Ostia Dodekatheon
Giovanni Becatti (1912–1973), Un Dodekatheon Ostiense e l'arte di Prassitele. Annuario della Regia Scuola Archeologica di Atene e delle Missioni Italiane in Oriente, XXII, pages 1-53. Rome, 1942.
Giovanni Becatti, Nuovo frammento del dodekatheon prassitelico di Ostia. Bollettino d'Arte III (Luglio-Settembre - XXXVI), pages 193-200. Rome, 1951.
Both articles were republished in Giovanni Becatti, Kosmos, studi sul mondo classico (collected articles). L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome, 1987. Un Dodekatheon Ostiense..., pages 3-62; Nuovo frammento..., pages 161-168.
5. Carpenter on the Ostia Dodekatheon
Rhys Carpenter, The Ostia Altar and the East Pediment of the Parthenon, pages 71-74 and plate 10, in: Hesperia Supplements, Volume 8, Commemorative Studies in Honor of Theodore Leslie Shear, pages 71-74 and 446. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), 1949. At jstor.org.
See also: Antonio Corso, The Art of Praxiteles: The mature years, pages 192-201. L'Erma di Bretschneider, Rome, 2007.
Corso discusses characteristics of the figures on the Ostia Dodekatheon, but does not significantly challenge Becatti's identification of the figures. He mentions that the altar may have originally been a cylindrical base for a bronze statue with a private dedication.
6. The order of the twelve gods
An Archaistic relief now in the Walters Art Museum depicts a procession of the twelve gods, in a row advancing to the right. The deities have been identified a follows (left to right):
1. Hestia (with sceptre and another object), 2. Hermes (with cap and caduceus), 3. Aphrodite (veiled),
4. Ares (with helmet and spear), 5. Demeter (with sceptre and wheat sheaf), 6. Hephaistos (with staff),
7. Hera (with sceptre), 8. Poseidon (with trident), 9. Athena (with helmet, spear and owl),
10. Zeus (with thunderbolt and staff), 11. Artemis (with bow and quiver), 12. Apollo (with kithara).
Made in Athens, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Inv. No. 23.40.
7. Demeter busts in the Baths of Diocletian
See: Baths of Diocletian, guide, pages 18-19. Ministero dei Beni e della Attività Culturali e del Turismo. Mondarori Electa S.p.A., Milano, 2016 (first edition 2011).
The bust illustrated on page 19, and described by the museum labelling as showing Demeter wearing a torque ending in snakes' heads around her neck was not on display during my recent visit (April 2017). The bust in the photo above appears to have been exhibited in its place.
8. The reconstruction of the Lykosoura group
Guy Dickins (1881-1916) wrote the history of his reconstruction in a four part article, which also includes a contribution by Konstantinos Kourouniotis concerning the original construction of the statue group, as well as Dickins' description of Damophon's style and a summary other works attributed to him.
Guy Dickins and K. Kourouniotis, Damophon of Messene II: The restoration of the group at Lykosura, The Annual of the British School at Athens, Volume 13 (1906/1907), pages 357-404. At jstor.org.
Kourouniotis's contribution, The mechanical construction of the group, including his comment on Pausanias' credulity, pages 384-389.
Kourouniotis comment about locals "playing on the credulity of tourists" conjures images of flocks of culture-tourists from around the Roman Empire, including Pausanias himself, visiting ancient sites in Greece, where their hosts spun yarns and sold them souvenirs such as copies of famous artworks, perhaps like the "Varvakeion statuette" and "Athena Lenormant" miniature replicas of Pheidias' Athena Parthenos (see Pergamon gallery 2, page 14).
Such a scenario would help explain why Megalopolis depicted the Lykosoura statue group on its coins: the sanctuary had presumably become a notable tourist attraction and local source of pride. Like many empresses, Julia Domna was associated with several deities including Demeter/Ceres (see a statue of Julia Domna as Ceres in Part 1), and perhaps the coins were part of a campaign to associate her with the Lykosoura sanctuary. Ironically, if the Lykosourians had not defied the order to abandon their city and move to Megalopolis (assuming the tale told to Pausanias was true), the sanctuary may have ceased to exist.
Following the publication of the coin by Valerios Stais, Dickins defended his reconstruction and examined what evidence the coin offered concerning the statue group.
Guy Dickins, Damophon of Messene: III, The Annual of the British School at Athens, Volume 17 (1910/1911), pages 80-87. At jstor.org.
Dickins' academic career was interrupted by World War I. He served as an infantry captain on the Western Front and died on 17th July 1916 of wounds received four days earlier at Pozieres, during the Battle of the Somme. Before his death he had completed the first of a planned two-volume catalogue of the Acropolis Museum: Catalogue of the Acropolis Museum, Volume I: Archaic Sculpture, Cambridge University Press, 1912. The second volume, completed by Stanley Casson and Dorothy Lamb Brooke Nicholson, was finally published in 1921: Volume II, Sculpture and architectural fragments. The manuscript of his unfinished Hellenistic sculpture was published in 1920 by Oxford University Press, with a preface by Percy Gardner.
See: winchestercollegeatwar.com/archive/guy-dickens/. At Winchester College at War.
Although most sources, including the Athens museum, state that the statues were made of Doliana marble, from Doliana (Δολιανά), near Tegea in eastern Arcadia, others claim that Pentelic marble was used. I have so far found no evidence for this claim. The group was not acrolithic (of wood and stone), as some recent authors have stated. The surviving fragments include parts of marble arms, legs, torsos and drapery. The sizes of the statue heads differ in various sources. I have used the heights quoted in the usually reliable University of Köln Archaeological Institute database: arachne.uni-koeln.de
For a short discussion of the reliefs on Despoina's veil, see:
Alan J. B. Wace (Alan John Bayard Wace, 1879-1957), The veil of Despoina, American Journal of Archaeology, Volume 38, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar. 1934), pages 107-111. At jstor.org.
9. Discovery of Lykosoura and early excavations
For accounts of the discovery of Lykosoura and early excavations there, see:
Edward Dodwell (1767-1832), A classical and topographical tour through Greece during the years 1801, 1805 and 1806, Volume II (of 2), pages 394-395. Rodwell and Martin, London, 1819. At the Internet Archive.
William Martin Leake (1777-1860), Travels in the Morea, Volume II (of 3), page 312. John Murray, London, 1830. At the Internet Archive.
Leake visited the area shortly before Dodwell but published the account of his travels around the Peloponnese much later. He did not find the remains of Lykosoura, and acknowledged Dodwell's discovery.
Charles Waldstein (1856-1927), Lykosoura - Temple of Depoina = Persephone, The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, Volume 6, No. 1/2 (Mar. - Jun. 1890), pages 209-211. At jstor.org.
Charles Nicolas Normand (1858-1934), Corpus des monuments grecs: Lycosoura. l'Ami des Monuments et des Arts, Paris, 1892. At the Internet Archive. Written shortly after the first excavations at Lykosoura. Includes illustrations and plans.
Panagiotis Kavvadias, Fouilles de Lycosoura. S. C. Vlastos, Athens, 1893.
10. "Hero relief from Corinth, restored"
Oscar Broneer, Hero Cults in the Corinthian Agora. Hesperia, Volume 11, No. 2 (April - June 1942), Pages 128-161 (drawing, Fig. 1 on page 131). The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). At jstor.org.
The reconstruction drawing of the relief was made by Dr. A. Raubitschek. At the time the upper left fragment had apparently not yet been found.
"Several fragmentary examples have been found at Corinth, the best and largest of which has the lower half preserved (Fig. 1) ... The missing portions of the Corinth relief have been restored from a similar relief which is now in the Museum at Istanbul, but is said to have come from the Dodecanese Islands." (page 130)
"The reclining male, if we may judge from the single preserved head, is regarded as a divine figure; and the polos, commonly worn by Hades-Pluto, and later by Serapis, labels him as ruler in the realm of the dead. Likewise the woman, seated on the couch or on a separate throne at the foot of the couch, can be none other than the consort of the reclining deity." (page 133)
11. Mylonas on Eubouleus
George E. Mylonas, Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries (see note in Part 1), page 199.
According to one version of the myths, Eubouleus was a swineherd who happened to be tending his pigs at the "chasm of Kore" (χάσματι τῆς Κόρης), the place where the earth opened up for Plouton's chariot during the abduction Persephone to the underworld, and he and his pigs were also swallowed into the earth. An early example of collateral damage. The story is mentioned in the scholion on Lucian's Dialogues of the Courtesans (see note in Part 1) as "the more fabulous explanation" for the casting of piglets into the chasms (χάσματα) or megara during the Thesmophoria.
|Photos on the Demeter and Persephone pages were
taken during visits to the following museums:
Berlin, Altes Museum
Berlin, Bode Museum
Berlin, Pergamon Museum
Dresden, Skulpturensammlung, Albertinum
Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe
Potsdam, Neues Palais, Sanssouci
Athens, Acropolis Museum
Athens, Agora Museum
Athens, Olympieion and Ilissos Shrines archaeological site
Athens, Epigraphical Museum
Athens, National Archaeological Museum
Corinth Archaeological Museum
Dion Archaeological Museum, Macedonia
Eleusis Archaeological Museum and site, Attica
Isthmia Archaeological Museum
Kavala Archaeological Museum, Macedonia
Pella Archaeological Museum, Macedonia
Pella, Thesmophorion archaeological site
Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, Macedonia
Milan, Civic Archaeological Museum
Naples, National Archaeological Museum
Ostia Archaeological Museum and site
Rome, Capitoline Museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori
Rome, National Etruscan Museum, Villa Giulia
Rome, National Museum of Rome, Baths of Diocletian
Rome, National Museum of Rome, Palazzo Altemps
Rome, National Museum of Rome, Palazzo Massimo
Rome, Villa Farnesina, Trastevere
Italy - Sicily
Castelvetrano, Museo Civico
Catania, Museo Civico, Castello Ursino
Gela Regional Archaeological Museum
Palermo, Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum
Selinunte Archaeological Park
Selinunte, Baglio Florio Museum (Antiquarium)
Syracuse, Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum
Bergama Archaeological Museum
Istanbul Archaeological Museum
Izmir Archaeological Museum
Izmir Museum of History and Art
London, British Museum
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
Many thanks to the staff of these museums.
Terracotta comic figure made
at Knidos around 300 BC.
From the sanctuary of Demeter
at Knidos (Yazıköy, Turkey).
The figurine depicts either an
actor, or a buffoon of the type
believed to have played a role
in the Mysteries of Demeter.
Inv. No. GR 1859.12-26.830
(Terracotta C 473).
|Photos and articles © David John, except where otherwise specified.|
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