The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipolis

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by amyntoros »

Taphoi wrote: My answer is that the thing that is particularly distinctive about the Amphipolis canephora and the priestess in the Met-Hermitage Dionysus is that they all wear a chiton draped only over one shoulder and with a diagonal fold running beween the breasts. It appears to echo the panther skin drape on Dionysus himself. It also looks more like the way men wore chitons and therefore recalls Plutarch's alternative term for the Klodones: Mimallones or "men imitators".
Ah ha, Andrew, I was also thinking about that "diagonal" on the caryatids clothes last night. Didn't want to bring it up in my last post as it might have seemed like a distraction. It appears to be quite rare and the closest comparison I could find was a frieze of dancers at Samothrace. Now, before I go any further, yes, yes, Olympias was at Samothrace, however, unlike Eleusis, even slaves were allowed at Samothrace. As the Mysteries there also involved what happens after death, we can, for once, be confident that anyone who could afford to build the Amphipolis "tomb" would have gone to the Mysteries at Samothrace.

So, onto the image of the dancers (and sorry about the size):
Image

I hadn't wanted to post this earlier as the "diagonal" bands aren't quite the same. The ones on the dancers appear to be fabric pulled out from under the band, whereas the Amphipolis figures don't really feature such. So I wrote last night to the expert on ancient Greek clothing, Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones. Lovely man that he is, he sent a reply this morning. The relevant part as follows:
Yes, I'm familiar with that particular fashion. It is indeed a band
strapped diagonally across the chest (and between the breasts). It is
worn over a mantle, pinned on the shoulder and slung diagonally too.
Part of the mantle is then bulled through the band to create this
strange ruffled effect.
It is not commonly seen, but to my recollection when it *is* found, it
tends to be in Roman-period archaising Greek figures. So that might be
food for thought...
If I can find other examples, I'll pass them on to you.
Oh dear, the elephant is back in the room! I must point out that Dr. Llewellyn-Jones is not one of those people talking to the press and claiming that the tomb is Roman. He's simply remarking on his personal research about the clothing.

I wonder when the frieze was carved at Samothrace? There's Arsinoe II of Egypt's famous rotunda, and as far as I know additions continued throughout Roman times until the temple/mysteries were no longer used.

As an aside, and nothing to do with dating the tomb, here's an image of an archaeological part of Arsinoe's rotunda. Note that rosette (and there are many more)! :)

Image

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Zebedee »

GCRap (twitter) posted an interesting picture (courtesy of Greece-salonika.blogspot.com)

Image

Sadly those aren't snakes in the basket, but a palmette design (with lotus flower to the right) on an anetefix. The antefix was sketched c.1830 in Pella. Would be interesting to know precisely where. A few have already noted one of the floor patterns at the House of Dionysos perhaps being similar to those found in the antechamber.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by system1988 »

Here is a link to a number of photos of archaizing statues. The source is the booklet ELEUSIS (Athens 1979) by archaeologist Katherine G. Kanta.

http://s1246.photobucket.com/user/IamSy ... t=3&page=1
Last edited by system1988 on Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

amyntoros wrote:Oh dear, the elephant is back in the room! I must point out that Dr. Llewellyn-Jones is not one of those people talking to the press and claiming that the tomb is Roman. He's simply remarking on his personal research about the clothing.
I wonder when the frieze was carved at Samothrace? There's Arsinoe II of Egypt's famous rotunda, and as far as I know additions continued throughout Roman times until the temple/mysteries were no longer used.
If most examples of a sculptural feature are Roman, that doesn't mean the feature is Roman. Most Classical and Hellenistic sculptures only exist through Roman copies, the Met-Hermitage Dionysus being a case in point.
The frieze that you've posted is from the Temenos, dating from 340-317BC. It is part of major additions to the sanctuary between those dates. This could well represent patronage from the Macedonian Royal Family, so the frieze could easily commemorate a visit by Olympias and her Klodones.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by amyntoros »

Taphoi wrote: If most examples of a sculptural feature are Roman, that doesn't mean the feature is Roman. Most Classical and Hellenistic sculptures only exist through Roman copies, the Met-Hermitage Dionysus being a case in point.
The frieze that you've posted is from the Temenos, dating from 340-317BC. It is part of major additions to the sanctuary between those dates. This could well represent patronage from the Macedonian Royal Family, so the frieze could easily commemorate a visit by Olympias and her Klodones.
Ah, yes, surely royal patronage by Philip, but I think nothing to do with Olympias. I don't want to dismiss the romanticising of Plutarch's tale of the meeting of Philip and Olympias at Samothrace, but I do consider it very unlikely that Philip would commemorate such a meeting in this manner. All the buildings at Samothrace are inclusive to the Mysteries performed there and are concerned with afterlife experiences and chthonic worship. One wouldn't want to insert allusions to one's wife into that, methinks. Also, there is mention in the article that the dancing on the frieze is too controlled to represent any form of bacchic worship. (The dancers at Vergina with their legs exposed are a good example, I think, of probable bacchic dance.)

Anyway, thank you for the info on the Temenos (I hadn't had a chance to do any serious research myself). I did follow up, however, and found something quite interesting in an article in SAMOTHRACIAN CONNECTIONS: Essays in honor of James R. McCredie. Edited by Olga Palagia and Bonna D. Wescoa. The article in particular is by Clemente Marconi Choroi, Theōriai and International Ambitions: The Hall of Choral Dancers and its Frieze.

A relevant clip:
The case of Delos, and the fact that theōriai to sanctuaries were often accompanied by song and dance performances, may illuminate not only the nature, but also the significance of the representation on our frieze. By showing a plurality of choroi, the frieze could simultaneously allude to the splendor of the annual summer festival and reflect the ambition of the sanctuary, in the second half of the 4th century, to achieve international status. In Samothrace 5, Phyllis Lehmann suggested that our building was donated by Philip II, an attribution that has been followed by all subsequent literature. This is certainly a possibility, in consideration of the archaeological dating of the building to the third quarter of the 4th century. Be that as it may, thanks to the literary and epigraphical sources, and to the later dedications in the sanctuary, the big picture is clear. There is general agreement that the Macedonian royal family was the driving force behind the advent of monumental architecture at this sanctuary, and that the rationale for that involvement was the effort by Philip II to raise the status of “his” sanctuary in northern Greece to a level comparable to that of international sanctuaries such as Delphi and Olympia.

It has also been suggested that the king may have been responsible for the institution of the annual summer festival or for its substantial renovation. If this were the framework, then the Hall of Choral Dancers, a large, ceremonial building lying at the heart of the sanctuary, would be the first concrete manifestation of the ambition of the patrons of the sanctuary to raise its status to international level. In addition, the long frieze featuring choral dances should be seen as an allusion to the spectacle of the annual summer festival, to theōriai, and to the wide recognition of the prestige of the Sanctuary since early times – a fact pointed out centuries later by Diodoros – as suggested by the archaistic style of the sculpture. In the third quarter of the 4th century, this recognition at the international level was still an ambition. However, as the theōroi inscriptions indicate, by the middle of the 3rd century the importance of Samothrace had been acknowledged throughout the Aegean and sacred delegations came from the west coast of Asia Minor and from several islands to visit the sanctuary, admire its spectacular buildings, and, it seems, its choral dances.
And another, earlier, interesting part on the headgear of the women in the frieze (and our caryatids?):
However, the poloi of the young women on the frieze, besides emphasizing – as noted by Evelyn Harrison – the ceremonial character of their costume, also characterize their dances as choral executions performed in the context of the cult of a goddess. In the literature on the frieze, the headgear of the dancers has generally been identfied as a polos, and rightly so. Our dancers wear low, slightly flaring poloi. Poloi could be very tall, but sometimes they could be just a few centimeters high. The low polos was already in use during the Archaic period but became particularly popular in the 5th century, and it is often seen in 4th century art. The best comparison for the low, slightly flaring Polos of our dancers is that worn by Hera on the staters of Knossos dated to ca. 350. This and other parallels militate against the recent suggestion that our dancers’ headgear should not be identified as a polos but as a kind of cap. In Greek iconography, the polos is normally reserved for goddesses, especially Aphrodite, Artemis, Demeter, Persephone, Hera, and Kybele. However, mortal women can also wear the polos, but almost exclusively in scenes of cult. Thus, dancers wearing poloi are featured on several Corinthian “Frauenfest” vases representing rows of dancing women, either by themselves, or associated with other female or male figures, including padded dancers. The scenes on these Corinthian vases, which are rather generic, have usually been connected with the cult of Artemis.

An analogous interpretation can be applied to our frieze. However we reconstruct the list of the Great Gods of Samothrace, it is clear that a goddess or a pair of them – Demeter and Persephone, or Kybele – played a major role. These goddesses all have a significant connection with the polos, choral performances by young women, and tympana.
Don't want to fill this post up with quotes as anyone interested can read the whole article (if necessary, skimming the parts about where various pieces of the building were found, as I did, I'm ashamed to admit). Now if anyone thinks all this is too irrelevant please let me know. I get excited about "simple" things such as clothing, but that is one of my main areas of interest and I sometimes forget that others may find it boring. :wink:

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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Efstathios »

Andrew is right on this one, the Romans copied a lot of things from ancient greece so a statue that is considered to be roman in style may very well be greek style instead.

There is currently a battle going on in the greek archaeological and press community with Mrs Palagia appearing again in a greek channel and insisting that the tomb is roman and that the Greek goverment is using the Macedonian theme for political reasons. This whole thing doesn't help the excavation at all, but instead it is putting extra pressure to archaeologists for quick results.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Xenophon »

From everything I know about Olga Palagia, I would be very skeptical of her dating views. One has only to look at the Borza-Palagia interpretation of dating evidence from the Aigeae 'Philip' tomb, now largely discredited, and other examples......
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Dorothy King PHDiva wrote:...and whilst Andrew Chubb (sic) is puppyish in his enthusiasm, it also isn't helping.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Zebedee »

In the words of Ron Burgundy.. well that escalated quickly... :wink:

----
amyntoros wrote: Don't want to fill this post up with quotes as anyone interested can read the whole article (if necessary, skimming the parts about where various pieces of the building were found, as I did, I'm ashamed to admit). Now if anyone thinks all this is too irrelevant please let me know. I get excited about "simple" things such as clothing, but that is one of my main areas of interest and I sometimes forget that others may find it boring. :wink:

Thank you for that, certainly seems to push things towards the 'cultic' explanation which so many have picked up on (ignoring differences over cult for precisely whom). I tried to put some money on Rhesos today in the hopes of long odds and perhaps a very merry Christmas, but the bookmaker wouldn't give me odds for him being a candidate. Would be a little more confident if I could to pin down Marsyas of Philippi's alleged reference to a mnemeion on a hill near Amphipolis. :oops:
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Zebedee wrote:I tried to put some money on Rhesos today in the hopes of long odds and perhaps a very merry Christmas, but the bookmaker wouldn't give me odds for him being a candidate. Would be a little more confident if I could to pin down Marsyas of Philippi's alleged reference to a mnemeion on a hill near Amphipolis. :oops:
I believe it's a scholium from a manuscript of Euripides' tragedy about Rhesos - anyway the ref you are looking for is Schol. Eurip. Rhes. 346. It says that "Marsyas the Younger in his Macedonian History wrote that 'there is a shrine to Clio at Amphipolis, erected on a certain ridge opposite the monument of Rhesos.'" Not terribly obvious therefore that this could refer to the Kasta Hill. The bigger problem would be that you are nearly a thousand years out of sync with the archaeology - a more than Palagian discrepancy.:shock:
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Zebedee »

Taphoi wrote:
Zebedee wrote:I tried to put some money on Rhesos today in the hopes of long odds and perhaps a very merry Christmas, but the bookmaker wouldn't give me odds for him being a candidate. Would be a little more confident if I could to pin down Marsyas of Philippi's alleged reference to a mnemeion on a hill near Amphipolis. :oops:
I believe it's a scholium from a manuscript of Euripides' tragedy about Rhesos - anyway the ref you are looking for is Schol. Eurip. Rhes. 346. It says that "Marsyas the Younger in his Macedonian History wrote that 'there is a shrine to Clio at Amphipolis, erected on a certain ridge opposite the monument of Rhesos.'" Not terribly obvious therefore that this could refer to the Kasta Hill. The bigger problem would be that you are nearly a thousand years out of sync with the archaeology - a more than Palagian discrepancy.:shock:
Best wishes,
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Thank you Andrew, that's appreciated. I've seen several different versions of that quote - some contradicting others in terms of hills and ridges. Not really out of synch with the archaeology for a late C4th re-burial outside of the city walls and closer to the original failed Athenian settlement. There's a potential parallel with the cult of Hector moving, perhaps in association with the re-founding of Thebes, and likewise Knigge has argued that the lion over the Theban dead should be seen in association with the re-founding of the city. It's not quite as out of synch as a quick glance would suggest, but I shan't bore the forum with it.
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Taphoi »

Zebedee wrote:Thank you Andrew, I've seen several different versions of that quote - some contradicting others in terms of hills and ridges. Not really out of synch with the archaeology for a late C4th re-burial outside of the city walls and closer to the original failed Athenian settlement. There's a potential parallel with the cult of Hector moving, perhaps in association with the re-founding of Thebes, and likewise Knigge has argued that the lion over the Theban dead should be seen in association with the re-founding of the city. It's not quite as out of synch as a quick glance would suggest, but I shan't bore the forum with it.
Well I'd give you at least 100 to 1 against Alexander having allowed the relocation of a Trojan War grave, if I were a bookmaker (but I hasten to add that I am not, so I won't). If you want the Greek, you just need to find a copy of Die Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker, Part IIB, 135-6 F7. I think Brill sells online access. I think Rhesos is actually connected with Eion, the pre-existing port of Amphipolis though, so the Kasta Hill would be on the wrong side of town :(
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by Zebedee »

Taphoi wrote: Well I'd give you at least 100 to 1 against Alexander having allowed the relocation of a Trojan War grave, if I were a bookmaker (but I hasten to add that I am not, so I won't). If you want the Greek, you just need to find a copy of Die Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker, Part IIB, 135-6 F7. I think Brill sells online access. I think Rhesos is actually connected with Eion, the pre-existing port of Amphipolis though, so the Kasta Hill would be on the wrong side of town :(
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I'd take that for a monument erected after Alexander's death (the bones were originally moved from Troy by Hagnon so pre-date this). :D Appreciate the reference, very kind of you. Eioneius is the father given by Homer. Euripedes gives another version where it is Strymon, hence the re-burial of the bones at (or near) Amphipolis to fulfill the oracle (as Thucydides relates). Conon suggests both are the same. Euripedes also makes the Amphopolis link a little more explicit with his reference to the bridge. Cicero claims that there is no active cult for Rhesos by his time. Will see what odds I get when they've had chance to check. It's a stupendous longshot and probably the wrong side of the river too. :wink:
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

Post by system1988 »

29-9-2014 .Overall height ( with pedestals) of the Caryatids:3,67 meters
photos : http://www.protothema.gr and http://www.lifo.gr/now/culture/53419

The statues are not situated in the centre of the pedestal, maybe for structural purposes?
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Re: The Sphinxes Guarding the Lion Tomb Entrance at Amphipol

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