Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by Taphoi »

agesilaos wrote:Sounds like a logical position; but, were I to say that there were mammals in the Pre-Cambrian we just have not found their fossils, the absurdity of the assertion is apparent. I also think Stewart is being rather more specific in his stylistic description than you are allowing, he is talking about a very specific form of boot. Similarly where is your evidence, Taphers, that the originals were Fourth century? Erant fortes ante postque Agamemnon.

You have also missed the point of the identikit costumes. It is not Hephaistion who is being aped but Alexander, whose imitation was a standard trope, even down to Pompeius' sobriquet Magnus. These two are not fine products of Hellenistic art but either later pieces or low grade IMHO. Stewart actually provides a reasonable solution quite incidentally. He mentions this from Plutarch's 'Antony' 54 iii
3 He was hated, too, for the distribution which he made to his children in Alexandria; it was seen to be theatrical and arrogant, and to evince hatred of Rome. For after filling the gymnasium with a throng and placing on a tribunal of silver two thrones of gold, one for himself and the other for Cleopatra, and other lower thrones for his sons, 4 in the first place he declared Cleopatra Queen of Egypt, Cyprus, Libya, and Coele Syria, and she was to share her throne with Caesarion. Caesarion was believed to be a son of the former Caesar, by whom Cleopatra was left pregnant. In the second place, he proclaimed his own sons by Cleopatra Kings of Kings, and to Alexander he allotted Armenia, Media and Parthia (when he should have subdued it), to Ptolemy Phoenicia, Syria, and Cilicia.5 At the same time he also produced his sons, Alexander arrayed in Median garb, which included a tiara and upright head-dress, Ptolemy in boots, short cloak, and broad-brimmed hat surmounted by a diadem. For the latter was the dress of the kings who followed Alexander, the former that of Medes and Armenians. 6 And when the boys had embraced their parents, one was given a bodyguard of Armenians, the other of Macedonians. Cleopatra, indeed, both then and at other times when she appeared in public, assumed a robe sacred to Isis, and was addressed as the New Isis.
He only mentions viii, but here we have Ptolemy identified with Macedonia and surely Alexander; the portrayal of the actual Alexander son of Antony as the Persian king speaks to the present ambitions of Antony. If the second figure is a teenager it might explain the lesser stature. The boots are also associated with Dionysos and him with Antony, a well known potator.
The reason we are sure there are no mammals in the pre-Cambrian is firstly that a very comprehensive search of pre-Cambrian rocks has been undertaken. Such a search result is in itself evidence of absence, because it shows that the absence is significant. Evidently no comprehensive search has been performed by Stewart (or his reference on the matter: Comparanda, Morrow, 1985). Secondly, the theory of Evolution, for which there is a huge body of evidence, tells us that there will not be any mammal fossils in pre-Cambrian rocks.

The identical costumes in late 4th century style would suggest to any viewer that Alexander's companion was one of his contemporaries. Any later king or prince being portrayed with Alexander would surely have shown himself in his own typical attire in order to make himself recognisable and not invite confusion with Alexander's lover and the inevitable jokes. The Hephaistion figure is not wearing a hat or a diadem or krepides, so he is evidently not Ptolemy being dressed up as a Macedonian prince by Antony for the Donations. Ptolemy was born around 36BC, so he was a toddler only about 3 years old at the time of the Donations.

What is actually implied by the fact that the Demetrio statues are modest quality, smaller than life-size and yet in perfectly accurate dress for Alexander's visit to Egypt in 332-331BC is that they are later copies of a major life-size work which was produced not long after the foundation of Alexandria to adorn the city. It is interesting, for example, that the one standard element that is missing from Alexander's costume is the diadem, which he probably did not adopt until after the final defeat of Darius a couple of years later (or possibly post-Arbela, when he made himself king of Asia). This would fit with the original statues being part of a contemporaneous depiction of Alexander's foundation of Alexandria accompanied by Hephaistion.

The Hephaistion figure is 79cm tall and the Alexander is 82cm tall. Since these are poor quality copies, an inch of difference in height may not have any significance at all or it may just reflect an artistic convention of showing the more senior figure with slightly greater stature.

Best wishes,
Andrew
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

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Taphoi wrote: Evidently no comprehensive search has been performed by Stewart (or his reference on the matter: Comparanda, Morrow, 1985).
Now, this bothers me somewhat - a statement conjured from thin air that not one but two academics failed to do a "comprehensive search" regarding a subject in which they specialize. For those who do not have Stewart's book, "Morrow, 1985" is "Greek Footwear and the Dating of Sculpture" by Katherine Dohan Morrow, University of Wisconsin Press, Jan 1, 1985.
Katherine Dohan Morrow's study represents the first comprehensive guide to the history of ancient Greek footwear and the chronology of its development. Her thorough research answers some long-standing questions about the originality, iconography, and identification of various Greek sculptures and provides, through its clear chronology, an indispensable tool for dating Greek sculpture. The result is an authoritative, long overdue work that will serve as an eminently useful handbook for museum curators, classical archaeologists, art historians, and students of costume.

Morrow's research is unusually reliable because it includes only footwear seen on original Greek sculptures dating from ca. 700 to 331 B.C. By consigning often untrustworthy Roman copies and adaptations to an appendix, she is able to present a sound discussion of Greek footwear based on an unadulterated corpus of Greek statuary.

Her resulting findings are impressive. There was, Morrow reveals, a well-defined, limited repertoire of footwear styles used in each specific phase of Greek sculpture. Consequently, she argues, particular sandal styles can help date Greek sculptures. Demonstrating the utility of this system and the far-reaching impact of her study--one that is likely to affect our knowledge of ancient Greek art for years to come--she herself redates statues, settles several chronological controversies, and solves some nagging cases of mistaken attribution.
As you mentioned in previous post, I agree that disagreement is to be expected and welcomed on the forum, but please try to avoid unfairly discrediting academics or others when proffering a point of view.

With Best Regards,
Amyntoros

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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by Taphoi »

amyntoros wrote:
Taphoi wrote: Evidently no comprehensive search has been performed by Stewart (or his reference on the matter: Comparanda, Morrow, 1985).
Now, this bothers me somewhat - a statement conjured from thin air that not one but two academics failed to do a "comprehensive search" regarding a subject in which they specialize. For those who do not have Stewart's book, "Morrow, 1985" is "Greek Footwear and the Dating of Sculpture" by Katherine Dohan Morrow, University of Wisconsin Press, Jan 1, 1985.
Katherine Dohan Morrow's study represents the first comprehensive guide to the history of ancient Greek footwear and the chronology of its development. Her thorough research answers some long-standing questions about the originality, iconography, and identification of various Greek sculptures and provides, through its clear chronology, an indispensable tool for dating Greek sculpture. The result is an authoritative, long overdue work that will serve as an eminently useful handbook for museum curators, classical archaeologists, art historians, and students of costume.

Morrow's research is unusually reliable because it includes only footwear seen on original Greek sculptures dating from ca. 700 to 331 B.C. By consigning often untrustworthy Roman copies and adaptations to an appendix, she is able to present a sound discussion of Greek footwear based on an unadulterated corpus of Greek statuary.

Her resulting findings are impressive. There was, Morrow reveals, a well-defined, limited repertoire of footwear styles used in each specific phase of Greek sculpture. Consequently, she argues, particular sandal styles can help date Greek sculptures. Demonstrating the utility of this system and the far-reaching impact of her study--one that is likely to affect our knowledge of ancient Greek art for years to come--she herself redates statues, settles several chronological controversies, and solves some nagging cases of mistaken attribution.
As you mentioned in previous post, I agree that disagreement is to be expected and welcomed on the forum, but please try to avoid unfairly discrediting academics or others when proffering a point of view.

With Best Regards,
I am quite happy to agree that the fault in this instance appears to be one of having ignored the vast majority of the extant evidence rather than not having been aware of it. If you rely on the tiny corpus of indisputable 4th century originals, then you are going to miss a lot of things that were going on in 4th century BC society. You are also probably going to rule that some genuine 4th century originals of disputed date are not genuine on the grounds that they differ in some obscure footwear detail from the genuine corpus. It is as though we had forsaken as corrupt and worthless all works of ancient literature except those discovered on contemporaneous papyri or in inscriptions. It also seems to impute that Roman copyists had some kind of fetish concerning updating footwear styles (but not other clothing?)
Best wishes,
Andrew
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

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It is clear that you have not read this book, nor even the post carefully; the later copies are not ignored but treated in a separate appendix. A wholly sensible arrangement to exclude possibly tainted evidence from the initial discussion; having isolated genuine examples one then has a base from which to judge the copies, many of which are marble copies of bronze sculptures entailing many compositional compromises. I have not got a copy either but so much is clear from Amyntoros’ quote.

You also seem to think that every copy is of fourth century original despite many being from the third and second century (I will have to find the reference again in Google books; and edit it in). Looking at the Alexander sarcophagus, the Agios Anasthasios murals, Alketas’ Termessian monument, none of the figures sport the supposedly typically fourth century dress; possibly one figure on the so-called Tomb of Judgement at Naoussa does although it is not clear whether the toes of his boots are open. These are definitely late fourth century and do not support your footwear assertion.

I just cannot see why anyone would be making an Alexander and Hephaistion, the latter never had an extensive cult as far as one can judge, shrines ordered but seemingly not built and one votive plaque from c320 make it more likely that this late piece 2nd century BC or later depicts Alexander and another; the lack of a diadem is hardly a dating feature I do not think any of the lifetime portraits have one in sculpture there may be one on the elephant medallions, however.
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by Alexias »

There are traces of a diadem on the Hephaestion head, on the left hand side.
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There are other heads, reputed to be Hephaestion, with diadems
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Hephaestion venice.jpg (94.1 KiB) Viewed 3387 times
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by Taphoi »

agesilaos wrote:I just cannot see why anyone would be making an Alexander and Hephaistion, the latter never had an extensive cult as far as one can judge, shrines ordered but seemingly not built and one votive plaque from c320 make it more likely that this late piece 2nd century BC or later depicts Alexander and another; the lack of a diadem is hardly a dating feature I do not think any of the lifetime portraits have one in sculpture there may be one on the elephant medallions, however.
The only likely time for an Alexander + Hephaistion composition in Egypt would have been during Alexander's lifetime. Nobody had any motive to celebrate Hephaistion after Alexander's death. That is yet another reason why arguments trying to use the boots for dating the statues so much later make no sense. The arguments on the dress are literary in the first instance, rather than sculptural, but there are images that show Macedonian cavalrymen dressed thus (e.g. Kinch tomb mural at Naoussa.) I am not sure what you mean by "lifetime portraits". Apart from the Porus medallions (which are too small scale to distinguish a diadem), I am not aware of anything definitely contemporaneous after the death of Darius, except the Gold Porus, which is almost certainly a forgery. Alexander does wear a diadem in many early posthumous images: elephant scalp tetradrachms of Ptolemy, hunting scene on the Alexander Sarcophagus; tetradrachms of Lysimachos; Neisos gem etc. But the reason that the omission of a diadem is significant in the Demetrios Alexander is that Alexander is otherwise wearing the royal dress described in the literary sources. It is an omission relative to the literary ensemble - not relative to lifetime portraits after the adoption of the diadem, since they do not exist. It is the standard view that the Demetrio Hephaistion is probably Hephaistion, because it is hard to see him as anyone else given that he is clearly a pair with the Demetrio Alexander, of a similar age and dressed identically in period costume. I will stick with my previous estimation that he is Hephaistion with 75% confidence and I will add that he is probably a close copy of a lifetime portrait.
Best wishes,
Andrew
PS. Just saw the interesting post by Alexias, but grooves around the crown of the head probably indicate a wreath rather than a diadem. Alexander wears a wreath in the mural on the façade of Tomb II at Aegae.
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by agesilaos »

The only likely time for an Alexander + Hephaistion composition in Egypt would have been during Alexander's lifetime. Nobody had any motive to celebrate Hephaistion after Alexander's death.
I would totally agree; but, that is reason for thinking that the other figure is not Hephaistion rather than concluding that the dating is wrong. Similarly a diadem would exclude Hephaistion, they are royal symbols and he was not a prince

Kinch is not much help as the footwear was not preserved (now it is all lost)
KINCH-TOMBDrawing-based-on-a-wall-painting-with-battle-scene-from-the-Kinch-Tomb-310-290-BC-Lefkadia..jpg
KINCH-TOMBDrawing-based-on-a-wall-painting-with-battle-scene-from-the-Kinch-Tomb-310-290-BC-Lefkadia..jpg (65.25 KiB) Viewed 3373 times
The double chiton is seen on the Nereid monument of the early fourth century and cannot be diagnostic of a late fourth century date.
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By 'lifetime' I meant the presumed copies of Lysippos' originals and the Azara herm. Only the inclusion of a diadem would be significant, as it was not adopted before the defeat of Darius, probably in Parthia. Any attribute may be omitted, but none can be depicted before they were adopted. The period costume is later than that in which anyone had the slightest interest in Hephaistion. Association with Alexander was, common, however.
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by Semiramis »

Hi All,

I thought when Alexander took up mixed Persian and Macedonian clothes, Hephaestion was the only one to emulate him in this? So, they were both similarly dressed in a unique niche of two. How many "fusion Macedonian/Persian male warrior Achaemenid court" fashion trends could have sprung up in that short time?

As for equal status, it's not surprising for the two to be depicted as such. Hephestion's godhood was believed by Alexander and promoted as such when possible. To Alexander, Hephaestion "is Alexander too." If Alexander is a god, so is Hephaestion. Statues such as the one on this thread (if correctly identifying Hephaestion) align with Alexander's view and some promotion of the cult of Hephaestion.

After Hephaestion's death, Alexander had asked the Oracle of Siwa to declare Hephaestion a god. The request was denied at first. Interfering in the Oracle's usual independence, Alexander sent a second request. The Siwa Oracle compromised - declaring Hephaestion a hero. Alexander is described as impatient for the answer and unwilling to accept the decision when it reached him. He had to be persuaded not to send a third request.

Alexander's mourning for Hephaestion was in the style of Achaemenid mourning for the death of a Great King. Alexander had extinguished the Zoroastrian fire, shorn his hair and ordered cropping the mains of horses. These are all Persian practices reserved for the mourning of the Great king only. To Greeks and Macedonians, the extinguishing of the Great King's fire may have signaled the death of a god. Herodotus thought the Great King had declared himself a god and his worship was akin to slavery. The proskynesis issue rose from this interpretation and had hurt cohesion under Alexander. Politically, this style of mourning was not considering it's indications to Persians, Greeks or his Achaemenid subjects.

The Greek part was Alexander tearfully placing a lock of Hephaestion's hair on his funeral pyre. Another reminder that the hero Hephaestion was Patrocles to Alexander's Achilles. In Alexander's eyes, heroes could turn to gods.

After the funeral, Alexander became surrounded by Magi - who were used to speaking of divine worship, gods, heroes and great deeds. He was apparently fearful that because Hephaestion had not been declared a god, the two would not meet in the afterlife. Would he have to renounce his godhood? Alexander was apparently persuaded by the Magi to stay a god.

To the Macedonians, fear had now turned Alexander to omens and superstitions. Alternatively, he could've been seeking the Magi's advice. They were scholars who had trained the Persian political elite. Hephaestion had the best relations with Persians and the Magi may have been filling this role now. With Hephaestion gone, Alexander may not have trusted his other Macedonian and Persian friends. He had accused them all of being dishonest and disliking Hephaestion - placated only with the clever present of a bust of Hephaestion.

In Egypt, the Heroon was declared by the politically astute satrap soon after Hephaestion's death. Was there perhaps enough time to establish a basis for Hephaestion's cult before Alexander's death? Hypereides recorded that the Greeks were happy to worship the gods and living men as heroes. But now they were compelled to honour their servants as heroes too. That's likely a careful reference to Alexander enforcing the hero cult of Hephaestion in Greece.
Last edited by Semiramis on Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:00 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Statues of Alexander and Hephaestion, National Museum of Athens

Post by Semiramis »

system1988 wrote: Yes! You are alone in the whole world on this! You are just jealous of Hephaestion being handsome, tall and with such a good friend who would make a statue of him! Do you have any friends like that?
Pauline,

It's the greatest love story never told! :D
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