The Project Gutenberg EBook of Greek Sculpture, by Estelle M. Hurll

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Title: Greek Sculpture
       A collection of sixteen pictures of Greek marbles with
              introduction and interpretation

Author: Estelle M. Hurll

Release Date: January 3, 2011 [EBook #34842]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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[Pg i]

PERICLES -- British Museum, London -- John Andrew & Son, Sc. PERICLES -- British Museum, London -- John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg ii]

The Riverside Art Series





Riverside Press Riverside Press



The Riverside Press Cambridge

[Pg iii]


[Pg iv]


Within the limits of this small collection of pictures an attempt is made to bring together as great a variety of subjects as possible. Portraiture is illustrated in the statue of Sophocles and the bust of Pericles, genre studies in the Apoxyomenos and Discobolus, bas-relief work in the panel from the Parthenon frieze and the Orpheus and Eurydice, and ideal heads and statues in the representations of the divinities. Both the Greek treatment of the nude and the Greek management of drapery have due attention.

As classic literature is the best interpreter of Greek sculpture, the text draws freely from such original sources as the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Homeric hymns, and Ovid's Metamorphoses.


New Bedford, Mass.
January, 1901.

[Pg v]

[Pg vi]


       PericlesFrom original in British Museum(frontispiece)
Preface iv
       I. On Some Characteristics of Greek Sculpture vii
       II. On Books of Referencex
       III. Historical Directory of the Marbles reproduced in this Collection xi
I. Bust of Zeus Otricoli1
      Picture from Photograph by Fratelli Alinari
II. Athena Giustiniana (MInerva Medica)7
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
III. Horsemen from the Parthenon Frieze13
      Picture from Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Co.
IV. Bust of Hera (Juno)19
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
V. The Apoxyomenos 25
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
VI. Head of the Apollo Belvedere31
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
VII. Demeter (Ceres)37
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
VIII. The Faun of Praxiteles43
      Picture from Photograph by Fratelli Alinari
IX. Sophocles 49
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
X. Ares Seated 55
       Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
XI. Head of the Olympian Hermes61
      Picture from Photograph by the English Photographic Co., Athens
XII. The Discobolus (The Disk-thrower)67
      Picture from Photograph loaned by Edward Robinson, from the only negative known to exist
XIII. The Aphrodite of Melos (Venus of Milo)73
      Picture from Photograph by Neurdein Frres
XIV. Orpheus and Eurydice79
      Picture from Photograph by D. Anderson
XV. Nike (The Winged Victory)85
      Picture from Photograph by Neurdein Frres
XVI. Pericles 91
       (See Frontispiece)
Pronouncing Vocabulary of Proper Names 95

[Pg vii]

Nine of the above illustrations are from
photographs in the collection of the William Hayes Fogg
Art Museum of Harvard University

[Pg viii]



The history of Greek sculpture covers a period of some eight or nine hundred years, and falls into five divisions. [1] The first is the period of development, extending from 600 to 480 B. C. The second is the period of greatest achievement, under Phidias and his followers, in the Age of Pericles, 480-430 B. C. The third is the period of Praxiteles and Scopas, in the fourth century. The fourth is the period of decline, characterized as the Hellenistic Age, and included between the years 320 and 100 B. C. The fifth is the Grco-Roman period, which includes the work produced to meet the demand of the Roman market for Greek sculpture, and which extends to 300 A. D.

[1] See Gardner's Handbook of Greek Sculpture, page 42.

Modern criticism differentiates sharply the characteristics of the several periods and even of the individual artists, but such subtleties are beyond the grasp of the unlearned. The majority of people continue to regard Greek sculpture in its entirety, as if it were the homogeneous product of a single age. To the popular imagination it is as if some gigantic machine turned out the Apollo Belvedere, the Venus of Milo, the Elgin Marbles, and all the rest, in a single day. Nor is it long ago since even eminent writers had but vague ideas as to the distinctive periods of these very works. Certain it is that all works of Greek sculpture have a particular character which marks them as such. Authorities have taught us to distinguish some few of their leading characteristics.

[Pg ix]

The most striking characteristic of Greek art is perhaps its closeness to nature. The sculptor showed an intimate knowledge of the human form, acquired by constant observation of the splendid specimens of manhood produced in the palstra. It is because the artist "clung to nature as a kind mother," says Waldstein, that the influence of his work persists through the ages.

Again, Greek art is distinctly an art of generalization, dealing with types rather than with individuals. This characteristic is of varying degrees in different periods and with different sculptors. It is seen in its perfection in the Elgin Marbles, in exaggeration in the Apollo Belvedere, and at the minimum in the work of Praxiteles. Yet it is everywhere sufficiently marked to be indissolubly connected with Greek sculpture.

The quality of repose, so constantly associated with Greek sculpture, is another characteristic which varies with the period and the individual sculptor. Between the calm dignity of the portrait statue of Sophocles and the intense muscular concentration of Myron's Discobolus, a long range of degrees may be included. Yet on the whole, repose is an essential characteristic of the best Greek sculpture, provided we do not let our notion of repose exclude the spirited element. Fine as is the effect of repose in the Parthenon frieze, the composition is likewise full of spirit and life.

A distinguishing characteristic of the best Greek sculpture is its simplicity. Compared with the Gothic sculptors, the Greeks appear to us, in Ruskin's phrase, as the "masters of all that was grand, simple, wise and tenderly human, opposed to the pettiness of the toys of the rest of mankind." Their work is free from that "vain and mean decoration"—the "weak and monstrous error"—which disfigures the art of other peoples.

As we turn from one Greek marble to another in the[Pg x] great sculpture galleries of the world, the best features of the art impress themselves deeply even upon the untutored eye. The Greek instinct for pose is unfailing and unsurpassable. Standing or seated, the attitude is always graceful, the lines are always fine. The best statues are equally well composed, viewed from any standpoint. The camera may describe a circumference about a marble as a centre, and a photograph made at any point in the circle will show lines of rhythm and beauty.

The faultless regularity of the Greek profile has passed into history as the accepted standard of human beauty. The straight continuous line of brow and nose, the well moulded chin, the full lip, the small ear, satisfy perfectly our sthetic ideals.

The art of sculpture was an essential outgrowth of the Greek spirit, and perfectly suited the requirements of Greek thought. In the words of a recent writer, "it was the consummate expression in art of the genius of a nation which worshiped physical perfection as the gift of the immortals, which honored the gods by athletic games and choral dances, and whose deities wore the flesh and shared the nature of men."[2] It was moreover a national art, entering into every phase of public life, and embodying the Greek sense of national greatness.

[2] From Italian Cities, by E. H. and E. W. Blashfield.

Greek sculpture can be sympathetically understood only by catching something of the spirit which produced it. One must shake off the centuries and regard life with the childlike simplicity of the young world: one must give imagination free rein. The same attitude of mind which can enjoy Greek mythology and Greek literature is the proper attitude for the enjoyment of Greek sculpture. The best interpreter of a nation's art is the nation's poetry.

[Pg xi]


Many learned works on the subject of Greek Sculpture have been written in various languages. Three standard authorities are the English work by A. S. Murray, "History of Greek Sculpture," second edition, London, 1890; the French work by Collignon, "Histoire de la Sculpture Grecque," Paris, 1892; and the German work by Furtwngler, translated into English by E. Sellers, "The Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture," London, 1895. Naturally these three writers are not always of one opinion, and the student must turn from one to another to learn all the arguments concerning a disputed point.

For the practical every-day use of the reader who has no time to sift the evidences on difficult questions of archology, Gardner's "Handbook of Greek Sculpture" is an excellent outline summary of the history of the subject.

Charles Waldstein's "Essays on the Art of Pheidias," New York, 1885, is an exceedingly valuable and suggestive volume.

Two small books, written in a somewhat popular vein, make very pleasant reading for those pursuing these studies: "Studies in Greek Art," by J. E. Harrison, London, 1885, and "Greek Art on Greek Soil," by J. M. Hoppin, Boston, 1897.

Besides the works devoted exclusively to the subject of Greek sculpture, the subject receives due attention in various general histories of art, of which may be mentioned, Lucy Mitchell's "History of Ancient Sculpture," Lbke's "History of Sculpture," and Von Reber's "History of Ancient Art."

A valuable bibliography is given in Gardner's "Handbook." [Pg xii]


Frontispiece. Terminal bust of Pericles, after an original by Cresilas. Approximate date, 440-430 B. C. In the British Museum, London.

1. Bust of Zeus Otricoli. Considered by Brunn and others a copy from a head of the statue by Phidias. Later critics do not agree with this opinion, and Furtwngler calls the head a Praxitelean development of the type of Zeus created in the time of Myron. Now in the Vatican Gallery, Rome.

2. Athena Giustiniana (Minerva Medica). Considered by Furtwngler a copy, after Euphranor, of a statue dedicated below the Capitol, called Minerva Catuliana, set up by A. Lutatius Catulus. The gis and sphinx are copyist's additions. Found in the gardens of the convent of S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome. Both arms are restored. Now in the Vatican Gallery, Rome.

3. Horsemen from the Parthenon Frieze. The frieze of the Parthenon is part of the decorative scheme of the marble temple of Athena, built during the age of Pericles (480-430 B. C.) on the Acropolis, Athens, and decorated under the direction of Phidias. The frieze consisted of a series of panels or slabs, about 3 ft. 4 in. in height, and was set on the outer wall of the cella. Being lighted from below, the lower portion is cut in low relief (1¼ in.) and the upper parts in high relief (2¼ in.). The panel of the Horsemen is one of the Elgin Marbles, removed by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon in 1801-1802, and now in the British Museum, London.

4. Bust of Hera. Considered by Murray a copy after Polyclitus. Regarded by Furtwngler as a "Roman creation based on a Praxitelean model." Catalogued in Hare's "Walks in Rome" as a probable copy after Alcamenes. In the Ludovisi Villa, Rome. [Pg xiii]

5. The Apoxyomenos.. A marble copy of the original bronze statue by Lysippus, who flourished in the 4th century B. C. According to Pliny the original was brought from Greece to Rome by Agrippa to adorn the public baths. This copy was found in 1849 in the Trastevere, Rome, and is now in the Vatican Gallery.

6. Head of the Apollo Belvedere. According to Gardner, a marble copy (Roman) of a bronze original of the Hellenistic Age (320-100 B. C.). Some (Winter and Furtwngler) have assigned the original to Leochares, a sculptor of the 4th century, and others to Calamis, in the 5th century. This copy was found in the 16th century at Antium, and was purchased by Pope Julius II. for the Belvedere Palace. Now in the Vatican Gallery, Rome.

7. Demeter (Ceres) Considered by Furtwngler a copy from an original by Agoracritus, who was a pupil of Phidias, and whose works are closely allied to those of Alcamenes. By the same authority the statue is called the Nemesis. In the Vatican Gallery, Rome.

8. The Faun of Praxiteles. A copy of the original statue by Praxiteles, which was in the street of the Tripods, Athens. In the Capitol Museum, Rome.

9. Sophocles. Referred to by Collignon as a faithful copy of the bronze statue raised by Lycurgus. Found at Terracina in 1838, and now in the Lateran Museum, Rome.

10. Ares Seated. Considered by Furtwngler and others a copy on a reduced scale of a colossal statue by Scopas. The little god Eros is the copyist's addition. Found in the portico of Octavia, and restored by Bernini. Now in the Ludovisi Villa, Rome.

11. Head of the Olympian Hermes. An undisputed original work of Praxiteles, dating from the middle of the 4th century B. C. It was in the Herum (or Temple of Hera) at Olympia, and was discovered by German excavators, May 8, 1877. Now in the museum at Olympia, Greece. [Pg xiv]

12. The Discobolus, a copy from an original by Myron, one of the last masters of the "severe style," whose career culminated 465-450 B. C. In the Lancelotti Palace, Rome.

13. The Aphrodite of Melos (The Venus of Milo). Formerly attributed to the period of transition between Phidias and Praxiteles, but assigned by late critics to the Hellenistic Age (320-100 B. C.). Believed by Furtwngler to be based on a work by Scopas, with considerable modification of the original. Found in 1820 on the island of Melos at the entrance of the Greek Archipelago. Purchased by the French government for 6000 francs, and now in the Louvre, Paris.

14. Orpheus and Eurydice. One of several copies of an original bas-relief referred by Collignon to the second half of 5th century B. C. In the Albani Villa, Rome.

15. Nike(The Winged Victory). A marble statue believed to have been set up by Demetrius Poliorcetes to celebrate a naval victory in 306 B. C. Found in 1863 by the French consul on the island of Samothrace. Now in the Louvre, Paris.

[Pg xv]

[Pg 1]



From the earliest times men have sought to explain in one way and another the common facts of daily life. Sunrise and sunset, seedtime and harvest, life, death, and the hereafter are some of the mysteries which have always puzzled the human mind. The primitive races, knowing nothing of science, looked upon the forces of nature as gigantic personalities, or gods, who controlled human destiny.

The most refined and imaginative of the ancient nations were the Greeks. They invented innumerable tales or myths, in which all the changes of nature and all the affairs of life were attributed to the workings of the gods. When the sun rose, they said that Apollo had begun to drive his chariot across the sky. When the wind blew, Zeus was sending his messenger from the sky to the earth. When a man did a courageous deed, it was because Athena had whispered to him what to do.

In this way the beliefs gradually took form which made the Greek religion. Great temples were built for the worship of the gods, and statues were set up in their honor. The finest works of Greek art were connected with religious worship.

[Pg 2]

The gods were conceived as having the same form as human beings, but of colossal size. They lived in an ideal country called Olympus,

"Olympus, where the gods have made,
So saith tradition, their eternal seat.
The tempest shakes it not, nor is it drenched
By showers, and there the snow doth never fall.
The calm, clear ether is without a cloud,
And in the golden light that lies on all,
Day after day the blessed gods rejoice." [3]

[3] Odyssey, Book vi., lines 54-60 in Bryant's translation.

Here each god had a separate dwelling, and in the midst was the palace of their supreme ruler, Zeus, known to the Romans as Jupiter or Jove.

Zeus was the sky god, "the father of gods and men," and the ruler of heaven and earth. He was the "cloud compeller" at whose will the clouds gathered or scattered across the sky, the "ruler of the storms," the "thunderer," by whom were hurled the ruddy lightnings. How far he surpassed all other gods in power is explained in the Iliad in an address made by Zeus himself to the gods:—

"Suspend from heaven
A golden chain; let all the immortal host
Cling to it from below: ye could not draw,
Strive as ye might, the all-disposing Jove
From heaven to earth. And yet if I should choose
To draw it upward to me, I should lift,
With it and you, the earth itself and sea
Together, and I then would bind the chain
Around the summit of the Olympian mount,
And they should hang aloft." [4]

[4] Iliad, Book viii., lines 21-30 in Bryant's translation.[Pg 3]

BUST OF ZEUS OTRICOLI -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- Alinari, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. BUST OF ZEUS OTRICOLI -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- Alinari, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 4]
[Pg 5]

In the imagination of the Greeks Zeus was endowed with all the noblest elements in human character. He ruled the affairs of men with fatherly benevolence. He rewarded goodness, punished the wicked, and was withal the fountain-head of justice. By a nod of his head he made known his will, and there was no appeal from his decrees.

Naturally, the Greeks pictured this god as a being of majestic stature and grand, benignant countenance, and sculptors did their best to make statues worthy of this conception. By common consent a certain type of countenance was accepted as the most fitting expression of this ideal. At last a great artist named Phidias produced a statue which perfectly carried out all the ideas at which other sculptors had aimed. It was of colossal size, made of gold and ivory, and was set up in a temple of Olympia. From this time forth every sculptor who had to represent Zeus had only to repeat the design of Phidias.

Now we know that the farther an imitator gets from the original standard, the weaker is his copy. The first successors of Phidias made direct studies from his statue, but those coming after worked from copies. Still later artists took for their models copies of these copies, until at last much of the original grandeur of Phidias's conception was lost.

The bust of Zeus reproduced in our illustration is thought to be a far-away copy of the head of Phidias's statue. From the marble of which it is made we know that it was executed in Italy, probably by some Greek sculptor who had come thither after his own nation had been conquered by Rome. The [Pg 6] marvel is that he preserved so well the noble dignity of the ideal Zeus. This is the father of gods and men in his most benign aspect. The massive head is crowned like that of a lion with long, overhanging locks with which the flowing beard is mingled. These are the

"Ambrosial curls
Upon the Sovereign One's immortal head,"

of which Homer writes in the Iliad. The symmetrical arrangement of hair and beard carry out the character of perfect evenness belonging to the supreme ruler.

The forehead has the full bar of flesh which denotes virility. The brows are straight, the nose finely modeled, the lips rather full, the expression benignant. Altogether the impression is of a being of mental and moral equipoise, full of energy and noble dignity.

[Pg 7]



Athena was the air goddess of the Greeks, or, in Ruskin's phrase, "the queen of the air." She was known also by the name Pallas, and among the Romans as Minerva. As the air comes to us from out the great dome of the sky, so Athena was said to have sprung fully armed from the head of her father Zeus. The old Homeric hymn tells how

"Wonder strange possessed
The everlasting gods that shape to see,
Shaking a javelin keen, impetuously
Rush from the crest of gis-bearing Jove." [5]

[5] In Shelley's translation.

Her eyes were blue, the color of the sky; her hair hung in ringlets over her shoulders. Her dress was

"A gorgeous robe
Of many hues, which her own hands had wrought." [6]

[6] Iliad, Book viii., lines 483, 484.

When arrayed for war she wore a golden helmet and carried a shield, or gis. In the centre of this shield was fastened the gorgon's head which Perseus had cut off with her aid. In her hand she wielded a mighty spear.

[Pg 8]

The owl was her symbolic bird, and she was called glaukopis, or owl-eyed, because her wisdom gave her sight in darkness. The serpent was the emblem of her command over the beneficent and healing influences in the earth. Her favorite plant was the fruitful olive, valued by the Greeks both for the beauty of its foliage and for the usefulness of its oil.

In the fortunes of war, when it was for defensive aims, Athena took an intense interest and an active part. In the war between the Greeks and the Trojans, she was on the side of the Greeks, who sought to recover from their enemies their queen Helen, whom the Trojan prince had captured. When the Greek army assembled before the walls of Troy—

"Among them walked
The blue-eyed Pallas, bearing on her arm
The priceless gis, ever fair and new,
And undecaying; from its edge there hung
A hundred golden fringes, fairly wrought,
And every fringe might buy a hecatomb.
With this and fierce, defiant looks she passed
Through all the Achaian host, and made their hearts
Impatient for the march and strong to endure
The combat without pause,—for now the war
Seemed to them dearer than the wished return
In their good galleys to the land they loved." [7]

[7] Iliad, Book ii., lines 549-560 in Bryant's translation.

As the air gives us the breath of life, so Athena gave inspiration to the heart of man. It was her friendly mission to fill with "strength and courage" the hearts of those who were beset by difficulties of many kinds. [8] To Achilles, lamenting the death of Patroclus, she came with nectar and ambrosia, that his limbs might not grow faint with hunger. [9] It was because of her aid that Diomed could proudly declare, "Minerva will not let my spirit falter;" and when he cast his spear, "Minerva kept the weapon faithful to its aim." [10]

[8] See the Iliad, Book v., line 2, and the Odyssey, Book i., line 396.

[9] Iliad, Book xix., lines 427-429.

[10] Iliad, Book v., lines 309 and 352.

[Pg 9]

(MINERVA MEDICA -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew
& Son, Sc.  ) ATHENA GIUSTINIANA (MINERVA MEDICA -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. )

[Pg 10]
[Pg 11]

To Athena Ulysses owed his safe return to Ithaca after the adventures related in the Odyssey. It was her adroit planning which brought together the long lost father and his son Telemachus, with the faithful wife Penelope. She also found ways to help Jason when he went in search of the golden fleece; she aided Hercules in his labors and guided the hand of Perseus when he cut off the Gorgon's head.

Athena was also the patroness of the industrial arts. She was skilful in weaving and needlework, making both her own and others' beautiful robes and teaching the craft to some favored mortals. She was, in short, the personification of "inspired and impulsive wisdom in human conduct and human art, giving the instinct of infallible decision, and of faultless invention." [11] Finally, and not least important, Athena was one of the agencies in the productiveness of the earth, and hence the patron goddess of farmers.

[11] From Ruskin's Queen of the Air.

Our statue shows as many as possible of the attributes of the goddess. The figure is tall and stately and magnificently developed. The Greek ideal of beauty was to let nature have its way in the human body, unhindered by any such restraints of clothing as our modern fashions have invented. The broad shoulders and ample waist bespeak the splendid strength of the goddess.

[Pg 12]

The neck rises from the shoulders like a column to support the well-set head. A tunic falls in straight folds to the feet, and over this is worn a long mantle gathered over the left shoulder. Upon her breast hangs the shield, here made very small, and the helmet and spear complete her equipment as a goddess of war. At her side coils the emblematic serpent.

Her aspect is far from warlike. The face is intellectual and the expression thoughtful. This is the goddess of wisdom reflecting upon grave concerns. The mouth is set somewhat proudly, and the countenance is full of a dignified reserve. The masterful element, so strong in her character, is admirably expressed. There is something almost austere in the beauty of this virgin goddess. A majestic being like this is not one to be familiarly approached.

[Pg 13]



To understand the history and meaning of the bas-relief reproduced in our illustration, we must first learn something of the worship of Athena in her chosen city of Athens. An annual festival was held here in her honor, and every four years occurred a very elaborate celebration called the Panathena. The Panathena lasted several days, and attracted throngs of people from all parts of Greece. There were contests in gymnastics and music, torch-races, horse-races, feasts and dances. Sacrifices of oxen were offered on the altar of the goddess, every state having to furnish an ox for the purpose. The climax was reached on the last day, when a great procession started at sunrise and traversed the streets of the city to the temple of Athena. It is with this procession that the bas-relief of our picture is connected, as we shall presently see.

Some time before the festival a group of Athenian maidens of the noblest families had made and embroidered for Athena a beautiful robe called the peplos. This was carried above the procession, stretched like a sail on the mast of a ship which was rolled through the street on wheels. The pageant was made up of many different companies. There [Pg 14] were the Athenian magistrates, grave and dignified, maidens carrying sacrificial vessels, men bearing trays of cakes, citharists (harpists) and flute-players, old men with olive branches, four-horse chariots with armed warriors, rows of young men mounted on prancing steeds, and attendants with the cattle for the sacrifice.

During the invasion of Greece by the Persians, the temple of Athena in Athens was destroyed by fire. Later, on its site, was erected another to replace it, called the Parthenon. The city was now at the height of its prosperity under the statesman Pericles. At this time also lived the great sculptor Phidias, and to him Pericles intrusted the decoration of the new temple.

The Parthenon was built of Pentelic marble, and the temple proper was surrounded by a portico supported on rows of columns. The outside of the building was richly adorned with bas-reliefs. There were designs in the triangular spaces under the roof called pediments. Above the columns ran a series of panels called metopes. Finally, there was a frieze extending around the temple wall, to be seen from within the portico. It is a bit of this frieze which is reproduced in our illustration.

[Pg 15]

THE PARTHENON FRIEZE -- British Museum, London -- London Stereoscopic Co.,
Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. HORSEMEN FROM THE PARTHENON FRIEZE -- British Museum, London -- London Stereoscopic Co., Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 16]
[Pg 17]

The Panathenaic procession is the subject carried the entire length of this bas-relief decoration. On the portion running across one end were depicted the scenes of preparation. Men are in the act of mounting their horses, some having spirited animals to deal with, and all making ready for the start. At the opposite end is the scene of the arrival at the temple. Here sit the gods to receive the sacrifice, while the magistrates stand ready to perform the rites, and maidens approach with the vessels. On the two long sides the procession is seen actually in motion. Here are represented all the figures which took part in such occasions; old men and maidens, musicians, horsemen, charioteers, and sacrificial animals, all moving forward on their way. Group follows group, with that contrast and variety which give interest to a pageant, and with the proper orderliness to give it unity.

Our panel shows us a line of horsemen riding four abreast. Though it is broken and defaced, we catch at once the spirit of the work. The horses are splendid animals; with dilated nostrils, and necks proudly arched, they seem to prance to the music of the flutes. Though they are well matched in size and type, no two are really alike. Every one has as distinct a character as a human being, and lovers of horses might choose each his own favorite from the four.

Only two of the riders fall within our range of vision. They are handsome youths, with the perfectly formed head and finely cut profile which we learn to recognize as the Greek ideal of beauty. The line across forehead and nose is perfectly straight, and the line connecting nose and chin forms a corresponding angle. Both faces bear the stamp of refinement and high breeding which mark them as belonging to the class of Athenian nobles. [Pg 18]

Though the two youths have so similar a cast of countenance, they are quite unlike in temperament. The farther one is of a somewhat dreamy, poetic nature. He rides with bent head as if in a reverie. His companion is of a sterner, more virile type. He looks straight before him, and carries his head with a sense of the dignity of the occasion.

Both youths sit their horses as if born in the saddle. Horse and rider are one, animated by a single dominant will. The Athenian youth were trained from childhood in all sorts of manly exercise. The normal development of the body was of first importance in the Greek educational system. These young men are typical examples of the fine specimens of manhood which that training produced.

[Pg 19]



"The white armed queen,
Juno, the mistress of the golden throne."

It is thus that the Iliad describes Hera, the wife of Zeus, now more often called by her Roman name Juno. The marriage union between the ruler of the gods and his queen represented the Greek ideal of perfect conjugal happiness. Hera was therefore the goddess who presided over human marriages, and was the type of matronly virtue and dignity. As the queen of heaven, she had it in her power to bestow great riches, honor, and influence upon her favorites.

In the Trojan war she was, like Athena, a partisan of the Greeks, and once or twice even accompanied the war goddess to the battlefield. Usually, however, her pursuits were of a more peaceful and domestic order. She was a very beautiful goddess, "ox-eyed" in the quaint Greek phrase, that is, with large expressive eyes. She had the august and majestic bearing befitting a queen, and is usually described in classic literature as wearing a veil. A long passage in the Iliad gives an account of her toilet when arraying herself for a special occasion. After bathing in ambrosia, and anointing with oil, [Pg 20]

"When thus her shapely form
Had been anointed, and her hands had combed
Her tresses, she arranged the lustrous curls,
Ambrosial, beautiful, that clustering hung
Round her immortal brow. And next she threw
Around her an ambrosial robe, the work
Of Pallas, all its web embroidered o'er
With forms of rare device. She fastened it
Over the breast with clasps of gold, and then
She passed about her waist a zone which bore
Fringes a hundred-fold, and in her ears
She hung her three-gemmed ear-rings, from whose gleam
She won an added grace. Around her head
The glorious goddess drew a flowing veil,
Just from the loom, and shining like the sun;
And, last, beneath her bright white feet she bound
The shapely sandals." [12]

[12] Iliad, Book xiv., lines 210-226 in Bryant's translation.

One of the prettiest stories about Hera is that in which she acted as the friend of Jason. Jason was the son of a dethroned king and was brought up by the centaur Chiron. When he came of age he set forth, with much good advice from Chiron, to reclaim his father's kingdom. On his journey he came to a swollen stream which seemed well-nigh impassable. As he was considering the danger of crossing it, an old woman on the bank begged him to carry her over. This was a hazardous undertaking, and the young man was sorely tempted to refuse her. At last his kindness triumphed and he consented. Taking her on his back, he struggled across the river at the peril of his life. When he set her safely on the opposite bank, a wonderful thing happened. "She grew fairer than all women, and taller than all men on earth; and her garments shone like the summer sea, and her jewels like the stars of heaven; and over her forehead was a veil, woven of the golden clouds of sunset, and through the veil she looked down on him with great soft heifer's eyes; with great eyes, mild and awful, which filled all the glen with light." [13] Then he knew that this was Hera, and from thenceforth she was his guide in every time of need.

[13] From Kingsley's Greek Heroes: the Argonauts.

[Pg 21]

(JUNO) -- Ludovisi Villa, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew &
Son, Sc. BUST OF HERA (JUNO) -- Ludovisi Villa, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 22]
[Pg 23]

The bust of Hera, reproduced in our illustration, shows how the Greeks liked to think of their queen goddess. We at once recognize the features assigned to her by tradition; the large eyes set somewhat far apart, the low, broad forehead, the mild expression. The waving hair is parted, and gathered at the back in a matronly coiffure, and over it is worn the crown of a queen.

We have seen that in Greek sculpture the artist was not always left to represent the divinities according to his own imagination. For each one a certain fixed type had been gradually thought out in very early times, and this type was handed down from generation to generation. A statue or bust could always be recognized without any title. No one, for instance, could ever mistake Zeus for Apollo, or confuse Hera and Athena.

[Pg 24]

By comparing this head of Hera with that of Athena in our previous illustration, we can see how perfectly sculpture carried out the distinctions in the two characters. Hera was less intellectual than Athena, and had perhaps more distinctly feminine charms. The mouth has less strength and firmness, the expression more mildness. Her beauty is naturally of a more matronly type than that of the virgin goddess. The crown which she wears belongs as distinctly to her as does the helmet to Athena.

A careful examination of the face suggests that it may have been studied from actual life. If, as some critics believe, the bust was made in Rome by some Greek sojourning there after the conquest of his own nation, a noble Roman matron may have been the model. Be that as it may, this is Hera as the Greeks worshipped her, and perhaps the best existing representation of the great goddess.

[Pg 25]



An important part of the Greek system of education was the training of the body in physical exercise. For this purpose there were gymnasia in every city, where the youth were trained in running, leaping, wrestling, throwing the javelin, and casting the discus. Great spaces were occupied by these gymnasia, which included buildings for dressing-rooms and baths, porticoes and halls used as assembly-rooms, walks, gardens, and the palstra, or wrestling-field.

Every four years a great national festival was held at Olympia, consisting of games or contests in the various athletic sports. Every freeman of Hellenic blood had a birthright to take part in them. The contestants were required to undergo a preparatory training, often lasting months, in the gymnasium of Elis, the province in which Olympia was situated.

During the progress of the games a universal truce was proclaimed throughout Greece. All hostilities ceased for the time, and the Greeks as a united people assembled at Olympia for the joyous celebration in honor of Zeus. So important were these Olympic games that they were used as a standard for reckoning time. In assigning a date to an event, the Greeks used to say that it took place in [Pg 26] this or that Olympiad, an Olympiad being the period of four years between two successive festivals.

We may well believe that the Olympic festivals, as well as the ordinary daily exercise in the city gymnasia, had great attractions for sculptors. The palstra must have been a favorite resort of artists. What a sight it was when the young men came out of the dressing-rooms stripped for running, their bodies shining with oil,—what a play of muscles in the lithe young limbs as the runners "pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling!" The course was usually of deep sand, and was about three miles in length. The runners trained for special emergencies attained extraordinary speed and endurance. The race over, each youth returned to the dressing-rooms of the gymnasium and, taking a small instrument called the strigil, made of metal, ivory, or horn, scraped the oil from his body.

It is in this cleansing process that the young man of our illustration is engaged. The statue on this account is called the Apoxyomenos, which is a Greek word meaning "scraping himself." It represents a typical incident of the life of the gymnasium, such as might be seen any day of the year.

Tall and graceful, with slender flexible limbs, the youth stands in an attitude of rest, scraping his right arm. In his fingers is the die which marks his number in the race. His body rests upon one leg, but so light is his poise that he is ready to change his position momentarily. Neither attitude nor countenance shows any sense of exhaustion, [Pg 27] only that delicious fatigue which makes rest so enjoyable.

-- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son,
Sc. -- Vatican Gallery, Rome THE APOXYOMENOS -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

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There is a passage in the Greek poet Aristophanes' comedy of the Clouds, in which a speaker urges upon a young man the life of the gymnasium. "Fresh and fair in beauty-bloom," he says, "you shall pass your days in the wrestling-ground, or run races beneath the sacred olive trees, crowned with white reed, in company with a pure-hearted friend, smelling of bindweed, and leisure hours, and the white poplar that sheds her leaves, rejoicing in the prime of spring when the plane tree whispers to the lime." This is the kind of life typified in the figure of our statue, [14] a side of Greek life which no one can overlook if he would understand the genius of the Greek nation.

[14] The application of this passage to the Apoxyomenos is made by J. A. Symonds in his Greek Poets.

[Pg 30]

It must not be supposed that our statue represents an actual individual. It is not a portrait, but an imaginary typical figure. It is true that portrait statues of athletes were made in great numbers, as we shall note again in another chapter. It was indeed this practical experience among athletes that led sculptors to see what a perfect human figure ought to be. In the study of many different forms they developed an idea of a type common to all and uniting all the perfections. Certain sculptors figured out what they regarded as the true proportions of the ideal human form. One of these was Lysippus, who is believed to have executed this statue as an illustration of his theories. We note as the special characteristics of his ideal figure that it is tall, with slim light limbs, and a rather small head, about one eighth the total height.

We may now see how such a statue as the Apoxyomenos was a preparatory study for statues of the gods. The gods were to be represented in the most perfect human forms which it was possible to conceive, and by working out typical figures like this, forms were found worthy of the noblest subjects. Thus the proportions discovered by Lysippus were peculiarly appropriate for the lighter, fleeter gods, as Apollo and Hermes.

Lysippus executed his works entirely in bronze, and the statue reproduced in our illustration is a marble copy of the original, which was long since lost.

[Pg 31]



Phœbus Apollo was the Greek god of day, who drove the great chariot of the sun across the sky from dawn to sunset. As the sun's rays pierce the air with darts of fire, so Apollo is an archer god carrying a quiver full of arrows. The old Homeric hymn calls him—

"Heaven's far darter, the fair king of days
Whom even the gods themselves fear when he goes
Through Jove's high house; and when his goodly bows
He goes to bend, all from their thrones arise
And cluster near t' admire his faculties." [15]

[15] In Chapman's translation.

If we count up all the gifts which the sunlight brings us, we shall have a list of the offices of Apollo. He brought the spring and the summer, and ripened the grain for harvest. He warded off disease and healed the sick. One of his earliest adventures was to slay the serpent Python lurking in the caves of Mt. Parnassus. Like the legend of St. George and the Dragon, the story is an allegory of the triumph of light over darkness, health over disease, the power of good over the power of evil.

[Pg 32]

Apollo was also the patron of music, having received from Hermes the gift of the lyre. He was wont to play at the banquets of the gods, and the poet Shelley describes his music in these words:—

"And then Apollo with the plectrum strook
The chords, and from beneath his hands a crash
Of mighty sounds rushed up, whose music shook
The soul with sweetness, and like an adept
His sweeter voice a just accordance kept." [16]

[16] From Shelley's translation of the Homeric Hymn to Mercury.

Poetry and the dance were also under Apollo's protection, and he was the leader of the nine muses.

His highest office was prophecy, and in all his temples the priestesses gave mystic revelations of the future. The most famous of these was at Delphi, built over an opening in the ground, whence a strange vapor rose. The priestess, a young woman called a pythia, from the python slain by Apollo, sat over this opening on a three-legged seat, or tripod, and answered the questions brought to her. Her sayings were in verses called oracles, supposed to be communicated to her by the god.

Now, as might be expected, the character of Apollo was as pure and transparent as the sunlight itself. He required clean hands and pure hearts of those who worshiped him. As the sunlight shines into the dark places of the earth, driving the shadows away, so Apollo hated all that was dark and evil in human life. He was not only the rewarder of good but the punisher of evil. In Shelley's "Hymn of Apollo" these words are put in the god's mouth:—

"The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;

[Pg 33]

All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
Good minds and open actions take new might,
Until diminished by the reign of night."
APOLLO BELVEDERE -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John
Andrew & Son, Sc. HEAD OF THE APOLLO BELVEDERE -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

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The head of Apollo in our illustration is from a famous full-length statue of the god known as the Apollo Belvedere. The name Belvedere, which is useful only to distinguish the statue from others of the same subject, comes from the fact that the marble once adorned a pavilion of the Vatican called the Belvedere.

The god stands with left arm extended holding, it is supposed, either a bow or a shield. A quiver of arrows is slung across his back, and a chlamys, or cloak, hangs over his left shoulder. His is the proud attitude of one who is defending some sacred trust. So he holds his head high and gazes steadily before him as if watching an arrow speed to its mark, or perhaps scanning the vanguard of an approaching army. The expression is not a little haughty, and one detects an almost disdainful curve of the lips as if the god regarded the enemy with scorn. The face is cut in an aristocratic mould, with fine sensitive lines which mark the lover of music and poetry. In fact, the refinement of his beauty has something of a feminine quality.

The carefully curled hair is gathered in a bow knot on the top of his head. It may indeed be supposed that the handsome young god was by no means unconscious of his charms, and took no little pains to display them to good advantage. [Pg 36]

The Apollo, however, is a god worthy of our admiration for the noble purity of his countenance. Surely, all base thoughts and mean motives would be put to shame by this pure presence.

The poet Byron, whose "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" describes many interesting sights in Greece and Italy, has written these lines about the Apollo Belvedere:—

"The Lord of the unerring bow,
The god of life, and poesy, and light—
The sun, in human limbs array'd, and brow
All radiant from his triumph in the fight;
The shaft hath just been shot—the arrow bright
With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye
And nostril beautiful disdain, and might,
And majesty flash their full lightnings by,
Developing in that one glance the deity."

[Pg 37]



The Greeks worshipped among their deities a goddess called Demeter, which means "mother earth." It was her office to attend to the sowing and reaping and all kinds of farm work. She first taught mankind the use of the plough; she helped the men in their threshing and the women in their baking. All country folk sought her blessing in their labors. She was, in fact, a personification of nature, and perhaps it is a remnant of the old Greek belief in our speech that we still refer to "mother earth" and "mother nature."

Demeter's only child was a daughter, Persephone, and upon her she lavished all a mother's fond devotion. The story runs that one day Persephone was gathering posies in the meadow when a strange accident overtook her. A beautiful flower suddenly attracted her attention, the like of which she had never before seen. When she put forth her hand to pluck it, the entire plant came up by the roots, leaving a hole in the ground. The hole widened into a great crack, the earth shook with a mighty thundering, and out dashed a chariot drawn by coal-black steeds, bearing Pluto, the king of the lower regions. He caught up the astonished Persephone, and away they [Pg 38] sped again into the gloomy kingdom beyond the Styx, where Persephone was installed as queen.

Demeter, missing her daughter, inquired everywhere what had become of the maiden, but none could tell her. Then she lighted a torch and began a weary search for the lost child. Nine days she wandered without finding any clew. But on the tenth day she met the old witch Hecate, who had heard Persephone scream when she was carried away. Together the two sought Apollo, who sees all the doings of gods and men, and he told them the whole story. "Then a more terrible grief took possession of Demeter, and ... she forsook the assembly of the gods and abode among men for a long time, veiling her beauty under a worn countenance so that none who looked upon her knew her." She declared that the earth should not again bring forth fruit till she had seen her daughter.

It comforted her not a little in this time of mourning to take a mother's care of a certain sickly little child she chanced upon. Disguised as a nurse, she fed the child upon ambrosia, held him in her bosom, and at night covered him in a bed of coals. Under this treatment he thrived amazingly; but the parents discovered the nurse's strange ways and became alarmed. Their anxiety was turned to dismay when they learned that this was a goddess, who would have made their son immortal but for their interference.

[Pg 39]

-- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son,
Sc. DEMETER (CERES) -- Vatican Gallery, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 40]
[Pg 41]

In the mean time the crops fell into a bad state, and it was a year of grievous famine. Demeter still kept her vow to let no green thing appear upon the earth. Then Zeus came to the rescue of perishing humanity. He sent a messenger to Pluto begging him to let Persephone return to her mother. The request was granted, the chariot was made ready, but the wily king first pressed his bride to eat with him some pomegranate seeds, designing that she should return to him again. Mother and daughter were now joyfully reunited, but not without further separation; for a portion of each year Persephone returned to her kingdom below the earth, reappearing in the spring to visit her mother. And this is why to this day the harvest is followed by winter until the spring revisits the earth. [17]

[17] The story of Demeter and Persephone is related in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, of which an abridged English version is given in the chapter on the Myth of Demeter and Persephone in Pater's Greek Studies. The same chapter refers to various other ancient forms of the story, one of the most important being that of Ovid's Metamorphoses, translated into English blank verse by Edward King.

In all this story we see that the most striking characteristic of Demeter is her motherliness. In some respects she is like Hera, because both are matrons and are patterns of the domestic virtues. But while Hera is the model wife, Demeter is the model mother.

It is the motherliness of our statue which makes us feel sure that it must be intended to represent Demeter. [18]The goddess stands holding in her outstretched right hand a sheaf of wheat, and lifting high in the left hand the torch with which she journeyed round the world. It is as if she stood on the threshold of the opening season awaiting her daughter's return. She gazes straight before her with a look of expectancy as if she already saw her child from afar. Her face is lighted by a smile of welcome. One can fancy how tenderly those motherly arms will fold the child to her heart, and how gladly the daughter will pillow her head on that broad bosom.

[18] See in the Historical Directory another subject assigned to the statue. [Pg 42]

The figure is in striking contrast to the statue of Athena which we have studied. The virgin goddess is stately and unapproachable in her panoply of wisdom, but the great mother seems to invite our confidence. She is one to whom a frightened child might run, sure of being soothed. To her the sorrowing would turn, fearing no repulse. She would welcome, she would understand, she would comfort. There is strength and repose in every line of her majestic figure.

The statue illustrates admirably the grandeur and simplicity of the best Greek art. The long straight lines of the drapery, unbroken by any unnecessary folds, are the secret of the impression of tranquil dignity in the work.

[Pg 43]



The imagination of the Greeks peopled the woods and waters with all sorts of mythical beings, among which one of the most delightful was the faun. This was a creature half human, half animal, which frolicked in the woods in spring time. In outward appearance it looked much like a human being, except that it had pointed furry ears. In nature, however, it was closely akin to the animals, and lived a free happy life, with none of the thoughts and cares which beset the soul of man.

Our statue represents a sculptor's conception of this sportive being. It is famous not only because it is a celebrated work of art, but because it takes an important place in a celebrated novel. This is the "marble faun" which gives the title to Hawthorne's book. It will be remembered that in the beginning of the story, a party of friends are visiting the museum of the Capitol in Rome, where the statue stands. Suddenly they notice the resemblance which one of their number, a young Italian named Donatello, bears to the statue. They bid him take the same attitude, and the likeness is complete. The writer describes the statue in these words: "The Faun is the marble image of a young man leaning his right [Pg 44] arm on the trunk or stump of a tree; one hand hangs carelessly by his side; in the other he holds the fragment of a pipe, or some such sylvan instrument of music. His only garment—a lion's skin, [19] with the claws upon his shoulder—falls halfway down his back, leaving the limbs and entire front of the figure nude. The form, thus displayed, is marvellously graceful, but has a fuller and more rounded outline, more flesh, and less of heroic muscle, than the old sculptors were wont to assign to their types of masculine beauty. [20] The character of the face corresponds with the figure; it is most agreeable in outline and feature, but rounded and somewhat voluptuously developed, especially about the throat and chin; the nose is almost straight, but very slightly curves inward, thereby acquiring an indescribable charm of geniality and humor. The mouth, with its full yet delicate lips, seems so nearly to smile outright that it calls forth a responsive smile. The whole statue—unlike anything else that ever was wrought in that severe material of marble—conveys the idea of an amiable and sensual creature, easy, mirthful, apt for jollity, yet not incapable of being touched by pathos. It is impossible to gaze long at this stone image without conceiving a kindly sentiment towards it, as if its substance were warm to the touch, and imbued with actual life. It comes very close to some of our pleasantest sympathies."

[19] More likely a leopard's skin.

[20] Compare, for instance, the slender figure of the Apoxyomenos. [Pg 45]

PRAXITELES -- Capitol Museum, Rome -- Alinari, Photo. John Andrew &
Son, Sc. THE FAUN OF PRAXITELES -- Capitol Museum, Rome -- Alinari, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 46]
[Pg 47]

After this description the writer goes on to analyze the nature of the Faun. "The being here represented," he says, "is endowed with no principle of virtue, and would be incapable of comprehending such; but he would be true and honest by dint of his simplicity. We should expect from him no sacrifice or effort for an abstract cause; there is not an atom of martyr's stuff in all that softened marble; but he has a capacity for strong and warm attachment, and might act devotedly through its impulse, and even die for it at need. It is possible, too, that the Faun might be educated through the medium of his emotions, so that the coarser animal portion of his nature might eventually be thrown into the background, though never utterly expelled."

The original statue, of which the marble of the Capitol is a copy, was the work of the sculptor Praxiteles. As Hawthorne says: "Only a sculptor of the finest imagination, the most delicate taste, the sweetest feeling, and the rarest artistic skill—in a word, a sculptor and a poet too—could have ... succeeded in imprisoning the sportive and frisky thing in marble." We are presently to see again in the head of Hermes that Praxiteles was indeed a remarkable sculptor. The Faun, however, is the more difficult subject of the two, for it was puzzling to think what expression would be proper to a being partly human, but without a soul.

It is said that Praxiteles himself considered the Faun one of his two best works. It had been impossible for his friends to get an expression of opinion from him in regard to his statues, until one day [Pg 48] a trick was devised to betray him. He was told that his studio was on fire, when he exclaimed that his labor was all lost if the Faun and the Eros were destroyed.

The Faun originally stood in the street of the Tripods at Athens, but what has now become of it we do not know. The statue in our illustration is one of the most celebrated copies. Many travellers make a special pilgrimage to see it, and seeing it recall the words of Hawthorne, describing the spell it casts upon the spectator. "All the pleasantness of sylvan life, all the genial and happy characteristics of creatures that dwell in woods and fields, will seem to be mingled and kneaded into one substance, along with the kindred qualities in the human soul. Trees, grass, flowers, woodland streamlets, cattle, deer, and unsophisticated man—the essence of all these was compressed long ago, and still exists, within that discolored marble surface of the Faun of Praxiteles."

[Pg 49]



One of the greatest of Greek writers was the tragic poet Sophocles. He was born near Athens in the year 495 B. C., and was educated after the manner of the Greek youth of his time. Every advantage was given him for the study of music and poetry, and also for that gymnastic training which, as we have seen, was so important in Greek education.

Sophocles was a handsome youth, and acquitted himself well in the palstra. When he was sixteen years of age the great battle of Salamis was fought and won by the Greeks. In the celebration of this victory at Athens, Sophocles led with dance and lyre the chorus of young men who sang the pan or hymn of victory. That such an honor should be given him shows how graceful and gifted he must have been.

The beginning of his literary career came when he was in his twenty-fifth year. At that time a solemn festival was held in Athens in memory of the ancient King Theseus, whose bones had been brought thither from the island of Scyros. Now all religious festivals in Greece were celebrated with contests, some athletic, others artistic and literary. On this occasion there was a contest of dramatic poets. [Pg 50] schylus was at that time the greatest of living tragedians, and as he was among the contestants, it might have been supposed that no other candidate could have succeeded. Sophocles now came forward with his first tragedy, and so remarkable was it found to be that the judges pronounced him victor.

From this time forth Sophocles continually grew in dramatic and literary power. Twenty times he obtained the first prize in other contests, and many times also the second prize. The amount of his work was prodigious. Most of his dramas are lost, but we still have a half dozen or more to show us the noble quality of his work. The finest are perhaps those called Œdipus Tyrannus, Œdipus Coloneus, and Antigone, all dealing with the tragic fate of an ancient royal family.

Athens was justly proud of her great poet and bestowed various honors upon him. He was even made a general, and served in the war against Samos; but nature had made him a poet, and it is as a poet that we must always think of him. Full of years and honors, he died in Athens at the age of ninety. Of him the Greek poet Phrynicus wrote,—

"Thrice happy Sophocles! in good old age
Blessed as a man, and as a craftsman blessed,
He died: his many tragedies were fair,
And fair his end, nor knew he any sorrow."

Our portrait shows admirably what manner of man he was, handsome and dignified, in the prime of life.

[Pg 51]

Lateran Museum, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. SOPHOCLES -- Lateran Museum, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

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The scanty folds of his toga reveal the fine lines of his graceful figure. The pose shows the bodily vigor which his early athletic training gave him. He holds his head erect in a manner suggestive of his military life. The face is that of an idealist and a poet, a man who sees splendid visions. Yet it is not altogether dreamy in the ordinary sense; it has the alert, energetic aspect of one who would turn from vision to action. It is not hard to believe the tale of his one hundred and twenty-three dramas: such a man would fill his life with activity. The face has, too, the expression of genial kindliness which made the great poet so beloved of his fellow men. His must have been that calm, equable temperament not easily ruffled, which goes with the self-respecting nature. A receptacle at his side is filled with the scrolls of his tragedies. He stands in the attitude of a poet reciting his lines to an assembled audience.

The statue shows how sane was the Greek ideal of intellectual greatness. In those days genius did not mean eccentricity, but the rule of life was a sound mind in a sound body. It is a mistaken notion of our own times that bodily health must be sacrificed to the training of the brain. It is even supposed by some that oddities of dress and manner are signs of greatness.

The Greeks had no such delusions. Here is Sophocles, the greatest dramatic poet of antiquity, a magnificent specimen of symmetrically developed manhood. He is a man who has made the most of life's opportunities as he understood them. He enjoys perfect bodily vigor; he is as well a man of the [Pg 54] world, at ease among men. There is evidently nothing of the recluse in his character. He wears his beard carefully trimmed as one who looks well to his personal appearance. Yet intellectual greatness is stamped on face and bearing: the noble countenance marks him as a poet.

There was a period in Greek history when it was a custom to adorn public buildings with statues of famous men, living or dead. Libraries were appropriately decorated with statues of poets, and we fancy that our statue of Sophocles was made for such a purpose. The original is supposed to have been set up by a certain Athenian statesman named Lycurgus in the fourth century B. C.

[Pg 55]



Old soldiers tell us that sometimes in the thick of a battle men fight as though possessed by a spirit of fury. The excitement of the conflict seems to arouse an impulse of bloodthirstiness in them, and for the moment they seem to exult in the carnage. In the ancient methods of warfare, when a battle was literally a hand-to-hand conflict, this spirit of brutality was of course even more marked. In the wars among the early Greeks men fell upon one another with the violence of wild animals.

The Greeks with their ready gift for personification conceived of this spirit of warfare as a supernatural being acting on human lives. He was called Ares, the god whose special delight was to incite the fierce passions of men.

It was natural that the Greeks should refer his influence chiefly to their enemies. On their own part they preferred to think that their armies were inspired by the prudent spirit of self-defense embodied in Athena. This explains why in the Iliad Ares was on the side of the Trojans, while Athena aided the Greeks. Thus Ares and Athena were brought into direct rivalry, the spirit of violence against the spirit of strategy. [Pg 56]

An instance is related when Athena makes an appeal to her enemy, the translation running in these words, the Roman name Mars being used for Ares.

"Mars, Mars, thou slayer of men, thou steeped in blood,
Destroyer of walled cities! should we not
Leave both the Greeks and Trojans to contend,
And Jove to crown with glory whom he will,
While we retire, lest we provoke his wrath?" [21]

[21] Iliad, Book v., lines 33-37.

As a matter of fact, however, both deities continued to aid their favorites. Mars was forced to yield before the skill and prudence of Athena. Guided by the goddess the Greek hero Diomed wounds and drives him from the battle. [22]

[22] Iliad, Book v., lines 1068-1075.

In spite of his violent nature Mars was a handsome god, "stately, swift, unwearied, puissant." Though war was his chief delight he was quite susceptible to the tender passion. Venus was the object of his devotion, and the goddess of love returned the war god's admiration. It was she who soothed his wounded vanity when Athena mocked him in the presence of the gods and struck him to earth with a stone. [23]

[23] Iliad, Book xxi., lines 500 et seq.[Pg 57]

-- Ludovisi Villa, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. ARES SEATED -- Ludovisi Villa, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 58]
[Pg 59]

The statue reproduced in our illustration shows the god in his mildest aspect. He is seated in a meditative attitude, clasping his hands over his upraised knee. His splendidly developed body is relaxed in a posture of repose, the shield is laid aside for a moment, and he rests from his labors. In the best period of Greek sculpture it was entirely contrary to the laws of taste to represent Ares in any warlike action. The gods must always be portrayed in a dignified repose befitting their superiority to mankind. Not then in his attitude or expression do we find any sign of the character of the god. There is no suggestion of unrest in his quiet posture.

The shape of his head perhaps gives some hint of his combative nature. The cast of countenance, too, shows an impulsive temper, weak in intellectual qualities, and quick to anger. Yet he is undeniably attractive, with his well-chiseled features and clustering curls. The small ear is as delicately cut as a woman's. The fine athletic figure is such as any warrior might covet; muscular and supple, it is full of power even in repose. The attitude of easy grace displays its best points to advantage.

Sitting on the ground in front of the god is the figure of a mischievous baby boy. This is the little god Eros, who in Greek mythology was supposed to be the inspirer of love. The artist meant to suggest that the subject of Ares' meditations might be some affair of the heart. Certainly his mild smile would carry out that interpretation. Some critics have thought, however, that the statue did not originally include the child.

As we study the modelling of the figure, the free sweep of the long lines delights the eye. We shall come to understand from repeated examples that the best Greek sculptors thoroughly mastered the secret of fine lines. Our illustration is somewhat unusual because the figure is seated. Even in this position, [Pg 60] however, the sculptor gives us a sense of the perfect grace and lightness of the pose. There is nothing heavy or immovable in the attitude. We can easily imagine how the god, rising lightly to his feet, would stand erect and beautiful, ready for action.

[Pg 61]



To do his errands and carry his messages through the universe the supreme god Zeus had a herald, Hermes, the god of the wind. As the wind blows out of the great sky, so Hermes descended from Olympus to earth to do the sky god's bidding. Equipped as a herald he wore a winged cap and winged sandals, which carried him about with great speed. He had also a short sword bent like a scythe, given him by Zeus with the cap and sandals. He possessed the strange power of making himself invisible, and of assuming different forms. As he had besides a ready wit and an eloquent tongue, he could make himself very useful. It was one of his common tasks to carry sleep to mortals, and his most solemn office was to conduct the souls of the dying to the other world.

This is the way the Odyssey describes Hermes setting forth on one of the errands of Zeus:—

"The herald Argicide obeyed,
And hastily beneath his feet he bound
The fair ambrosial golden sandals, worn
To bear him over ocean like the wind,
And o'er the boundless land. His wand he took,
Wherewith he softly seals the eyes of men,
And opens them at will from sleep." [24]

[24] Book v., lines 55-61 in Bryant's translation.[Pg 62]

One of the most famous adventures of Hermes was the slaying of the many-eyed monster Argus, from whom he rescued the unhappy Io. This is why the old Greek poet, whom we have quoted, calls the god the Argicide. Another of his well known missions was the care of the motherless infant Bacchus, whom he conveyed to the nymphs of Nysa to be reared. An adventurer himself, Hermes was ever ready to aid heroes in their exploits. It was with his sword that Perseus cut off the Gorgon's head: we may read the story in Hawthorne's "Wonder-Book" and Kingsley's "Greek Heroes."

Nor was Hermes above a bit of mischief now and then. An old Homeric hymn tells of a sly prank he played upon Apollo, when he was a mere baby, stealing the herds of Admetus which Apollo was keeping. He was an ingenious fellow too, and this is how he invented the lyre. Taking from the beach a tortoise, he cleaned out the shell, pierced it with holes, and stretched from hole to hole, at regular intervals, cords of sheep gut.

"When he had wrought the lovely instrument
He tried the chords, and made division meet,
Preluding with the plectrum, and there went
Up from beneath his hand a tumult sweet
Of mighty sounds." [25]

[25] From the Homeric Hymn to Mercury in Shelley's translation, Stanza ix. [Pg 63]

OLYMPIAN HERMES -- Museum, Olympia -- English Photographic Co., Athens,
Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. HEAD OF THE OLYMPIAN HERMES -- Museum, Olympia -- English Photographic Co., Athens, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 64]
[Pg 65]

With this instrument Apollo was so delighted that Hermes straightway presented it to him, to make some amends, as it were, for the injury done him. In return Apollo bestowed the caduceus, or wand, upon Hermes, and the two gods vowed eternal friendship.

The Greeks were very fond of their god Hermes. He was not too grand to be companionable, like the awe-inspiring Zeus or the haughty Apollo. They thought of him as a blithe, gentle being whose lighthearted ways and easy good nature made him a general favorite. It was an early custom to set up in his honor stone posts at the crossroads. Sometimes they were topped by the heads of other gods, but these were called for him, herm. In the course of time better statues were made in full length figure. The head reproduced in our illustration is from such an one which used to stand in a temple of Olympia, from the ruins of which it was unearthed a few years ago.

The entire right arm and parts of both legs are missing, but the other portions of the statue show the god's position. He is leaning against a tree trunk, holding on his left arm the infant Bacchus, who was, as we have seen, consigned to his care by Zeus. Hermes is not, however, looking at the child, but gazes dreamily before him, his head bent in the pensive pose which we see. The features are cut with typical Greek regularity, but the countenance has besides its own individual charm. The droop of the upper eyelid suggests a dreamy nature, and in the curve of the smiling lips is a hint of playfulness. The lower forehead is full, showing over the eyes the bar of flesh which marks the strongly masculine nature. The closely cropped curls preserve the perfect [Pg 66] contour of the head. The small, beautiful ear is as daintily modeled as the ringlets of hair.

The face wins us at once with its gentle amiability. It is tender and playful, and withal exquisitely refined and courteous. What a deferential listener is suggested in that pose of the head! The pure outline of the face calls to mind those knights of chivalry who gathered about King Arthur's Round Table, and one wonders if Sir Galahad himself might not have looked like this.

This statue is the work of the great sculptor Praxiteles, and is the only original marble in existence direct from his hands. All the rest of his work is known from descriptions and copies. We can understand, then, how sculptors and critics the world over have examined it to study the sculptor's methods. It is of Parian marble, much stained with iron rust from its long entombment under the soil.

[Pg 67]



We have seen how important a part in the Greek national life was occupied by the Olympic Games. They were regarded as a sacred institution of the gods, and to contend in them was a religious consecration. None could enter them who had been guilty of dishonorable conduct or sacrilege, and young men from the noblest families were not above taking part. The prizes were wreaths of wild parsley, olive, and pine, having no intrinsic worth, but of priceless value to the recipients. To win them was the highest ambition of many a Greek youth.

The victor was led forth before the people, crowned with the wreath and bearing a palm branch in his hand. Heralds proclaimed his name and that of his father. Banquets were spread in his honor, and songs were composed in his praise. [26] From thenceforth he was a person of distinction. Finally his statue was set up in the altis or sacred grove of Olympia. There were at one time as many as three thousand such statues in the place.

[26] See, for \ instance, Pindar's Olympic Odes. [Pg 68]

It will be readily seen that in statues of athletes the sculptor had greater freedom than in statues of the gods. The latter must be represented in dignified attitudes of repose, but the former would naturally be portrayed in some characteristic posture of action. It is so with the statue in our illustration called the Discobolus or Disk-thrower.

The game of disk-throwing was very old, so old that there were Greek legends of famous games played by the gods and heroes. Apollo sometimes tried his hand at it, and also Perseus. The discus, or disk, was a heavy round plate of metal, bronze or iron, about eight inches in diameter, grasped in one hand, swung around to give it a rotary motion, and then sent flying through the air. A modern authority explains that it was thrown not as the quoit is to-day, with arm and shoulder only, but by bringing into play and utilizing every limb and muscle of the body. "Immediately preceding the actual hurling of the discus, therefore, there had to be a general storing up and compression of energy which, when suddenly set free, produced the violence of the projection. The principle is simply that of the spring which, when compressed, shoots out from the centre. The greater the contortion of the body, the more each muscle and sinew is strung towards one centre, the greater will be the impetus when this compression is suddenly set free." [27]

[27]Waldstein, in Essays on the Art of Pheidias, page 49. [Pg 69]

(THE DISK-THROWER) -- Lancelotti Palace, Rome -- John Andrew & Son, Sc. THE DISCOBOLUS (THE DISK-THROWER) -- Lancelotti Palace, Rome -- John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 70]
[Pg 71]

Our statue shows the disk-thrower at the moment immediately preceding the throw. As described by the ancient writer Lucian, "he is bent down into the position for the throw, turning towards the hand that holds the disk, and all but bending on one knee, he seems as if he would straighten himself up at the throw."

The modern critic whom we have already quoted shows that when we view the statue from the front, "all the lines of the modelling indicate the tension of the sinews towards the contracted centre of the body, and the legs, neck, and shoulders tend towards the same point." When we walk around the statue, all the lines in the back and sides "seem to lead towards that central point like the spiral contraction of a spring." It is by thus suggesting the concentration of energy on the part of the Discobolus that the figure appears so full of life and action.

By the choice of this posture the artist was enabled to model his figure on magnificent sculpturesque lines. One long fine curve sweeps along the right arm, is continued down the left arm, and is carried to completion in the left leg and foot. The counter curve starts under the right shoulder, and sweeps down the right side and leg.

The original statue of the Discobolus was executed in bronze, and our reproduction is from one of several ancient copies in marble. In some of these the original head of the statue has been replaced by another, but the copy we see here has a fine, vigorous head. The English critic, Walter Pater, [28] describes the face "as smooth but spare, and tightly drawn over muscle and bone." He shows too how sympathetic the face is with the whole intention of the statue, "as the source of will." [29]

[28] In the chapter on Athletic Prizemen, in Greek Studies.

[29] This opinion is the more interesting because the face of the Discobolus is commonly criticised for "absence of emotional expression." See Furtwngler's Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture, p. 173.

[Pg 72]

The sculptor of the Discobolus was Myron, who lived in the period between the Persian War and the middle of the fifth century. His work shows his fondness for movement, though many of his subjects did not permit him to indulge his taste. He made a specialty of figures of athletes, both commemorative portrait statues and typical figures. We do not know whether this statue represents an actual Olympic victor, or is a typical figure, like the Apoxyomenos. In any case it gives an excellent idea of the great influence exercised upon Greek life by the athletic games.

[Pg 73]



By Greek tradition the fairest of the goddesses was Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To her every lover paid his vows and every maiden prayed for charms. An old legend relates that she was born from the foam of the sea, hence the name Aphrodite, which means "foam-born." Among the Romans she was called Venus. At her birth the island of Cyprus received her.

"Where the force
Of gentle-breathing Zephyr steer'd her course
Along the waves of the resounding sea,
While yet unborn in that soft foam she lay
That brought her forth."

Here she emerged "a goddess in the charms of awful beauty." The Hours welcomed her eagerly, taking her in their arms and putting a crown of gold upon her head. As she went on her way, flowers grew in her path,—

"Where her delicate feet
Had pressed the sands, green herbage flowering sprang." [30]

[30] An account of the birth of Aphrodite is given in Hesiod's Theogony and in the Homeric Hymn to Venus, and the quotations here are drawn from both sources.

[Pg 74]

As we have already seen, there were among the Greek divinities two other goddesses besides Aphrodite specially famed for their beauty,—Athena and Hera. Tradition tells how the beauty of the three was tested. An apple was thrown into their midst inscribed "For the fairest," and a contention at once arose as to the rightful owner. Paris, the prince of Troy, being chosen arbiter, decided in favor of Aphrodite, who promised him for a wife the fairest woman in Greece, that is, Helen. [31] This was the real cause of the Trojan War, in which the Greeks sought to recover their stolen princess. Aphrodite being at the bottom of the trouble remained through the war on the Trojan side.

[31] See Tennyson's poem, Oenone.

Oddly enough the beautiful goddess was mated to the ugliest of the gods, the lame blacksmith Hephstus (or Vulcan). At his forge were made those fateful arrows of the little god Eros (or Cupid), the mother standing by to tip their points with honey.

The power of love in human life made the ideal of Aphrodite very dear to the hearts of the Greeks. All that is most tender and sacred in this human relation was personified in her. As love ennobles the life and makes it unselfish, so, they reasoned, must Aphrodite be a grand and noble being. Again, as love glorifies the life, and brings joy into its commonest details, she must also be beautiful and laughter-loving. In short, one cannot think of any quality of love which was not reflected in the person of the glorious goddess. Temples were built in her honor, and she was worshiped in festivals and sacrificial rites. Statues of her were set up in many places, and one of the most famous which has come down to us is reproduced in our illustration.

[Pg 75]

OF MELOS (THE VENUS OF MILO) -- The Louvre, Paris -- Neurdein Frres,
Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc. THE APHRODITE OF MELOS (THE VENUS OF MILO) -- The Louvre, Paris -- Neurdein Frres, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 76]
[Pg 77]

We have now learned by repeated instances that the Greeks had such definite ideas of their deities that their statues were as readily recognized as if they represented actual persons. The sculptors followed types accepted by tradition as the best embodiment of the characters they stood for. So especially with Zeus, Athena, and Hera, and so again with Aphrodite. She must be supremely fair, with a beauty less austere than that of the maiden Athena, less regal than that of Hera, and more fascinating than either.

We see then at once that the beautiful figure of our illustration must be Aphrodite, or Venus. In looking at her we think, not of wisdom, or force, or power, but just of beauty. She stands resting the weight of her body on one foot, and advancing the other with knee bent. The posture causes the figure to sway slightly to one side, describing a fine curved line. The lower limbs are draped, but the upper part of the body is uncovered, and in some mysterious way the sculptor has imparted to the marble a seeming softness as of real flesh. The head is as exquisitely set as a flower on its stalk. The parted hair is drawn back in rippling waves over the low forehead.

The eyes are not very wide open, having something of a dreamy languor. "Melting eyes" are indeed characteristic of Venus, and an analytical critic has explained that this effect is produced in sculpture by [Pg 78] a "slight elevation of the inner corner of the lower eyelid." The nose is perfectly cut, the mouth and chin are moulded in adorable curves. Yet to say that every feature is of faultless perfection is but cold praise. No analysis can convey the sense of her peerless beauty.

The statue originally stood on the Greek island of Melos, where it was discovered in 1820 in this broken state. Many wise heads have been puzzled to know the position of the missing arms. Some have thought that the goddess carried a shield, and others have fancied her holding the traditional apple. There have also been many discussions as to the date of the work. Now if the statue had been made in the fifth century B. C., the goddess would have been fully draped; if in the fourth century, entirely without drapery. Our sculptor then belonged to neither of these periods, and combined the characteristics of both. It is a fault on his part to have placed the drapery in an impossible position, whence in actual life it would immediately fall of its own weight. Yet we do not think of such criticisms when we see it. The beautiful body rising above the drapery reminds us of the myth of Aphrodite emerging from the sea foam. Her beauty is a union of strength and sweetness, a perfect embodiment of a nature at harmony with itself and its surroundings.

[Pg 79]



There was once a man named Orpheus, who lived in the land of Thrace. It was said that his father was Apollo, and his mother the muse Calliope; so it is not strange that he was both poet and musician. So enchanting was the music of his lyre that wild animals came forth from their haunts to hear him. Even trees and rocks seemed to feel the magic influence of the strain.

He had a beautiful wife named Eurydice, whom he loved dearly, and they were happy together till a sad accident separated them. She was bitten one day by a poisonous serpent, and died from the effects of the wound. There was no more happiness on earth for Orpheus, and he determined to seek Eurydice in the underworld of the dead.

Now the gates of the lower regions were guarded by a three-headed dog named Cerberus, but even this fierce beast was subdued by the entrancing music of Orpheus, who

"Through the unsubstantial realm
Populous with phantom ghosts of buried men,
Undaunted passed to where Persephone
Sits by the monarch of that cheerless folk
Of shadows throned—and struck his lyre, and sang."
[Pg 80]

Pouring forth the mournful tale of his lost love, he appealed to the gods to give him back Eurydice. So eloquent was his plea that all who listened were "moved to weeping." Then for the first time the iron cheeks of the Furies were wet with tears, and

"Of the nether realm
Nor King nor Queen had heart to say him nay."

Eurydice was brought forth and restored to her husband, but a single condition was laid upon Orpheus in leading her out. Until they had regained the earth he was not to look backward, or the boon would be forfeited. The Latin poet Ovid tells how the two fared forth together from the underworld, and how Orpheus failed in the conditions of the agreement.

"Through the silent realm
Upward against the steep and fronting hill
Dark with obscurest gloom, the way he led:
And now the upper air was all but won,
When fearful lest the toil o'ertask her strength
And yearning to behold the form he loved,
An instant back he looked,—and back the shade
That instant fled....
...One last
And sad 'Farewell,' scarce audible, she sighed,
And vanished to the ghosts that late she left." [32]

[32] From the Metamorphoses, Book x, in Henry King's translation, from which also the other quotations are drawn. [Pg 81]

EURYDICE -- Albani Villa, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew &
Son, Sc. ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE -- Albam Villa, Rome -- D. Anderson, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 82]
[Pg 83]

Our bas-relief represents a scene of parting between Orpheus and Eurydice, and we may take it, as we please, to refer to their first or to their last farewell. It seems, however, to apply more appropriately to the first departure of Eurydice to the unknown land. She lays her hand fondly upon her husband's shoulder, and he touches it gently as if to detain her.

The figure on the other side is the messenger god Hermes, whose mission is to conduct departing spirits to the other world. [33] He has come for Eurydice, and he takes her by the hand to draw her away. For a moment husband and wife gaze into each other's eyes with love and sorrow, while the messenger waits with exquisite courtesy.

[33] See page 61.

Though the Greeks had many tales of sorrow in their poetry and mythology, they did not often illustrate them in their art. The subjects of their sculpture are nearly always happy ones. Even here, you see, grief is made so beautiful and dignified that we forget to feel sad about the parting. We think most of the love and devotion between Orpheus and Eurydice.

The simple story of the bas-relief touches us more readily perhaps than the grand statues of the gods. People like in art something which corresponds to the common human lives of all.

The garment worn by Eurydice seems quite like that of the goddess Demeter. The drapery is very full in front, falling in long straight folds. At the side it is scantier and shows the motion of the figure in walking. The short tunic worn by the other figures is a picturesque costume, and the mantle swinging over one shoulder is very graceful. When one contrasts with these classical draperies the stiff dress of modern times, one wonders that the sculptor of to-day does not throw down his chisel in despair.

[Pg 84]

The style of the draperies often enables a critic to decide in what period a work of art was produced. In the best art the folds are always simple: it is a sure sign of declining art when the folds are complicated and broken. Here we see the few simple, severe lines which mark the purest classical taste.

[Pg 85]



Upon the death of Alexander the Great there was much disputing among his generals as to what should become of the various provinces of his empire, including Greece. It was finally decided that the Greek cities should be left free. A general named Ptolemy soon broke this agreement and entered Greece, whereupon another named Antigonus promptly proceeded to punish him. Antigonus had a son Demetrius, who was a skilful engineer, and was called Poliorcetes, "besieger of cities," for his success in raising sieges. He was sent to Athens with a fleet of two hundred and fifty ships, and won the gratitude of the city for delivering it from the hands of Ptolemy. Demetrius next turned his attention to the island of Cyprus, of which Ptolemy was in possession. The rival forces met off Salamis, 306 B. C., in a fierce sea fight, and Demetrius was victorious.

Now the Greeks were fond of commemorating notable events by the erection of statues, and it was an old custom among them to set up a statue of victory in honor of any success of arms on land or sea. We have seen how natural it was for them to attribute the affairs of life to the agency of the [Pg 86] deities. So in war, greatly as they praised their armies and their generals, it was to Nike, the goddess of victory, that they gave the chief credit of success. This goddess was conceived as a winged being attendant upon both Zeus and Athena, who, as we have seen, controlled the destinies of war.

To Nike then, this winged goddess of victory, was due the wonderful success of Demetrius over Ptolemy's fleet before Salamis, and it was fitting that her statue should commemorate the event. The spot chosen for it was the island of Samothrace, which stands so high above water level that it is very conspicuous in the northern Greek archipelago.

The goddess was represented standing on the prow of a vessel as if leading the fleet to success. It may be that the old Greek idea of a goddess at the prow was the origin of the "figure head" for so many years carried by every ship that sailed the seas. The vessels in those old days were called triremes, being propelled by rowers who sat at their oars in three tiers, or banks, which gave the name to the craft. The goddess stood in the middle of what was called the ikrion proras, which would correspond to the forecastle deck. In her right hand she held a trumpet to her lips, and in her left she carried a crosstree, the framework of a trophy.

[Pg 87]

WINGED VICTORY) -- The Louvre, Paris -- Neurdein Frres, Photo. John
Andrew & Son, Sc. NIKE (THE WINGED VICTORY) -- The Louvre, Paris -- Neurdein Frres, Photo. John Andrew & Son, Sc.

[Pg 88]
[Pg 89]

The figure is in an erect poise with the chest held high. You will notice that a walker making his way against the wind bends the body forward to resist its force, while one who is borne along on some vehicle in the face of the wind steadies himself upright. So with Nike; the attitude expresses the sense of exhilaration from the rush of wind in the face of one borne along on a moving vessel. The breeze beats the thin drapery back upon her, outlining the beautiful curves of bust and limb, and fluttering behind her in the air. The broad pinions which would retard the ship's motion if spread open are folded to cut the air like the prow.

When the statue was set up and the colossal figure in white marble was seen against the blue sky of a southern land, what an inspiration it must have been as a symbol of success! What discouraged heart could look at such a figure and not be thrilled with new ambition! The statue of Nike was not the only tribute to the victory of Demetrius. Some special coins were struck in honor of the event, including gold staters and silver tetradrachms, specimens of which still exist. The design on the obverse of these coins represented the statue of Nike.

Years passed, and at length the independence of the Greeks was crushed under the heel of the Roman conqueror. Many places were laid waste throughout the peninsula and the Greek islands. Temples were destroyed and pillaged, and statues were thrown from their pedestals and buried beneath the soil and dbris. Our statue of Nike shared the sad fate which befell so many other great works of art. For centuries it lay in fragments in the ruins surrounding a temple in Samothrace. Then came the explorer with pickaxe and shovel, some of the precious bits were recovered, and learned men set to work to [Pg 90] put them together again. The coins of Demetrius were their guide, and the tiny figure of Nike engraved thereon was the model after which the great statue was reconstructed.

The head and arms are still missing, and a fanciful conceit might suggest that these losses were the marks of a hard-fought battle. Success has been dearly bought, but the goddess emerges, erect and undaunted, her tattered wings beating the air victoriously. As we look at the statue we think less of what it lacks than of what it is. Perhaps if head and arms were there we should not have eyes for the glorious lines in the figure itself. One particularly fine line is the continuous curve running across the bust and the arched top of the wings.

The figure gives us a sense of motion which fairly quickens the blood in our veins. We, too, seem to feel the strong salt breeze in our faces, speeding through the air with courage high, and hope steadily set toward victory.

[Pg 91]



In the history of ancient Greece the half century included between the years 480 and 430 B. C. is called the Age of Pericles. During forty years of this period Pericles was the political leader of Athens. Under his guidance the city reached the height of her power as the capital of an empire composed of tributary states. Nor was political power the chief glory of Athens at this time. She was the centre of arts and science for the whole world. This was the age of great Greek literature, when schylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote their immortal dramas. It was also the age of great oratory, when the Athenians constantly heard "the purest lessons of patriotism put forth in the loftiest forms of eloquence." Finally, it was the age of great art, when architecture and sculpture attained perfection and when Phidias, the foremost Greek sculptor, produced his masterpieces.

Pericles was the dominating spirit in all this brilliant company. It was his able statesmanship which made and executed the ambitious plans for the aggrandizement of the city. It was, moreover, his generalship which carried out successfully so many military expeditions. His eloquence gave him great [Pg 92] influence over the people. He had the art of controlling men and moving their passions as a musician plays on the strings of his instrument. Upon his return from the Samian war he delivered a remarkable funeral oration on those who had fallen in battle. Still again, his oration in honor of the heroes of the Peloponnesian war was a noble eulogy of Athens and the Athenians.

The part of Pericles' career which interests us most in our study of Greek art is his zeal in beautifying Athens with works of architecture and sculpture. He covered the Acropolis, as the great hill in Athens was called, with beautiful buildings richly adorned with sculpture. He appointed Phidias superintendent of all the public edifices, and employed the most skilled workmen. Besides many temples, a theatre for music, called an odeum, was built, and Pericles introduced into the Panathenaic festival a contest in music held in this place. In addition to the public buildings erected, Pericles caused a long wall to be built to surround the city with fortifications.

It may be supposed that all these improvements cost a great deal of money, and there were not lacking men who criticised Pericles for extravagance in the use of public funds. In an assembly of the people, the great statesman called upon them to say if they thought he had spent too much. "Yes," came the answer. "Then," said he, "be it charged to my account, not yours, only let the edifices be inscribed with my name, not that of the people of [Pg 93] Athens." At this they cried out that he might spend all he pleased of the public funds, and the criticism was silenced. The story shows the quick wit of the orator, as well as his knowledge of human nature. He knew he was safe in appealing to the pride of the people in their city.

At the close of his long career Pericles was seized with the plague, and lay sick unto death. As his friends gathered about his death-bed they recounted his great deeds and many victories. Suddenly he interrupted them by exclaiming that they were praising only those qualities in which he was no greater than other men. In his own estimate, the most honorable trait of his character was that "no Athenian through his means had ever put on mourning."

Pericles was in fact a true patriot and a benefactor of his people. In the administration of public affairs he showed an upright and honorable character. Though all his life handling the public funds and increasing the wealth of the state, it is said that he added not one drachma to his own estate. He managed his private fortune with great prudence and dispensed many charities to the needy. His manners were calm and moderate, and he never gave way to envy or anger. His biographer, Plutarch, has written of him that "where severity was required, no man was ever more moderate, or if mildness was necessary, no man better kept up his dignity than Pericles."

Pericles was a man of fine and striking presence, [Pg 94] with a countenance cast in the mould we have come to know as the typical Greek. His head was somewhat abnormally long, and the nickname "onion head" was given him on this account. Plutarch says that this peculiarity accounts for the fact that he was always represented in portraits as wearing a helmet.

We have reason to believe that the bust reproduced in our frontispiece was made soon after his successful war against Samos. It represents him then in the fullness of his manhood and at the height of his success and popularity. The handsome face is full of refinement and shows the calm, equable temperament which made him a leader. His qualities of statesmanship strike us most forcibly in the portrait. We should hardly suspect that this was a great military commander. Yet that here is a master of men, we can easily believe. One can imagine him standing before a great multitude, moving them with the power of his eloquence.

[Pg 95]


The Diacritical Marks given are those found in the latest edition of Webster's International Dictionary.

[Pg 96]
[Pg 97]


A Dash () above the vowel denotes the long sound, as in fāte, ēve, tīme, nōte, ūse.

A Dash and a Dot (ǡ) above the vowel denote the same sound, less prolonged.

A Curve (˘) above the vowel denotes the short sound, as in ădd, ĕnd, ĭll, ŏdd, ŭp.

A Dot () above the vowel a denotes the obscure sound of a in pȧst, ȧbāte, Amĕricȧ.

A Double Dot () above the vowel a denotes the broad sound of a in fther, lms.

A Double Dot () below the vowel a denotes the sound of a in ba̤ll.

A Wave (~) above the vowel e denotes the sound of e in hẽr.

A Circumflex Accent (^) above the vowel o denotes the sound of o in brn.

A dot (.) below the vowel u denotes the sound of u in the French language.

N indicates that the preceding vowel has the French nasal tone.

sounds like s.

c̵  sounds like k

s̱ sounds like z.

g̅ is hard as in g̅et.

ġ is soft as in ġem.

Achaian (ȧ-kāyȧn).

Achilles (ȧ-kĭllēz).

Acropolis (ȧ-krŏpō̇-lĭs).

Admetus (ăd-mētŭs).

gis (ējĭs).

schylus (ĕskĭ-lŭs).

Agoracritus (ăg-ō̇-răkrĭ-tŭs).

Agrippa (ȧ-grĭpȧ).

Albani (l-bnē).

Alcamenes (ăl-kămĕ-nēz).


Antigone (ăn-tĭg̅ō-nē).

Antigonus (ăn-tĭg̅ō-nŭs).

Antium (ănshĭ-ŭm).

Aphrodite (ăf-rō̇-dītē).

Apollo (ȧ-pŏlō).

Apoxyomenos (ă-pŏx-ĭ-ŏmē̇-nŏs).

Ares (ārēz).

Argicide (rjĭ-sīd).

Argonauts (rg̅ō-na̤tz).


Aristophanes (ăr-ĭs-tŏfȧ-nēz).

Athena (ă-thēnȧ).

Athens (ăthĕnz).

Bacchus (băkŭs).

Belvedere (bĕl-vē̇-dēr).

Bernini (bĕr-nēnē).

Brunn (brŏŏn).

caduceus (kȧ-dūsē̇-ŭs).



Centaur (sĕnta̤r).

Cerberus (sẽrbē̇-rŭs).

Ceres (sērēz).

Chiron (kīrŏn).

Collignon (kŏl-lē̇n-yN).


Cyprus (sīprŭs).

Delphi (dĕlfī).







Elgin (ĕlg̅ĭn).

Eros (ērŏs).

Euphranor (ū-frānr).

Euripides (ū-rĭpĭ-dēz).

Eurydice (ū-rĭdī-sē̇).

Furtwngler (fōōrtvǡng-lẽr).


Giustiniana (jŏŏs-tē-nē-n).

glaukopis (gla̤-kōpĭs).

Gorgon (g̅rg̅ŏn).



Hephstus (hē̇-fĕstŭs).


Herum (hē̇-rēŭm).


herm (hẽrmē).



ĭkrĭŏn prōrs.

Iliad (ĭlĭ-ȧd).

Io (īō).

Ithaca (ĭthȧ-kȧ).




Lancelotti (ln-chǡ-lŏtē).


Leochares (lē̇-ŏkȧ-rēz).

Louvre (lōōvr).

Lucian (lūshĭ-ȧn).

Ludovisi (lōō-dō-vēzē).

Lutatius Catulus (lū-tāshĭ-ŭs kătū-lŭs).
















Odyssey (ŏdĭ-sĭ).

Œdipus Coloneus (ĕdĭ-pŭs kō-lō-nē-ŭs).

Œdipus Tyrannus (ĕdĭ-pŭs tĭ-răn-ŭs).

Œnone (ē-nōnē̇).

Olympia (ō-lĭmpĭ-ȧ).

Olympiad (ō-lĭmpĭ-ăd).

Olympic (ō-lĭmpĭk).

Olympus (ō-lĭmpŭs).

Orpheus (rfūs).

Otricoli (ō-trēkō-lē).

Ovid (ŏvĭd).

palstra (pȧ-lĕstrȧ).


Panathena (păn-ăth-ē̇-nēȧ).






Peloponnesian (pĕl-ō̇-pŏn-nēshȧn).





Persephone (pẽr-sĕfō-nē).

Perseus (pẽrsūs).

Phidias (fĭdĭ-ȧs).

Phœbus (fēbŭs).

Phrynicus (frĭnĭ-kŭs).




Plutarch (plūtrk).





Ptolemy (tŏlĕ-mĭ).



Reber, von (fŏn rābẽr).




Samothrace (sămō̇-thrās).


Scyros (sīrŏs).


strigil (strĭjĭl).


Symonds (sĭmŭndz).

Telemachus (tē̇-lĕmȧ-kŭs).

Terracina (tĕr-r-chēn).


Theseus (thēsūs).

Thrace (thrās).

Trastevere (trs-tā-vārā).

trireme (trīrēm).


Ulysses (ū-ly̆ssēz).

Vatican (vătĭ-kȧn).



Waldstein (wa̤ldstīn).

Zeus (zūs).

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Greek Sculpture, by Estelle M. Hurll


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