Wooden votive tablet found, together with other similar ones, in the cave of Pitsa, near Corinth. A rare specimen of Greek painting in the Archaic period (540 BCE), it represents a sacrificial scene. To the right is the altar which the worshippers approach with their offerings. A small boy leads the sacrificial animal (a lamb). All the participants are crowned with garlands in accordance with ritual ceremony. The two youthful figures immediately behind the boy play on a kithara and a flute, the others hold branches. National Museum, Athens.

 

Red-figure pelike, the work of the so-called 'Pan painter', decorated with a depiction of the tragic-comic episode in which Herakles slays Bousiris and his panic-stricken attendants in Egypt. Severe style, 470 BCE. Note altar, on which the barbarian king would sacrifice foreigners. Note the contrast between the uncircumcised Greek and the circumcised Semites. National Museum, Athens.

White-ground lekythos. In front of the funerary stele, the tall base of which consists of six steps, stands a young spearman wearing a chlamys. Lekythoi and garlands are placed on the steps. The mound itself is visible behind the stele. The young man is dead. Time and space have no reality in the white-ground lekythoi; all is confused in a kind of other-worldly unity. The work is by the so-called 'Bosanquet painter', c. 440 BCE. National Museum, Athens.

White-ground lekythos bearing the representation of a female figure (not apparent in the plate), Charon and Hermes. The work is by the so-called 'Sabouroff painter', one of the outstanding vase-painters of white-ground lekythoi, and a contemporary of Pheidias. National Museum, Athens.

Bronze statuette of Zeus, found in the excavations at Dodona, which was Zeus' ancient oracular shrine, mentioned as such in epic. The 'plinth' on which the figure stands must have been attached to a special base. In his raised right hand, the god holds a thunderbolt which he is about to cast. c. 460 BCE. National Museum, Athens.

Bronze votive image of Athena with helmet and aegis., from the Acropolis of Athens. The goddess is in the Promachos type, extending her left hand in which she carried a shield and raising a spear with her right hand. On the base runs the inscription: MELISO ANETHEKEN DEKATEN T' ATHENAIAI (Melisso offered a tithe to Athena). c. 450 BCE. National Museum, Athens.

The Temple of Athena Nike. Last 1/4 of the 5th century BCE. Frieze is mutilated, but perhaps represents Greeks fighting Persians -- perhaps at Plataia (479 BCE). Parapet around this temple was composed of marble slabs decorated on the outside with fine reliefs depicting winged Victories with folded or extended wings setting up trophies or leading sacrificial animals to honors Athena. Amphiprostyle Ionic temple on the edge of the Acropolis, where Athenians worshipped the goddess of victory, expressing their hopes for a new triumph in the Peloponnesian War.

The 'Calf-bearer' (Moschophoros) one of the earliest compositions of large sculpture in the Archaic period. Rhombos, the man who dedicated this offering, carries on his shoulders the calf he intends to sacrifice to Athena Pallas. His offer is not only the animal sacrificed to the altar of the goddess, but the fine statue itself which commemorates the sacrifice and also pleases the great goddess with its own beauty. Attic workshop, c. 570 BCE. Acropolis Museum, Athens.

The so-called 'Mourning Athena'. The goddess wears a helmet and a folded peplos, girded at the waist. Leaning on her spear with the left hand, her body slightly inclined forward, she bends her head and contemplates the stele standing before her. This latter may have been a stele marking out the boundaries of the sacred precinct (temenos) of the goddess, or a list of casualties in war. Severe style. c. 460 BCE. Athens: Acropolis Museum.

Slab from the north side of the Parthenon frieze, representing three youths leading two oxen, to be sacrificed. The rhythmic alternation between the upright youthful figures, dressed in long himatia appropriate to the religious occasion, and the horizontal bodies of the animals results in a composition of counterpoints of a hitherto unmatched harmony and architectural solidity. Some think this was executed by Phidias himself. Athens, Acropolis Museum. ca. 447-438 BC.

Slab from the Parthenon frieze (447-438 BCE), with three hydria-bearers (water-jug carriers), a fourth at the right has bent over to lift his pitcher. Part of a public religious procession that culminates on the eastern side of the temple.

Muse on Mt. Helikon, lekythos (portion). From Attica, c. 445 BCE. Height of whole vase is 14.5 inches. Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich.

Archaic Perirrhanterion from the sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia. 7th. century BCE. Isthmia museum.

Hellenistic or Roman copy of the Archaic omphalos (navel-stone). It is covered by the agrenon, a kind of thick net, and was surmounted by the two golden eagles of Zeus that flew from the two ends of the world to meet at its center, at Delphi. Delphi Museum.

The Sphinx of the Naxians. Offered as votive by the wealthy Naxians, crouches on a tall Ionic column that stood south of the temple of Apollo, near the Sibyl's rock. The Cycladic island of Naxos possessed considerable riches and power in the Archaic period, and the Naxian workshop of sculpture produced a number of important works of art. c. 560 BCE. Delphi Museum.

Apollo pouring libations. Interior of a white kylix from Delphi. He wears an unusual ensemble for a male: peplos and himation. He holds lyre and pours libation from a phiale. The bird may be Apollo's sacred raven, or a wild dove, like those that come to roost in his temple. His head is crowned with laurel, and his hair is carefully dressed. severe style. c. 470 BCE. Delphi Museum.

 

Bull-head rhyton (libation vessel) of steatite. The horns (now lost, here restored) were gilded wood, the eye rock-crystal, and white around the nostril of shell. Little Palace of Knossos. 1550-1500 BCE. Irakleion Museum, Crete.

Gold Ring from a tomb at Isopata (Crete), decorated with a 'cult scene'. Four female figures with long Minoan robes and bare breasts stand in a floral landscape. Many believe this scene to represent an 'epiphany' of the goddess. c. 1500 BCE. Irakleion Museum, Crete.

 

Cult scene from stone sarcophagus from Hagia Triada (South Crete). A figure on the right here seems to be rising from the ground, with a hide covering the entire body including his hands. It is usually interpreted as the body f the heroized dead for whom the ceremonies are being performed. Behind the figure is a sacred (?) building with a tree and stepped altar in front of it. Three men wearing animal skins are approaching the figure, the first one carrying a miniature ship, the other two carrying animals, no doubt offerings to the dead person. On the left are two tall double axes with bird figures on top of them, and between them a jar into which a female figure wearing an animal skin is pouring something from a vase. Behind her another, more imposing woman, wearing the long Minoan robe and a crown, holds a similar vase Next a man in a long feminine robe plays on the seven-string lyre. c. 1400 BCE. Irakleion Museum, Crete.

Bronze Cauldron supported on an iron tripod, decorated around the rim with eight griffin protomes and four bifacial 'sirens'. From the royal tomb 79 at Salamis on Cyprus. late 8th century BCE. Cyprus Museum.

 

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